Á la Carte Clean
Venneman’s Regal Maid Answers Call for Clean
Stainless steel appliances.
That’s the perfect storm. “Guaranteed spots and smudges,” says Andy Venneman of Regal Maid in Southgate. “Thank goodness for kids. They keep us in business.”
That daily living forecast keeps Regal Maid busy as a second generation takes over the cleanup started when Andy’s mom, Connie Venneman, began the business in 1986.
And despite the recent economic pinch, the call for clean is still loud and clear.
Till The Kids Come Home
“In this environment especially, people are working as hard as they possibly can to make ends meet, so if we can relieve any of that stress by helping them come home to a clean house, we’re happy,” says Venneman, 42. “They can relax and enjoy it — at least till the kids come home and destroy it again.”
His mom, Connie, then a part-time substitute teacher, saw a need for residential cleaners and joined the bucket brigade through a franchise with a handful of customers and cleaners when her two sons were teens.
“There were individuals out there cleaning houses, but no companies,” says Venneman.
After almost three years, his mom went solo with what has become today’s independent “á la carte” business.
Now Regal Maid cleans for more than 500 customers and employs a staff of 17 cleaners.
“The thing that separates us is our independence,” says Venneman, who got his feet wet by cleaning carpets while earning a business degree at Northern Kentucky University before joining the company fulltime in 1992.
“If a customer just wants us to vacuum, we’re there. Or just do bathrooms, we’re fine with that. Most franchises have rules about what can be done, how often. We can give people exactly what they want — once a week, once a month. That way we can pinpoint their needs.”
Customers can use the “On-Line Quote” link at www.regalmaid.com to get a ballpark estimate on the entire home or certain rooms, allowing them the flexibility to meet their needs and budget.
Venneman visits each home, meeting the customers to iron out any wrinkles.
“I’m kind of a buffer sometimes. Maybe someone calls and wants us to do their parents’ home, but the parents may not be too keen on the idea. I say, ‘go with me’ and I introduce myself. Then maybe ask them what they think they need help with. ‘Do you need help with vacuuming because I understand your back hurts or how about high dusting because of your arm or maybe the tub so you don’t have to reach.’
“They may clean their kitchen every day, and we’re fine with leaving that for them if that’s what they want.
“A lot of times we end up doing the entire home in a case like that, but they’ve told me what they need help with so they don’t feel like we’re trying to take over.” The secret just comes down to finding out what are the customer’s special needs and pet peeves.
“Though we are fully insured and bonded, I tell everyone ‘if you don’t want us touching grandma’s vase or something of sentimental value, we’re good.’
“I can be there before the cleaning team to scout things out. And we try to send the same team every time so they know where the dust bunnies hide, where the toys go.”
Mixing and matching customers and crews makes every workday different.
“It’s like a moving jigsaw puzzle to make sure there’s an overall plan,” he says. “I try to make sure the homes are as closely knit as possible. Days when it’s all in the same city are great. When they are in the same subdivision, it’s even better. All on the same street would be perfection. I love straight lines,” he laughs. ■