Kara Anderson, Maids on the Run and Cleaning with Meaning
Maids on the Run of Jacksonville, Fla., is a home concierge service. We take care of your home, so you can take care of your family. And Cleaning with Meaning, a non-profit that cleans houses for free for families that have kids diagnosed with a serious illness or injury so they can focus on each other instead of household chores.
‘Ah ha’ moment that led you to launching this business: I loved to cook and clean and caring for others. When I lost my job, I focused on what I love and cleaning was my passion. The most important thing to anyone is spending time with family — and my company allows other families to do that. No longer do our clients worry about getting all the housework done or feeling guilty for letting things go.
Ideal Customer: Dual income families trying to balance work and family. Single income clients who find it hard to manage a full work schedule and just want the peace of mind to know their home is cared for.
First Customer: I sent out an email asking people to let me clean their bathroom. It was a bathroom challenge and I sent the email to 500 people. I got four replies from people who said they would let me come into their homes and see how I did. All four became clients. My company now cleans 100 to110 homes a week.
Measuring Success: I try not to measure it but do the best I can each and every day. Customer service is key, reviews are vital in the service business and when the phone rings I am over the moon.
Biggest Struggle: In business, it is knowing there is more to business than just an idea. You need marketing, website, customer care skills and don’t forget all the license and insurance that goes into any business. In life, it would be breast cancer but that also gave me the courage to KNOW I could do anything I could think up. Research is the key to any business: know your competition, whether it’s a product or service, so that you are able to stay ahead instead of trying to catch up. Be your best self and work on having the best business. Cancer is do or die and losing is not an option. Too many things I have yet to do and I was blessed to have cancer since I would still be thinking of all the things I could do rather than doing them. I created a basket list and I am working through it as fast as I can. Buckets are for boys, so in my house it’s a basket list.
Surprise!: How much your personality can get you customers. If they love you, they will hire you.
Promoting Business: Unique marketing and working to never pay for advertising. Request reviews and “tell your friends” programs
Two things I wish I would’ve known: I wish I knew how to build a website and know that for any business to take it to a larger level they need a very good site that makes people feel welcome no matter what you do.
What keeps you up at night (business-wise!)?: Who is calling out, who’s card will be declined, how many jobs do I need next week, can I get the book edited, will someone buy it, what trade show should we do, how to market our franchise system. Seems to be everything, I clearly need an Ambien.
Ever tempted to throw in the towel and just get a job?: Never, failure is not an option. Plan B or C. You may not end exactly where you started but you can learn and grow along the way. When I started I did lawn care, pet sitting, house sitting and then I realized I could not do all things and if I didn’t make enough money I stopped doing it.
Moving Forward: Franchise Maids on the Run.
Pricing, Getting It Right: I did it backwards. I priced low so I could get in the home, make them love me and after I knew I offered a valuable service I increased my price. Those same people that got a low price are also the ones that still tell their friends about us so it’s like marketing. That is why I cleaned bathrooms for free as well. I needed people to brag about my service and my company. If everyone is talking about you or using you no one really pays attention to price after you have built a reputation.
A Few Good Tips: You can try to sell your product or service but no one will really listen. You need someone else to sell your product or service and then everyone else will listen and buy. You must be passionate about whatever you do, anytime you talk about your business whether on the phone or in person say it with excitement and they will get excited about it.
The absolute best part of owning my business is: that I teach my children they can do anything they want with hard work and passion.
If I had to start over again, I would have: been more confident from the start.
I never imagined: getting great help would be so difficult.
If standing on a rooftop facing crowds of aspiring or struggling small business owners, I would shout: “Courage, confidence and commitment are the only three things you need to know. Courage to actually take the leap and follow through with the ideas you have, confidence that it will be successful and that you will make it happen, commitment that even on bad days you remember than any day that you are your own boss is better than the best day of being someone elses employee. They are the Three C’s to Success in my book.