We talked to Henri Haho of Koti Puhtaaksi about cleaning services that make people’s daily life easier and increase their free time.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Henri Haho: We are doing great. We have 3and 5-year-old kids and my spare time goes outside doing some sports with them. Mostly swimming and ice skating. Now we have more time together, which is excellent.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Koti Puhtaaksi?
Henri Haho: I met my wife in Sydney in 2009, and we traveled together there for a few months. While being backpackers down under, we decided to found a company whenever we got back to Finland. We both had terrible experiences with previous employees and wanted to build a fair workplace for us.
After one and a half years of traveling, we returned to Finland and started to find out what we wanted to do. My wife’s uncle had a company that sold vacuum cleaners door to door. We founded a company and started to do the same thing. Quickly we realized customers wanted a professional cleaner, not a vacuum cleaner, so we changed the plan.
After a few years of home cleaning, we realized we had a chance to build a real company. One more prominent company tried to buy us, and during the DD process we realized, we could do this business better than the more prominent company who wanted to buy us.
Now we have a chance to buy that “prominent” company, and we have 300 cleaners all over Finland.
How does Koti Puhtaaksi innovate?
Henri Haho: We ask every month from all employers how to improve our company and working environment. We then make improvements which we can and inform everyone about those improvements. Then we repeat this process. We do the same thing with customers also, but the cycle is three months.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Henri Haho: At first, we lost 50% of our revenue but managed to react quickly and survived quite well. We are doing better, and our net growth of 2020 will be 32% and still profitable. We are more than happy with these numbers. The team is pure diamond. Next year will be great—more than 100% net growth.
2020 Revenue 4.7m€ Profit of 200 000€
2021 Revenue 10m€ Profit 1m€
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Henri Haho: The most difficult decision was not to sell this company in 2017. We got a ridiculously high offer—1,5m€ for our company. Finally, we decided with other shareholders not to sell. We made plans for the future and built the biggest and most beautiful home cleaning company in Nordic. We also set one big goal to be the best workplace in Finland for big companies. That means we needed to have more than 500 employers. We are halfway there and the second biggest cleaning company in Finland and with the best workplace, but Norway is still not opened.
We learned that we have to trust ourselves, and the dreams you write on paper will come to be one day. We also realized that we needed to share shares with our employers to get the best out of them.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Henri Haho: I started mixed martial arts. It helps a lot with stress. It’s just another world. There it’s not possible to think of anything else than the next dodge or attack.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Henri Haho: We see our competitors as possible partners, and we treat them with high respect and help them if we can. For example, we share all the inbound leads, which we can’t take to our competitors. Now we are even building a platform, which helps customers find the most suitable home cleaning provider. Also, our ERP is free for all our competitors who have three or fewer workers. Bigger ones pay a little bit from it.
We have to do the cleaning by ourselves – attitude, newborn platform culture, Freska, and 5000 other small companies.
We have a unique profitable concept ERP, which makes it hard to beat. Running a big home cleaning company is not easy.
We plan to develop the best home cleaning concept here in Finland and then spread it to nordic countries. Key elements are ERP application, presents in key locations, best employer experience, and franchise concept to smaller cities and towns.
We are also doing great with the media as there are more than 500 articles written in the main news already. Every third person recognizes our company in Finland.
Your final thoughts?
Henri Haho: Our story is in the beginning, and I love to walk through it. I think this moment is the best one. After a few years, we will face a moment when we need investors for international operations, which will be interesting.