Today we are starting a new growth story series. This series brings you our most successful users who leverage BookingKoala to start a service business. If your goal is to learn how to start a business or take your existing business to the next level, this series will be a must-watch. We will share all sorts of advice from users who are already succeeding in their respective industries.
Episode one will cover the story of the co-founder and CEO of BookingKoala, Filip Boksa. Before founding BookingKoala, Boksa started King of Maids, a home cleaning service, at the age of 19 with his best friend from high school. They grew the business to over $5,000,000 in combined revenue in just about three short years.
What made you want to start?
“I started working for my dad for a few summers installing carpeting. Then one day on the job, I literally asked myself… is this what I want to keep doing for the rest of my life?. That was the most important moment of my life. In that moment, the decision I made, changed my life. Fast forward 3 years, King of Maids did over $5,000,000 in revenue which eventually led to the start of BookingKoala.
How did you get started?
“I called one of my good friends and asked him if he’d like to start a cleaning business with me. We got together, went over our future goals to see if they aligned with one another. Once we knew we were on the same page, we got straight to work and started a home cleaning service in Chicago. Till this day it was the best decision I ever made.”
Did you have any experience starting out?
“I was 19 when I started my cleaning service, had no experience, no degrees, no loans, no funding, nor no connections. I was still in college and working with my dad as much as I could. In the meantime I opened up King of Maids and after a few months I decided to leave my job. Shortly after that (when I was about 20) things really took off and I dropped out of college to focus all my time and efforts on King of Maids.”
How much did you invest when starting out?
“My partner and I invested a total of $6,000 when we started, most of which went towards a website with an online booking form. Only about $500 went into marketing and with that $500 we gained enough recurring clients to generate recurring revenue. Once the recurring revenue started coming in every week, growing became very easy. Today because of BookingKoala someone can do what I did for under $1,000.”
What are the 2 most important things that everyone should know?
Start right away
“You need to start right away even if you don’t know what you are doing. You’ve heard it thousands of times from every successful person in the world; the more mistakes you make the quicker you will achieve whatever it is that you want to achieve. Most people wait for the perfect moment which never comes. What happens instead is, that you learn about the failures that come along with the reward and you get scared to the point that you never start. True story, but the more I failed the more I hesitated about another venture. The best thing you can do is to start. In almost all cases the final outcome will come after trial and error and what you envisioned before you started, will be completely different at the end of your journey. That means you will never be ready until you go through the process.”
Set yourself up for scalability
“If you’re goal is freedom you must set yourself up for scalability and here are just 3 simple examples of what I mean:
A) You cannot be doing the work yourself (cleanings, movings, answering customers calls, etc…) – you become limited if you do so. If you want freedom, you have to trust people to do the work for you, while you figure out how to grow your company. If you hire someone and give them a percentage of each job, that opens up your time to figure out how to gain more customers. Eventually, you can even replace yourself with a marketing company giving you complete freedom. That is the ultimate goal. At the end of the day, it comes down to the same level of work. Are you willing to work hard at someone’s home, or are you willing to work hard to figure out how to grow your customer base.
B) You have to stop doing unnecessary things, like in-home estimates – you waste too much of your own time or spend too much money and resources. Today, it’s all about convenience and most people prefer to know pricing right away, versus waiting for someone to give it to them next day or a few days later. Personally, I would NEVER let someone come into my home to give me an in-home estimate when I know I can find the price online in a matter of 5 minutes. Look at Uber and Lyft versus Taxis: Back in 2014, Uber and Lyft had only 12% of the market share. In 2018 they had over 72%. You need to let go of the old ways that are no longer needed or necessary and get with the new trends.”
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C) You have to start taking online payments only – This is crucial if you want to scale. I personally started by collecting cash/check payments, but as you grow this becomes a hassle. A hassle to you and a hassle to your customer. Payments are forgotten, money goes missing, numbers get messed up and it takes too much time to manage it all.
If you want to grow quickly, these things are crucial and you must set these things up from the moment you begin.”
What marketing strategies did you use?
“We focused on online customers and built our service around them. First, we built an online booking form tailored to convert the traffic that came to our website. Later, we built a customer portal to help customers manage their bookings at any time from anywhere. The portal allowed them to modify their appointments, reschedule and cancel at any time, from anywhere, saving us time and a lot of money. Later we added a referral program for them which added value to the customer and helped us gain more customers from referrals. Our overall business model became so powerful that everyone started copying King of Maids. Even dog walking services and other service-type businesses started to use the same growth strategy, which is what all led to the start of BookingKoala.
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On top of all this, we needed to figure out how to gain traction to kickstart our entire business. To gain traction, we leveraged Craigslist. We knew CL had a customer base where users cared about price most, so we used coupons to undercut all of our competitors. It was free to post there, and the customers started to roll in. Through CL, we gained enough recurring customers where we had monthly revenue. Apart from that, we knew that we had to get Yelp to rank us on the first page of their search engines. If we could get to the first page, we knew we would start to gain free customers from those who use Yelp to find home cleaning services. We didn’t know how many would book, but we knew they somehow would since many locals used Yelp. We leveraged each customer who booked a cleaning from Craigslist and called them after the cleaning to push them to review us on Yelp. After several months of doing that, we gained many reviews, and Yelp ranked us on their first page. It all took off after that.”
Want to learn more about Filip Boksa?
You can follow Filip on Twitter or YouTube or visit his own personal blog, where he shares business advice. You can also see articles he’s written on the BookingKoala blog, which cover advice on growing a home cleaning business and BookingKoala advice, updates, and announcements.
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If you’re a BookingKoala user and want to share your story and experience, please reach out to us via email: email@example.com – don’t be shy or worried that your story is not good enough. Each story is important to someone, and even doing $1,000 in monthly revenue is a huge deal. Plus, we will send you free shirts, hoodies, and awesome gifts to wear for the video.
Other Helpful videos from Filip Boksa
To help you get started in the cleaning industry, check out these helpful blog posts:
- How to start a cleaning business
- How profitable is a cleaning business
- Cleaning business marketing ideas
- Best cleaning business names
- Cleaning business insurance
- Finding employees for cleaning business
- How much should I pay my cleaning employees
- How much should i charge for cleaning a house
- Cleaning business software