In our fast-paced and busy society, one of the difficulties many people face is the challenge of housecleaning. A lot of professionals, especially those who are just starting to live on their own, just don’t have the time or energy to keep their house, apartment, or condominium as clean as they want it to be. Many are also incapable of hiring full-time help due to either financial constraints or space limitations. While many condominium developments offer in-house housecleaning services, the massive lead or waiting time required to avail them inevitably leads to scheduling conflicts or difficulties, thus making them an unideal option. These situations eventually became the inspiration for Cleaning Lady, a new on-demand housecleaning service and one of the winners of the annual IdeaSpace Foundation startup competition in 2016.

The IdeaSpace involvement

If you’ve never heard of IdeaSpace before, it’s a foundation supported by the MVP group of companies that incubates and accelerates startups to transform their ideas into actual businesses. The foundation holds an annual startup competition where up to 100 startup ideas are selected from hundreds of applicants. The 100 participants are then reduced to 20 startups who will then go through a boot camp and an “Ignite” stage where they are given the opportunity to turn their ideas into reality for the competition. Ten winners will then be chosen to receive seed funding in the amount of up to P500,000 along with other benefits including an office space, mentoring from industry experts, legal support, networking support, and more. And as previously mentioned, during the foundation’s 2016 startup competition, Cleaning Lady joined the likes of SALt, Pinoy Travel, and Tactiles as one of the 10 winners.

 Who is Cleaning Lady?

The people behind the Cleaning Lady—college buddies Jan Oscar “Oskie” King and Frances Wayne “Fran” Rafio—didn’t really expect their idea would take off as suddenly as it did. When they decided to join the IdeaSpace Foundation competition in January 2016, Cleaning Lady was only an idea on paper instead of an already or partially operational business like some of their fellow startups.

Jan Oscar ‘Oskie’ King, Marianne ‘Yan’ Alonzo, and Frances Wayne ‘Fran’ Rafio 

But the duo has been working on the idea for Cleaning Lady since 2015. They did it every weekend after jogging sessions, and they were eventually joined by one of Oskie’s colleagues, Marianne “Yan” Alonzo, to help with the technical aspects of running the business. The trio then joined the competition and after a six-month program, which was topped off by a startup boot camp, they officially launched and began the operations of Cleaning Lady in June 2016—which is something that they didn’t expect they’d end up doing before they joined the competition.

What is Cleaning Lady?

Essentially, Cleaning Lady is an on-demand housecleaning service. Simply put, clients book a cleaning lady through the business’s website or over the phone for however many hours are needed to service their household and the cleaning lady visits at the set day and time to do the cleaning. Once the service is complete, payment is made to the cleaning lady.

When Cleaning Lady began its operations, it started it out with 10 ladies and covered only the Quezon City area. At that time, they began servicing its primary clientele of condo and apartment dwellers. The business then expanded its operations to include Makati, Mandaluyong, and the BGC and Taguig areas. It also began occasionally servicing small residential houses and small offices, ostensibly expanding its clientele and reach. By the end of 2016, the company had expanded its workforce to 16 cleaners and begun operations in the Parañaque area.

Why choose Cleaning Lady?

Cleaning Lady describes itself as a service of Filipino-quality, ascribing to the attributes of being professional, delicate, and warm. The first of which is reflected by how the business trains its ladies for service. The ladies of Cleaning Lady go through a one-week TESDA-accredited third-party training program where, by the end of it, they are awarded a National Certificate for Housekeeping. They then go through an in-house training program before their service begins.

Meanwhile, the second and third qualities are built on the motto of “making a difference in each other’s lives,” bringing one of the focuses of the business to building strong and healthy relationships between the business’s cleaners and their clients. This is done through having the cleaning ladies serve regular clients. These stories and relationships not only help the clients through better service, convenience, and peace of mind but also help the cleaning ladies improve their lives.

More than just a cleaning service

While Cleaning Lady is a housecleaning service on the surface, the business is and was always meant to be a social enterprise at its core. The ladies of Cleaning Lady are all mothers from Gawad Kalinga communities, an initiative thought of by the founders of Cleaning Lady to not only have a relatively reliable and safe source of cleaning ladies but to also give the ladies of the Gawad Kalinga the opportunity to uplift their lives and families. With the goal of helping their cleaning ladies and their families breach the poverty line, Cleaning Lady makes sure their ladies are able to earn as much as they can in the business while also building good and healthy values in them at the same time. Cleaning Lady also runs several initiatives to help out its roster of cleaning ladies including a rice allowance on top of their commissions. The business also plans to build a Cleaning Lady Fund, which they plan to use for scholarship and livelihood programs as well as community activities.

What’s in store for Cleaning Lady?

This year, Cleaning Lady plans to launch a new website, an automated booking system, and accommodate cashless payments to streamline the way current and future clients can do business with them. They also plan to bring their services to more areas outside of Metro Manila. Currently, they have the Tagaytay and Cavite areas in their sights because of the rapid condominium and residential developments in those areas.

To accommodate their increased coverage, they hope to increase the number of cleaning ladies under their employ to a total of 30. It would also mean working with more Gawad Kalinga communities, which would consequently further their social enterprise even more. The business is also working on partnerships with real estate developers, which coincides with their plans to expand to areas with new developments, so that Cleaning Lady becomes the development’s preferred on-demand housecleaners.

Things are just beginning for Cleaning Lady and with the rapid speed at which real estate developments are rising all around the country, Cleaning Lady’s potential growth in the Philippines is almost limitless. Additionally, they’re getting inquiries and request coming from abroad. The potential reach of Cleaning Lady goes beyond Metro Manila and the Philippines so we won’t be surprised to see the Cleaning Lady brand in cities like Hong Kong and Singapore in the future.

About The Author

Martin Patiño
Executive Editor/Editor-in-Chief, Will Work For Games

Martin is a freelance writer and website developer. A former editor for publications like PC World and Computerworld, he now spends his time writing for his own blog, producing and hosting a YouTube show, playing video games, or watching anime.