Roman Peysakhovich started Onedesk Cleaning Minneapolis to help people clean their offices without breaking a sweat. The team comprising Onedesk has been in the cleaning industry for more than a decade, giving them the experience and skill to handle pretty much any cleaning task.
For example, Roman Peysakhovich himself has been in the cleaning industry for over a decade. Through Onedesk, Roman has been helping businesses clean their commercial and office spaces through publishing content full of useful and practical information and housekeeping tips. Every day, the Onedesk site gets up to 2,000+ readers. Everyone encounters cleaning problems, even the office.
Onedesk’s industry success has pushed Roman Peysakhovich and his team to the top of the field. He has received recognition from a variety of major internet media outlets, including “USAToday, Money, BizJournals, Reader’s Digest, ThriveGlobal, DataBox, SnackNation, Score, RobinPowered,” and many more.
Roman Peysakhovich has also granted several interviews with major outlets who want to pick his brain and gather some insights about cleaning your home, and building a successful online business in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace.
With Onedesk, Roman Peysakhovich and his team bring their decades of expertise and skill to take care of all your cleaning needs. Every piece of content uploaded on the site also undergo a rigorous fact-checking and reviewing process, because you don’t want your cleaning to go wrong. You’ll also get up-to-date information and tips on disinfection, housekeeping, and buying the right cleaning products for your home. More than 60,000 monthly readers trust Onedesk, with over 70 articles that help people clean their homes and offices.
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Roman Peysakhovich: I have a pretty unconventional background. I dropped out of high school in my senior year. Even though I was right at the finish line, I was desperate to get out of class and go into business. My family owned a local house cleaning business, and I begged them to let me help in any way possible. I started off driving our cleaners from house to house. I started diving deeper into how we were acquiring new customers and started expanding our customer base by building out an online presence. Eventually, I grew a fairly large book of business within my family’s company and went on to spin off this section of the business into a new brand, Maid Masters. After continuing to grow Maid Masters for several years, I started focusing on the commercial industry and rebranded to Building Masters — a full-service B2B facility management service provider. The concept of Building Masters proved to be a hit, and I soon brought on additional partners to help scale the company.
During the process of building out Building Masters, I realized that there were some significant pain points in the process for clients to book and manage their services. I realized that there was an opportunity to develop a SaaS that would help office managers to book and manage cleaning services for their facility. This led me to start Onedesk. I partnered up with a local developer who had recently moved back from Silicon Valley after serving as CTO of a venture-backed Blockchain company in San Mateo to develop the Onedesk platform in October of 2019. We launched the platform in March of 2020, right as the coronavirus was beginning to outbreak in the US. Our customers immediately turned to us for help with their disinfection protocols. We discovered the best way to disinfect large offices was through the use of a device called an electrostatic sprayer. When we went to purchase a few, we realized that the device was nearly impossible to find in stock due to massive surges in demand. We knew that if we were having this problem, so was everyone else in the cleaning industry. We started hustling to find multiple distribution partners to try to create supply in a market that we knew had bottomless demand. Fast forward 8 months and we are selling to countless churches, offices, schools, and buildings across the nation. What began as an initiative to supply our own cleaners with the sprayers turned into a full eCommerce store supplying facilities across the country with these devices.
Jerome Knyszewski: What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
Roman Peysakhovich: Our “Aha Moment” came to us when we realized that every cleaner in our network was trained to use the electrostatic sprayers but could not locate the devices anywhere online as most sellers were sold out or promising shipments in 6 months to a year. We saw an opportunity to pivot our existing business into supplying these sprayers that our cleaners were desperately needing. We had to move fast to partner with national distributors and hustle to be able to keep up with the demand for the sprayers and the disinfection services that they were used for.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Roman Peysakhovich: The hardest part of the journey was getting distributors to listen to us and make their products available to us. Since we were only a 6-month-old company at the time, no distributor wanted to work with us. We had to convince them that our software had built up an entire network of cleaners across the nation that was in desperate need of these devices to provide the proper disinfection services to our customers. We considered giving up after the 10th distributor told us they are not willing to work with us. We continued to desperately seek out new distributors and knew we would eventually find some that understand our unique situation of having demand across the country for a service that required these sprayers. We had the drive to keep looking because we saw how many offices were requesting disinfection services. We saw other companies providing electrostatic cleaning on a local level and knew that there was demand across the nation.
Jerome Knyszewski: So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Roman Peysakhovich: Things are going great today. We have established a relationship with 5 different manufactures and are offering several lines of sprayers and solutions on our site. We wanted to make sure we could offer everything from a simple $500 sprayer for small offices, to complete solutions for government buildings and public schools in need of units that are upwards of $5,000+. If we had given up after the 5th or 6th distributor turned us away, we would never be able to enjoy our current successes.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
Roman Peysakhovich: In our first couple of orders, we were still learning how to handle everything manually while our software team was working on automating order fulfillment. I went to fulfill an order for a customer and was so overwhelmed by the process that I ended up putting my own home address as the shipping address. A few days later the sprayers arrived at my door. We had to make up for the delay to our customer with a shipment of free disinfection solutions. Since then, we’ve automated the shipping process for us to avoid this kind of error going forward.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a few examples of tools or software that you think can dramatically empower emerging eCommerce brands to be more effective and more successful?
Roman Peysakhovich: The software that has driven our business from the start is Google Sheets. We used WebFlow eCommerce to set up the eCommerce site and used Zapier to integrate Google Sheets with Webflow. When a customer makes an order on our Webflow site, Zapier gets triggered and sends the order to our Google Sheet with all of the relevant order information. We also set up our CRM to track requests, orders, quotes, and even provide website chat. We used HubSpot for this and it continues to be the hub for our entire store.
Jerome Knyszewski: As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies an eCommerce business should use to increase conversion rates?
Roman Peysakhovich: We increased conversions dramatically simply by adding a chat widget to our site. People were able to get answers to their questions immediately and this was one of the major factors for converting traffic to our site. The key is instant replies. You need to be available to assist your customer immediately. Our target is sub-60 second response times. Another strategy we used to increase conversions was to have a compare button on our page that links to a similar product on Amazon. This helped build trust with our customers as they knew we were not pricing our items higher than the big online stores.
Jerome Knyszewski: Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that an eCommerce business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?
Roman Peysakhovich: Try to be a thought leader in your industry. Show your customers that you are constantly researching your products and are working on offering them the best solution, not just a profitable one. Our research is what got us to be a trusted brand in the space. We spent countless nights researching electrostatic sprayers and documenting our experiences with them. It’s paid off by ultimately leading people to trust our brand.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful eCommerce business? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Find a technical co-founder. Although many eCommerce founders may think that they’ll be able to rely on platforms like Shopify to handle all the technical components of their business, the reality is that having a technical co-founder will enable you to scale your processes in a way that’s not possible with just Shopify. The technical co-founder can even be yourself — just set aside time to start getting familiar with “no-code” tools like Zapier that can help to automate significant and time-consuming aspects of the business. For Onedesk, one of the main time-savers is a simple Zapier integration with our Webflow eCommerce backend that saves us countless hours each week in fulfillment time.
- Before you start your eCommerce business, you should have a good understanding of the landscape of competitors in your niche. The last thing you want to do is enter a niche that is oversaturated. No one will be making money, including you. The reason we started selling electrostatic sprayers on Onedesk is that we saw first-hand that demand was vastly outstripping supply. Oftentimes founders will want to start a business and will go looking for a product to sell to make their eCommerce dream a reality. In reality, it’s much better to go searching for the product or niche first, and only start the business once you know it’s a winner.
- After you get started running your operation, you’re going to want to know your numbers down cold. There are two main metrics I think are important to monitor at all times while running your business. These are Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Lifetime Value (LTV). In addition to understanding the margin on each of your product lines, it’s important to know how much your blended cost to acquire each customer is across all of your marketing channels. If you’re not monitoring CAC, you may end up spending more to acquire each customer than you make on them. Similarly, it’s important to understand how many times a customer re-orders on average. If you’re just measuring CAC against the average gross profit on your customer’s first order, the numbers may look much worse than they really are. Sending a simple re-activation email with a discount code can drive huge gains in LTV, so don’t count yourself out if you’re not able to make the numbers work on your customer’s first order.
- Cash flow is king! The age-old expression still rings true, especially in eCommerce. Many eCommerce businesses are moving towards drop shipping to avoid the cash flow pitfalls of storing inventory. However, if you can solve your financing needs with revolving credit lines, there are big opportunities in seeking out clients that rely on NET terms to make their purchases. These clients are much less price-sensitive, but you’ll need to work around their process. Oftentimes, these are customers that are embedded in a large organization that has specific accounting controls in place and forces all purchases to be made via Purchase Orders with NET terms. If you can work around their buying process, you’ll enjoy bulk purchase orders and reorders, and you’ll become their go-to supplier.
- Invest in a good CRM. Your CRM will be the lifeblood of your company. We use Hubspot to manage the entire lifecycle of our customers. We’ll send out quotes to customers when we’re early in our relationship with them, and we’ll continue to use HubSpot to address inquiries or customer service needs well after they’ve received their initial purchases from us. CRMs help to standardize and organize your customer interactions. If you use them correctly, you’ll have a complete record of every interaction with your customers, accessible by your entire team. I recommend using HubSpot due to the plethora of add-ons that they provide. Hubspot Chat has been a huge driver for growth for our business, and I couldn’t be happier using it.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Roman Peysakhovich: Feel free to add me on LinkedIn. I am always down to chat with anyone and try to help with any business matters. I am a knowledge seeker and thrive off learning new things as well as helping out in any way I can. If you need any help with anything cleaning related in the workspace, I am your guy!
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!