Podcast#18 w/Steve Gutentag of Getmaid

"Today I got to Interview Steve Gutentag from Getmaid. I hope you enjoy it!
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Ari: Hi, welcome to the podcast, you’re talking with Steve Gutentag of getmaid.
Steve: Hey Ari, thanks for having me today.
Ari: Thanks for your time. First of all, let’s start by telling everybody what getmaid is.
Steve: Getmaid is an on demand, premium made service. The way that we describe it is we have an iPhone app or an android app or website that you can go to, getmaid.com, you enter your address and credit card information once, and you hit book button. As soon as you hit book, it sends a request to our network of maids and we pay whoevers close by and available. They get the job and they go to your apartment or your home. From you as a customer, you hit book and you’ll have a maid at your door within 2 hours. All the maids that we work with are sent in by us. Their background checks, they’re bonded, they’re insured and they come with ecofriendly cleaning supplies. When they show up, you tell them what you want. It’s a flat hourly rate, $45 an hour. That includes tax, tips, and ecofriendly supplies. At the end of the clean you are just automatically billed to your credit card on file and you get a review email receipt.
Ari: That’s amazing, within two hours. It’s like I want something now rather than planning ahead. I know personally it’s sometimes difficult but then it’s like I want somebody to come every Friday at 10:00 or twice a week or whatever it is; having to plan around that. Having somebody available to come within 2 hours’ notice is just a really incredible thing. How many people do you have in the rating that you can tell me?
Steve: In customers or maids? Ari: Maids. Steve: We have like the middle 10’s right now. It’s growing every day and every week. We work mostly with high quality, dependent maids. We will also begin working with maid companies. We’ll take maid companies so they’ll have a network of their own staff. That isn’t necessarily fully utilized and when they have downtime, we’ll try to get jobs for them or whoever’s close by to the request.
Ari: Is it mostly by location like the closest maid to them or do you have the same person going to the same customer every now and then? How does that routing work?
Steve: Yes. It takes into account a few things. Obviously availability because the maids are not our full time employees so they tell us when they are available. It could be the day before, it could be real time when they tell us if they are available or not. Then when a booking comes in it’s based on a few things. One is availability, current location, and distance from the booking request. Has the maid cleaned this apartment before and been rated highly? Then there’s just a few other bookings that are coming in, in terms of making sure they are spaced out appropriately. If you have a maid that you rated highly and he or she is available and nearby, then we’ll automatically resend that maid. If not, then we’ll send a different one that is equally qualified and nearby and available when you request booking, the maid who is coming so that it’s not just a surprise that someone shows up at your door.
Ari: Gotcha. When you make the request are you saying hey, I need someone to come clean the windows, I need someone to clean my 600 sqft apartment; is it that specific or just I need a maid?
Steve: They can be as specific or as general as you want. We have some people who just like to book and they give no information and then when the maid gets there, they tell them what they want and then stay or leave. Then there are others who will provide several paragraphs of details of exactly what they want and then prioritize the order. We have no minimum, so you can book for as little as an hour or less if it’s just the bathroom and you can set your own time limit. You can say don’t go over two hours. Lastly, we prorate and round down to the last 5 minutes. If you don’t use a full hour you are not charged for the full hour. It’s prorated to the nearest 5 minutes.
Ari: Wow! That’s really incredible. I think that’ll probably make it real easy and comfortable for people to kind of wing it a little bit, if their eyes are that sharp. I’ve always found that to be an issue. My wife would always say i don’t know how to clean anything properly, so I wouldn’t be the one to say this is only going to take an hour. But that’s really great that it has that kind of flexibility built into it.
Steve: We were testing this product for several months with customers before we released it to the public. During that time we started with a minimum and we started with different requirements. Then we realized that if we took them all away (A) people are much happier, (B) it ended up working out almost identical but without the stress. Added stress for the customer, in the sense that when we had a time minimum, people would almost always request that time minimum. Versus now, it ends up being around that time anyway but it’s just less stress on the customer. We always round down to the nearest five minutes so you’re not worried about it’s an extra minute or it’s an extra five minutes or it’s an extra hour.
Ari: Since it is kind of independent maids and they are available when they are available, are there ranges of times that you’re open, per se’? Or is it technically 24 hours a day?
Steve: Currently you can book anytime 9:30 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week. You can book as late as 5:59 and a maid would arrive by 7:59. Or you can book as early as 9:30 and have a maid there by 11:30. Usually the morning bookings have best travel time. We’ll be expanding our hours soon and we’re currently available in Manhattan and 15 zip codes in Brooklyn but we’ll be expanding to the rest of Brooklyn and other boroughs in the near future.
Ari:It seems like it would be great if you had a dinner party and then just have a maid to come and clean up the place after that. That works out nice; that would be particularly cool. Obviously they can clean and do the floors and do bathrooms and stuff, will they do dishes? Will they do laundry?
Steve: Yes. They’ll absolutely do dishes. If you have a dishwasher, they’ll put them in the dishwasher and if you don’t they’ll hand wash the dishes if you request it. We do laundry as long as it’s inside the building. If you have laundry in your apartment or if you have the laundry room inside your building, then we’ll be more than happy to do laundry in there. Again, there’s no extra charges, it’s just time. They’ll put the laundry in first and then they’ll clean and then they’ll come back and take it out. Depending on the customer, sometimes they’ll hold it or sometimes they’ll just leave it in the dryer or leave while it’s still drying.
Ari: That’s interesting to me. I have a one year old, well 13 month old son, and my and I are
kind of always trying to figure out how to get things done a little more efficiently and manage everything in the house. Just something as simple as that; if they wanted to do laundry – which probably takes two hours or more – then they’re gonna put that in first and go on and do other things and figure out all those logistical shortcuts, in a way. Because I'm so kind of obsessed with data, generally speaking, are you guys gathering any analytics on the stuff that you’re doing as far as the peak times that people need maids and the kind of services people tend to have done and how long the average task takes? That kind of thing?
Steve: Absolutely. That’s kind of what we’re applying to the business. For every clean, not only do we take timestamps on the overall clean, but internally we are tracking what was done, what rooms were done. Then we can look back at what times of day and what neighborhoods so we can start to figure out what neighborhoods are going to be busy and what days are going to busy, what times of day. Then the maids can be in certain areas to reduce travel time. Additionally, after every clean we ask for a few things. One is rating clean from the customers, we ask them to rate the maid one to five stars. That gives us almost real-time feedback and consistency feedback on every individual maid as opposed to just us as company as a whole. I’ll usually be a one to five star rating for the company but the company is the one who is going to do every individual maid. So, collecting data on each individual maid allows us, of course, to correct any issues. Lastly, we have data on the maid’s side; they provide data on what they did. They list what they did, if there are any preferences of the customer such as do they have a dog, do they have a name, do you want us to focus on certain things or do certain things? We collect that data and if another booking comes in a second time and that first maid is not available and we have to send someone new, they can go in knowing how long will I clean, what was done, are there any customer preferences. They can go in and before they even met this customer, you will have known them well enough to deliver a personalized experience on their first visit.
Ari: That’s just amazing. You’re going to be able to get this amazing amount of data that’s probably never been brought to the maid industry before. That’s really cool. How does your pricing work? There’s the main pricing I know that includes everything but is that it or is there other options?
Steve: Nope, it’s really simple as possible. It’s $45 an hour that includes tax, tips, and the supplies. The only thing we don’t provide is a vacuum, mop, or broom. It’s kind of hard trying to travel around the subway and get those to you in two hours. Otherwise, in terms of all is to clean and we round down to the nearest five minutes. We don’t charge extra for the weekends or the weekdays. We don’t charge extra for doing laundry. It’s just the more services you want, the longer it takes.
Ari: Simple is better, as far as I'm concerned less is more. This has really been great finding out about getmaid but since you run a company that I consider to be kind of a productivity tool, what would you say are your top three personal productivity tips?
Steve: Before I started this, my background was in consulting so I'm also somewhat obsessed with trying to be as efficient as possible. I think that’s one of the reasons why I like the maid business and started it. Personally, I really try to bash things and doing one task. One of my favorite tools is boomerang for email. At the end of the day I will write a bunch of emails and keep it on to go out at different times so it makes more sense. Instead of me having to spend my entire day writing emails – and that can sometimes happen – I try to do it at different times. Another one is trying to keep a schedule and really try to schedule things around each other. As I mentioned, emails. During the week, if I have a day where I see the meetings are starting to pile up, I try to schedule as many in that one day, as possible, so I have another full day where I can focus on work. I find that stop and go, stop and go, stop and go, it really reduces my productivity. I think that that’s one of the biggest things that I do to try to be as productive as possible.
Ari: Great. Those are wonderful tips. Thank you again for your time. For people to find out more, the URL is?
Steve: Excuse me? Ari: The website is . . . go ahead with the website. Steve: Sure. It’s getmaid.com, G-E-T-M-A-I-D dot com. We’re also available on the iTunes, iTunes store, app store, as well as in the Google play store.
Ari: Great. Steven, thank you again for your time. I really appreciate talking to us about getmaid.
Steve: Thank you for having me, I really appreciate it as well.