Jonathan Wicks, the founder of Well & Good Cleaning Services, is poised to transform the multi-billion-dollar short-term rental and cleaning industry. It’s classic David vs. Goliath: A young entrepreneur building companies based on decency and humanity squaring off against an industry experiencing astronomical growth on the backs of frustrated labor and inefficient systems. “Why hasn’t anyone done this?” Wicks wonders. “And is the solution simply found in decent humanity?”
The idea for Well & Good takes shape
Wicks grew up in rural Nebraska as the son of a Baptist pastor. Following in his father’s footsteps, he attended a religious seminary but became more and more convinced his future lay outside the church. Striking out on his own path, he started his first company at 19. The company specialized in floor cleaning and grew to service dozens of businesses across northwest Indiana.
“I did the work myself,” recalls Wicks. “I learned what it takes to clean professionally and found so much pride and satisfaction in this line of work.”
After graduating, Wicks sold his first business and founded a property management company for bank-owned homes. Over the next six years, Wicks’s property management company steadily grew. In 2016, he acquired a competing business and operated the companies separately. Three years later, he sold 51% of these companies to one of his employees and looked ahead to his next challenge. He planned to transition into full-time investment and consulting, but in 2020, the idea for Well & Good took shape.
Wicks’s new idea involved standardizing the cleaning and servicing of short-term rentals. As a guest of short-term rentals worldwide, he believed nothing could compare to fully immersing yourself in the culture of an area while enjoying the comforts of home.
As an Airbnb host with several properties in Chicago, he’s seen the industry from that vantage point too.
“Short-term rentals are an important part of modern travel,” he says. “My experience with this industry led me to the realization that a short-term rental cleaning company should clean short-term rentals. Unfortunately, I’ve found most properties are either cleaned by a regular residential cleaning company who doesn’t understand the specific needs of a hotel service-style clean, or even worse, they aren’t cleaned by a professional company at all.”
Jonathan Wicks starts Well & Good to revolutionize the short-term rental cleaning industry
While visiting and hosting short-term rentals, Wicks began cataloging questions that confront guests during each stay. Will the sheets and towels be cleaned properly? Am I going to have an allergic reaction to the detergents used? Are there toiletries at this property? Are the cleaning products used safe for my family?
Wicks wants to standardize the process so guests can enjoy the benefits of short-term rentals along with five-star hotel cleanings. He’s created a company to let guests know what they can expect and deliver a quality clean every time. Not only that, he has envisioned a company employing highly-trained professionals who are compensated fairly and love what they do. He says, “It was time for a company like that to exist and to make a much-needed impact across this great industry.”
Jonathan Wicks’s mission of serving well and doing good
To keep his mission first and foremost, Wicks calls his startup Well & Good. Serving well and doing good is a simple concept, but it might just transform a mega-industry. “We will serve well, and we will do good,” Wicks promises. “If we don’t, we’ll change our name.”
On the “serving well” front, Wicks is working to bring a standardized level of professional cleaning to the short-term rental industry. “This is a multibillion-dollar industry that has operated in a nonprofessional way for years,” says Wicks. “Well & Good emphasizes standardization and transparency in cleaning, laundering, and consumables. Every host and management company struggles with the turn-over process between guests. Our bundled service allows for efficiency and quality that the industry has never seen before.”
Wicks is brainstorming legislation to require short-term rentals to complete laundering offsite in a professional way. He is also working to clarify Airbnb’s cleaning fee. “It is currently the most arbitrary fee in all of travel,” he remarks, “and we have solutions on that front.”
As for “doing good,” Wicks is committed to taking care of his staff. “We are the first in the industry to offer our employees a fair wage and benefits,” he says. “Our contractors are set up for success and compensated fairly as well.”
Additionally, Well & Good partners with the charities Phoenix Dream Center and Love Society AZ in local outreach. “My goal is to impact business from the humanitarian perspective,” he comments. “While I embrace technology, it has caused us to forget the ‘nameless and faceless’ people that we cannot live without. My companies have always worked to treat people with dignity and respect. In a world that chooses between winners or losers, I’d like the public to know there is a company that is obsessed with finding ‘wins’ for every group of people with whom we interact.”
Just how far Wicks will go with “serving well and doing good” remains to be seen. It’s clear, however, that he won’t cut corners or slow down any time soon. Every part of Well & Good is important to him—even the ampersand. He says, “I started Well & Good because a cleaner, healthier and better world happens with an ‘&.’”