Sweep Launches a Gig App for Cleaning Services
The Sweep App, based in Salt Lake City, launches to the public. Sweep is a gig app for booking and finding a local at-home cleaning service.
While trying to start a cleaning business, Gabriela and Aaron Watts noticed, despite high demand, the multiple pain points of the commercial cleaning industry were killing 95% of small cleaning businesses within their first year.
“The cleaning service industry went on a steep demand after Covid, especially because most of the cleaning service industry is commercial,” explains Aaron Watts, CEO and Co-Founder of Sweep. He explains that a family traditionally has a homemaker, but as opportunities to work from home expand, families have seen less distinction between roles and less free time to clean, leading to a demand for at-home cleaning services.
“There are more and more opportunities for income with starting a cleaning business,” says Aaron, “But it is really difficult because you have these big companies that come in and buy up all of the advertising space.”
Gabriela and Aaron experienced this first hand while starting their own cleaning business. They poured $4,800 into advertising but only gained 100 leads. They also noticed that because of demand, cleaning services were too expensive for the average person. Before Covid, a deep cleaning cost about $30 to $35 an hour. Now, a deep cleaning can cost anywhere between $65 to $85 an hour.
“From our experience and from people we have talked to, we found it's really difficult to book a cleaning,” explains Gabriela. “It's inconsistent, there's not much customer service, and it's a very difficult system.”
The team realized that instead of building another small cleaning service, they needed to change the industry. They decided to create a gig app for cleaning service, and called it Sweep.
“The idea behind Sweep is to provide a more accessible, easy way to book a cleaning,” says Gabriela. “Our focus is to make it easy and intuitive for everyone.”
The Sweep App connects local cleaners to residents looking for house cleaning service. Like other gig apps, residents sign in to Sweep, and based on location, can choose a Sweeper nearby.
Users can request a cleaning in three simple steps. First, users select a tidy up, a deep clean, or a specialty clean and choose either on-demand or schedule a cleaning for later. Next, they select which rooms they want cleaned. At this step, users get a quote for their cleaning. A tidy up starts at just $25 per room. A deep clean starts at $75 per room. Lastly, they choose a Sweeper. While cleaning, Sweepers take before and after photos and follow a checklist set by the app. After a cleaning, users can save their favorite Sweeper and book them again.
For Sweepers, the process is just as easy. Sweepers apply on the website and must go through a background check before beginning to work. Sweep also provides Sweepers with a basic insurance plan. Once they are in the system, Sweepers choose a schedule and the types of cleaning they are willing to do, either a tidy up or a deep clean. They can either choose what times they're willing to accept bookings or leave the calendar completely blank and log in when they choose. No matter their choice, Sweepers must login every time they want to enter the queue.
The idea for Sweep came right before the pandemic. The team built out a simple prototype before putting the company on hold as the pandemic precluded Sweepers from entering homes. The service industry took a hard hit during Covid. Gabriela and Aaron used the down time to plan and develop their ideas before execution.
After the Pandemic subsided, the team brought on good friends, Conor Hart, Jonathan España, and Doug Kesler as co-founders. “We all work well together and we are lucky enough to get to work together,” says Gabriela. “I like to think we are a really good team.”
“I like the stability of a normal job but it's just too dull,” says Hart. “I came on full time two and a half months ago and the momentum is awesome. We're working on getting our Sweeper network built out so we have availability and coverage as we go through our rollout process over the next six to eight weeks.”
There are now 14 employees on the Sweep team who worked hard to roll out a usable prototype for Sweep’s soft launch on July 18th. The app currently has eight Sweepers.
The company decided on a three tiered launch approach. The soft launch for friends and family kicked off with a rooftop summer party and networking event back in July. The public launch date was yesterday, August 22nd, with a full media launch slated for September 2022.
The company was bootstrapped up until June 2022 when they raised money from a previous employer and friend. The team turned their previous employer’s business, a nightclub in downtown Salt Lake, from an investment of $150,000 to making $7 million in yearly revenue.
“He loved the idea and hated that we left him for this opportunity,” chuckles Aaron. “He told us, ‘I believe in you guys, you can do anything and I want to invest in you.'”
With the funding, the company hired key employees and paid for startup costs.
As Sweep starts to gain traction and launches, the team sees funding as the next step. They hope to start looking for angels and investors after they’ve launched and can put their success into numbers.