How an Ambitious House Cleaner Showed Thousands of People That Toilet Scrubbing Can Be a Noble Profession
Grace Reynolds overcame poverty and abuse to build Walla Walla, Washington's Handmaid Cleaning into a $500,000 business. Now she's the beacon to whom the world's cleaners flock. Editor's note: This tour of small businesses across the country highlights the imagination, diversity, and resilience of American enterprise. Vinegar on granite countertops is bad news.
The stigma on house cleaning is our society’s ignorance at work. It is a stigma that runs deep in all of us, from the beginning of time. We can trace its roots back generations – from our grandmothers work in the home, to Irish indentured servants and African slaves, to ancient times before the stories of servants could even be recorded and recognized today. What’s worse is that it’s still thriving, despite our modern times of democracy and recognition of civil rights.
This is a stigma of double standards, which labels house cleaners’ work as “unskilled” and “unimportant”, while demanding superior results that are only possible with refined skills and integrity. In short, “cutting off the nose to spite the face”. We are battling a stigma that demeans the very person, by attaching itself through the status of their livelihoods.
AHCA members are giving back to this movement that is transforming the world’s understanding toward our profession and helping us crush the stigmas surrounding the work of this trade.
The AHCA is already changing the world's perspective on cleaning. From bringing the industry together in our Handmaid® Cleaning Community that continues to inspire a greater pride for the trade cleaner's provide their communities around the world to securing media for our members in their local service areas, to educating the public on why cleaning is a skilled and necessary trade, to our very controversial Stigma Series which stemmed from industry leaders having a skewed view on their own industry. We are a voice for ALL cleaners. But we need your help to reach the masses. "The voice of few won't be heard. The voice of many won't be silenced." -SM.
Here's what YOU can do to help:
- Become an official member of The AHCA for as little as $10 per month. Then be sure to include The AHCA logo in all of your advertising, and inform your clients that they are hiring an AHCA certified member.
- Join our FREE Handmaid Cleaning Community online and share your knowledge and support for 18,000+ cleaners worldwide.
- Wear #NotJustACleaningLady swag *Be prepared to share your story and The AHCA mission with folks while wearing it...You'll get lots of attention!
- Follow us on social media and spread the word to your friends and family (the more the merrier).
-Check out our missions page to see a few more ideas where you can submit your story for us to share, and learn more about each project!
What is the AHCA?
The American House Cleaners Association is a member-based organization on a mission dedicated to raising the respect, recognition, and awareness of house cleaners everywhere. For the first time in history, there is an organized movement for the cleaners that is effectively changing the way society views the cleaning industry. Cleaning has been viewed as a luxury for ages, but we are flipping the script. We know that cleaning is a skilled and necessary professional trade.
Early on in her cleaning career, AHCA Founder Grace Reynolds realized there is a stigma attached to the cleaning industry as a whole. Professional cleaners are often considered “just a cleaning lady”, disrespected, and many times not even considered a legitimate business. Grace knew there had to be a way to change the way the world views our much-needed industry, and hence The AHCA was born.
What does the AHCA do?
The beauty of The AHCA is that it is a large advocate for cleaners everywhere. But we aren't just raising respect by bringing awareness to the public. We're also giving cleaners the tools and knowledge to succeed, from our free Handmaid Cleaning community (see more below) to business files, support, and trusted systems and programs at never before seen prices. We know owning a cleaning business can be tough, and other conventions and programs are unrealistically expensive and centered on making profit for the developer. We say, why not help the cleaners who are changing lives and show them we believe in them and want them to succeed. We want to offer affordable help to our members, including press spotlights to garner more business (which in turn brings more respect and awareness).
How will the AHCA accomplish this goal of increasing respect and awareness?
After years of strategy, planning, and discussions The AHCA has developed 5 membership options. Each one is based around special projects that help support its overall mission. We didn’t want to just have tiered memberships with no connection to the mission…we wanted each membership to mean something and help towards the goal related to that project.
For example, if you love giving back to your community with free or discounted cleanings, then the Servant’s Heart Project is probably the best choice for you. If you have the knowledge and skills needed already but believe in our mission and want to help propel the industry into one of inclusion, the Advocate option would be the perfect membership for you.
These projects are all equally important to the overall mission of educating the public, as well as those in the vital role of professional cleaning. We hope you will read more on the purpose of each one and choose which one speaks to you.
The AHCA’s Handmaid Cleaning Community is leading the industry by its never-before-seen culture and family atmosphere! Despite the fears and pushback this community's unique approach still receives, it has become the largest, most supportive and informative professional cleaning community in the world! The community focus is bringing people together as a family, growing for the good of all who serve in this way, providing much needed support to professional cleaners new and old. We have to stop the stigma within ourselves. Let’s not be enemies. Let’s be friends, lean on one another, celebrate our success and be there during the losses. When we come together in this way, we’re effectively raising the respect for our trade. Together we are stronger. Stronger we are smarter. Smarter = we ALL win!