Amidst all the economic doom and gloom of the past few months, there was at least one ray of light for some of those typically most affected by fiscal hardships. SweepSouth, South Africa’s largest home service provider, recently experienced record festive season bookings, showcasing its ability to provide employment opportunities for thousands of people.
Through the course of the festive season, the high-profile startup saw more than 100 000 bookings created. More than 80% of those bookings were completed, with just over 3 000 of them being same-day bookings. The average SweepStar (SweepSouth’s name for the people who fulfill the home service bookings) completed more than 18 bookings during the period, illustrating how important a source of income SweepSouth can be, particularly at a time when having a little bit of extra money can be crucial.
“We are thrilled to see the impact we have been able to make on so many lives during this festive season. Not only should we focus on the work done, but the new working relationships created which will extend many years into the future – turning a festive bonus into stable income. We also prize the opportunity to delight many new seasonal customers and set an example of the fair treatment and pay that domestic workers should enjoy throughout the year,” says Luke Kannemeyer, MD at SweepSouth.
Further underlining SweepSouth’s importance in this regard is the fact that 98% of SweepStars earned the minimum guaranteed pay over the festive period. That guaranteed minimum pay meant that, up to a certain threshold, even if a SweeepStar didn’t meet their quota, SweepSouth paid them the shortfall. The service also increased the amount that customers were allowed to tip their SweepStars over the festive period. For one SweepStar, who took home a R3 000 tip, that additional benefit turned out to be very lucrative.
“By increasing the amount customers can tip domestic workers over the December festive period, we saw over R650,000 in tips being paid out, with some even receiving tips as high as R1,500 and R3,000,” says the company’s Chief Product Officer, Chris Basson. “We’re grateful to our customers for recognising the hard work and dedication of domestic workers, and we’re committed to continuing to find new ways to reward and support them.”
Same Service, New Features
As important as such a busy festive season may have been in providing work opportunities for SweepStars, SweepSouth is constantly looking for new ways to improve its offering to them for the rest of the year too.
“At SweepSouth, our mission is to create a platform that benefits both our customers and domestic workers,” says Basson. “We believe that by empowering domestic workers, we can provide better service and build stronger, longer-lasting relationships with our customers. Recently, we have been working hard to value and empower our SweepStars, and we’re proud to say that our efforts have paid off.”
Among the features which SweepSouth has rolled out on that front are ones that give SweepStars greater control over their bookings, including being able to pre-screen and decline customer bookings.
“With the ability to pre-screen and decline customer bookings, domestic workers can now focus on finding the right jobs for them,” Basson says. “The initial response from the domestic workers who find employment opportunities through our platform has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re excited to continue refining our platform to make it even better for everyone involved.”
SweepStars Embrace The Change
For their part, the SweepStars (some of whom have been on the platform for several years) enjoyed the festive season uptick and are also making the most of the new features.
“I love SweepSouth,” says Pretty Mbali, who joined the platform in 2019. “I have learnt to see different areas and I am fully booked and get paid on time. I pay my bills with the income that I get from SweepSouth and my work experience is improving each and every day. The festive season was really good, with some of my clients giving me Christmas presents.”
“I was jobless, but SweepSouth helped me and changed my life,” says Maxwell Mugweni, who joined the platform in February 2020. “Because of it, I am able to pay the fees for my youngest child. These past three years have made me a happy man. What I love most is that SweepSouth taught me how to represent myself to clients.”
For Privilege Mafukidze, who joined SweepSouth in 2021, being on the platform has been about much more than income.
“SweepSouth has changed my life so much in terms of finance,” she says. “Beyond that, it has impacted my life so much. I get to meet new people with different personalities and have learnt to work with people and to engage with any character or attitude.”
She adds that working over the festive season was incredibly rewarding: “It was the best season of all time, because everyone was in a festive mood, and I got gifts and presents and also earned a lot.”
An Eye On The Future
The company is not resting on its laurels when it comes to SweepSouth’s future either.
“Looking ahead, we’re focused on simplifying and improving the partnerships that are established when customers and domestic workers find one another,” says Basson. “Our goal is to provide more convenience and simplicity for customers while also giving domestic workers more inclusion and empowerment.”