How to start and grow a cleaning business when you’re over 60.

How to train your cleaners by text

How to train your cleaners by text

 training by text

Introduction

Here is a list of cleaning thoughts I came up with. I send one thought by text to my house cleaners every work day. I pay them $5 by Venmo if they paraphrase it back to me.  I call this “training by text.”

The list of things for my cleaners to know

Things to know about cleaning that I may not have taught you or you may have forgotten.

 

1. The Great Firing

The biggest issues with most of the people that fired us (the “Great Firing”) was dusting and the floor. The floor having stains was a common complaint. This can be totally eliminated by making sure the mop is wet when mopping. I.E. Use the mop bucket every time.

 

2.  Double Mopping

Quickly double mop the kitchen floor, bar stool area and the dining room area. If needed, double mop the master bathroom and front door entryway.

 

3. Clean the entryway  

Don’t forget to vacuum the entry area, throw rug..

 

4. Working alone

If you’re working by yourself, clean all of the bathrooms first, then clean the kitchen, then dust, then vacuum and finally mop hard floors

 

5.  Two Cleaners working in a home

If there are two cleaners, one cleaner cleans all of the bathrooms and any bedrooms connected or near the bathrooms. The other cleaner cleans the kitchen, the dining table, the living room and the laundry room. Both finish up together. Do a walk through with done. .

 

6.  Use the mop bucket with the cleaning product provided.

Rinse your mop after mopping 1. the kitchen 2. the living room and 3. the master bedroom / bathroom. Rinse the mop 3 times total at least. More if the floor is visibly dirty. If the mop water gets visible dirty before you finish, change it.

 

7.  Clean the mirrors in the bathrooms twice.

On the second pass, clean like you hadn’t cleaned already.

 

8.  To get a bathroom floor really clean, clean the edges of the bathroom with a broom or by hand.

 

9.  If the bathroom is tiny, clean the floor by hand.

 

10.  Dusting

Don’t use a duster like a swiffter duster. Use a wet rag that has been wrung out really good. If needed, clean it with water. All horizontal surfaces in all rooms need to be dusted: Furniture legs, furniture drawer molding that sticks out, window sills, lamp shades, horizontal lamp surfaces.

11.  Dust lamp shades

Not get the lamp shades clean, but to keep dust from settling on the shade over time.

12.  When you’re done dusting

Stop, look at the room, and think, “What did I miss?” then dust what you missed. Look for hidden areas. Look for missed low areas

 

13. Dusting shelves with books

When dusting books, push them back a bit, dust, then pull them forward.

 

14.  Vacuuming hard floors

When cleaning hard floors use the Mighty Mite hard floor vacuum.

 

15.  Empty up right vacuum

Empty the upright vacuum canister before entering a home. Must be empty.

 

16.  Clean the upright vacuum dust pad   

At least twice per week knock the dust out of the upright vacuum dust sponge.

17. Walk around with a slightly damp cloth.

Keep a slightly damp towel with you as you walk around the home so as to be ready to clean what you might have missed.

 

18.  Wet cloth clean the tables in the living room. Polish dry.

If there is a coffee table or other tables in the living room that people might set dishes or food on, there is an excellent chance that those tables need to be cleaned with a damp / wet towel.

 

19. Clean the living room tables when cleaning the kitchen

If you’re cleaning the kitchen, step into the living room and clean any tables that need wet cleaning.

 

20.  If there are books or magazines in the room, arrange them so they look nice.

 

21.  In the living room arrange pillows on chairs and the couch to look decorative. If there is debris on the furniture, wipe it off with your hand or dust rag before you vacuum the floor..

 

22.  Pull out dining chairs and bar stools so that you can vacuum and mop under the table or bar counter.

 

23.  Use the baseboard cleaning tool. In addition to baseboards you can use it to sweep under the kitchen counter ledges.

 

24.  Use the baseboard cleaning tool to clean wall and ceiling edges (cobweb removal).

 

25.  Don’t stay in a home where you feel uncomfortable or the owner is mean. If you can, leave ASAP (don’t finish the clean). If you need to call me to come help you out of the home do so. I will fully support you when you make a decision to leave a home. No questions asked.I will fire the client as soon as I find out there is an issue.

26.  Don’t forget to clean the dining table while you are cleaning the kitchen.

27.  If you are cleaning the kitchen it is your responsibility to clean the laundry room.

28.  In the kitchen, open the pantry door and clean the floor.

29.  If you get to a home and no one answers the door, ring the doorbell at least three times. Knock very loudly three times. Call me before you leave.

30.  To clean the refrigerator and oven door handles use a soapy wet scrub sponge and run it back and forth until you don’t feel any debris. Dry the handle with a dry towel.

31.  Don’t forget to clean the refrigerator ice dispenser area. Some dispensers have a way to turn off the dispensers. If you turn off a dispenser, turn it back on when you’re done.

32.  Make sure to clean the inside edges of the refrigerator doors (open the doors and clean that area.)

33.  Be aware of areas that need touch up that we don’t normally clean, for example bar counter lights needing dusting. Do those if they don’t take a lot of time. Make sure and point this extra work out to the clients.

34.  The cleanser we use in the mop bucket is used for the scent and not that it helps clean better.

35.  Always do a walk through when you are done cleaning at a home.

36.  Use the mop bucket. It is very important. Very.

37.  Breakage happens. Let the owner know if you break something. If it’s expensive or the owner is upset let Don know so that he can take care of it. We have insurance. We’ll use it if we have to.

38.  If needed, find something to stand on to reach the tops of the mirrors.

39.  If you go to a house that is new to you, check the Zenmaid listing carefully in case I have added something important. Check the notes also.

40.  Cleaning a toilet: Pull anything that is sitting on the floor away from the toilet. Also remove anything that might be sitting on the toilet tank. Make sure to spray and then wipe the baseboards and floor behind and around the toilet. Use toilet cleanser if available.

41.  When you are done cleaning a bathroom, “point fold” the toilet paper.

42.  Don’t be afraid to be nosey in the bathrooms. Look under the sink for toilet cleaner.

43.  If a toilet doesn’t have a toilet brush, ask the owner where they keep it. If it is in another bathroom let Don know.

44.  Move light furniture away from where it was sitting so you can vacuum and / or mop where it was sitting. Put the furniture back when you’re done cleaning the floor.

45.  Try not to call in absent or sick too often (twice a month or more). It is unkind to me. Calling in sick too much can make me set boundaries that could lead to us parting ways. I’ve had to do this in the past. It is extremely uncomfortable to me. Please be kind.

46.  Watch out for Urns

47.  Watch out for irreplaceable or expensive items. Ask the owner what they want you to do when dusting around these items.

48.  Put your mop head on the mop handle while you are at your car. 

49.  I miss things. That’s why I do a walk through of the home. You should do a walk through each time you finish at a home.

The benefits of having Master House Cleaners working in your business

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Using Certified Master House Cleaners

Using Certified Master House Cleaners

The benefit of having Certified Master House Cleaners working in your business.

master house cleaners create business strength

“The great firing” forced me to figure out how to train properly

After the “great firing” (more about that here – opens in a new window) my mind was spinning trying to figure out how to train my employees better. They needed to be trained to do a good enough job that I would stop losing customers. 

I realized I wanted my employees to do exactly the same quality of work that I would do when cleaning a home. Other house cleaning business owners said that wasn’t possible and “to be happy with your employees doing a job 90% as well as you.”

I knew this wasn’t true, otherwise no plumber, electrician, nurse, doctor, etc., would ever be as good as the person who trained them. That would be a disaster. 

I knew it was possible to create a system that would help the intern achieve the same level of competence as the person who trained them. 

My first Master House Cleaner

Right before the “Great Firing” I had hired an employee we will call “C.”

I began working with C one-on-one at each home she cleaned. I was careful in my training to get her to where she would clean like I would. Exactly like I would.

C was extremely self-motivated, learned quickly, and was easily able to make decisions on her own. Because of her positive attitude and intelligence, she learned a lot about the job quickly. C will be my first Master House Cleaner.

New words used for a intensive training

In thinking about my training and trainee, I realized I wanted to use the words of the plumbing industry. The terms “Intern House Cleaner” and “Certified Master House Cleaner” were my way of defining the quality of work expected from the house cleaner.

Someone with less than 200 hours of experience was an Intern House Cleaner hired within the last six months.. They also probably had less than 200 hours of experience. They were someone that needed continual one-on-one training with a Master House Cleaner or myself.

At some point, it is possible that the Intern could become a Master House Cleaner. They would not receive that designation until they were fully competent to do exactly the same job as the Master House Cleaner that was training them.

What the Master House Cleaner receives for being awesome

Master House Cleaners receive a personalized shirt with the words Master House Cleaner embroidered on the chest area. This helps to let the customers and other employees know they are outstanding house cleaners. 

They would also receive a weekly bonus of 2% of the net business profits or $25 per week, whichever is greater. 

They receive a substantial reward (a portion of the profits) for me, knowing that I can rely on their expertise. 

Why even use these words “Intern and Master House Cleaner?”

So I have someone that is good at cleaning homes. So what?

Number one: I don’t lose customers. In fact, C has received compliments for house cleaning jobs she did.

Number two: A designation that lets people know the employee is better than every other person in the field is a pretty good advertising tool.

Using Master House Cleaners in marketing my business

That designation and skill level is marketable and can be used to promote your business.. For example, here is a blurb from my latest sales letter:

“When we have an employee that is an outstanding housecleaner, they are assigned the designation of “Certified Master House Cleaner.” Our Master House Cleaners are important to the growth of our business and to our customers. Because of this, they receive a portion of the Company’s net profits besides their regular pay.

Because they receive a portion of the business profits, we are very careful about who we certify as a Master Housecleaner.

If you have one of our Master House Cleaners working in your home, I can guarantee the quality of the work they will do for you.

What I have done is to create an (unfair) advantage over the other cleaning businesses in the area.

I have something that they don’t that can gain new clients. Clients that I won’t lose because of the quality of the job the Master House Cleaner does. 

If this “unfair” advantage works to gain me additional customers, I will write more about it later.

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*  23,931 reviews of Divi on Trust Pilot. 4.9 rating.

2,295,000 websites have been built using Divi.

800 premade website layouts, or create your own.

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Stop working in your business! Just stop it...

mopping a floor

My employees were not properly trained

My employees were not properly trained

My employees were not properly trained and I lost 10 clients.

Lost 10 customers

Creating routes will fix that.

There may not be a more important post on this website than this one.

2 months ago, as of writing this article, I began losing clients. By losing, I mean they fired us because the cleaners weren’t doing a good enough job.

We had 25 clients and by the time the “Great Firing” was done, we had 14 or 15 clients left. In fact, we almost lost another customer right at the end. I offered him a lower price to keep trying us while I fixed the problem.

What was the problem? Poor employee training.

I did an absolutely horrid job in training the people that worked for me. I assumed that with the training I did, that everyone was going to do the same job as me. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

It’s horrible that this affected everyone that worked for me. The only thing I can do now is to accept responsibility and change how I train.

What I am going to do, is to use routes as described by this cleaning business owner: https://www.housecleaninguniversity.com/. Routes will allow me to train my cleaners more extensively.

(By the way, the ad to your right or at the bottom of the page if you’re on a cell phone is the link to House Cleaning University.)

Routes and how they work and why they help in training

  1.  A route is a (recuring) set of homes that the employees clean every two weeks. They clean a certain number of these homes each day. Same homes, same cleaners everytime. 

  2.  Two cleaners clean the homes on the route.

  3.  To start a route, the owner of House Cleaning University mentioned starting by yourself and building the route until you have to hire someone to help. Don’t get nervous. I couldn’t physically do this either, so I’ll have an employee working with me.

  4.  TRAINING:  While building the route, the owner extensively trains the cleaning apprentice she hired. (Notice that I am now using cleaning apprentice. This puts a new spin on how we look at training. I’ll write more about this later.)

  5.  When the route is full, the business owner would hire another person to replace her on that route. She would do training of the new person and by the first cleaner. Once the second cleaner completes the training, she assigns both cleaners to do the route on their own..

6.  Now she would start another route, grow it, hire another cleaner, etc. Rinse and repeat, growing the business one route at a time.

 

So, why create a route?

*  Much better training for new employees.

*  Much better income to the owner without harming the income of the cleaners. This is because the owner is working in the field.

 

Route income numbers

She mentioned some income numbers per route. Below is my idea of the numbers.

*  The numbers are based on you being able to clean part time.

* Also assumed is the business being able to get two new, every other week clients per week who pay an average of $125 per cleaning. Average cleaning takes two cleaners 1.5 hours.

*  At $19.25/hour, employees would earn about $29 per cleaning.

*  If two new clients per week sounds too ambitious, make it one new client per week and double the time to start route two. Results are the same, it just takes longer.

  To start: zero homes and one employee.

  Month two:  16 cleanings = less than one cleaning per day. Gross income $2,000/month: $464 to the employee and $1536 to you.

  Month three:  32 cleanings per month or 1.5 cleaning per day. Gross income of $4,000/month: $928 for the employee and $3072 for you.

  Month 4:  48 cleanings per month or 2+ cleanings per day. Gross income $6,000: $1,392 for employees and $4,600 for you. (You’re now making $50,000 per year)

  Month 5:  64 cleanings per month or 3 cleanings per day. Gross income: $8,000: $1856 for the employees, $6144 to you.

  Month 6: Hire a new cleaner to replace you in Route 1 at month 8. It now takes 1 hour to clean a home. 80 cleanings per month or 3.75 cleanings per day. Gross income $10,000: (2 employees) $3080 for the employees, $6920 for you.

  Month 7: Hire a new cleaner. 96 cleanings per month. It now takes 45 minutes to clean a home. 4.5 homes cleaned per day. Gross income: $12,000. Three employees get paid $8352. $3648 is for you.

  Month 8: You take yourself and the new hire from month 7 out of the first route. Continuing gross income from the first route with 96 cleanings/month: $12,000/month: $5568 for employees and $6432/month to you.

  Beginning of month 8: Start route #2.  

 

Benefits of route work:

This method provides a considerable amount of apprenticeship training. It simplifies the house cleaning business growth and helps the business owner earn more.

An added benefit is that working in the field will keep you in good shape, too.

Sounds good to me. How ‘bout you?

Where to find amazing employees

Hiring part 1

Savannah another great employee - She moved to Vegas darn it. 

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When you use my link you will receive a $100 Visa gift card when you sign up to try Gusto.

I will also receive a Visa gift card. An awesome payroll service and money? How cool is that?

The benefits of having Master House Cleaners working in your business

Advertising vacation rental cleaning business

Advertising vacation rental cleaning business

vacation rental home

 It has been difficult for me to find a marketing method that is reliable enough to share with you. You never know, maybe things will have changed by the time you read this.

To me reliable means I mail out “X” number of postcards or letters and get “Y” number of new clients.

I’m frustrated in that I might take an action (example: mailing 800 postcards to a retirement community). Then, whether it be the first time, the second time, or the third time, I don’t know if it will work.

For instance, I did three mailings of 800 postcards, each mailing to a 55+ active retirement community. The first batch of postcards I mailed produced nothing. Mailing a second batch brought in a few new customers. The third batch produced no new customers. More postcard marketing results.

I mailed to a family neighborhood twice, at a cost of $700 and got one new customer (ouch). I got a referral from that new customer, so that helps.

Several months ago, I mailed letters to vacation rental owners and got a ton of work. I’ve mailed to the same owners again and have gotten nothing.

It’s impossible to have a viable business without knowing how to get customers.

It is time to experiment to figure out how many new customers I can get by consistent, month-after-month mailing.

I will mail out 30 simple flyers to vacation rental owners per day. I will continue this until I hit 1,000 or until I run out of people to mail to. Then it will be time to start over mailing to the same people. I will do this eight times.

My thought with this is to be gentle, but persistent. The flyer is simple (see the example below). I printed it on 32 lb. paper that is “tri-folded” and then sealed the tri-folded flyer with three, 2 inch round paper (tear-able) envelope sealer like these.

So far (August 9th, 2023) I have mailed to 360 vacation rental home owners with no one contacting me.

I will post an update as frequently as I remember to do so. If I haven’t posted results in a while please post a comment in the comment section below to remind me.

How to mail 850 postcards for 20 cents each using EDDM from the United States Postal Service

How to mail 850 postcards for 20 cents each using EDDM from the United States Postal Service

This is a how-to article on using EDDM – Every Door Direct Mail.

Using EDDM is fairly straight forward. Once you’ve done it one time, it’s a breeze after that.

To start, you need EDDM regulation-sized postcards advertising your business. Your postcard needs to be at least 10.5 inches long or 6.125 inches high.

A suggested size might be 4.5” by 11”. That size would certainly get the attention of the resident.

Most postal routes have around 850 homes. This means you will want to order 1,000 postcards.

Not a pitch for this company but I use gotprint.com because they are the cheapest printer I have found.

The postcards will need what is called an “indica postmark” in the upper right corner. It will also need to have the wording “Local Postal Customer” in a box where the address would normally go.

When you receive the postcards from your printer, you will portion them out in bundles of 50. Then use size 64 rubber bands to secure each bundle. Size 64 rubber bands are what the post office uses.

Looking at the home page of the USPS website, tap the business tab at the top right of the page, then scroll down and tap on “using EDDM.” When that page comes up, tap on “EDDM Online Tool.” A map should come up showing the United States.

Now, pick the area you want to mail to and put in the zip code that the community is in and hit search.

What type of residential homes do you want to mail to? I chose upper end to high end homes mostly populated by high income retired people in areas near me. Look at the top of the map to filter your search.

If you wish to attract office cleanings, you can look at how many businesses will receive your postcard in a chosen area (again, at the top of the map).

Side note: I could not use Google Chrome to view the map. I have to use the Microsoft Edge browser.

When you have decided on a postal route, tap it to lock it in (the streets will turn blue), then over to the right under summary, tap the words “next step.”

On the page that comes up, click on “sign up now,” unless you have a postal business account already.

The next page will ask you when you want to drop off your postcards (drop-off date). Pick a date.

You will also answer if you want to pay online or in person at the post office. Personally, I always tap “pay at post office.”

Tap the box to agree to the “Terms and Conditions.”

Going back to the post office page scrolling down to number 3, you will see how many bundles of 50 postcards you need to mail to the area you’ve chosen. This also equals the number of facing slips you need. Tap on “Downloads: Facing Slips.” A facing slip will show up as a PDF. You fold the filled out facing slips in half and then added to the top of each bundle by pushing them under the rubber band. Before printing them, I use the text button to add the date, the number of mail pieces per bundle (50) and the total number of bundles. You can also write this information out by hand after printing the facing slips.

Print out the number of facing slips you need, then fill in the blanks.

Fold the facing slips in half and then, slipping them under the rubber band, put one on top of each bundle with the slip face you just filled in, facing up.

Place the “face slipped” bundles in a box in numerical order. I use a post office (white plastic) carrying box. When you are at the post office, ask for a couple so you have them for next time you do an EDDM mailing.

Now go back to the post office page #3 and print the form:  Mailing Statement-USPS Form PS3587. It’s right next to the facing slips link. Print out the two pages and then fill in the following areas on the sales form:

  1. The total # of bundles you have.
  2. The total # of pieces (postcards) in each bundle.
  3. Check mark the box “EDDM Retail Indica.”
  4. Put down the weight of one post card as whatever the weight is. You should have a scale at home. Buy one if you don’t.
  5. Go down to the two boxes that ask you to sign and print your name. Do so and then fill in the date where indicated.

Place both forms of Form PS3587 on top of the bundles.

Place a postcard on top of the two pieces of paper. You do this because the postal clerk will weigh the postcard to verify the weight.

Take your box of bundles with inserted facing slips, the sales sheet, and the other sheet to the correct post office. Look on the post office page #3 to see which post office you will need to take your postcards to.

When you get to the post office and you are in front of the postal clerk, put the box on the counter, hand the two pieces of paper and the postcard to the clerk. Let them do their thing and then pay for your EDDM mailing.

Answer the phone calls you get from the postcards you’ve mailed.

Get some new clients. Make more money.

My first house cleaning postcard mailing went to 950 homes once every other month for 3 months. I didn’t get any calls from the first or third mailings.

I just mailed about 1500 postcards to two new areas yesterday. I will write about the results of that mailing later.

Update: July 2023, Got one new monthly client out of the mailing of 1500 postcards. Terrible return on investment.

 

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