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Exec Shuts Down Non-Cleaning Service
49 points by nicklovescode on Sept 10, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 23 comments
Just received this email:

Dear Exec Errands Customers,

Thank you for being great customers of Exec. Sadly, Exec Errands will be shutting down on Friday, September 20. Exec as a company will continue to operate our cleaning service.

Errands that have already been scheduled for after September 20 we will unfortunately not be able to perform. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes.

Thanks for using Exec.

Best Regards,

Justin Kan CEO, Exec

That's too bad.

Best of luck as you move forward as a cleaning company.

The biggest issue I see with most on-demand cleaning services is that they don't do the type of cleaning I actually need done. I don't need my surfaces dusted as much as I need laundry picked up, washed, dried, and folded, and trash, like soda cans, the occasional pizza box etc. gathered up and tossed.

Basically I want an on-demand cleaning service I can call when my place is a total mess, without doing any pre-cleanup.

>That's too bad.

>Best of luck as you move forward as a cleaning company.

I'm sure that was said with the best of intents, but it could also be the most withering put-down ever issued in the dotcom space. I'll be saving that phrase for special occasions.

Haha, in retrospect it does read that way, but its not a put down at all. My company works on lots of innovative projects, but my bread and butter is an IT hardware service solution that lowers vendor maintenance costs. Doesn't get much less sexy than that.

I'm a firm believer in going straight for the big, dull, slog of a B2B startup for the first go-round. Hopefully the end result will be some cash in the bank and a good deal of experience for when it's time to try to change the world.

Hire an independent immigrant maid service. It sounds... I don't know, evil or something, but corporate maid services are terrible while independent hard-working low-skill immigrants (typically middle-aged women) have been awesome for me.

I pay $25/hr and my house cleaner comes twice per week and vaccuums, does laundry, takes out all the trash, picks up everything, etc. Literally anything you can think of.

Make that into an app, and I'll be your first customer. It's the convenience factor that bothers me. How do you differentiate a good housekeeper from someone who's going to steal my nutella? (I don't keep much of value in the house.)

No question that this needs to be done. The problem is mobilizing said labor force to accept technology. My maid barely checks her email once per week.

The depression of wages and lack of adopting technology/communication go hand in hand, to no surprise of anyone here.

I just met her through a moving service when I hired people to pack up and move my belongings when I bought a new house. Actually need to put boots on the ground for this kind of thing.

SMS-based maybe? Pretty much everybody's got a cell phone.

Ask your neighbours. Madness, I know.

$25/hour seems astonishingly high for an independent maid service. You should be able to find similarly high quality maids for $10-15/hr, or fixed rates that are far below $25/hr ($25-50 per cleaning).

Trust is a big factor. I can run errands with her in the house without fearing for something being stolen or I can leave my toddler with her and she's great. $25/hr isn't that much at all considering she scrubs floors and does very detailed work that the major places won't do (for even more money, I might add).

I'm surprised to hear this. Of course there's always more going on under the hood but I've had nothing but totally positive experiences using Exec Errands.

Curious if anyone has some more insight into what happened. Not enough demand? Money-losing?

Justin's last company, Justin.tv started off as a general purpose streaming video company, then found out the video game streaming was the bigger opportunity and spun off Twitch.tv which has become a much larger and more important company.

Exec started as a general purpose errand company, perhaps they found that cleaning held an opportunity to build an important company, so they're trimming the fat to focus.

Aren't they going to have the same problem like Tutorspree, that once you have the contact info of a cleaner that you like, you simply work with him/her directly and bypass the (hefty?) exec transaction fee?

With a cleaner you have greater insurance/liability issues. Both in terms of protecting you from theft, etc. and also in terms of protecting you legally if your cleaner has an accident on your property.

hopefully. it's great to hear of rent seeking ventures failing.

I guess "do things that don't scale" can't really work forever... Sad.

I think it's unfair to compare Exec to TaskRabbit, as the former offered a much more curated experience. I believe the problem lies right there: it's really tough to intermediate supply and demand for broadly define "services", this just doesn't scale... Beyond the initial phase in which you are working really hard to amuse early customers, that is.

I for one have been amused by them in multiple occasions, Execs have helped me do things as diverse as assembling furniture and moving stuff around.

I think Exec and TaskRabbit share(d) a similar problem in that they are so broad that consumers aren't sure what to use the platform for. Renewed focus on a single service makes sense, but they face competition from Handybook and Homejoy. It's probably also difficult to differentiate in this market since the maids are all likely independent contractors.

I thought I read somewhere that their most popular service was furniture assembling. Was that not the case?

What a shame, I've been using Exec for ikea furniture and it was great. The cleaning service is incredibly expensive vs Homejoy which provide an incredible service.

0. HomeJoy was already in this space. HomeJoy was PathJoy, yc iirc.


1. Any big pivot will take time for trust to return.

Consider Zarly was originally exploring this model, before they pivoted elsewhere.

I'm interested to see if TaskRabbit and Postmates stick with it, or eventually pivot away.

TaskRabbit has made a recent shift into a B2B play, too, as they've never been sustainable. They also made a shift in company size laying off several staff members.


Interesting. Seeing more of these startups focus on small niches instead of "we'll find someone to do anything".

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