The pandemic may have highlighted the importance of well-cleaned homes, but long before the health crisis began, Happy Helpers PH has been a friend to many families in ensuring every part of their house is safe and spic and span.
Behind Happy Helpers is Joanna Endaya and her business partner Maan Sicam. The cleaning solutions company has been helping not only its clients with the enterprise’s good service, but also making sure its team of mothers from their community have sufficient incomes to provide for their families.
Sharing stories of how it all started, Endaya was joined by Happy Helpers cleaning coach Merlina Legrra during Daily Tribune’s “Kalingang Katribu” show. To learn more about how this business can help homeowners while in quarantine, here are excerpts from the interview:
Daily Tribune (DT): What’s Happy Helpers all about, how did it start and when was it founded?
Joanne Endaya (JE): Happy Helpers was started five years ago by two mothers, me and my business partner and good friend Maan Sicam. Actually, this was an idea brought about by living abroad. Both Maan and I lived overseas because of our husbands at that time and that’s where we really learned how to manage our homes.
When I, Maan, and her family moved back to the Philippines, her concern was, “Saan ba ko makakatawag sa isang company na nandoon na lahat? (Is there a company I can call that handles everything I need?)” Five years down the road, here we are helping more mothers and cleaning not just homes but also commercial spaces.
DT: How did you get the mothers and made them part of the Happy Helpers team?
JE: Part of our business model is building the enterprise near our community. Our head office is in Taguig City, in Barangay Pinagsama. So all of the mothers live within the area and basically walk to the office. Walang gastos sa pag-commute. We provide everything they need for the job — uniforms, cleaning kits, solutions — lahat ng kailangan para sa trabaho, we provide it. When the pandemic happened, we started providing a service vehicle. Our happy helpers have their service that brings them to the job and then back here to the head office. We basically recruit from the community where we are located.
DT: When the quarantine was imposed in March, what happened to the happy helpers? How did you operate? What protocols did you take since you are entering homes to get it organized?
JE: Marami talagang pagbabago na kinailangang gawin. (There were many changes that needed to be done.) Of course, when the quarantine started last March, we also had to suspend our operations. In line with the government’s directives. The safety of our nanays, our team, is our topmost priority.
When we were allowed to operate in May, we put in a lot of safety protocols in place: from the time that our happy helpers get to the office, they have their temperature checked, make sure they’re wearing masks, face shields, PPE. We make sure they drink their vitamins before they’re deployed for work and we also have monthly testing for everyone in our team. We also follow social distancing in our service. We limit people in our service van, even our cleaning materials and tools, they’re always disinfected and sanitized. The tools have a special wrapping when it goes to the clients’ house. A lot of these creative changes were well thought out because we want to keep the company running especially now when keeping our homes clean isn’t only for our peace of mind but will also keep us healthy and free from the virus.
DT: How many happy helper mothers are there right now?
Marlina Legera (ML): Right now, we have 37 active happy helpers.
DT: How did you get the customers back?
JE: I think that because of the brand that we’ve established for the past five years, we were able to create that trust, reliability and sense of professional service to clients. When we had the health protocols in place, and with the trust they have given us, it became easy for customers to book a job with us.
DT: Things really changed with COVID-19, even how we organized our homes. How would you define “deep cleaning,” which you mention in your social media sites?
JE: Deep-cleaning for us at Happy Helpers means general cleaning of your home or your commercial space. In Happy Helpers, the standard that we use is is a cleaning protocol where we clean pataas-pababa-paloob-palabas. Another tip that we can share is that you need to have your cleaning tools complete pag maglilinis para mas efficient ang pag-deep clean ng bahay.
DT: You have photos to share. Can you explain each one to us?
ML: (On cleaning windows) Gumagamit kami ng glass cleaner diyan. Ang technique namin diyan ay spray-wipe-dry.
JE: The cleaning solutions din that we use are all-natural cleaning solutions that are also disinfectants. Not only does it clean, it also disinfects surfaces.
DT: This next photo is on washing dishes.
ML: Meron kaming sariling dishwashing liquid solution na ginagamit.
JE: For the kitchen, one system we give Is “clean as you go.” Meaning, after cooking, clean the stove and wash the cookware and utensils immediately so you can put it away. Then, after meals, dish out and clear the table. Wash the dishes after meals. Don’t wait for things to accumulate. Deep-cleaning the kitchen will be more efficient especially since it’s one of the areas that’s difficult to keep in neat shape. Lalo na yung mga talsik ng mantika. When oil accumulates in the stove, that would be very difficult to clear and clean.
DT: How about deep-cleaning the bedroom.
ML: Kung gusto ng client mag-papalit ng bed sheets, ginagawa din po namin yon. Mas maigi po kung every week ang pagpalit ng beddings.
JE: One tip that we can share for the bedroom is to regularly change bed sheets. And then not only that, mainam din na may regular upholstery cleaning, which is a service that we also provide. We have a special service for deep-cleaning pillows, couches, cribs and beds.
DT: What do you do with the pillows? Some let them dry under the sun.
JE: Yes, that is also a very good tip. If you can place your pillows in the sun maybe either once a month or every two weeks, it would help to kill any remaining bacteria and viruses.
DT: And this photo, cleaning the floor — can you give us more tips?
ML: We also use multi-purpose cleaners. We also have our color-coded basahan.
JE: Iyon din ang isang tip, to use color-coded basahan or rugs. We use red rugs for the floor. You don’t necessarily have to use the same color code, you just have to use the same color of basahan according to your use. Iba sa kusina, iba para sa banyo, baka meron kang all-around na basahan. For Happy Helpers, our all-around is coded as yellow.
For our cleaning kit or equipment, meron na kaming kanya-kanyang pouches. May cleaning pouch for the kitchen, may cleaning pouch for the banyo and may all-around cleaning pouch as well.
DT: How about when cleaning walls?
ML: May mops kami diyan para maabot namin yung sa taas na taas.
JE: Mops are not just used for the floor but have mops for walls as well. Normally, in basic cleaning, di naman nalilinis yung walls every day so for deep cleaning, that’s a technique that we use. Pwedeng maglagay ka lang ng basahan sa mop — at least maaabot mo yung sa taas.
DT: Is there a process for everyday cleaning. Where should one start?
JE: For Happy Helpers, we suggest “pataas-pababa-paloob-palabas.” For example, if it’s a two-storey home, start on the second floor, then pababa ka. If you are in a condo, start from the innermost part of your condo and then go outwards. Even though there is a system to cleaning, it has to be a system that you are happy with. It should be something that you can sustain.
DT: Message for home dwellers?
JE: Cleaning is important not only during this time but even before COVID-19 happened. Cleaning will not only give you peace of mind but will also make you and your family stay healthy and keep your immunities strong. If you need help in our house, you can always call us to do professional cleaning. And Marlina will be there to coach the team.