As Care.com recently became a publicly traded company in January 2014 (CRCM), and now has an army of more than 9.7 million members comprised of 5.2 million families, and 4.5 million caregivers, it begs the question “is the playing field changing for independent residential cleaning businesses?” Let’s examine…
Care.com connects families to caregivers, giving them easy access to people who can help them take care of their kids, elders, pets, and homes. According to a USA Today interview with CEO Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Ms. Marcelo explains that there are vast opportunities in “connecting the fragmented care market”. Care.com not only makes it easy for members to find good quality service providers, but also simplifies the vetting, paying and taxes involved in hiring a provider. Still operating at a $20 million dollar net loss, Care.com has plans over the next 3-5 years to expand greatly and reach strong profitability.
According to the IPO filing, Care.com plans to use the $80 million funds raised in the public offering for massive growth. “In order to grow our membership, we intend to increase our investments in various marketing channels, including television, online search, and community groups and forums, to increase brand awareness in the United States among families and caregivers. We also intend to increase our member base by selling our services to more employers who will offer our platform as a benefit to their employees,” says the filing.
So is this a problem for YOUR company? It’s all in how you look at it. With a new job being posted every 30 seconds on Care.com, there clearly is a strong demand for services, and that’s good for all cleaning services. Care.com is not an agency…but a marketplace…so that means your business can participate. Care.com allows members that are individuals or independent companies. And once you are at the big dance then you just need to standout and dazzle the audience with your moves.
The fact is that Care.com is joined by many other companies like Home Joy, Red Beacon and others that are also attempting to “pull together the loose ends” of the care market. And, they do seem to be able to create an opportunity for consumers to bypass the need for a traditional company to easily locate a large choice of housecleaners, and handle the complications of payment and paying taxes. Professional cleaning companies are not going to get far if those two benefits are their biggest strengths.
To stand out amongst the sea of competition in this race (both parent companies and individual) you can must really add Value. My recommendation is for you to focus on mastering “service”, efficiency, professionalism, expertise, unique customer experience, solid branding and a great value offer. Really concentrate on exactly who your customer is, what they want, and what they don’t want, and meet their needs for the whole experience better than anyone else; and you can turn this market place change challenge into your greatest opportunity.