I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin Reynolds. Kevin and his wife Grace may be the bravest (some may say crazy) people alive. They’re expecting an 11th child, homeschool kids, own a professional cleaning service, lead a movement to increase awareness, respect, & recognition for professional cleaners, admin a community of 16k cleaners, and have a GSD.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
After working in EMS as a paramedic in the Bay Area, CA I found that I still wanted to help people. I had been working closely with people for 12 years in EMS so learning to help people grow their businesses and better provide for their families was a job I picked up on fast and excelled as a professional marketer. I met my wife, Grace in 2012. She was building a successful small maid service in Pittsburg, PA. We moved to Walla Walla, WA and together began rebuilding her professional cleaning service here in WA state. We’ve worked together ever since! We now have 10 children together in our blended family and are building a community of professional cleaners. The voice of our community promotes awareness, respect, and recognition for professional cleaners and the cleaning industry. Together- we are working to reverse a stigma that has been attached to cleaners for centuries. Professional cleaning is a skilled trade and the world is now finally ready to hear this message!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
In 2017 after a long day working out in the field on a deep cleaning with our crew, I was in the office closing out the books for the day and responding to emails. I opened an email from “Facebook” that said they were checking us out for a special Council. We receive countless spammy marketing emails each month and chuckled as we deleted the email. We are so grateful that Facebook sent us another email weeks later to follow up. Facebook said that they had been watching how we use their platform and what we do in our community and that they wanted to bet us for a position on their SMB Council. After interviews we were eventually selected 1/10 businesses hand selected and appointed by Facebook out of the 70+ million businesses on Facebook. Two years later we are still in shock that Facebook would find us and choose us for this Council. In our service as SMB Council members- we have attended two SMB events at Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, CA and spoke on a panel at the Messenger South X Southwest event about using Messenger and chatbots to grow your business. This month we were selected to attend the 2019 Facebook Communities Summit in Menlo Park, CA. We reiterated our Cleaners community and were asked to present on stage about using Messenger to connect our community.
The opportunities that have opened up for us because of our relationship with Facebook and the tools and products that they provide for our use have given us the opportunity to grow a successful business and start a movement in the world that has never been done.
The Facebook platform has given us the ability to support our family and spread our mission far and wide!
Can you tell us about the interesting projects you are working on? How do you think that will help people?
We have been learning how to use Messenger and chatbots for the last couple years. I can’t believe how many people still today are not familiar with this technology. When we learned that we could incorporate messages and chatbots into our business and community, we knew right away this technology would be a game changer. The ability to communicate with our members and subscribers in a private personal setting provides a 1 on 1 experience that takes engagement to the next level. Being able to learn about each one of our members and provide them with the relevant information they are looking for through an automated system (chatbot) is a win for the brand and the end user. With Messenger, the consumer has complete control in which brands they want to engage with. A business or a brand cannot generate a conversation with someone until the consumer first engages with the brand. At any time, the consumer can terminate contact and the brand can no longer engage with them until the consumer re opens a dialogue with the brand!
We use our digital skills and positioning on the platform to help find jobs on our community members local communities. We do this through a match making system in our chatbot. When a consumer comes in through our Messenger chatbot- they are able to view local cleaners in their area and the check out their reviews and contact them directly! Our cleaning community members are networked in with thousands of professional cleaners from around the country. Each day we learn from each other and become better cleaners Amsterdam business owners. Each day we are motivated and inspired to become the best versions of ourselves. Through raising pride in our profession and sharing our story with the world, together we will change the way the world views Cleaning and all cleaning professionals.
How do you think this might impact the world?
When we have pride in what we do, we do a better job.
There are millions of cleaners out there working for themselves each day that are being taken advantage of by consumers paying very little money and workers not protected by workers comp and treated poorly. Our community provides these folks with the tools needed to few confident that the work that they are doing is skilled and important. They have thousands of supporters a click away ready to help them figure out a bid or how to tackle a tough cleaning project. The networking and support in our community provides the confidence and knowledge needed to provide professional quality work and demand a fair wage for their work or their employees. The more cleaners connected will raise the standard of cleaning around the world. Within the next few years, 8/10 dual income earning households will employ a house cleaner. Now is the time to raise awareness, respect, and recognition of house cleaners. Through this industry boom, we will correct a stigma that house cleaning is an unskilled job and help people earn a living wage and provide for their families.
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?
Personally- it’s when this clicked for me…
Kevin Reynolds: “It seems very clear to me that the marginalization of house cleaners starts with the continued disrespect and marginalization of women. When I helped my wife, Grace, move from Pittsburgh, PA to Walla Walla, WA and get her cleaning service going, I was amazed by the amount of rejection we experienced in regard to her already established rates in Pittsburgh. People laughed at us most of the time at first and we had to work for often half of minimum wage, in order to get our “foot in the door”.
I also noticed a stigma to the fact that I was doing the “cleaning” with Grace and later on working with technicians. Even close friends would poke-fun and ridicule my decision to be such an intimate part of the work she did and/or tell me how “humble” it was for me to “take on” this position with the “credentials” I have. This got me thinking… 🤔 If I’m ridiculed and labeled “humble”, where is this attitude with my amazing wife? Where is their mention of her “humility” or her “credentials”? This makes me think the general population expect women to take on this work because they are already seen as lower and always have been, and it’s even more disturbing, how “unsurprising” it was to see this widespread attitude…
Who cleans houses? 90+ percent of the time? Women. In a world where male predominant trades — like plumbers, electricians, general laborers, and custodians — all have unions or a VOICE — I wondered why there is no voice for house cleaners and the women who work so hard and with so much unrecognized skill every day to serve our communities.
Why would you pay a wage for a professional house cleaner if you don’t think or see them as a skilled professional?
The truth is that professional house cleaning is a SKILLED PROFESSION! These women and men identify and clean hundreds of different surfaces in each home and require the skill to clean in a way that produces order, and healthier environments and a deep sense of peace.
Here is my conclusion on this — Back in the “good ole days” when most women stayed home and took care of the kids and the home — how often were housewives appreciated by their husbands and children… let alone the rest of the world??
Not too long ago, house cleaning was considered only a “woman’s work”, and because of this it seems most of the world has adopted this attitude that it is “unskilled work” that anyone can do — it’s just the “wife’s work” and now ever so discreetly, the ongoing war against women continues, and most specifically of a skill that through this continued cultural evolution, is still most often expected to be done by women and continues to be seen as a woman’s work that is regarded still as “unimportant” and “unintelligent” — i.e. the AMELIA BADELIA series that is still so popular today.
Our mission is to raise awareness, respect, and recognition of what women have been taking on as “their” work which has been so disregarded and merely expected to “get done”.
Here’s the good news..Times are changing.
The US Department of Commerce predicts that within the next couple years — 8/10 dual income households will employ a house cleaning service. With so many women now equally working in the work force and nobody home full time to maintain a healthy environment for the family, the necessity of professional housecleaning is becoming more necessary and important.
By journeying together in our Cleaning Community, we continue to strengthen the mission Grace, Sheryl, and I started almost a year ago. We will continue to move forward, working hard behind the scenes to increase the appreciation professional house cleaners deserve.
I am so proud of Grace and I always have been. She was incredible on stage speaking at Facebook Headquarters on Friday at the Facebook Communities Summit #FCS2019! She spoke about our house cleaning community, our #movement, and how we use the Facebook family of apps platform to connect our community.
When she opened up the floor to questions- we were shocked to find that we had a member of our Handmaid Cleaning Community present representing her rollerblading community! AMAZING!! (Video clip attached) We are so glad to have met you, Keyre! 🙂
I want to say thank you also to Sheryl Sandberg, Rhonda Abrams, and Sheryl Zaniewski Milligan. Y’all have had a huge influence and impact on Grace and I over the years. The work, passion, love, and drive y’all have for women, the marginalized, and small business continues to inspire us to do the work that we do each day for house cleaners and the cleaning industry at large. ❤️
It is a tremendous honor to be a voice for our Handmaid Cleaning Community Members and all Cleaners around the world. THANK YOU for your service and the skilled and important job that you do each day to keep our world, communities, and families safe, peaceful, and clean! We love you all! ❤️
What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?
Facebook supporting our mission as a meaningful community has opened up many conversations about cleaning and placed us in a position for other media outlets to hear what we’re doing.
We are thrilled that we are receiving so much interest from the press. It’s exciting to see that the world is ready to hear our message. A simple message of a group of people who have been marginalized for years just wanting the respect, recognition, and the rewards that come with that to provide for their families and not live in poverty for doing a job that not many want to do that is incredibly important in our world. Imagine if nobody was there to clean the airport bathroom and you were stuck on a layover at SFO.
We are also using our podcast and the Facebook family of apps to create ads to spread our mission. Reporters like y’all that see the value in what we are dedicating our lives to is already impacting thousands of people and their families — THANK YOU!!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My WHY is my wife and almost 11 children. It’s not easy owning a local business and running a large online community and starting a movement. My WHY pushes me through 16+ hour days 7 days a week 365 days a year.
I’m grateful for my wife, Grace. In every way, she helps me become a better version of myself each day. Through each storm she’s my rock. Through the cloudy days, she finds the sunshine. I know I wouldn’t be who I am today without wife. Grace is the most passionate person I’ve ever met. She decided many years ago that she was going to change the way the world views cleaning and help the people that clean everyday do better for themselves. Often this means coming off of state food and housing assistance!
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1) Hire a good therapist. The life of a business owner and community leader is difficult. If it was easy, everyone would do it. The struggle is tough and not only unavoidable but necessary for our growth. There is no growth without struggle. Hiring a therapist was one of the best moves we’ve ever made. The tools we revive for therapy help us become better versions of ourselves and that directly impacts our professional growth. It also helps me become a better husband and father and stay sane each day navigating business and 10 kids!
2) Set Goals. You may never find a successful person that doesn’t set goals. It’s hard to get somewhere if you don’t know where you are going. I’m still working on goal setting but it’s a part of our everyday lives. We have a million things on our minds and fires to put out. Setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals is necessary for us to stay on path to our end goal. Before we started writing our short-term goals down and checking them off our board, we were overwhelmed and stressed. Daily goals also help us visualize that we got a lot of work done each day when we feel like we barely got through anything. Grace and I set goals that scare the crap out of us; it’s the only way we roll.
3) Here’s one thing I wish somebody didn’t tell me: Start a business they said… it will be great they said…. you can set your own hours, go on tons of vacations… it’ll be great! We didn’t see a day off or a full five hours of sleep for three years let alone a vacation. This is hard work. You must work harder than everyone else if you want to succeed at whatever you’re doing.
4) Don’t try and do it all. We all have our unique gifts and talents. There have been times where we literally did it all because we had to. But when the opportunities arose, we were scared to let go. We couldn’t grow until we learned to let go. When we slowly let go of various aspects and duties of day to day business, we were able to focus on working ON our business, doing the things that we are good at.
5) I wish somebody would have told me to chase the dream and my why, my purpose, instead of chasing money. My wife, Grace, always got that… it took me a minute 🙂 We believe that money will always come when our Why is big enough and we’re passionate about our lives and mission.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
We have inspired a movement!
Our movement will not only affect millions of cleaners, women, and their families but also the way that society views people. It’s a good thing for all of us to have respect and love for each other no matter what kind of work that we do. Raising respect and recognition for a job that has been looked down upon since the beginning of time will promote personal growth in all.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way.
Many of us feel like life is beating us up and we’ve been dealt a bad hand. Understanding that life is challenging and expecting failure was life changing for me. Learning to go through struggle and growing through it sounds easy but it wasn’t for me. It’s a lifelong journey.
Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
We love everything about what Bárbara Kunde Minuzzi and Daniela Arruda at Babel Ventures are doing.
I would ask, growing up, did you know any “cleaning ladies”? My wife and I have started a movement raising the awareness, respect, and recognition of professional cleaners. We are removing the stigma on cleaners from the beginning of time that cleaning is an unskilled trade. Our voice is changing lives and helping people provide for themselves and change the way the world sees cleaning and cleaners. This will change the lives of millions of cleaners and their families.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Our cleaning community:https://Facebook.com/groups/handmaidcleaning
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.