Today San Francisco-based Exec, the startup that lets anyone hire an executive assistant or house cleaner, announced the launch of its new mobile app for its cleaning service platform, in addition to its expansion into Seattle. BetaKit covered the launch of the The Y Combinator-backed company in February 2012, and since then the company had added 300 prescreened errand runners and cleaners in an effort to extensively cover the San Francisco and San Diego areas, with an existing iPhone app for its errand service.
After seeing several requests for cleaning, the company decided to create a dedicated house cleaning service, which launched in November of last year. The new mobile app will now let anyone book cleaners on the go by specifying the size of their home or apartment and picking a time slot. “Our goal is to be the premium cleaning service that always works. The iPhone app lets you book a cleaning right from your phone,” said co-founder Justin Kan, formerly the founder of Justin.tv, in an interview with BetaKit. “People were telling us, ‘I love the service and want to able to book it from the phone while I’m on the go,’ and it’s always been a big use case for Exec and local services, you just want to do them when you think about them, and it just lowers the barriers for users.”
After a user books a house cleaner, either through the web or mobile app, the company sends two “execs” who use green and organic cleaning supplies and are prescreened, tested, and trained for the job. Users are quoted a fixed price that is based on the size of the space they are looking to have cleaned, however, Kan said the average cost is $120, in contrast to the $25 an hour cost for having an exec run an errand.
Kan acknowledged that by no means is the company the only player in the service and task marketplace space, which is continuing to get crowded with players like Skillpages, TaskRabbit, Zaarly, and Handybook, which is more specific to cleaning services. “We’re not the first by any means, we’re probably the last of Zaarly and TaskRabbit to launch. Our goal is always to provide the simplest experience possible and the most uniform I would say,” Kan added. “I want you to really use our services without doing a lot of thinking and mental work, one thing about other services is that I had to think a lot about how I was going to pay them, how much I was going to pay, who to book…we want to remove a lot of those barriers.”
Exec is particular about who they accept to run errands and clean houses, and while that’s great for users who want a high quality of service, it’s caused them to scale slower than competitors like TaskRabbit, which is now available in nine cities. With a move to Seattle the company is in the midst of a more aggressive expansion plan, though it’s not clear how quickly they’ll be able to catch up with competitors. The new iPhone app should help the company target consumers who want to book cleaners and other help on the go, but the key to growth really will be through expanding to new cities, something Exec will have to do in 2013 if it wants to become a major player in the tasks-for-hire space.