With just a click of a button, we can hire someone to deliver our groceries, watch our children, or even handle the scheduling for our businesses. San Francisco-based startup Fairy is hoping that people will also be interested in outsourcing the cleaning of their home to a third-party provider.
Hold up. Aren’t there already more than enough housekeeping services? Well, Fairy is hoping their unique business approach will be sufficient to convince customers that they need to make room for one more option.
How Exactly Is Fairy’s Housekeeping Different?
Having launched in 2016, Fairy hasn’t had much time to demonstrate how their unique value proposition holds up against the overabundance of independent and professional maid services. That being said, they’re trying to make a dent in the San Francisco Bay and New York City areas, and to show consumers—and investors—that their specialized approach to housekeeping is a worthy adversary to the Merry Maids of the world.
Investors seem to be intrigued by this as Fairy just received $4.1 million in seed funding in June 2017.
At first glance, Fairy’s housekeeping services look similar to many of the other housekeeping and maid service companies online. Venessa Johnson, the business development and growth consultant for Fairy, was recently interviewed by the San Francisco Moms Blog and had this to say:
“Our founders, both busy professionals, thought it would be great to have someone keep their places clean and tidy multiple times a week as if they were staying at a hotel, instead of the traditional housekeeping model where someone comes once a week or a few times a month. This way, much like at a hotel, when you leave for the day you return to a nice, clean and tidy home, whereas when you have a housekeeper only once a week or a few times a month, you still have to deal with daily upkeep.”
In addition to putting a new spin on the concept of hiring a housekeeper, there are some other key differentiators worth noting about Fairy.
Customers can choose the daily cleaning schedule that works best for them. They have the option of half-hour or hour-long cleaning sessions, and frequency options include 1, 2, 3, or 5 days a week.
Each cleaning session either follows a pre-set plan selection (which can be a standard whole-house clean or a deep clean of a single room) or the housekeeper will work solely off a checklist provided by the customer.
As of now, Fairy only offers their services to certain “zones” within San Francisco and New York City. This is to ensure that they’re optimizing their staff’s time. If there isn’t a great enough demand in a particular area or the travel time for their housekeepers is too great, then they won’t open their services up to it.
Pricing ranges from $149 to $449 per month and is generally cheaper than standard cleaning services. According to Home Advisor, the cost of an independent cleaning service is about $10 an hour whereas a maid service company typically charges between $25 and $35 per hour. Because Fairy’s housekeepers provide regular, consistent cleaning, housekeepers can focus more on the general upkeep of a home.
In the future, Fairy hopes to add on other services that they can’t currently accommodate within the 30- to 60-minute time slots. According to Johnson, “We are looking into solidifying a dry cleaning and laundry partner, as this is a service a lot of people would love to have done. Unfortunately, we can’t start and finish laundry in 30 or 60 minutes, and many people don’t have washers and dryers at their homes, so we are looking into how we can help fulfill this need.”
The Problems We Anticipate with Fairy
Okay, so we now know what Fairy does and what they’re trying to do in order to separate themselves from the competition. But is it a viable option?
Fairy has plenty of competition; a competition that doesn’t restrict where their services are available, and that doesn’t insist that daily cleanings are necessary. Merry Maids and MaidPro are probably two of the more popular competitors, but you could probably also include Angie’s List in there as well. While it’s admirable that Fairy wants to provide a personalized, daily service to their customers, it may be too niche to last.
Even if there were a great enough demand for this sort of hotel-like housekeeping service, many customers have reported serious issues with the quality of Fairy’s operations, including inconsistent service, housekeepers who do the bare minimum and leave early, last-minute cancellations, and late arrivals. Customers are also frustrated with how much time they spend talking to Fairy management about these issues.
Perhaps now that Fairy has their seed funding in hand, they can nip these issues in the bud. Though will it really matter? Is there that great of a demand for daily housekeeping that they’ll be able to eke out trusted and long-standing names in the business? Only time will tell.
Feature image courtesy of Yelp
Mohamed Eggers says
Just the fact that I could leave for work and come home to a nice clean, tidy apartment is enough convincing for me! I hate to clean up after myself, especially after work.
R. Daniel Weitz says
A great business model! Sounds like it will work out great for folks that have minimal time at home to do the cleaning!
Geraldine Perry says
I like it as well. One business that I always wanted to start was a home cleaning business. I like to keep my own home clean and know that others just do not have the time to accomplish this. I might give it a try.
Marianne Magee says
I guess it only makes sense that if you are going to UBER your way into a business, there are going to be issues that could only be addressed through a formal management system.
Steven Vowell says
I love this idea. There are many apps out there that give people a chance to earn an income, maybe even on the side and that is great. But as a homeowner, who is home very little, I like that I can have my home cleaned before I arrive and on my schedule.
Gene Blackwell says
hmm, this seems like a great program for making extra money as a housekeeper. If you have time in your schedule you could set something like this up as a part time job. I like the idea. It is sort of like Uber for housekeeping.
George Lerner says
it looks like investors are fine with the program. Even though there have been maids around for many years. it will be interesting to see if any of them make their money back.