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Answering the call for a clean sweep

Updated:2022-02-21 12:25:35   China Daily

Wang Ziqian has found a niche in the cleaning market and set up an all-male operation for domestic cleaning in May last year in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province.

With almost military precision, they enter residential communities to carry out cleaning-up operations, literally. Wang Ziqian and his team get kitted out in uniform to clean homes.

These young men in their late 20s or early 30s, geared up in customized attire, pull along suitcases and make a beeline toward their destinations that await serious cleaning.

"It's not so much for some sense of ritual, but to get out of other residents' way," says the 32-year-old from Jiaxing, East China's Zhejiang province.

Wang has found a niche in the cleaning market and set up an all-male operation for domestic cleaning in May last year.

He set his sights on offering professional cleaning and sanitation management.

His business has been a hit among customers.

"We have been booked up for the following month," he says.

Upon arriving at a customer's home, Wang's team take the measure of the overall layout and communicate with the customer to fully understand the requirements before getting down to hard graft.

Each of them puts on one-off shoe covers and gloves and sterilizes themselves before going in.

In addition to the regular service, that includes removing stickers and washing the curtains, Wang's team offer special deep-cleaning packages, along with furniture rearrangement and clutter sorting.

For properties that just went through decoration, it usually takes quite a while just to clean a window, which is often dotted with cement and paint.

"Different cleaning tools are also needed to ensure a clean sweep of all the dirt in tough corners," Wang explains.

"The goal is to return everything to the original state, before the decoration."

Wang had been engaging in the home decoration contracting business for more than three years and has already developed a sharp sense of how various decorative materials work.

"Some cleaning tools and reagents might undermine those materials, while some have magical effects on specific stains," Wang says.

"Therefore, it's important to make the right choice."

It has been Wang's interest to explore the potential of different cleaning products.

"I often buy new products once they hit the market, and apply them to practice to test their efficiency," Wang says.

To date, Wang has garnered more than 10 cleaning reagents and more than 30 tools of various shapes and sizes, including brushes and blades up for all challenges.

For regular house cleaning, Wang and his team go straight for the jugular of resistant stains while treating every piece of furniture with great care.

When they deal with a leather sofa, for example, Wang and his team would go through every crease with a fine-toothed comb and scrub the surface with a soft hog hair brush to ensure the leather wouldn't be compromised.

They use disposable wipes to tackle tough grease in the kitchen.

"It avoids recycling stained ones, so no possible grease residue will be carried over to other spots," he says.

They leave no stone unturned. Kitchens, bedrooms, living and washing rooms are dealt with professionally, as well as the balcony and the study.

When everything is done and dusted, a nontoxic aerosol disinfectant will be applied.

Usually, it takes nine hours to finish an order.

"I'd like to think we offer whole-space hygiene management,"Wang says.

Rest assured, Wang doesn't charge by the hour, although his team have often worked more than nine hours to live up to their own expectations.

"The bottom line is to meet the customer's satisfaction," he says.
Wearing thin metal-framed glasses, the tall guy is thin and doesn't exude a stereotypical hint of being versed in domestic chores.

Wang has been into playing video games and studying trendy cars.

Having studied computer science in college, Wang spent a few years in software marketing and sales in Jiaxing after graduation in 2013.

Then, he changed the course of career and made inroads in the home decoration business, which his father and uncle both have been doing for years.

"I found there were no consistent cleaning standards for newly decorated properties," he says.

Although it wasn't covered by Wang's decoration business, the residual stains he spotted in his customers' home increasingly got on his nerves.

"It's probably affected by my mother who has been a bit compulsive about hygiene," Wang says.

"She would clean our home on a daily basis and would not tolerate a hair out of place, which might have rubbed off on me."

Wang's idea of plying a trade as a cleaner was first rejected by his family.

"My mother was like it wouldn't look good if a young boy went out to clean for other people," Wang says.
  Wang then opened his cleaning company Qineco and worked on recruiting a team of young men.

He has high standards toward hiring.

Candidates have to be men born in the '90s, not too short nor too fat.

"It's not about sexism or appearance," Wang says, adding that he didn't want his customers to think he just opened a garden-variety cleaning business with stereotyped middle-aged women charging for their service hours.

What he had in mind was striving for professional whole-space hygiene management.

"Young men might be more up to it," Wang says.

He believes it would be easier for them to accept his ideology about cleaning and the physical requirements is for high tasks of cleaning high places and corners that pose tough access.

"After all, it's a labor intensive job."

Wang was worried if he raised the recruitment bar too high, but was assured after a dozen young men actively responded.

His team now have 12 members, with an average age of 26.

"It's great we have so much in common, and we hang out and play video games in spare time as friends," Wang says.

Wang decided to give his friends free services to put his team through its paces.

"Everyone has to go through at least 10 orders before serving real customers," Wang says.

They filmed and edited their cleaning and released their work on the short-video platform Douyin and managed to attract increasing attention.

To date, more than 30 videos have been published, and some got more than 5,000 likes.

These young men in their late 20s or early 30s, geared up in customized attire, pull along suitcases and make a beeline toward their destinations that await serious cleaning.

"Many of our customers contacted us online," Wang says.

A local woman surnamed Zhang was one of Wang's first customers.

"I saw their house cleaning videos online, and it was good," Zhang says, adding that she had her new house cleaned once, but was not quite satisfied.

"There were still cement patches and glue here and there," she says.

After she learned that one of her friends tried Wang's service and waxed lyrical about his service, Zhang placed an order.

They did give Zhang's home a brand-new look after nine hours of work.

"I didn't know those young lads could work so conscientiously," she says.

The cleaning work has also brought great changes to Wang's teammates, who were mostly reluctant to lift a finger sorting things out back at home.

Now, they all have developed a fixation toward cleanness.

"I couldn't stand a hair out of place at home now," says Yu Xiaofeng, who was one of the first to join Wang's team.

"We were friends and he approached me when I wanted to change my pace of life," Yu says.

Yu used to be in the e-commerce business and often had to work overtime.

"It turned out to be a challenging work too," Yu says, adding that he didn't know where to start when faced with a roomful of clutters.

But he has grown to deal with various tough cleaning problems at work.
Wang considers his service very demanding for patience, meticulousness and physical strength.

"It needs work to know how to clean," he says.

So far, Wang's service has covered different parts of Jiaxing city and he set up a second branch in downtown Jiaxing in November.

"Some of our customers are willing to wait for a month, and it speaks volumes about the prospects of the market," Wang says.

Keywords:   Answering call clean sweep