Top 3 Automation Software I Use to Run a House Cleaning Referral Agency on 3 Hours a Day
Updated: May 13, 2020
Using these tools, I was able to earn 6 figures income while working 2-3 hours a day to maintain my house cleaning referral agency business.
I’m always looking for ways to increase efficiency within my business. The more efficient my business, the lower my overhead cost for administrative staff and the higher my profit margins will be. That aside, I view increasing efficiency like a game of chess, always strategizing what the next best move is. I’m going to share with you some softwares and strategies I use in my business today to maximize efficiency and automated process, but I am by no means an expert. Some of the new cats on the block have really broken the mold on what can be automated. I encourage you to network with other business owners to see what they are doing. Continuously improve your business game and never settle for the status quo. It’s part of the fun!
Okay here we go.
Launch27- Scheduling Software
I’m such a geek about Launch27! I absolutely love the damn thing (and they don’t pay me to say it, although they should- HA!)
Launch27 is a scheduling software for service businesses and there is a lot to know. I certainly can’t cover it all but I will share the top reasons why I use it.
Schedule Board Horizontal View
Their schedule board, horizontal view, changed my life! Scheduling is the single most time consuming task, and even more so when trying to book recurring service. You have to check if a cleaner is available, not only that one date, but the future recurring services that client has signed up for. The schedule board color codes each cleaner making them easily identifiable on the screen. You can isolate your view to see selected cleaners or all cleaners at once. Being able to see occupied time slots color coded by cleaners and the time slot they occupy on the schedule is so much more intuitive than the many list views that other softwares have.
I started my business 8 years ago, so technology was different then. But I’ve used 3 other softwares before Launch27. I don’t plan on moving to another software even though Luanch27 has some substantial opportunities (will list below) because they are constantly coming out with updates and improve features based on user feedback/suggestions. Their customer service is stellar and super responsive.
Schedule Drag & Drop Feature
Another feature to die for! Looking at the schedule board, you can drag and drop jobs from one time slot to another and/or from one cleaner to another. The cherry on top? The system will ask if you want to make that change for the one cleaning or for the future recurring jobs as well if it’s a recurring client. You can make schedule changes without having to go into the client profile or leaving the schedule board or even clicking a bunch of drop down menus to get the task done. Simply drag and drop!
The jobs invitation feature is HUGE when it comes to running a domestic referral agency in California and is largely beneficial for all referral agencies who work with independent contractors. Before this feature was rolled out, I would have to manually text message each cleaner when a new booking was available to invite them to the job. If I message multiple cleaners, then I would have to manually text the rest that the job is no longer available once I’ve assigned a cleaner. There was so much text messaging going on, it was easy to lose track of a job and either not get a cleaner assigned because there were multiple job invitations going out at once, or assign the wrong cleaner to the wrong job.
With the job invitations feature in Launch27, once a booking is made, any cleaner who is available in that time slot will receive an invitation to the job. Launch27 will notify me when cleaners have opted into the job. From there, I can choose between the cleaners who have opted in and assign whoever I think is the best fit for the client. The other cleaners who opted in will receive an automated message indicated they were not selected for the job. Once a cleaner has been assigned, the job is no longer available if another cleaner tries to opt in for the job at a later time. The software doesn’t offer a round robin feature to send invitations to one cleaner at a time, which works for me because I want to encourage prompt responses in order to get the job assigned quickly and mark that task as complete!
While I love love love Launch27, there is no software will fit any business’s needs perfectly. Here are some major drawbacks that I hope to see them change in the future.
Time Stamped Notes (Lack Thereof)
In every single software I’ve previously used for managing customer schedules, there was a way to track customer communication and activity via time stamped notes and activity logs. It’s truly unfortunate that there is no way to log notes or activity in the client profile. In my opinion, this is the biggest shortcoming for Launch27 that causes many other users to subscribe to a secondary customer management software. I hate having to duplicate customer tracking softwares (ie one for scheduling, one for email marketing, one for CRM). This makes automation more tedious because when there is a customer change, you have to ensure systems are in place to make the change throughout all platforms.
Cleaners at my agency are paid based on a percentage of the job. The good news is Laucnh27 has a pay calculator system that allows users to in put the percentage the cleaner earns and can use to create reports and get cleaners paid. They also allow you to decide if cleaner pay percentage should calculated before or after discounts are applied. However, they lump the discount codes (discounts based on a promo code), frequency discounts (discounts based on booking recurring service) and adjustments (a way to adjust the price manually without a discount code) altogether. This means if you choose to pay before or after discounts are applied, it will group all 3 into one selection. This is not a realistic use for business owners. I use discount codes as a marketing tool, cleaners get paid on full price. I use frequency discounts to adjust the fee after the initial clean but the new fee is accurate to the service and cleaners should be paid based on the after discount price here. I use adjustments for when the cleaner and client agrees to a new adjusted price and cleaners should be paid based on the after adjustment has been made. So, for me, while this feature would be great to use...it doesn’t work in my case. Splitting up the 3 types of discounts/adjustments would save me and other users a great deal of time from having to draft our own pay report, especially when all the information and systems are readily available on Launch27.
All in all, I would not trade in for a new scheduling software. Moving to Launch27 has saved me an enormous amount of administrative time and it is one of the biggest contributing factors that has allowed me to run a six figure income business on 2-3 hours a day. I was able use the rest of the day to build on my strategies to grow my agency or work on my other businesses (now I have a VA handling that so I actually get to use my entire day to do that).
Zapier- Application Connector
Zapier makes you happier (they said that, not me, but it’s true). Zapier is a software that connects the apps you use everyday to automate your work and be more productive. This is my #2 most favoritest, most productive software. You can create a “zap,” which is a workflow, that is triggered by an action in one software that leads to another action to take place in another software.
*I just realized how long this blog article is going to be...but I don’t want to leave anything important out!
Here’s a simple example. Using Zapier, I created this zap. When a cleaning is booked, and if it is a steam clean job, it will create a task in Active Campaign (which I will go over next) telling my VA to ensure this job gets assigned, send the booking request to the steam clean technician and a preparation email to the client. Once the technician replies to confirm, the VA can assign the job. She won’t forget because that task will be there in Active Campaign until she marks it as completed.
I have more complicated zaps that are instrumental to the automation of administrative duties, data tracking and even recruitment.
Here’s another simply example of a zap I use for recruitment. When a cleaner candidate submits a job inquiry form via my form link (could be found on a job post or on my website), that triggers the zap to create a contact for this candidate in Active Campaign and create a task for my other VA (specifically for recruiting) to begin the recruitment pipeline process.
Zapier has some super helpful features like time delays (delay or a certain period of time such as one day or delay until a specific time such as the date of the first cleaning) before the next action occurs. I can’t say enough about this software! It’s life changing.
I’ll end this section with an example of one of my zaps for a new one time cleaning booking.
The zap is triggered when there is a new booking> filter for one time clean>add the booking to a spreadsheet for my data tracking>filter out and exclude any move out cleans or vacation rentals>delay until the booking date> add contact to “convert one time to recurring” email automation.
Active Campaign- Task Manager & CRM & Email Marketing
Active Campaign (my referral link) helps you easily communicate with contacts throughout the complete customer life cycle. Features: Site & Event Tracking, Chrome Extension, Integrated Form Builder, In-Depth Training & Support, Migration Services. With its many robust features that are simple to understand and use, I will only focus on what I use it for in my own business. I use it to manage contacts/clients for email automations, to manage tasks related to contacts/clients and to keep notes on client interaction (since Launch27 cannot).
I have used Infusionsoft in the past (a highly rated competitor). At the time, the cost to set up was quite high and the monthly price was more expensive. I also found Infusionsoft quite difficult to learn for a newbie like me. I find that Active Campaign is simpler to understand and cheaper… but like anything it requires learning and tweaking to your specific needs. However, if you’re not looking to create your own automation, there are plenty of sellers out there that sell automations specifically to cleaning businesses.
Customer Relationship Manager
Whenever I get a new lead, I actually enter it as a new customer in Launch27. To me, they are not a customer until the book a cleaning but this step gets them into the pipeline and L27 doesn’t offer lead tracking so I enter them simply as a client. Adding them as a customer triggers a zap that creates them as a new contact in Active Campaign and I can begin to track the email communications, add time stamped notes, add tasks with reminders of when to complete them...all of which are linked to that contact/client.
Once they’re added as a new contact in AC from L27, the zap also adds them automatically to my “Convert Lead to Booking” email automation. Automations are sequences of emails or tasks that you’ve built out. Contacts will enter or exit your automations, and enter or exit out of other automations, depending on the triggers you’ve set. Here are examples of the various automations I created and use:
Convert Lead to Booking
Convert One Time Booking to Recurring
Recover Cancelled Recurring Client
Recurring Client Retention
All leads and one time bookings
Cleaning Professionals Rentention
Video & Article: 5 Ways Email Campaigns Help Your Cleaning Referral Agency
That same zap also automatically adds them as a task (AKA a deal in AC) in the first stage as a New Lead of the Sales Pipeline in AC. It is part of my VA’s daily routine to work the Sales Pipeline moving contacts from one stage to the next until they are either won or lost.
Sales Pipeline in Active Campaign
This is my referral link to Active Campaign if you're interested in working with this software: https://mbsy.co/activecampaign/27663577
Resource Store: Marketing Bundle
These aren’t the only softwares I use in my automations but they cover about 80% of what it takes to make by business run efficiently. I hope you found this helpful.