Cleaning companies in the region see demand growing

When Jillian Fecteau started out as an entrepreneur, she got a part-time job cleaning houses for extra money. Her passion for organization, people skills and a genuine love for cleaning made it not feel like work at all until the pandemic broke out and she had to run.

“I thought non-stop about what I could do to continue the rut and still have my own business,” said Fecteau, who chose to end her first company, Earth Sunflower, which sold a line of eco-friendly products to restaurants, coffee shops and individuals to reduce the use of single-use plastics. “And he sat right in front of me.”

The answer was Jillian’s Housekeeping, her own cleaning company created to turn her side job into a full-time job that’s even busier and more fulfilling than she’d imagined.

After six months in business, Fecteau has more than 25 regulars in the Saratoga Springs area and a growing list of those seeking deep cleaning services, routine maintenance, and home organization. She’s grown through word of mouth, the community-centric Nextdoor app, and phone calls coming in after people see her driving around in her Mini Cooper brand. Fecteau’s regular cleaning services range from $120 to $250.

“I definitely got into the industry at the right time,” says Fecteau, who just hired her first employee and is looking for another. “There’s so much more to it than cleaning toilets — we’re here to benefit people’s personal lives by giving them more time for what they want to do.”

Fecteau’s approach to cleaning is personal, and each new survey starts with a visit to meet the homeowners, explore their space and listen to what they struggle with and areas they could use some help in. The houses are quoted based on the labor needed by Fecteau and her team to get the job done, whether it’s thorough dusting and vacuuming, or tackling specialty areas like scrubbing kitchen appliances or cleaning hard-to-reach places. such as skirting boards and moldings.

It doesn’t take long for clients to get to know Fecteau and build the trust that comes with letting a stranger into a house to sniff personal items for cleaning, she says, but what she also often hears is how hard it can be to make the decision to hire a housekeeper.

“People can be nervous to reach out if they’re embarrassed to admit they need help keeping a clean house,” says Fecteau, who works for many working moms who balance life with kids, careers , keep a marriage and a tidy space. “These are talented, professional women who are also great moms, and they shouldn’t be expected to do it all alone.”

In November 2021, Jillian’s Housekeeping began cleaning for Mary Grace Leonard’s five-member family. Leonard is a working professional and executive vice president, who was unhappy with other cleaning services.

“My free time is limited, precious and extremely valuable to me,” Leonard said. “Our family feels so lucky and lucky to have found Jillian, who pays great attention to details and always makes sure her customers are happy before she leaves.”

While Fecteau is enthusiastic about the immediate satisfaction that cleaning can provide, the greatest reward comes from the relationships embedded in the business.

“It’s great to see how much gratitude people show me, and it’s even more satisfying than the cleaning itself. By coming in and cleaning their homes, I’m helping these women become better mothers, better bosses, and giving them the opportunity to take back their living quarters as a place to de-stress.”

For Holly’s Housekeeping in Albany, the early days of the 2020 pandemic forced the company to make changes. Initially, owner Holly Gardy and her team of five faced customer cancellations when people feared letting others into their homes. She took the time to regroup, research and develop strategies to improve services to alleviate homeowners’ concerns while still giving them the help they needed.

Adding to Gardy’s offerings was the investment she made in a hypochlorous acid system, a sanitizing machine that dispenses a child, pet and surface safe mist to kill viruses on the spot. Holly’s Housekeeping still offers this option, and she said families who have experienced COVID-19 in their homes are relieved.

“We pushed through the entire pandemic and the phone has been ringing ever since,” said Gardy, who has 300 customers and nearly as many on a waiting list. Like Fecteau, she would like to hire more employees to keep up with current demand.

“My team needs to expand so we can help our waitlist clients get a cleaner home,” says Gardy, who also offers on-time cleaning services to real estate agents and those selling their homes. “We’re looking for friendly, outgoing candidates who have their own vehicle to commute and carry the essentials, a reliable phone to take before and after photos, and someone to train with us for up to four weeks.”

While the companies of Fecteau and Gardy share similarities from the services provided to the need to get more staff, it’s every woman’s core values ​​and approach to building relationships in the cleaning industry that remove the stigma of asking for hired help. .

“If you create something you love and give it your all, the right people will notice,” Gardy said. “We develop a special bond with our regular customers – we often talk to them, are sometimes at their home when they have coffee in the morning. And just like any relationship, communication and respect are the keys to success.”

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