Image credit: MaidEasy

Image credit: MaidEasy

MaidEasy is a new Malaysian startup that connects people to local cleaning service providers. Users key in the date, time and address, and MaidEasy takes care of the rest.

The platform launched exactly one month ago, but the idea has been with Co-founder and CEO Bee Bee Sim since October. She joined 1337 Startups’ five-day pre-accelerator programme around that time, where she met angel investor Azrul Rahim, who has since joined MaidEasy as Co-founder and CTO.

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“When 1337 did its demo day, I was working on my own version of a similar idea. I decided to work with Bee Bee because she seems to be very passionate about this market,” Azrul told e27.

Azrul had previously founded Facer, an application launcher for PalmOS, and co-founded JomSocial, a white label social networking software that he sold in 2013. He has invested about US$30,000 in MaidEasy.

“We partner with cleaning companies, have an interface that they can view, and post the jobs to them. They select the jobs that they can take. These cleaning companies are quite experienced and have been in the industry for five or six years, so they’re able to provide a good quality service,” Sim told e27.

MaidEasy currently only covers Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, but plans to expand to other cities in Malaysia soon. The platform will start accepting online payments in the ‘next few days’. Until now it has been a cash-only service, with cleaning companies reimbursing them their cut.

The co-founders declined to comment on how much commission the platform takes.

There are approximately 1.3 million households in the startup’s target market, which include all the major cities in Malaysia. Specifically, they’re targeting those that spend up to US$60 per month on cleaning services — that accounts for about 35-40 per cent of the total number of households.

“It is not necessarily cheaper for them if they go directly to cleaning companies, and there is also the hassle of trying to make a booking. Normally the process involves requesting for price quotations and negotiating a time slot through the phone. We simplify the process with a flat rate and schedule the cleaner for them,” Azrul said.

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Cleaning services on MaidEasy all come in at a rate of about US$5.5 per hour, but minimum sessions of four hours apply. To incorporate a ratings system, the startup will contact customers after the cleaning to get feedback. Customers will not leave reviews per se.

Same-day service is not available at present, and typically users will have to book 72 hours ahead of time.

Another young Malaysian startup, RecomN, is operating in a similar space by providing online recommendations for professional services. But RecomN is not in the cleaning services niche as such, and at present there are enough differences for them to co-exist.

“You can’t exactly book any cleaners from our competitors. What they provide is contacts. On our platform, you go to our site, book the cleaners, and within 60 seconds we’ll confirm the cleaner for you,” Azrul said.

MaidEasy is actively looking to raise US$500,000 to push marketing and app development.

While there is strong demand for cleaning services in Malaysia, a challenge remains in finding enough cleaners to meet all the demand. The startup will need to keep pushing to get new partners on board.

A second challenge will be around meeting customers expectations.

“In Malaysia, houses are very different… [Each] customer has their own needs. We try to standardise the service as much as we can to satisfy [them],” Sim said.

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As far as opportunities go, households in the country are paying ever-higher agency fees to secure full-time cleaners. This also means that part-time cleaners are in growing demand, which is what MaidEasy offers.

A lifestyle change among increasing segments of the Malaysian population is resulting in less families choosing to employ live-in domestic maids. This is largely due to concerns around cost and lack of privacy.

“We’ve seen a tipping point in mobile penetration in Malaysia in the last two years, and customers’ behaviour towards online [services] is really taking off. We’re not surprised to see that people are coming up with all these online-to-offline ideas,” Azrul said.

“I expect that this year we’ll see even more of this,” he added.

MaidEasy is generating revenue from its first month. While the co-founders didn’t disclose when they expect to hit profitability, they did say that all signs point to a ‘very profitable’ model.

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