A gap in the market for domestic helpers who were both qualified and available while on holiday in Cape Town spurred Aisha Pandor and her husband Alen Ribic to create a new digital platform – a home cleaning service called SweepSouth.

“We really struggled to find people,” says Aisha. “We looked in various places. We looked at the classifieds, we looked on Gumtree, we asked friends for referrals and the experience left us feeling deflated.”

Alen is a developer and Aisha has experience working in human resources, strategy and supply chain management. With this in mind, the duo felt that their combined experience would stand them in good stead to build a platform from scratch.

SweepSouth is available as an online platform for phones, computers and tablets and it’s aim is to match people who are looking for experienced domestic helpers in their area with potential employees.

Aisha Pandor and Alen Ribic. Source: SweepSouth
Aisha Pandor and Alen Ribic. Source: SweepSouth

SweepSouth works via an on-demand model, much like Uber. Before booking, users supply payment details and can then request the different cleaning services. They’ll be matched with someone who’s in their area who’ll then come and clean their space. Money is deducted from the account after the service has been provided, at a fixed charge of R38 per hour.

Using their own money to start up the business, the pair only recently acquired outside funding.

“We cashed in our pensions, sold our cars and sold our house so that we were completely self-funded initially,” Aisha says

READ MORE: WATCH: From domestic worker to businesswoman

SweepSouth is also aims to empower the women who do the cleaning. Aisha says the cleaners take 80% of the payment, while 20% goes into maintaining and marketing the site.

“For us, it’s very much about being in charge of your own destiny. Our cleaners are independent contractors and they’re in charge of where they want to work, how many hours they want to work and who they want to work for,” explains Aisha.

The cleaners are handpicked by SweepSouth and go through a rigorous vetting process before being allowed to join the it. It requires a minimum of two years’ experience from each cleaner and a background and criminal record check is also conducted, followed by a face-to-face interview.

READ MORE: Steps to take to be a better employer to your domestic worker

The cleaners also have their say about the different clients they work for and are able to rate the owner of each house.

“We have a dual rating system where it’s not only our clients who are telling us about cleaners, but the cleaners are also telling us about which clients they want to work with and which they don’t. So we’re giving them back the power in terms of deciding who they want to work for,” says Aisha.

The services are currently available in Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg for houses, apartments and small offices.

Visit www.SweepSouth.com to book