Meet Tonje and Espen: The Founders of Vaskehjelp

Tonje Vanebo is one of the entrepreneurs behind the Vaskehjelp app. She works closely with Espen Gerhardsen. The story of how they know each other goes back to when they were kids.

Tonje and Espen both had the same nanny and their parents ran a hair salon together. During their studies they held the same part time job. Having gone their separate ways in their careers, they came back in contact with each other and formed the idea behind Vaskehjelp.

An idea sees the light of day

Bilde 13 - lyspære ute i blå himmel

The original idea for the Vaskehjelp app was inspired by Tonje when she was looking for a processional cleaning company and did not find one in the market. She quickly realised there was a gap in the market for this in Trondheim and started to hatch the idea of being able to provide a flexible cleaning service where cleaners could define their own working hours.

In the beginning of 2016, Tonje contacted Espen to ask if he would consider developing the idea. Espen of course said yes and from there the concept of a flexible cleaning service was built.

Tonje and Espen experienced a steep learning curve but the potential they saw in the Vaskehjelp app kept them motivated. Their journey to this point has been interesting and educational and is a lot different from when they started the project, from learning the ‘language’ of developers, managing third party vendors, hiring staff, meeting investors, analyzing markets, planning and testing.

Tonje dedicates much of her time to Vaskehjelp but also works full time at NRK, the national broadcasting corporation, with the production of the Junior Eurovsion Christmas Tour. Espen, a former Estate Agent Account Manager, now works full time with Vaskehjelp as the Chief Product Officer.

A digital marketplace

The Vaskehjelp app provides a digital marketplace that connects customers with cleaners in a given area. As a customer, once you have entered the address, date and time of when you want your house to be cleaned, you will see a list of available cleaners to choose from.

Contributing to a culture of sharing

Vaskehjelp is a contribution to the ever-growing sharing culture we see across the world today. It’s not uncommon to take part in house exchange, car share or to hire equipment instead of buying it. This can all be done through the ease of various apps on the market. Tonje herself has rented a home through Airbnb, booked an Uber car and made use of Trondheim’s car collective. Increased flexibility is in many ways the future and Vaskehjelp undoubtedly contributes to more flexibility and freedom when it comes to hiring cleaning services.

More leisure time in everyday life

When Tonje was asked if everyday life as an entrepreneur is busy, she gave a clear ‘yes’. With a family of two children, a full-time job and the responsibility of Vaskehjelp, it can sometimes be challenging to balance everything and still have time for herself. Tonje currently hires a cleaner, choosing to spend her free time on activities with the kids and to be more present in everyday life. She suggests that parents should focus on this and therefore recommends the services of Vaskehjelp to free up some time for the more important things in life.

An easy to use service

Image of Vaskehjelp app

Tonje and Espen want to emphasize that Vaskehjelp is an easy-to-use offer and that it is affordable and safe for all parties. The service differs from traditional cleaning companies by giving the customer full freedom to book a single home cleaning whenever it suits them, without being fixed to a binding agreement. The app makes it easy to book, change or cancel a scheduled cleaning assignment. As a cleaner, you can reap the benefits of a flexible job where you are your own boss and can decide for yourself how much you want to work.

The safe choice

As a cleaner, you can decide on your own hourly rate but cannot go below a set tariff. You can also define which geographic areas you want to work in, meaning it is also easy for customers to determine availability in their own area. This offers a very flexible solution for both parties. When selecting cleaning services you can browse cleaner profiles and read honest feedback from other app users. The profile also provides information on how many assignments a cleaner has had, if they come recommended and the number of cancellations they have received. Both the client and cleaners are covered by If Insurance so booking a home cleaning service is not just reliable but also safe.

Who uses the app?

A great variety of people use the Vaskehjelp app. Our customer base and cleaner portfolio is varied across all age groups. We do not see any clear trends in our users. It varies from families with children, to elderly people or students. We have many students on board who enjoy the flexibility of managing their own hours, being their own boss and making some extra income during their studies. Every cleaner that uses the Vaskehjelp app is self-employed and benefits from managing their own workload. Cleaners such as Alicja and Sebhat are booked regularly and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of their work.

In 2017, Vaskehjelp ran a trial of 3000 cleaning assignments across Norway. On the back of its success the next plan is to launch the service in the Swedish market.