Great Mormon Business Ideas, #1

November 25, 2010 | 21 comments
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So…stay-at-home moms. Utah’s got lots of them. And I bet you’re a market demographic excitedly waiting to hear what I (an admittedly non-stay-at-home dad) am about to propose to bring joy, peace, time, and every other wonderful thing to your day. Well, wait no more, the first of the Great Mormon Business Ideas is here for you today!

So far as I can tell, the three banes of the SAHM are: (1) laundry, (2) cleaning, and (3) taking care of kids. But none of these are really so bad on its own; it’s the fact that all three simultaneously demand attention that makes them a drag. So what I suggest is…<drum roll>…the Family Home Drudgery Sharing Program!

Okay, so naming things isn’t one of my strong points. But wait! It’s still a great idea. Here’s how it works: four moms organize in a group. One is in charge of laundry, one is in charge of cleaning, and two are in charge of kids. The group picks a two- or three-hour block, say, 9:00 to 12:00. The two Kids moms split the kids between them during that time while the Laundry and Cleaning moms rotate from house to house taking care of…cleaning and laundry.

So where’s the business idea part of this? Just helping people organize. Set up a website that helps moms find a group.

I know I’m stereotyping the SAHM role (really, Dane? Laundry, kids, and cleaning? Is this the 1950s?), but I know enough SAHMs to know that laundry, cleaning, and kids are still real chores, and that when one parent is working and the other is at home, they tend to fall on the shoulders of the parent who is at home.

So tell me, am I on to something, or is this just one more awful business idea waiting to fail? Are kids, laundry, and cleaning the right three chores to focus on, or would you swap in something else (say, grocery shopping or meal preparation)? Is four a good group size? And, most importantly, to you SAHMs out there, is a chore-sharing group something you would be interested in?

21 Responses to Great Mormon Business Ideas, #1

  1. Ardis E. Parshall on November 25, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Dane hasn’t done a whole lotta cleaning and laundry if he thinks it can all be done for four households in a two- or three-hour-block …

    The name for your business? “Sister Wives,” of course.

  2. queuno on November 25, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Ardis. For. The. Win.

  3. queuno on November 25, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Anyway, I doubt this is a great money-making venture waiting to happen, considering you could simply do a Meetup/Groupon based on common interests…

  4. Dane on November 25, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    In my defense, Ardis, I wasn’t thinking that all the cleaning/laundry would get done every day. Rather, over the course of a two or three days the group would cycle through everyone’s houses.

  5. Chadwick on November 25, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    I asked my wife about this, and she says that the only thing worse than doing our family’s laundry would be to do other people’s laundry. Ditto on the bathroom cleaning. Sorry, Dane.

  6. Matt W. on November 25, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Maybe you could subdivide this out into 3 jobs. One where you take your laundry to a place and the clean it, one where a person comes to your house and cleans it, and one where you pay a person to watch your kids! These are genius ideas! Oh wait…

  7. Ardis E. Parshall on November 25, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Okay, Dane, I was mostly teasing. :) I can do my own housework in about that time, but I don’t have other people taking it apart again as fast as I can put it together.

    There was a group of four older women in one ward I lived in who had a pact with each other that if any of them were hospitalized or died, the other three would rush over and clean furiously before anybody else could see how they really lived. They said it proved how much they loved and trusted each other to keep secret whatever they found behind closed doors or in corners. They all laughed when they talked about it, and the rest of us laughed with them, but there was an undertone there of seriousness, of not wanting anyone else to see your dirt and of needing to really love someone before you were willing to clean their dirt. I think any group of women who were willing to do this for each other would have to already know each other well and would not pay to be matched up with each other.

  8. Conifer on November 25, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I had a friend who I would do this with all the time a few years ago. I would clean and she would watch the kids. It was awesome.

  9. Amber on November 25, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    I agree that most people need to know someone well before letting them know which nooks and crannies don’t get cleaned. I know women that hire housekeepers, but clean the house before the housekeeper comes over, so the housekeeper doesn’t see how dirty the house actually is.

    Could your idea possibly be worked into the law of consecration? I know that makes it less of a business idea, but then all the laundry would be shared.

  10. Allisan on November 25, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Fortunately for me, there’s a lot more you can do from home to make a buck than laundry, cleaning, and childcare. I see a lot of mom-preneurs working from home part-time so they can pay someone else to do all three. I’m one of them, I build websites. It’s a great way to ward off mommy boredom, while still having plenty spare time to spend with the family.

  11. ESO on November 25, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    My mom’s version of park day was that she and her friends rotates through each other’s houses each week and worked on housework the host wanted to get done while the kids entertained themselves. For example, at Jane’s house they fold a mountain of laundry and chat, next week at Suzy’s they strip wallpaper and chat, the next week at Darla’s they scrub down her kitchen cupboards, etc etc. That was the 70s.

    My friends and I instead go to a park and snack while the kids play on the slides.

  12. Stephanie on November 25, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I’ll just be a bug and say that I hate watching other people’s kids. That’s probably why I rarely swap childcare.

    A bunch of us RS women cleaned a house for a couple who was moving. We mopped and scrubbed bathrooms and all the rest. It was actually pretty fun, and we said it would be fun to take turns doing it at our different houses. It would beat cleaning alone.

    But I don’t really see this as a good business venture.

  13. jjohnsen on November 26, 2010 at 12:55 am

    I love doing laundry, it’s so relaxing. I also love doing dishes for the same reason. If my wife and I could trade laundry and dishes for someone else to do our yardwork I’d be in heaven. Two loads of dishes or two loads of laundry every other day and you mow my lawn and weed my flowerbeds once a week.

  14. Naismith on November 26, 2010 at 10:35 am

    A couple issues…

    I would have not have been interested because it would require scheduling, and the last thing I wanted was one more thing to schedule. Most of those tasks can be fit in while multi-tasking and in between other things.

    I love doing laundry because it is the only time I watch a movie or TV–I find it very relaxing to fold clothes and watch 45 minutes of something before going to bed.

    We do have a cleaning service, and we do spend time getting ready for their visits. But it is NOT that I don’t want them to see my dirt. It is that we have to do all the tidying and putting away of things that collect on counters, fireplace hearth, etc. so that ALL they do is scrub and clean. We wouldn’t have to do this if we were better at never leaving a drug bottle on the counter, never leaving a sweater on the back of my chair at dinner, never leaving a bag of groceries not quite put away, etc.

  15. chameny on November 28, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Cooking takes way more time than laundy

  16. Alison Moore Smith on November 28, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Can’t really see the business idea in this. I would only consider such a system with people and knew really well.

    I really question your three “banes of being a SAHM.” Child care? Why is someone a SAHM if they hate taking care of their own kids? Laundry and cleaning are both fairly easy around here. I do all the laundry, but have worked up a marvelous system (and an amazing custom laundry room that, true story, guests who’ve heard some of my speeches actually sneak downstairs to see) that makes it simple. Same with cleaning — and add to that the fact that I don’t do any. The kids now do all the house cleaning and dishes, rotating around enough to learn different chores.

    As for working from home, I’ve had a home business since 1987 when my oldest was born. Back then, the biggest challenge was getting clients to see you as a real business resource without your own brick and mortar. Did my first web site in 1994, which helped but was so new that it didn’t have broad appeal. Now, working from home is common. My husband started working from home part time in 1996. In 2001 he left the university and has been working from home full time since 2003. You can do pretty much anything from home that you can do from an office these days.

  17. John Hamilton on November 29, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    My wife just leaves the laundry and cleaning for me to do when I get home. :)

  18. Beth on November 30, 2010 at 10:10 am

    YUCK….bad idea. My house stays fairly clean however, some of my closest friends are pigs. I would never want to clean someone elses house unless I am getting paid! I’m sure Dane wouldn’t either.

  19. Martin Willey on November 30, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    I am far too private a person for this idea (others cleaning my house or doing my laundry) to have any appeal. BUT – - a few years ago we did a “dinner co-op” with a family in our neighborhood. We cooked enough for both familes two nights a week and they did the same. It was amazing how liberating it was to have two evenings of food preparation freed up.

  20. Hethre on December 7, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Hi folks,

    I’m not LDS, and I don’t have kids, so I guess you could consider me a “guest commenter” (not commentator). But I’m totally down with Dane’s idea!

    I live alone, and I am constantly kvetching about how I hate to clean the house, and if only I had a friend over, it wouldn’t be so bad. I really don’t want anyone to actually clean for me, although I really don’t mind doing cleaning chores at other people’s houses – strange how that works. But I am delighted when a friend would keeps me company just by sitting at my table with a cup of tea and chatting with me while I scrub away on my dishes. In fact, I almost like it better when the friend sits, rather than works because: a.) I feel less guilty about my friend coming to my house to clean; and b.) It’s like that person is the calm eye of my furious housecleaning frenzy. Sometimes when the whole house is a mess, it’s hard to know where to start, so I buzz around like a little bee and get distracted and flustered, but when there is a friend over, I focus only on the area where my friend is. :)

    My friends and I joke about all this constantly. We tend to refer to it as “Codependent Housework.”

    Of course, as I mentioned, without kids it’s a simpler equation…

    I agree that it can be embarrassing to let people see your mess, so I choose my codependent housework buddies wisely.

    Good idea on the cooperative, Dane (which is what I’d call it, instead of a business, since there’s no money being made)!

  21. Dane on December 8, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I’m always happy to watch other people clean :) Maybe my business idea should be to hire myself out as a “work watcher”!

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