Dr. Sebastian Schneider of ExtraSauber tells us how to book cleaning conveniently online.
First of all, how are you and your family doing?
Sebastian Schneider: We are doing pretty well – especially because life is slowly getting back to normal after two years of the pandemic. My wife and I are expecting our third child to grow up in a post-Covid environment.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded ExtraSauber.
Sebastian Schneider: Christian Pauls, the current CEO of ExtraSauber, and I were best friends at school and graduated from high school together. I studied business informatics while Christian did business education – but the entrepreneurial gene has always slumbered both of us. Christian ended up in Romania, where he founded two smaller firms that still exist today, and then started working for a consulting company in Vienna. I worked in Spain after finishing my doctorate. During this time, we came up with the idea for ExtraSauber – an online platform where customers can legally and transparently book individual cleaners and cleaning teams who we have checked in a thorough review process in advance. The black market for cleaners, especially in the private sector, is huge. Since its foundation in 2014, ExtraSauber has offered a real alternative. Besides Austria, our service is now also available in Germany and Switzerland.
How does ExtraSauber market its product/services online?
Sebastian Schneider: We employ a well-balanced marketing strategy of social media activities, Google and YouTube Ads, native advertisement, and email marketing. However, when it comes to onboarding new cleaning companies, the importance of “offline marketing” cannot be stressed enough. Our sales representatives are constantly out in the field to spot highly motivated cleaning companies and inform them about the abundance of benefits that come with an ExtraSauber business partnership.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how did you get through it?
Sebastian Schneider: At the beginning of the pandemic, the bookings of standard home cleanings were dropping immensely – in March 2020, they even went down to zero. We quickly adjusted to this new situation by offering special cleaning services such as intensive and disinfectant cleaning, the cleaning of houses after renovation, pools, windows, winter gardens, and parking facilities. To only name a few. By now, there is almost nothing that cannot be cleaned via ExtraSauber.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Sebastian Schneider: Google Ad Sense is a useful tool to manage and monitor online campaigns. We also use software for email marketing. In the end, however, successful marketing does not go without the intervention of human beings who put their heart and creativity into every campaign. We, therefore, decided to hire a communications expert who creates and co-ordinates our marketing and advertisement campaigns since this year. After only a few months, we have already seen tremendous results and a clear increase in bookings.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Sebastian Schneider: Our by far biggest competitor is actually the black market. But also, any online platform with a similar business model can be viewed as a competitor, regardless of its size. Booking sites for cleaning services are not new, and competition is huge. For customers, however, we clearly stand out from the crowd by offering special cleaning solutions for almost any imaginable cleaning problem. When it comes to the registered partner companies, we provide them with exceptional working conditions. We have recently been rated in a joint scientific study by the Oxford Internet Institute and the Berlin Social Science Center as the fairest cleaning online platform in german-speaking countries (Fairwork Austria Ratings 2022). We regard this first success as a great incentive to advocate even more for our registered partner companies and freelance cleaners.
Your final thoughts?
Sebastian Schneider: We follow a very people-oriented approach in all areas of our business. Sure, automation and artificial intelligence are highly important regarding company development. However, we never forget that at the end of it all, it is a real human being that books or offers the service on our platform. Besides online and offline marketing strategies, this is the key to sustainable business success – a well-working customer service, great solutions to the most nagging cleaning problems, and fair platform conditions for partner companies and customers.