Family-Owned Company Keeps Businesses, Homes and Environment Clean

(Courtesy of Rami Richards)
Rami and Kathryn Richards with their children, (L-R) Soren, Archie and Nash and Rocco, the family pet, alongside their first “ecomobile.” This view, from Grizzly Peak, overlooks the vista and communities where the couple are raising their three kids.

    Orinda residents Rami and Kathryn Richards were starting a new phase in their lives in 2021 as their three kids were more active with sports, school and friends. The tech industry was becoming a grind for Rami, so the family decided to pivot and start their own 
    That’s when they bought a franchise called ecomaids.
    “We wanted opportunities that put us on a path towards independence, spending more time together, connecting to our own community and less time commuting – as an employer and a service provider,” said Rami. “We evaluated a myriad of business opportunities, seeking a project that aligned with our values. We kept coming back to service, the environment, sustainability, community-building and social responsibility.”
    Kathryn, whose parents still live in the home she grew up in, graduated from Miramonte High School. She worked in the mental health sector for more than 25 years as a licensed clinical social worker and transitioned to a therapist in a clinic before opening her private practice.
    Rami spent more than 10 years in the financial services industry. From there he moved into tech-digital media, holding sales and sales leadership roles at Pandora, Pinterest and AdTech ventures for another decade.
    When they opened ecomaids, which is bonded, licensed and insured, they did the work themselves. “I knew as entrepreneurs, we had to be ready to roll up our sleeves and get the job done,” said Rami. “If we reflect honestly – we hadn’t worked a physically challenging job in decades and there was something renewing about having to sweat for a living, believe it or not.”
    They reaped unexpected benefits from cleaning homes. “We shed a few pounds, we got to know our clients personally and really put our stamp on things so they could feel comfortable with our company ethos and authenticity,” he said. “We learned to appreciate the difficult, physical nature of the job and gain an appreciation of what our employees would be going through, which makes us far more empathetic employers.”
    The cleaning products used by ecomaids are free of harmful, toxic chemicals and are certified by EPA Safer Choice and Green Seal.
    “As we evaluated businesses, we wanted to minimize our environmental footprint as much as possible,” said Rami. “We’re not perfect – we still drive gas cars since a fleet of electric vehicles and required infrastructure are too costly to be sustainable in this stage – but it was important for us to help our clients reduce the number of toxins in their own households and create safer environments for pets, kids and plants.
    Rami added, “It’s also much safer for industry workers who get overexposed to harsh cleaning chemicals every day. We have countless stories of clients reaching out convinced their pets could have been sickened by commonly used cleaning products. It’s quite rewarding to deliver the peace of mind that comes with a freshly cleaned home, but even more so, knowing the products we use 
are safer.”
    Understanding that not all homes are created equal and expectations of cleaning services vary, Rami said, “We dust all horizontal surfaces, vacuum, mop, polish and tidy. We clean showers and tubs, disinfect sinks and toilets; scour grout and counters and clean stove tops and cabinet faces.”
    The first home cleaning visit typically takes more time to establish a baseline, with maintenance cleanings scheduled on a recurring basis.
    The 13 employees are thoroughly vetted, background-checked and protected by insurance. They are COVID-19 vaccinated, wear masks and follow safety protocols.
    “We provide competitive living wages and benefits to our employees,” said Kathryn.
    Another unforeseen benefit are the funny moments. “Hearing teams argue about who’s going to handle the spider or wondering why the vacuum isn’t working and completely disassembling it to troubleshoot – only to find it’s not plugged in,” said Rami.
    For more information about ecomaids, visit, email or call 925.765.7145.

Charleen Earley can be reached at

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