Two Men &A Vacuum seeks better standards for the cleaning industry.
Cody Warren says he loved cleaning more than coloring as a child. This penchant followed him into a filthy college frat house that drove him crazy but polished his skills.
Years later, the self-described serial entrepreneur with one business already under his belt began talking up a fledgling cleaning business during runs in German Village. And when he was cleaning the houses of seven neighbors, he knew he was on to something.
But the impetus for creating Two Men & A Vacuum also came from a need Warren saw for a better-branded and regulated business that encourages cleaners to become masters at their skill—something he plans to implement in the future.
“The industry is very broken,” he says. “You can have mom-and-pop shops who are not insured; they're not doing anything by the book because there's no regulations. … We want to disrupt the industry by creating a career path for cleaners.”
Warren's model caught on, and Two Men & A Vacuum wasn't two men for too long. The business grew with an initial focus on residential cleaning. Warren says he'll replicate the growth model as Two Men expands to northwest Ohio and Cincinnati. He already expanded to Cleveland in October 2016.
The company also has been securing commercial cleaning accounts such as Charles Penzone Grand Salons. The allure of Two Men & A Vacuum comes from its self-made ticketing system and a quality control team that makes sure the “dirt specialists” have cleaned up to par.
“We built (the ticketing system) ourselves, where—kind of like the IT field—if you have an issue, you can just get (online and) submit a ticket. We're notified right away, we mark that we've accepted it, you get notified back and watch the process until it's complete,” Warren explains.
Charles Penzone isn't the only company pleased with Two Men & A Vacuum. QuickInsured's Brewery District office has been dusted, vacuumed and emptied of trash by Two Men for a little more than a year.
“We've gone through probably three or four different cleaning organizations; so many of them don't have quality control in place,” says Jerry Batt, owner and CEO of QuickInsured.
“The other companies we used before just basically wouldn't care. … They never had any interaction (with us) or seemed to care about the quality, so that's certainly been one of the standouts.”
And Warren continues to come up with ways Two Men can grow.
“I've found being in this industry that there's not a lot of resources. … We're building our own (customer relationship management) tool, we're building our own voting software and something that's kind of like Thumbtack. … we'll provide these tools, and other cleaning companies or service-based companies can use it for a fee.” In addition, the company is rolling out a full range of natural cleaning products in scents like ginger and lime, or bourbon and honey, which he says has attracted attention from the HGTV show, “Fixer Upper.”
But not everything is sparkling.
“It's going well, but as we all know, it's very hard to find and retain good employees.” Warren says. “I tell everyone on my executive team I stay positive by thinking that every business has those struggles—just us more.”
“We may bring on 25 dirt specialists and retain two. (We hear) everything from the dog ate my car to the app doesn't work on my phone. We get someone in here that seems so great and is begging for work, and they won't show up to their first assignment.”
This challenge, experienced by many employers, has shaped the way Warren explains Two Men to clients.
“When I first started this company I would tell people we are going to be the best, most quality cleaning company in the world. … I've changed my way of talking about Two Men when I put on my sales hat. ... I say, ‘Look, we're going to make mistakes, but at the end of the day we care and we want you to be happy.' Now, we have clients that tell us exactly that. We're really good about (fixing problems) and we continue to be good about that.”
Chloe Teasley is editorial assistant.