[Photo provided by Lifelab]
Lifelab Corp. expects demand for its online cleaning service to increase as more women work and could help slow a decline birth rates by providing childcare services to families.
Lifelab’s Cleaning Lab is an app-based house cleaning service where customers can easily call a house cleaner to their doors. With 1.3 million customers and 100,000 housekeepers, the service is unrivaled in the housecleaning category. The app has a rating of 4.8 out of 5, with an 85 percent customer return rate.
“Dual income families see much less pressure to do family chores simply with help for cleaning and laundry. Reliable housekeeping services may eventually be one solution to low birth rates,” said Yeon Hyun-joo, chief executive officer of the cleaning service platform Lifelab. “Government aid for housekeeping services and platforms may be able to help solve the low birth rate.”
There is a growing number of large corporations, such as Kakao Corp. and SK telecom Co., that use their service as perks for pregnant employees or for employees in dual-income families, Yeon said.
The launch of this housekeeping service came from Yeon’s own experience as she struggled to find a housekeeper as a working mom with three children. Yeon has worked in the tech industry, with a career background at NCSoft Corp. and Kakao. She started the business in 2017 as she saw potential in housekeeping services based on running a similar internal venture project at Kakao.
Cleaning Lab successfully built a digital platform with a system where customers can have easier access to housekeeping services. In the past, customers mostly had to find such help through small neighborhood agencies or through acquaintances.
“Neighborhood agencies tended to provide live-in or full-time keepers, which narrowed the customer target to rich families,” Yeon said. “Cleaning Lab, however, provides date- and time-based on-demand services, which can bring in a much larger customer base, ranging from low- to mid-income young families all the way to one-person households, making the services more widely available.”
Yeon Hyun-joo, chief executive officer of the cleaning service platform Lifelab [Photo provided by Lifelab]
Customers have options when it comes to choosing a cleaner as information on their strengths are available, Yeon said. Customers also can choose whether or not to hire that particular cleaner on a regular basis or to call a different cleaner every time.
The company’s biggest strength is that it can provide a standardized service, Yeon said. Cleaners from neighborhood agencies often have a large gap in their abilities, depending on their personalities and preferences, and sometimes customers demand too much, which tend to end up in conflicts.
“We have standardized our services among our cleaners and our cleaners can leave the house immediately if the customer asks for too much,” Yeon said. “A better work environment has led to more professional, full-time cleaners who cover 10 to 20 households each day. We have made housekeeping into professional work.”
Calling a cleaner through Cleaning Lab is fairly simple. Any person can open the app, enter some basic information about the residence through the booking process, choose a date or a regular time, and request a cleaner. Then, the app matches a cleaner who has completed the company’s training program.
“Laundry or window cleaning services can be provided for free and other additional services are also available,” Yeon said. Customers can ask to clean only part of their house, such as bathrooms or the fridge. Prices vary by region, but usually a 100 square-meter apartment costs about 60,000 won ($45.4) for four hours of work.
The company has damage insurance plans to cover any damages from potential accidents or theft, Yeon said.
By Chung Ji-sung and Chang Iou-chung
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