#LearningCurve: Placement agency finds its niche

Zanele Diniso seizes her chance to build up a reputable business securing employment for domestic workers

Inspiration from her mother’s work ethic as a cleaner and her father’s profound business sense, led to Zanele Diniso establishing a domestic worker placement agency in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Diniso, 33, of New Brighton, is taking the service industry by storm in her role as a “middleman” between homeowners and domestic workers through her firm Periwinkle Home Executives.

What started out as a business idea and a stack of CVs scattered across her mother’s living-room floor in 2012, has today place more than 300 domestic workers in jobs.

What is your core service?

To train domestic workers, place them to clean homes, while also providing a babysitting service for hotels.

What made you venture into this type of service industry?

This industry actually chose me. I was raised by a domestic worker who not only made sure that her employer’s home was up to a perfect standard but did the same in her home as well. I was exposed to this industry from an early age and I would sometimes go to work with my mother when I was unable to go to school.

But when did you see the opportunity to start Periwinkle Home Executives?

Later in life, I had women in the community who were looking for work who approached me trying to get jobs as domestic workers. I then decided to formalise this by starting a company.

And what makes your business unique?

My clients are not just numbers. I make sure that the personalities fit and I do follow up on the placements. I build relationships.

If someone wanted to copy your business model, how would they start?

One would need a cell phone, access to the internet, a laptop and a printer.

What are some of the biggest inhibitors your business faced before even getting off the ground?

A lack of proper and clear explanations on the rights of domestic workers, as well as the rights of the employers.

What is some of the biggest challenges in running the day-to-day side of the business?

Time management is a major challenge. I need to make every minute count and make sure I am ready for each day and able to deal with clients when needed.

What are the some of the best practices that have made your business successful?

Pricing, relationship-building, marketing and believing in my brand. I also work hard to ensure I get to the next level. I have also not forgotten the team of mentors that have guided me in the past – and also those who still do.

How did you decide on pricing?

I base my pricing on the groundwork I do to secure a candidate that matches a home. This means taking into consideration transport and telephone costs.

What kind of advertising do you do?

I do a lot of my advertising through Facebook, Gum Tree and Instagram. We also have a website and flyers.

What is your company’s vision?

To clean the world through the empowerment of those less fortunate. I would later like to provide an au pair service that reaches an international market. I am also in the process of putting together a digital app which will bring services to our clients’ fingertips.

What is your target market?

It is homeowners or tenants who can afford to pay for a helper – whether to clean a home or help do laundry.

What are some of your highlights in running your business?

I made it to the Top 4 of the ABSA Your Money Novice Entrepreneur in 2014. I was also nominated for the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber Top 40 Under 40 young achievers in 2015. My most recent success was reaching the finals in the Emerging Entrepreneur in the Regional Businesswomen Association Achievers Awards 2017.

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