Jan 30, 2021

Managed by Q Case Study: Reflections & What Happened After?

I didn’t know about Managed by Q until I encountered it in a case study by MIT Sloan . The case study is thought-provoking and even though I’ve submitted my work, I had lingering thoughts about the company’s strategy and direction.

FYI: The link, at the point of writing, is broken and possibly will be fixed by the site.

TL:DR version: A reflection on how Managed by Q uses the Good Job concept as it’s differentiating business model and whether more start-ups/companies should consider using the Good Job concept.

Who is Managed By Q?

Managed by Q, known in short as “Q” is an on-demand office cleaning and maintenance company that was founded in 2014. The case study was created in 2015 , a period when Uber and other popular on-demand start-ups like Taskrabbit made the term “on-demand” very hot in the start-up environment.

The Good Jobs Strategy

Q’s co-founder and CEO Dan Teran found himself skewing towards the Good Jobs Strategy , which solely by its name means investing in your employees. This was counter-intuitive at the time when businesses were going for cost reduction via the gig economy.

Q differentiates itself with its high-quality services driven by the company’s culture called “Q standard”. While most on-demand start-ups use contractors to drive the core business (e.g. Uber hires a pool of contract drivers), Q employed cleaners as full-time roles with employee health and annual leaves benefits.

A driven and committed workforce

Cleaners are called “field operators” and they are hired through a rigorous hiring and training process to assimilate into Q’s culture which values transparency and outstanding customer service.

A dedicated workforce means higher productivity, lower turnover; hence reducing the cost of hiring. In the long run, the cost is lower compared to companies with a weak workforce and high turnover.

For further reading, you can refer to the original book called the Good Jobs Strategy by Zeynep Ton or this free book with a similar idea called More Good Jobs from App Sumo .

Use of Technology in the Janitorial Industry

The role of technology comes in as a driver to the high-quality service provided by Q. All cleaning tasks are defined clearly through the Ipad. Each customer is given a customized dashboard with the tasks from the office manager. With the iPad, the customer can track or add tasks to the cleaning schedule. Vice versa, the field operator uses the iPad to take pictures of their completed task and feedback to the client. The iPad is a gateway to accountability and transparency in communications. Field operators are motivated to exceed expectations for a good rating and clients would get excellent servicing from Q.

Expansion or focus on deepening the business?

In the case study, Q was at the point to grow. What is the next best step Q should take? Should Q expand to new locations or deepen its service offering?

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer on what’s the next step or strategy to deploy. One thing certain is Q has built a differentiated business model via quality services and transparency through technology.

What did other companies do?

These are some local (Singapore) and international references off my head:

It is inconclusive on which strategy is better and it really depends on the business, industry, and the economy.

Applying for your business

So what can I conclude from this case study learning?

What happened to Managed by Q?

Q was acquired by WeWork for $220 million in 2019 and sold to Eden for $25 million in 2020.

Unfortunately, we would not be able to see the progress of Q and how the Good Jobs Strategy as a strategy for a start-up could weather the economic impact from Covid-19.

The case study introduced me to the Good Jobs Strategy. It is not something new in established companies like Trader Joe’s and Costco (examples from the Good Jobs Strategy book) but new to start-ups. Managed by Q, a start-up in the janitorial industry managed to make a difference and differentiate its business model using this strategy. Whether to expand or deepen services as the next strategy, there’s no right or wrong answer, just how the strategy will be executed.

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Ideas Made to Matter

New case study examines good jobs and growth at Managed by Q

Zach Church

Jun 15, 2016

A new case study from MIT Sloan examines growth strategies for Managed by Q , an on-demand office cleaning and management company where pay above industry standard is a core part of the business model.

Founded in 2014, Managed by Q provides office cleaning, maintenance, and supply services. Headquartered in New York City, Q also operates in Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Unlike other on-demand companies like Uber or food delivery service DoorDash, Managed by Q hires employees instead of relying on contractors. Those working 30 hours or more a week receive free health insurance, workers compensation, paid vacation time, and a 401(k).

As of summer 2015, cleaners were starting at $12.50 an hour, with a 25 cent raise every six months. Even without benefits, that put income well above the janitorial industry’s average annual wage of $15,000.

The approach has made Managed by Q stand out in the on-demand industry, where classifying workers as contractors—freeing companies from the need to provide benefits and a minimum wage—is the norm.

Managed by Q’s commitment to workers and operational excellence highlights several elements of “ The Good Jobs Strategy ,” a book by MIT Sloan Adjunct Associate Professor Zeynep Ton. In the book, Ton argues that when a company deploys its workforce in smart ways, its workers can be a driver of profit rather than a driver of cost. Costco, grocery chains Trader Joe’s and Mercadona, and convenience store chain QuikTrip are all detailed as examples.

“The original thesis is, if our people are so amazing and our technology is so amazing, eventually office managers will turn to us for everything,” Managed by Q co-founder and CEO Dan Teran says in the introduction to the case study. “So we’ll effectively aggregate the demand for all of the goods, services, and technology that’s required to run the office. And that’s the bet we’re making.”

The case study, which is available free online , was written by Ton and Cate Reavis, MIT Sloan’s associate director of curriculum development. It examines Managed by Q’s position in July 2015 and offers three paths to growth: acquire more customers and offer more services in the four current markets; expand into new markets; or build its technology platform to offer more services, including some by approved vendors such as information technology firms.

On May 9, Teran visited Ton’s class at MIT Sloan to discuss the case study. Teran told students that Managed by Q was pursuing each of the options, while paying attention to strengthening its technology platform.

Managed by Q has raised more than $40 million in funding, including a $25 million series B round earlier this year. In the class, students said taking on funding may force Managed by Q to make decisions that compromise its commitment to good jobs in exchange for faster growth and greater returns.

“It is true … there are some investors that are too short-term focused, but there are also other investors that are thinking more long term,” Teran said. “But the only way you can satisfy those investors is with operational excellence.”

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Zhejiang University Chapter 5 Managed by Q Management Strategies Case Study

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Prepare an analysis of the Managed by Q case.

Assess Q's strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats

What strategy or strategies should Q implement to enable growth?

What analysis or models support that strategy?

What specific recommendations do you have for Q to enable growth?

Take the role of a consultant or advisor.  Focus and organize your analysis (use a framework or technique).  Be specific with recommendations. Include implementation issues, benefits, and/or obstacles as appropriate. Base your analysis on information in the case, but additional research is welcome.  Do not summarize the case.

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managed by q case study objectives

Explanation & Answer

managed by q case study objectives

Please view explanation and answer below. 1 Managed by Q Case Analysis Name Department Institutional Affiliation Course Professor Date 2 Managed by Q Case Analysis Executive Summary Managed by Q offers office services, ranging from cleaning and maintenance to supply restocking. The company's SWOT analysis shows that it has several strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in its operations. Through the differentiation strategy, Q can offer its clients with unique products and services. This ensures it stands out in the market. The differentiation strategy is supported by the economic value creation model. By ensuring that clients gain some value from the cleaning services, Q will have done its best to customize services per the needs of the client. To attain growth, Q should acquire its competitors, collaborate with high-quality supplier brands, and embrace the horizontal integration corporate strategy. 3 Q's SWOT Analysis Strengths Weaknesses • Low rates of turnover and improved • Demand for helpers and handymen are customer retention because of better unpredictable and require to be filled pay for field operators (Ton & Reavis, in a short period. 2016). • Effective training sessions for operators • Efficient communication between account managers (QMs) and office managers using the iPad, phone, email, or face-to-face visits • A robust Q culture centered on solving difficult problems using technology and communicating courageously • Respect and trust towards employees, offering them the flexibility to work effectively • Adoption of technology by offering cleaners apps, which customized task lists to be checked off when done Opportunities Threats • The recurring nature of cleaning offers • Imitation by companies that copy the Q the chance to prevail in the market services provided by Q in many cities and states • Effective cleaning presents the chance to be sought to provide office supplies, • Different states necessitate different maintenance, or shipping entry strategies because of varying real estate markets, which can have variable levels of commercial land ownership Differentiation Strategy at Q to Enable Growth A differentiation strategy concentrates on creating higher value for consumers compared to the value that competitors create by providing goods or services with distinct features while maintaining costs at the original level, permitting the firm to enforce higher prices to its consumers. Differentiation seeks to offer consumers distinctive features and services, new goods, and promotions (Rothaermel, 2021). Q sought to offer high customer value such that despite being a cleaning company, it also offered maintenance and office supplies. The aim was for clients to taste Q's quality cleaning services and get back to Q for the other offerings (Ton & Reavis, 2016). Since the target clients were firms with 6,000-20,000 square feet of space, they would have between fifty and one-fifty workers in every location. These would offer a better market both for the cleaning and supplies venture. The use of technology helped Q differentiate itself by offering totally transparent services. This was different from what competitors were doing since Q gave clients an iPad with a tailored dashboard, which listed tasks demanded by office managers. Hence, the tasks would be delivered efficiently because of the smooth levels of communication between Q and its clients. Moreove...

managed by q case study objectives

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Case Solution of Managed by Q

Essay by Anamul Hoq   •  October 8, 2018  •  Case Study  •  751 Words (4 Pages)  •  12,693 Views

Essay Preview: Case Solution of Managed by Q

Growth Strategy of ‘Managed by Q’


Md. Anamul Hoq | MBA Evening | University of Dhaka

Case Abstract [pic 2]

M anaged by Q  is an on-demand service provider based in the USA which currently available in three business district – New York, Chicago and San Francisco having high customer satisfaction. In July 2015, Dan Teran  – Cofounder & CEO started its operation alongside Saman Rahmanian  who overlooks the operations and maintenance.

‘Managed by Q’ as an on-demand company has to deal with rival companies like ABM Industries, ServiceMaster Clean and Jani-King International since the janitorial service industry in the USA is highly   fragmented  where the barrier to entry is low.

Q ’s target customers are corporate houses who take services of Cleaning, Office Maintenance, and Office Supplies from Q. Q managed to differentiate  itself by ‘fully transparent service’  to its valued customer and prioritize the quality  of work.

Q  employees are called ‘Operators’ who get paid good remuneration  than market standard, flexible work hour , in-house training, bonus  and smooth career growth  which have a positive impact on employee turnover and  customer retention . Q’s culture  required transparency, problem-solving, cleaning experience, integrity and work ethics.

T o grow, Q is focusing ‘good job strategy’  with the values of transparency, community, integrity, Optimism & innovation which creates superior value for employees and customers.


External Analysis  of ‘Managed by Q’

External analysis deals with strategic opportunities and threats  of an organization’s operating environment. From the given case materials I found following opportunities and threats of ‘Managed by Q’-

Internal Analysis  of ‘Managed by Q’

Internal analysis emphasis on the resources, capabilities, and competencies  of a company which leads to explore the company’s strengths & weaknesses. These are following –

Potential Services of Q [pic 4]

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managed by q case study objectives


Managed by Q

When Managed by Q moved to a new office, they needed to create an open, collaborative workspace

They wanted a clean and polished look that reflected their brand and made their employees excited to come to work.

managed by q case study objectives

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