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He runs a $1.5m+ remote cleaning business… and travels whenever he wants

Today’s newsletter tells the story of MaidThis, a 100% remote house cleaning business that clears $1.5M/year… while the owner travels the world whenever he wants.

Hey UpFlipers,

When you hear “local business,” you probably think of the coffee shop down the street, the laundromat a few blocks over, or the cleaning service across town. 

The good: These are always in demand.

The bad: They’re tied to one city. The market is limited. They need a physical location…

Or so you think.

Today’s newsletter tells the story of MaidThis, a 100% remote house cleaning business that clears $1.5M/year… while the owner travels whenever he wants.

No office space. No expensive overhead. 

Plus, you’ll discover MaidThis’s secret weapon for filling its sales pipeline and locking in long-term clients that pay month after month.

If you’re itching for wealth and time freedom, you’ll want to hear this story, so keep reading…

Today in 5 minutes or less, you’ll learn:

✅ How one man left corporate America to build a $1.5m+ remote cleaning business
✅ 3 key criteria for building a “remote local” business like MaidThis
✅ The “offline-online” marketing approach that helped MaidThis skyrocket

How Neel Parekh built a $1.5m+ cleaning business that lets him travel the world

Today, we’re talking about Neel Parekh and his wildly successful house-cleaning business, MaidThis.

After failing at several side hustles…

He eventually cracked the code on a business that lets him travel when he wants… 

And pulls in over $1.5M per year (and growing through franchising). 

Read on for the full story…

Neel’s rude awakening

Neel had a comfortable 9-to-5. Decent pay, plenty of upward mobility, and so on…

But no free time.

Early mornings. Late nights. Long hours in a cubicle under fluorescent lighting.

One day, one of his firm’s partners — who had $20 million in the bank — died from a heart attack just a year after retiring. 

Reality hit Neel like a ton of bricks:

There was more to life than slaving away in a cubicle for someone else. He couldn’t see himself clawing his way up the corporate ladder for decades…

So he ventured into the world of side businesses.

“Remote global” vs. “remote local” businesses

Neil wanted something “location-independent” so he could travel.

I love working at home. But sometimes, a change of pace is pretty sweet.”

(Neel works in this coworking space on the 33rd floor of a skyscraper in downtown LA.)

He tried common online business models like:

  • eCommerce

  • Dropshipping

  • Digital marketing

But those flopped because he went against an entire planet of other businesses.

Meanwhile…

He had started a cleaning business (MaidThis) at around the same time…

And it kept going. And going. 

After all, it was only competing against local businesses.

These local businesses in his city didn’t seem to offer the best customer service. They failed to answer their phones and never called back.

Merely picking up the phone/calling back gave Neel a huge edge.

Then it struck him:

I was already doing most of the pieces remotely while working my corporate job.” 

He could make the non-remote pieces remote with modern tech and some leg work.

He also knew his “freedom number” — the amount your business must make to quit your job — was just $3k.

So Neel dropped the other businesses and put his time into MaidThis.

The “fast-forward” button in business

Neel put in long hours and tried to learn business on his own. It was too much…

Until he discovered you can “fast-forward” growth by paying for help.

So he paid a business coach to tell him exactly what to do and followed those instructions.

Think about it: You don’t climb Mt. Everest alone. You hire a sherpa to guide you.

Simple. 

But many entrepreneurs from corporate jobs get trapped in the “employee” mindset. 

Grinding and figuring it out yourself works early on... 

But you hit a wall — you can only do so much yourself.

Many budding business owners never discover the “fast-forward” buttons like Neel did. 

They drown in a sea of work…

Burn out…

And give up, thinking stories like Neel’s are BS.

Neel freed himself from this mindset. He realized the smartest entrepreneurs pay for other people’s knowledge and skills… and it unlocked HUGE business growth.

Scaling Part 1: Hiring and AI technology

Neel strived NEVER to miss a call… and it gave him a huge edge in his industry.

But he’s just one man. He can’t take every call.

So he invested in:

  • Call centers. He offloaded new client calls to call centers.

  • AI tech. This follows up on missed calls by sending apology texts and guiding prospects to book online.

  • Automated marketing funnels: Online users/missed callers can book appointments online.

The most vital tasks were off Neel’s plate. So he could focus on phase 2 of scaling…

Scaling Part 2: Franchising

What do McDonald’s, Ace Hardware, and UPS have in common?

They franchise to local business owners, who “copy + paste” the corporation’s processes/procedures.

MaidThis was proven… and scalable. So Neel started franchising to great success.

But he didn’t just “sell and forget”. He worked to make sure franchises were profitable.

This helped Neel:

  • Save time/money while expanding into new markets

  • Earn franchising fees/royalties

  • Improve performance and brand perception — franchise owners have a direct stake in franchise success, unlike managers

  • Give entrepreneurs a shot at their business dreams

And a lot more.

When we talked with him, Neel hit 17 franchise locations (and growing).

He’s always looking to expand — if you’re interested in running a MaidThis location, click here to apply.

So, how profitable is MaidThis?

$1.5M in revenue is great for a remote business. 

But Neel still has expenses: Staff, call centers, software, cleaning supplies, etc. So you might be wondering how much he keeps.

Turns out… MaidThis averages a 25% profit margin. That’s $375,000 profits/year.

Even if Neel dumps some of that into business growth… he’s got plenty of money left for himself.

3 key factors that make for a viable “remote local” company

Neel gave us the secret sauce to picking a viable “remote local” model and building it from scratch. Here they are:

1. How the work is done 

Don’t tie yourself to a physical location. The business model must allow you to dispatch labor directly to the job. For example, a “remote local” coffee shop won’t work. 

Neel chose cleaning but said home services, mobile car washing, or mobile dog grooming are viable “remote local” ideas.

2. Low capital expenditure 

Building a remote business is tough when you need to grab physical products or supplies for staff/customers. 

Find a business model where these costs are low. You’ll have more profits to reinvest in growth.

3. Remote management

You must be able to handle key management tasks remotely via phone, Zoom, Slack, or other methods. That way, you can run your business anywhere with an Internet connection.

Remote local marketing: Online + offline = success

Neel’s “remote local” company used online and offline marketing to dominate the competition. Keep some of these in mind if you start a home services business…

Offline strategies

Neel’s primary offline strategy was flyering client neighborhoods, like the one pictured below, with a flyering automation service called Five Rounds.

If one house needs cleaning, the neighbors probably do. Especially if Neel’s client raves to their neighbors about MaidThis.

This method is far better and more efficient than door-knocking.

Online Strategies

Neel uses several online strategies:

  • Automated funnels: Neel automated his front-end online marketing. MaidThis has a full pipeline, but Neel doesn’t have to work to track leads.

  • Personalized review-gathering: MaidThis technicians earn a bonus when they get a review from clients they service. The client receives a personal text from the person who cleaned their home, generating more and better reviews.

  • Automated referral requests: MaidThis automates referral requests, too, with its CRM software. 

  • Delighting the client: Neel builds bulletproof client relationships by sending brownie gift baskets with handwritten postcards. Yep, he automates this, too.

Neel’s sales and growth secret… recurring clients

Recurring clients = steady revenue + lower marketing costs. The problem is closing those recurring client deals.

Neel’s sales secret to getting tons of these clients:

He asks leads if they want monthly, weekly, or biweekly service — NEVER a one-off clean. 

With great service and regular follow-up, these clients stayed on for a long time.

You can apply this secret to many client-based business models. Not just home services.

To wrap it all up…

We love the classics, like eCommerce and digital marketing…

But they aren’t your only tickets to online biz success. Neel proves clever thinking can build a life of wealth and freedom. 

The best part:

I started this business 10 years ago. It’s even easier to do this now” thanks to tech, he said.

Not to mention online business education.

These days, you can shortcut the process with UpFlip’s free Cleaning Business Masterclass.

Cristobal Mondragon, another massively successful cleaning services entrepreneur, will reveal the blueprint that took him from $0 to over $1M/year.

Woah, check these out…

📖 Neel told us this is one of the most valuable business books he’s read

🔥 Inspired to start a cleaning business? Check out this quick guide to building your website

💼 Charlie Munger recently passed away (RIP) — here are some nuggets of his business/investing wisdom

👨‍💻 Hybrid work arrangements are here to stay… businesses gotta adapt!

There are three ways to join UpFlip:

 ✔️ Check out our free 7-Figure Cleaning Business Blueprint course.

✔️ Think Neel’s story is a one-off? Check out our YouTube interviews with other successful cleaning businesses.

✔️ Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more awesome insights and inspiring business stories.

Weekly business trivia

What is a key trend in the cleaning services industry that has gained significant traction in recent years and is exemplified by businesses like MaidThis?

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Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen.

-Wayne Huizenga, founder of AutoNation and Waste Management Inc.

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