I caught up with Omar Bensaid as he was helping clear out a friend’s yard in Boston. “I’m taking out weeds and replacing containers that will contain plants to restructure the garden. It’s spring cleaning!” he said as he multitasked to answer my questions while he worked.
Omar has not been home to Algeria in nine years, but we can’t help thinking his mother is proud of the success he’s had in running his own businesses in the U.S. He made his way to the Boston area after visiting Florida in 2008, then taking the train up north for better economic opportunities. While still active in the computer technology field Boston is known for, Omar is taking a small break from that work to focus on building his cleaning business, Fair Home Cleaning Services. He speaks five languages and has plans to develop bilingual products that will be able to provide cleaning services to people who aren’t completely fluent in English. “There are so many people in the U.S. and even in Massachusetts who aren’t able to speak the language that clearly, and a multi-language option would make it easier for them to access these services,” Omar said.
His approach to finding customers is to look for people who need help with anything labor-intensive. “Some people might be looking for help with yardwork, handyman jobs, or house cleaning. I improvise what I can offer them and provide additional help, like moving services, replacing toilet seats. My focus is to provide labor that will solve the issue for someone, whatever that issue is.” This is how he gets his foot in the door, and then he quickly shows off his varied skill set to clients who book him for more work. He gets additional work from people who hire him to clean out their yards or tend to their gardens, working his way into the house to provide a full suite of services for clients. “It wasn’t a big leap to go from moving people to helping them clean after they move. Then it became a habit to have people demanding I do the things I’m good at.”
Omar takes pride in his work, with the goal of providing the best quality service at affordable prices. He attacks dirty homes with relish, saying “Whatever is dirty will disappear! I love finding where the dirt is hiding and getting rid of it.”
As other cleaning services have echoed, cleaning is a very personal business. “It’s so personal that some people have tears in their eyes after they see six months of overwhelming dirt that you cleared away… I can help with computers, but this is different. The bathroom or kitchen where people live is not like a computer that you can replace. I’m honored to be chosen to help in their home.”
Right now Fair Home Cleaning Services is a one-man cleaning company, but Omar claims to work highly efficiently, getting the work of two people done by himself. “I don’t have a structured team I can trust yet,” he said. When he was working with a larger cleaning company, his high standards of cleaning made him the emergency fixer to call whenever other cleaners had abandoned a job.
One of those abandoned jobs was a home in a good part of town that had rat droppings. Several cleaning companies had given up on the place and refused to clean, but Omar jumped in to help. “The house smelled like it had not been cleaned in years, but I didn’t say a word, I just put myself in the client’s shoes and imagined who would come and clean for me in that situation.”
The biggest perk about working for himself is the flexibility and being able to make his own decisions without supervision. He’s seen how other people have tried to run their own businesses but get distracted and lose traction. Omar has studied other cleaning companies and sees a common problem being a new cleaner sent in after the client gets comfortable with a certain cleaner after a period of time. “You get to know every little corner in the house, you get to know the house and the people. It’s like the mechanic that fixes your car–they’re used to fixing that particular car, but if you give it to someone else they might not know what they’re doing.”
Once again, communication is key. “You need honest communication between the client and the cleaner.” Before he starts a job, he focuses on communicating clearly with the client to make them feel comfortable, and spends at least ten minutes chatting with them before getting down to work.
As for why someone should hire a cleaning company, Omar pointed out that the tasks that people handle on a day-to-day basis are already time-consuming, but that cleaning companies are like barbershops, necessary parts of the community. “No one would say that we don’t need a barbershop. With cleaning, everyone needs a helping hand.”
Book this Boston-area cleaning service to get an extra pair of hands to help you around the house.