Start Me Up is a semi-regular feature profiling digital startups and asking their founders about their journey so far.
This week we spoke to Louise Stevenson, co-founder of Osha Clean, effectively the ‘Uber or JustEat of window cleaning’. Here’s what Stevenson had to say…
In one sentence, what is your product/service?
Osha-clean.com brings together busy people who need their windows cleaning with reliable local window cleaners looking for more business; and with online booking and secure payment, customers have a really simple, user friendly way to book a window cleaner
What problem(s) does it solve?
We founded Osha-clean.com because we couldn’t find a window cleaner and when we spoke to our friends and colleagues, many of them were struggling too. And those that did have a regular window cleaning arrangement were still leaving out cash on the doorstep or had no idea when their next clean would be due.
We’ve built a solution that enables homeowners to quickly and easily book a window cleaner, whether its as a one off or a regular clean throughout the year. It’s simple. And window cleaners gain too because we’ve created an additional revenue stream for local window cleaners which saves them money on marketing and time chasing payments for jobs done. Think Just Eat for window cleaning.
What were the biggest challenges involved in building the tech or growing your team?
We’re a very lean startup. The first website which we launched in May 2016 was a self-built, website in a box, put together to test the concept. Since then it has evolved and we have constantly tweaked everything to get the customer journey right, the pricing, the service offering, both for customers and our window cleaning partners.
Having learnt what works and what doesn’t, we’re now ready to take the next step and build a new, more user friendly site with better automation in the back end so that we can scale up the business. We’re launching a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube in January 2018 to enable us to do this.
How will the company make money?
There are 27.2 million households in the UK and only 0.01% need to be booking a window cleaner through osha-clean.com in order for the company to be profitable. Once established, window cleaning partners will also pay an annual registration fee to receive bookings from us although we’re not introducing that to our early-adopter window cleaning partners. And it’s not just window cleaning. Our business model lends itself easily to expansion to include other household cleaning services, whether that’s gutter cleaning, wheelie bin or driveway cleaning.
Who is in your team?
We’re a husband and wife team. Mark is Co-Founder and CEO, skilled in project management with a wealth of experience in FTSE 100 financial services institutions. Louise, Co-Founder and COO, has a background in digital marketing and propositions management for local government, charities and financial services. Caroline supports us part-time and as a flexible worker on social media. We’re looking to expand the team in 2018.
Where would you like to be in one, three and five years’ time?
The first quarter of 2018 is going to be all about the crowdfunding campaign! We’re hoping to raise enough to redevelop the website, automate our processes for managing jobs and also support a nationwide marketing campaign so that we can achieve full coverage of the UK by the end of the year.
By three year’s time we’ll have introduced further services to our already existing customers such as gutter and wheelie bin cleaning and then we’re working towards a target of year five for acquisition by one of the bigger companies operating in this area.
Other than your own, what are your favourite websites/apps/tools?
Where to start?! When operating on a tight budget and taking the role of jack of all trades, apps and tools are critical!
- Hootsuite for social media scheduling and staying on top of what’s going on.
- Canva for creating quick and easy visuals to improve our content.
- Basecamp for project management of our crowdfunding campaign.
- LinkedIn for networking
- and Xero for making bookkeeping so much less painful.
- Not to mention keeping up to date with the latest digital innovations via the Econsultancy blog!