I wrote this to add on our Facebook page. Any comments appreciated.
In January 2015, the founders of Maideasy have been mulling over their problems of finding reliable and trustworthy part-time cleaners for their home. Both are busy parents to growing children, they need all the help they can get to help to organise the home. Local cleaning companies that uses foreign labour presents lots of problems in terms of communication and scope of work. The founders also noticed that foreign workers in the cleaning industry aren’t treated with a sense of humanity or paid fairly. There are also many Malaysians who are looking for employment, especially from the lower income group, who would be more than willing to work in the cleaning industry if they are paid fairly for their labour.
Maideasy became not only a business endeavour, but also a personal journey that opened the eyes of our founders. Our founders, your typical educated, professional, coming from an affluent background, are shielded from the many realities of life that face the normal citizens, especially the lower income group in Malaysia. A mixed feeling of being extremely fortunate of our background, and a feeling of deep sympathy to the lower income group that come from background of low education, neglect and most of the time, not knowing what to do, the founders of Maideasy set on a journey to provide dignity, safe and humane work conditions, that pays them predictably and fairly so that the crew of Maideasy can have stable and organised lives.
As of May 2018, Maideasy has trained over 3000 Malaysians to become the crew of Maideasy. They come from various backgrounds, some are even educated in transition from one job to another, graduates who are waiting for employment, single mothers, families with children that needs special care like disabilities or mental health issues, retirees, spouses taking care of their sick or disabled partners, etc. 80% of those who applied for a job as a cleaning crew for Maideasy joins Maideasy because we provide the flexibility to fix their time. We have divided our cleaning sessions in a day according to 2 ,4, 6 or 8 hour slots and the crew can choose to work in which slot. The ability for them to control their time allows them the critical time for them to take care of their family, while also managing the income for the day. Maideasy pays them on a weekly basis so that they have money in urgency and on time.
The experience of Maideasy has made us aware of the abuse and exploitation that has long plagued the Malaysian society especially with regards to foreign workers. Foreign workers are paid a pittance, work long hours, under dangerous conditions and unreasonable demands. The Maideasy team faced those challenges at first in terms of the expectations of what our customers want from our cleaning crew especially working without the proper tools and in dangerous conditions. Therefore, Maideasy has created a Maideasy service card, which if you book a session from us, it is compulsory for the crew to bring along with them and show it to you. In the Maideasy service card will explain the scope of the work, as well as the limitations of what to expect of the crew, for example, no heavy lifting, climbing without proper ladder or stairs, etc.
The founders of Maideasy has been in the technology industry for over 15 years. They have well understood the purpose of technology, that is to scale, to decrease the cost of goods and services, hence also operations, as well using data to further fine tune the product and services offerings to the customers. However, technology can also be misused, by not understanding customer behaviour, by exploitation of workers (stake holders), price wars, and excessive servicing. From the beginning of Maideasy, we have impressed upon our customers the limitations of what our cleaning crew can do by acting as an intermediary between them and the customer. In return, our cleaning crew has found intended stability in working for Maideasy, and customers are more aware for treating especially blue collared workers, such as cleaners and the likes with human dignity.
I have always encouraged those who joined Maideasy to look at blue collared jobs like these in a different light. From the data that we collect, the ratio of educated (ie secondary school and above) to lower educated applicants are about 50-50. We have always encouraged in our interview sessions how our past ‘alumnis’ look at this job. Some like it because they are able to practice their English. Some say that they get to learn about other races in the city different than them. Some grown to like cleaning altogether. Because at Maideasy, one of the ethos for working is ‘ikhlas’ or sincerity in everything that you do, and you cannot have that if you think this job or yourself as a lowly person or job.
The on-demand or gig economy is here to stay, there is no doubt about that. But it is how we use this technology to benefit the business so that it becomes sustainable, and the society so that they are taken care of. This technology allows businesses like ours to scale to many areas, as of May 2018, we are operating in over 30 areas in the Klang Valley, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Nilai, Seremban and Johor Bahru. We also have sights in other Malaysian cities in the near future too. However, it is up to us to see the benefits of this technology to be beneficial. The major benefit for our cleaning crew is the ability to control both time and income, and any cost savings are then redirected back at improving services and the people under Maideasy.
There is no doubt that within these 3 years of operating, Maideasy faces their hiccups and challenges, and there is much room to improve. Customer feedback is important to us in understanding what you want in terms of your expectations. Crew feedback is also important to us so they see that working on the Maideasy platform as their preferred choice for work. We use many contemporary methods and processing information and data to improve our business. The founders of Maideasy definitely have in mind in creating a sustainable and long lasting business for the future.