16 Mar, 2019E27.CO
On a fine day in 2015, techie Azrul Rahim found out that miscreants attempted a break-in at his house in Cyberjaya. Investigations led the police to an illegal and part-time foreign house maid that he had employed a few months ago.
This was shocking to him.
“These are the guys whose phone numbers you can see on the roadside across Malaysia,” Azrul tells me. “I am not saying all of them are bad, but there is no way to verify their credentials and background. After this incident, I have never picked up a single phone number from the roadside for a house maid ever.”
As Azrul explained, booking a trustworthy house maid is quite a cumbersome task in Malaysia. You need to make multiple calls to the service provider to check the availability of house maids and compare their prices. “On top of that, you still have no idea who is coming to our house and whether he had dubious past etc. This is really annoying,” he adds.
This bitter experience took the best out of him, and he together with his wife Meriza Anna and friend Brian Wee launched an online platform to book trained and trustworthy housemaids in Malaysia.
The trio started Maideasy in late 2015 after a period of brainstorming and experimentation. It started off as a marketplace. Days passed and they realised that a marketplace model would not allow them to fine-tune the services the way they wanted.
That’s when they decided to start recruiting their own cleaners.
“Maideasy now follows a managed marketplace model for house maids and cleaners. All the cleaners listed on our platform are recruited after a rigorous interviewing, filtering and training process. They are fully trained on various equipment and technique to give your house the best treatment possible,” he claims.
Download the Maideasy app, enter your address and select the exact date and hour that you need the service, and the cleaning service professional will come to to your house on the day. The services are available seven days a week, and you can choose the cleaning time between 9AM to 8PM.
Using the app, you can track the progress of the booking, and whether the crew is on their way or has already arrived, etc. You can also chat with them in real time and match their photos as well.
Maideasy offers three types of services — basic home cleaning, move-in/out cleaning (when you move into/ out of a house), and spring cleaning (annual cleaning). You are free to choose between one-time cleaning or weekly cleaning services. If for any reason you are not satisfied with the service, you can give a call to Maideasy’s customer service. It also offers a few other home services such as cloth ironing, kitchen and events help, as well as packing/unpacking services.
Maideasy covers almost all areas in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. Azrul claims that its professionals have already cleaned over 70,000 houses of various sizes in Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley, and it manages thousands of houses every single month.
The basic service starts at RM25 per hour. This can stretch up to RM760 per hour depending on various factors such as the session, size of the house/apartment, and the type of cleaning. Azrul says that while there are some last-minute booking charges, the company doesn’t charge additional money for weekend bookings.
Maideasy also recently introduced an Elite Membership plan at RM88 per year. This allows loyal customers to make a booking at a discounted price, with zero surcharges. Rahim says the take-up has been encouraging with hundreds of signups so far.
In a way, Maideasy is similar to Grab, claims Azrul. Once a customer makes the booking, the system will work find the right cleaning crew for him/her. However, unlike the ride-hailing platform, a service like Maideasy needs a more personalised touch to make sure we find the right crew for you. Once you found your match, you can schedule a weekly session with them or book them on an ad-hoc basis, depending on their availability, Azrul shares.
In his opinion, Malaysia’s dependency on domestic helps is on the rise. As of now, over 700,000 foreign and domestic workers are employed in the country and are collectively drawing over RM1 billion on a monthly basis.
“While this number doesn’t translate directly into the part-time helper model, we have seen solid demand for the service. As concerns over cost, privacy and security grew, we expect more customer to consider part-timers instead of hiring a full-time foreign maids,” Azrul says.
“On the supply side, we also recognise that doing cleaning work is a job that provides a decent pay. With overflowing foreign workers, this is actually a great part-time option for those willing to roll up their sleeves,” he adds.
The beginning was not easy for the co-founders, admits Azrul. Convincing Malaysians to take up the cleaning job was hard. Malaysians, he observes, view cleaning as the job of foreigners. It took a lot of hard work for the founders to change this perception.
Talking about the current major challenges, he says: “Balancing demand and supply is another tricky issue for a platform like ours. It is too easy to have too many customers and too little cleaners or have too many cleaners and not enough job for them. Neither is a good situation to be in as it frustrates everyone.”
Kaodim and ServisHero are other players in this domain in Malaysia. Azrul says while these two firms are often considered competitors to Maideasy, they can also be a great partners, serving and educating the market. He also says Maideasy offers a different experience than other platforms that cover a multitude of services.
When it comes to offline, the company is competing with black market and foreign workers.
A self-funded startup, Maideasy raised a small round of investment from Axiata Digital Innovation Fund in 2017. The venture is currently on the lookout for long-term, strategic partners and investors.
“We believe we have an edge over our rivals when it comes to understanding the market requirements, as well as having the operational excellence to scale. On top of that, as one of our key missions is to provide employment to the community, Maideasy is a great opportunity for investors looking to make a real and meaningful impact on the society,” he shares.
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