Need a hand with the cleaning? looking for the best Airbnb cleaning service? There’s an app for that.
There’s no getting around it. Moving house is a nightmare. There’s nothing natural about shoving all your worldly possessions into boxes. And in between wondering how in the world you accumulated all this stuff, if (like me) you’re renting your current abode, there’s also the worry about the state you’re leaving the place in for the all-important final inspection.
Most landlords require proof that the end of tenancy clean was professionally done, so even if you’re feeling energetic enough to do it yourself – unlikely by the time you have packed all those boxes, forwarded your post, got the final bills from your utility companies, etc. etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum – you might still find that it cost you a sizeable chunk off your deposit.
So I jumped at the chance to try out Fantastic Services, which promised to make the whole hellish process hassle-free. You can use their web platform, but unlike a lot of other similar services, they do have a slick booking app that works really smoothly. Within a few seconds I had downloaded the Android version (it’s also available on App Store) and was happily booking my clean.
The algorithm they use works a bit like Uber’s, which matches real-time availability of professionals with bookings, so that you can not only book the service quickly (same-day and next-day slots were available) but also get the best price. It’s really transparent in the way it shows you how different times slots might be cheaper if the right person is already going to be in your area. That also has the added bonus of being quite eco-friendly, since if you book someone who’s already doing a job around the corner you’re not adding much of a carbon footprint to that job.
But while the technology certainly felt robust, what really made this a good experience for me was the follow-up. I got a call straight away to confirm the details of my booking, and the person I spoke to gave me her name and a direct number to call in case there were any problems. This was then all confirmed via email with a checklist of the things I needed to do prior to the clean (things I might have forgotten, such as switching off the freezer the night before) On the day before the clean I got a text reminder and another email confirming my team of cleaners would be arriving between 9:00 and 10:00.
At precisely 9:00am the next morning, there were indeed 3 polite and uniformed cleaners at my door, and just under 4 hours later my place had been cleaned to within an inch of its life. They even gave me a pair of those plastic over-shoe protectors so I could walk around without ruining all their fine work. After they left I got a message asking me to rate the service (again, much like you would after an ride with Lyft or Uber) and that rating affects future bookings for those providers, as the app uses BETTR scores to optimise the service.
I’ve tried several cleaning services over the years, usually with frustrating results, as I invariably found them to be inflexible and often sub-standard. So I wasn’t too surprised to learn that Fantastic Services are now the UK’s largest domestic services provider with a turnover of over £28 million, 650 employees, and over 2000 service providers who are franchisees of the business which spans across the UK, USA and Australia.
Founder and CEO Rune Sovndahl – an avid thrill seeker who enjoys swimming with sharks and sky diving in his spare time – worked with many consumer technology platforms including lastminute.com, before starting Fantastic Services in 2009. He wanted to “clean up a dirty industry” by providing exceptional and consistent customer service integrated with emerging technologies. Based on my experience, it certainly felt like he succeeded.
“We have been working on this app update for several months now and are confident our customers will love it as much as we do. We firmly believe our new platform will revolutionise the way people book and use domestic services,” said Rune.
Since I just passed my end of tenancy inspection with flying colours, I can say I’ll probably be coming back to try some of their other services – which range from rubbish removal to pest control and gardening – in the near future. Unfortunately though, pet-sitting is not available in my area yet, so Watson and Missy will have to wait to do their own review.
Alice Bonasio is a VR Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio and @techtrends_tech on Twitter.