01 Nov Green Cleaning & The Pandemic
We started our business 13 years ago on the philosophy that homes and offices deserved a cleaning that was safe, effective, and all-natural. We wanted to change the way people thought about the cleaning industry and do away with the notion that bleach and ammonia were the only effective cleaning products. The green cleaning trend went bonkers in early 2008. Cleaning businesses took off, and cleaning products dominated the market. In hindsight, we kind of wish we had jumped on the product wave when we had the chance. I remember having phone calls with the CEO of Method and Better-Life, asking if they would send us a shipment to try in our residential homes and offices. We also had a cute little boutique on Shem Creek in MT. Pleasant where we carried everything from Dr. Bronners, Method, Mrs. Meyers, Howard’s. We tested products like it was our part-time job, and we were filling the shelves with everything and anything all-natural and organic. We were the leaders in the cleaning industry and a go-to for people to toss their toxins. Every time I turn on Shark Tank and see how far Dropps has come or the spike in cleaning products since COVID, it’s a little bit of regret and a gut punch to the stomach. But here we are…and we still love it!
When COVID hit, I thought to myself, we’ve had a great run. Lucky number 13. We’ve had some bumps and bruises over the years but overall constant growth, adding more offices, expanding out of state, but this might be a challenge we can’t overcome. Even though our clients have remained loyal, some even going on their 13th year of service, many may cancel. What are we going to do? Not only do people not want outsiders in their homes, but our position on the natural and organic leader board may also be in jeopardy. We have to start thinking of alternative ways to stay in business. COVID is a beast, a silent enemy; no one knows how to tackle or combat. Are we going to have to stray from our roots, change our philosophy, compromise our standards? We are dealing with airborne bacteria, a virus no one knows anything about. There are mixed messages from the CDC, FDA, and those in charge of keeping us safe. Bleach, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, now considered gold by those who found it on store shelves, while the once popular eco-brands are still fully stocked. My faith in my natural living community was dwindling. Who in their right mind will believe natural cleaning products in Mount Pleasant, SC is safe and effective against bacteria attacking and killing people at record rates? I remember seeing memes on my Facebook and Instagram feed about how quickly those who stood on their soapboxes and touted the greatness of natural and organic cleaning products were the very people pushing and shoving and standing first in line to grab all the once though poisonous and hazardous products on store shelves.
Despite my fears of COVID and its effects on my business, people are still interested in green/natural/organic cleaning products. While we have had to shift a bit during the pandemic (upgrading our disinfectant and providing PPE to our staff), our clients remain committed to keeping their homes clean while also being mindful of the environment.
Most of the revenue loss came in April when near everyone was on lock-down, but we have seen a steady increase in new clients, many signing on for the weekly house, kitchen, and bathroom cleaning services. I attribute much of the increase in sales to people’s general state of mind and well-being. Juggling homeschooling and house cleaning service is a daunting task. While women think they can do it all, we can’t, and there are some things best left to the professionals. I think when people’s homes are clean and in order, they feel a sense of control. It trickles down to every aspect of their day, and people tend to think of themselves as more organized and more in control when their house is clean. This was true back in 2007 when we first started our business. Many people would stop us and say, “you are starting a business with the recession? The housing market is crashing. You’ll never make it”. We did. We made it more so than other professions because people said they felt more in control when their house was clean. Our clients were dropping their hairdressers and forgoing Botox all to have a clean home.
The other spike we have seen during this pandemic is our move-in/out cleanings. They have skyrocketed! As interest rates continue to drop, people are upgrading to bigger homes. Homes with pools and more land are gaining popularity as more and more people social distance. The other factor is working from home and homeschooling. With so many people under one roof all day and all night, people want more space so they can spread out and not be on top of each other. So we have definitely been seeing an uptick in move/in move/out cleanings more so than ever before.
Like many, we have tried to adapt our business to meet our clients’ needs and wants during this pandemic. We certainly understand how fortunate we are to have made it through thus far. We continue to meet the standards of recommendations made by the CDC and EPA and maintain our own level of consciousness in doing so and to try and stay as committed to who we are and who we have become despite these challenging times.