YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Homeowners, renters and business owners are still making room in their budgets for professional cleaning services, despite a volatile economy.
According to the third-quarter edition of the Home Service Economic Report, recently released by operations management software company Jobber, residential and commercial cleaning services have remained resilient despite the slowing down of other industries.
The residential cleaning industry is expected to generate a market revenue of $40.4 billion by the end of 2025, according to the Statista Research Department.
The rising popularity of cleaning services could be due partly to the increase in time spent at home due to the pandemic and remote working, says Katie Burkey, owner of the Molly Maid of Mahoning County/Trumbull County franchise.
“There’s such an influx now of people working from home, and they just don’t have that time and they’re already there too much already. So they probably want to get out as often as they can,” she says.
The demographics of cleaning service clients are also changing, Burkey says. The older generation is more likely to invest in a professional cleaning service. But, she says, the age of her clients is upwards of 35.
“We do draw a little bit more towards the over-50 population. But we do have quite a few younger professionals who are in that active season of life where they have kids and activities and careers,” she says.
There are several factors that contribute to why someone might hire a professional cleaning service, Burkey says: They are physically unable to clean or they don’t have the time, desire or knowledge to clean.
Americans prefer to spend an average of six hours every week cleaning their homes, according to a survey by the American Cleaning Institute; 28% of respondents prefer spending more than seven hours a week on residential cleaning. Just 10% clean less than one hour a week.
Molly Maid has been in the Mahoning Valley for 29 years. Burkey has owned the business for 20 years and has grown her employee roster to 30 workers.
The company, now serving Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties, has seen rapid growth over the past few years, Burkey says.
“It did start out quite rocky with trying to secure employees and maintaining staffing and so forth. But we definitely had an increase in need from clients and customers. Thankfully, we have been on the upside of securing employees as well,” she says.
The cleaning industry is appealing for both customers and employees, Burkey says. The job is a steady 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., full-time dayside job with no weekends or major holidays.
The janitorial services industry in the United States had 1,063,988 businesses in 2021. By 2023, there will be more than 236,500 jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“I think that is a wonderful perk to people who are looking to get back in the workforce, but also maybe not wanting to be in retail. That has proved to be a nice opportunity for us to acquire some help,” Burkey says.
Residential cleaning industry trends show 20% growth year-over-year, with 80% of households being expected to use house cleaning services by 2024, according to predictions by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Busy schedules, aging and the pandemic are all reasons why more people are turning to cleaning services, says Jim Standohar, marketing manager for ServPro Team Dobson, says.
“With the baby boomer generation into their 60s now, lack of energy, health concerns and time constraints are all factors that may lead to an increase in demand of cleaning services on the residential side,” Standohar says. “The COVID-19 scare drove commercial cleaning through the roof for two years and likely will remain in the budget for larger corporations who share spaces.”
In late 2021, ServPro co-owners James, Katie and Andrew Dobson purchased four franchise licenses in Cuyahoga County, moving into the Cleveland market. The Team Dobson footprint now spans 12 counties in northeastern Ohio, and the company has increased its workforce to more than 200 since it acquired its first license for Mahoning County in 2011.
ServPro relocated its mitigation and janitorial teams to a new building adjacent to its Youngstown Road headquarters in Warren. The new site supports the increased demand, the company’s equipment and a fleet of more than 100 commercial vehicles.
“We’ve experienced many inroads with our general cleaning and janitorial services this year with several larger companies who are looking to centralize services,” Standohar says. “This aligns their cleaning services with mitigation services. The challenge is to maintain a viable workforce and still provide an affordable service.”
Cleaning services will always be needed, Standohar says, and ServPro strives to pivot along with the industry to provide affordability and quality to its clients, which Standohar estimates to be 90% commercial and 10% residential.
“Companies evaluate their contract cleaning service frequently to determine if their current service still has value or if it has become too stale,” he says. “With stronger wages now the norm, staying profitable and keeping labor costs under control becomes more challenging.”
The franchise offers a full complement of services, including water, fire and biohazard cleanup, as well as carpet cleaning, HVAC cleaning, reconstruction services, asbestos abatement and storm damage response.
In 2021, the Dobson Storm Response Team traveled more than 6,500 miles in the United States to support victims of storm damage.
Standohar says the company constantly reengineers services to allow it to remain competitive and profitable.
The Molly Maid brand looks for ways to give back to the community, Burkey says. The company started Ms. Molly Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports victims of domestic violence.
The local franchise raises money annually for Someplace Safe in Warren and Sojourner House in Youngstown, and will be donating $2,000 and 14 totes full of diapers, wipes, toiletries and personal care items this year, Burkey says.
“We give back to the community who serves us. I really like to empower our staff to be a part of that as well as to let customers know that we’re not just here to collect money. We are here to provide a service not only for them, but for people in need across the county,” she says.