Cleaning in your underwear isn't glamorous work. But if you're a gorgeous blond college student, you can make a fistful of cash doing it. University of Central Florida students Stephanie Rue, 21, Hilary Plamondon, 20, and Jessica Stevenson, 21, are living proof. Calling themselves the "Three Hot Maids," the girls have made a successful career out of cleaning homes and apartments in skimpy pink and black lingerie. The idea for their booming business started out as a joke.
"The whole summer, all we did was live in our bathing suits, because we went surfing like every day," says Plamondon, who is studying education. "We were at the beach one day, and we were talking about how we wanted to move to Costa Rica. But we were trying to figure out how we could make money when we got there."
"Right after the Warped Tour, we had just thrown a huge party all weekend long at `Rue's` parents' house, and her dad was on his way home, so we had to clean quickly. So I'm vacuuming and Stephanie is mopping and Jess is rubbing down the table we were busting our asses trying to do it really fast. And then we looked at each other and said, 'This is how we'll make money when we move to Costa `Rica`,'" says Plamondon with a sly grin.
The girls never made it to Costa Rica, but their business plan survived.
"One Monday we said to each other, 'Why don't we just try `the business here in Orlando` and see what we can do,'" says Plamondon.
Excited at the prospect of making money, the girls began marketing their business immediately. "My old roommate was a photographer for Industry magazine, and he told us he would take our picture. So went to the store and bought a bottle of Captain Morgan and took some crazy pictures," Rue says with a giggle. "The photo turned out perfect, and we made a really cute flier. One night, we handed out like 40 fliers for our maid service, and by the time we got home, we had received over a hundred phone calls."
That's when the girls knew they were onto something big. A business management major, Rue took over development for the business, and started applying what she learned in class to the business plan, which is not completed yet.
Rue says they are working with an investor to expand the business all over Orlando.
"Once we officially get started in the next few months, `Jessica, Hilary and I` are going to be in charge of the actual business part of it, and we're going to hire other girls to do the cleaning part of it," explains Rue. "Our prices start at $85 an hour. But every customer gets three girls, and we do a really good job. We clean everything, top to bottom."
In the meantime, the girls keep themselves occupied by cleaning houses for friends and other UCF students near campus. They also work at fraternity parties and football parties, cleaning up after partygoers and bringing people beer.
"We've gotten a huge response," says Rue. "The funny part is, we don't even have to market ourselves, we have more people choosing to market for us." Her eyes grow wide. "Actually, one day, in my business law and ethics class, I had one of our fliers sitting on my folder, and my professor walked by and saw it. So he picked it up and put it on the overhead in front of like 500 people. He applauded us and said, 'Hey, give these girls a call,'" she says.
Plamondon and Rue met each other in the seventh grade, and have gone to school together ever since. They met Stevenson when they arrived at UCF.
With blond hair and muscular, petite frames, the girls are used to getting plenty of male attention.
"We don't have boyfriends," says Plamondon, in a fit of hysterical laughter. "We're too young for boyfriends."
Adds Rue, "When we meet guys and we tell them what we do, their first reaction is always, 'I need a maid.'"
Friends and family of the girls enthusiastically approve of the business, according to Plamondon. "When we tell our friends about our business, they just laugh and shake their heads and say, 'Well, if anyone would start a business like that, it would be you three.'"
Rue interrupts, "But then our friends say they want to be a part of it. My dad is totally for it. Our parents support us, but they generally take us with a grain of salt," says Rue.
Rue is taking her next semester off from school to concentrate on getting their business off the ground, a fact that is causing considerable tension between her and her mother.
"My mom has opened three businesses of her own, so she's really wanting to help me get all of this together, but she really wants me to get through school first," says Rue. "So the only problem me and my mom are having is she wants me to wait and finish school, and I don't want to wait, I want to officially start my business now."
One Waverly condo owner, who asked not to be named, has used the Three Hot Maids more than once.
"It wasn't a hard sell," he says. "I met the girls at a surf expo. We were at a party at Adobe Gila's, and Stephanie came out of the bathroom and started talking to us at the bar. She started telling me about her whole gig, but she also sounded smart enough to run the business aspect of it really well. So a couple weeks later when I came back from Europe, I called them and they came over to clean my apartment at the time. They did a really good job. My place was a straight shit-hole, cesspool, disgusting apartment."
"I have pictures of Hilary scrubbing my bathroom, and it was the kind of bathroom that girls that I would date or bring home wouldn't go in," adds the condo owner. "I had girls who would insist on going to the 7-Eleven down the street to use the bathroom instead of using that bathroom. These girls really clean, this is a legit operation. They get down and dirty."
"Any other maid service would not have done the job that needed to be done," he notes. "They would have looked at us and said, 'Fuck you, this is disgusting.' But these girls did it, and they did it well."
The business does have a downside, according to the girls, because they often receive harassing phone calls from men.
"This one time we were talking to these guys who had called us, and they said they were Navy Seals and that they had just gotten back, and they said they were going to pay us like $500 to give them a hand job," says Rue, giggling. "But there were like eight of them, and we were like, 'Do you want us to set up a production line or something?'"
"Normally we just hang up when we receive calls like that," says Plamondon. "This is a business, it's not an escort service."
Rue says she will be spending the next few months finalizing their business plans and hiring girls.
"We're going to have a huge kickoff party downtown," says Rue. "We plan on renting out a downtown club and having all the new girls there. It's going to be awesome. There will be a ton of sexy girls running around."
Despite their early success, the girls try not to take themselves too seriously. "The business is more funny than anything else," says Plamondon. "We're not trying to be distasteful, we're not out there to show off our bodies. We're good-looking enough where we can do it and not feel bad about it. But it's not really our intention to try to get a bunch of attention. Our intention is to be creative and to have a good time."