Boston Business Journal: Cleaning service businesses clean up

March 27, 2020

At Boston Logan International Airport, crew members in masks and gloves wipe down frequently touched surfaces. Businesses, hotels and other commercial spaces send out notes to consumers indicating they’ll clean more frequently.

As Greater Boston’s business community reels from the sudden economic impact of the global coronavirus pandemic, at least one industry has seen a spike in customers: the cleaning business.

Indeed, shortly after the World Health Organization deemed the coronavirus a global pandemic, business for Boston-based residential-cleaning service MaidPro Franchise Corp. began to see a boom: The 11 franchise locations in Massachusetts saw a 26% year-over-year increase in new customers and a 60% drop in cancellation rates.

Business in residential homes has now leveled off, given the ongoing necessity of social distancing, but MaidPro is seeing an uptick in commercial business — offices, schools, retail stores, and more places with overwhelmed janitorial staffs and a need for a deep, disinfecting clean.

What also has helped: Cleaning services are among those deemed an essential business under the emergency order issued by Gov. Charlie Baker this week.

“A lot of people are calling. And they’re first asking, ‘is it safe for someone to come in the house?’ And of course we say, 'yes.' We take every precaution in terms of everyone coming into homes,” said Madeleine Park, a manager with MaidPro in Boston. “It’s actually a lot safer to have someone who has protective gear on, and who’s trained to handle this virus, to be in your home and disinfecting, than it would be to go out to the grocery store.”

MaidPro cleaners don’t wear masks unless a client requests, Park says. The important thing is the gloves, which cleaners have on for each visit, and for which there’s a specific removal technique. After they’re used, the gloves go into sealed bags.

The cleaners use microfiber cloths and hospital-grade disinfectant. And before sending a cleaner to someone’s home or business, MaidPro will ask if there has been any person in the space that has been exposed to coronavirus or had any recent illness. If the answer is yes, the company won’t schedule a clean.

People understand that there are necessary precautions,” Park said.

MaidPro has also released its own internal training video, created specifically for coronavirus preparedness, that details how to clean and disinfect with the virus in mind.

“We definitely are the subject-matter experts in the cleaning world,” Park said. “We’re just trying to keep the spread under control, and by doing that, we need to kill and disinfect."

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