As startups compete for the best talent, Homejoy is announcing a way for companies to offer employees an additional perk — a clean home. Home cleanings may not be a standard perk yet, but they're not an entirely new idea, either. Last fall, The New York Times wrote that in Silicon Valley, "the employee perk is moving from the office to the home," with both Evernote and the Stanford School of Medicine experimenting with offering housecleaning to their employees. That can be especially appealing when startups ask teams to work long hours, so they don't have time to clean their homes themselves. There are, of course, other cleaning services, but Growth Manager Jeffrey Pang said that as with the company's consumer product, the goal of Homejoy's perks program is to make the process as convenient as possible. The company works directly with office administrators to set up Homejoy accounts for employees. Then, when an employee logs in, they should see a credit for their monthly cleaning, and they schedule a cleaning just like any other user. They can also see user ratings for their cleaners and offer their own feedback, and all of that data is also fed into Homejoy's analytics system. Homejoy charges the same as it does in the consumer version, $20 an hour — that's significantly cheaper than most other cleaning services. Pang said he's already been testing the program out with some tech companies, such as Heyzap, and he anticipated that it will be startups that are most willing to adopt the program. At the same time, he said larger companies that don't want to offer this to all employees (at least not initially) could also use it on a more limited basis, for example as a perk for the employee of the month or for expectant mothers. "I think other industries have been slower to adopt something like this, but I could see it becoming more and more popular outside of tech," Pang said. Homejoy is now available in 19 cities, including he San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington D.C. and Seattle. The perks program is available in all of those cities, and interested companies can sign up here. The company is also promoting the program with a "dirtiest desk" contest, where people can submit a photo of, yes, their dirty desks. The winner will get a month of free home cleanings for their entire company — they'll be selected via random drawing, but apparently getting people to like and tweet about your photo improves your chances. Since I had Pang and Homejoy CEO and co-founder Adora Cheung on the phone, I also asked about something I'd been noticing as a Homejoy customer — so the wait times for a cleaning seem to be getting longer. (Maybe I was really just being a grumpy customer complaining about having to schedule cleanings several weeks in advance, but in my head, at least, it was a more substantive question about balancing supply and demand.) "We want to bring on high-quality cleaners as fast as possible but not so fast that bad cleaners who don't clean well come through our system," Cheung said. "We've gotten better in recent weeks. We're trying to balance supply and demand as much as possible." Pang added that the Bay Area is the only region where Homejoy has experienced "wait time issues." Also, in case it wasn't clear, Homejoy is a startup itself, having been incubated at Y Combinator and raised funding from Andreessen Horowitz and others.
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