Cleaning services online platform Sweepsouth entered the Kenyan market early this year in January. The cleaning service company connects clients clients to on-demand cleaners via an online booking platform.
Though it’s not the first-of-its-kind service in Kenya, Sweepsouth started recruiting independent cleaning workers or ‘sweepstars’ to their platform promising flexibility and dignified work opportunities. On the demand side, customers get professional cleaning services, reliability and rated & vetted sweepstars.
With a current capacity of booking 300 jobs a month, SweepSouth was getting off to a good start in Kenya, its first country operation outside of South Africa, when the first case of covid was reported in Kenya.
Due to the pandemic, April and May saw a drastic reduction in bookings as clients stayed at home and were apprehensive about having outside contacts. But to keep the sweepstars engaged, Sweepstar did two things:
“First, we asked customers who were cancelling due to covid to consider donating to their SweepStars and it was heartwarming to see the number of customers who did so. Secondly, we extended a weekly stipend for our cleaners to support them during that time we didn’t have any bookings to ensure they had access to basic living essentials while work was scarce,” said Jeanette Wairimu, Sweepsouth Nairobi City coordinator.
As a result, Jeanette says the company is starting to see a positive trend as bookings start to increase again.
“The work the team has done to educate SweepStars on sanitization best practice has helped to assure customers that they can have a safe cleaning solution during this time,” adds Jeanette.
Covid-19 has presented an opportunity for Sweepsouth to provide cleaning services to a number of clients who have home cleaners who are considered high risk. In South Africa, Sweepsouth has launched a commercial sanitisation and cleaning division which assists companies respond to the special needs they have during COVID-19.
Sweepstars get to keep 96 percent of the value of bookings and 100 percent of their tips, with zero on-boarding charges .
“When they apply, we verify that they do not have any criminal records, vet their experience and thereafter onboard them whereby we show them how to use the platform as well as best practices when it comes to cleaning and handling of customers. We are currently also educating the SweepStars on all matters COVID-19, including how to protect both themselves and their customers during bookings,” explained Jeanette.
At the moment, Kenyan customers can currently book laundry and ironing, mopping of floors, dusting and wiping of surfaces including cabinets and windows as well as fridge and oven cleaning.
SweepSouth SA was averaging over 50,000 bookings per month pre-COVID-19 and has already given almost 20,000 SweepStars work opportunities to date.
SweepSouth was founded by Aisha Pandor and Alen Ribic and has so far raised $6 million in funding.
The team at SweepSouth is very optimistic that due to the measures they have taken, business will continue to pick up as more people see the need for vetted home cleaners.