Mother, daughter launch home cleaning service
Daughter Rebecca Hailey and mother Jill Johnston are on a mission to help people reclaim time lost to cleaning and running household errands.
The mother-daughter duo are also business partners in a venture called Clean Ducks LLC, which touts itself as a full-service cleaning and organizing company. The company offers residential cleaning, new construction cleaning, move-in and move-out cleaning and home organizing. Clean Ducks even runs household errands for clients and helps them plan events.
“We want to help people be able to get their Saturdays back and help make their lives easy,” Hailey said.
Clean Ducks formally launched in April 2013, but its history can be traced back several years if cleaning contractor Tracy Mitchell is factored in. Mitchell brought her client roster to Clean Ducks and the company was on its way.
By fall 2013, Hailey and Johnston’s tech-savvy approach began to pay off when the company began getting its own clients aside from Mitchell’s.
“Once we got on the Internet, it just exploded,” Hailey said.
The business went from about eight regular cleaning clients to more than 15, along with a heavy mix of one-time cleaning, organizing and event planning projects. On New Year’s Day, Clean Ducks completed a single move-out cleaning project that totalled more than 18 billable hours.
The company, which consists of the two owners, Mitchell the contractor and three employees, is now going through another growth spurt. Clean Ducks joined the New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce and held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to help spread the word among community members.
“The phone has been ringing all week,” Hailey said.
Clean Ducks is servicing more than just New Richmond. According to Johnston, the company’s service area extends more than 25 miles beyond New Richmond, and she’s hoping the regional draw will help the Clean Ducks grow.
“I think we want rapid, but managed growth,” Johnston said. “We want to get as big as we can as fast as we can but still have it be manageable. We don’t expect to go public or anything like that. That’s not one of our goals. We want to maintain control of the company between the two of us.”
Hailey and Johnston said they are hoping at some point to reach 500 customers and 50 employees. Part of the growth means hiring new people, which they currently are. Hailey insists that those hired will be paid more than minimum wage and she intends to incorporate that into the company’s core culture.
“I feel so strongly and passionate about what we’re offering that I know if our employees are happy, that our clients will be happy,” Hailey said.
Johnston works full time from home as an implementation consultant at Automatic Data Processing, a payroll software company. When she’s not busy migrating ADP clients from one software platform to another, she’s thinking about Clean Ducks.
Hailey runs the day-to-day operations for Clean Ducks, but that rarely means picking up a mop or dust rag. Hailey’s days are filled with new-client consultations, marketing, scheduling clients and employees and basic business operations tasks. Consultations take up a lot of her time.
“What I like to be able to do is go to their location, view their home to see what condition it’s in,” Hailey said. “For example, at my home I have four pets, and I’ve got one kid. Some houses, like my grandma and grandpa have no pets and no kids. It stays a lot cleaner. We like to go in and get an overview.”
What Hailey is looking for is to get a sense of how much time her employees would need to spend in the home to get it fully cleaned, and estimate about how much time an employee would have to spend cleaning the home each visit on a regular ongoing basis.
Of course, residential cleaning isn’t the only service Clean Ducks offers. The company also has a number of commercial clients, and it also offers one-time deep cleaning services, professional organizing, event planning and errand running.
While Clean Ducks isn’t a delivery service or a dog walker, employees can pick up items from a grocery list and put them away, drop off mail at the post office, bring pets to the vet and other light household errands.