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Calgary’s Next Economy: MopSpot wants to modernize home cleaning

Kate Maxwell and Aleks Muiznieks wanted to modernize the home cleaning industry.

They also wanted to focus on a segment of the market that needed extra special care but was largely underserved: Vacation and short-term rental operators.

Enter Calgary-based MopSpot.

Maxwell and Muiznieks started off as acquaintances. They’d known each other through a mutual friend. Aleks was a preschool teacher and cleaning homes on the side.   Kate was running a cleaning company solo but was headed on an extended overseas adventure.  

“She needed someone to help her out and so I kind of took care of her clients for the eight weeks while she went to Russia,” said Muiznieks.

“(Kate) came back and she just said to me, ‘I’ve been looking for someone to do business with and I don’t want to do it on my own because it’s going to be a big fish.’”

While Muiznieks said she was initially reluctant, the duo jumped in.

Initially, they had lofty goals: An app, big client list, etc. Six months in, they had a chance to get in on the maintenance of a vacation-rental property. That set off a chain of events that brought them to where they are today.

The third option – and modernizing the business

Maxwell said most short-term or vacation rental owners have two options: Clean the property themselves, or hire a property manager.

“This opened up this whole other realm, what I like to call it is the third option for people,” she said.

Maxwell said it gives property owners the ability to still be hands on but have the peace of mind that their property is being cleaned properly. Plus, she said property managers can be pricey and cleaning it yourself takes valuable time, so they fit right in the middle.

When thinking of modernizing the business, sure there’s the technical side.

There’s a social side to it as well. They want fair pricing because they want it to be accessible. But, there’s fair pay, too.

“We pay our cleaners very well because we consider it a trade and that they’re expected to be trained for,” said Muiznieks.

The duo has also streamlined and made accessible their training program. They didn’t want to spend hours doing training on the job – and potentially having to repeat it.

“We’ve actually made all of the training videos. So literally I’m strapped to a GoPro, and I get to it, and they can see…,” said Maxwell.

“All of our cleaners are trained to clean the exact same way.”

They’ve also built an internal database that checks off the different tasks that have been done, so an owner knows what’s been done. They get a notification when things are complete.

Learning curve

While both have experience in operating a business, they picked up tools with Platform Calgary’s Junction program that made them better entrepreneurs.

“It’s so practical for us. We were able to apply all these things immediately like as soon as we finish our discussion,” said Muiznieks.

“We’re going to the next client and discussing their client journey or their problems that they need to be solved.”

For the future, Muiznieks and Maxwell said they’re sticking with what separates them from others: A focus on short-term rental and vacation properties.

“I think that for us, we want to see ourselves as a chosen cleaning company for superhosts on Airbnb,” Maxwell said.

As they expand, they see their training program paying dividends, too. They want to be able to train remotely so their system can be replicated in other markets.  

“Sometimes people forget, cleaning is happening everywhere all the time; and a sink is a sink is a sink, and a toilet is a toilet, is a toilet, anywhere in the world,” Maxwell said.