Consulting - November 14, 2018 - By Phone - 1.35 hours
1. Removal of team lead
We discussed taking away the responsibility of team lead and revisiting it when you go in to your teams of 2. It is a huge responsibility for the team lead you have now which you know she is not able to handle and it can be confusing as the responsibility shifts from her to you, depending on whether you are working with the girls or not.
My thoughts - You need to take on the role of supervisor in all the homes.
When you are working with your team, take on the least demanding role (this means that you have to give up the kitchen) so that you are able to see what needs to be addressed, where the weaknesses are and the strengths.
When you are not working with the team, pick one home to go inspect. Let your staff know that you are inspecting homes. They don't need to know it is not all of them all the time this way they will always perform at the best and then create that habit of giving their best.
When advertising, hire for part time only (2 days a week) and try not to hire anyone looking for full time but will to take part time. They will leave the minute full time is available. The reason for part time is because you do not have the clients to accommodate full time but you need more staff to assist you and your staff. Try hiring through Kijiji and Facebook through Mom's groups. If you can give Mom's with school age children an opportunity to make a little extra money a couple days a week that fits into their kids schedule, that would be your ideal candidate.
3. January 2019 - Move to Teams of 2
This is the opportunity to work on changing the team structure from 4 cleaning techs in one home to 2 cleaning techs with the understanding there will be a need to have one day of homes requiring 3 to 4 techs to clean.
The reason for the change is to create more profit for the business as it is costing you more to have 4 techs in the home than it will to have 2.
This is also the opportunity to revamp your manuals. You do need a master cleaning manual which explains the basics on how you want each room cleaned, what tools need to be used, what products need to be used. This will make clear of what is expected and will allow no room for excuses as to why things are not getting done or for cleaning techs to create their own way of doing things.
The goal is to remove you from the day to day cleaning and until you are in a position to hire, you will be the trainer and supervisor which will still keep you in the thick of things but now you will be running your business instead of it running you.
As the trainer, you will be setting aside days where it is just you and your trainee/trainees cleaning homes. This gives you the opportunity to show them how you want it done so that when they are ready to move on to working in a team atmosphere, what has been taught to them has now become a habit resulting in perfect end results for your clients
As the supervisor, you can make sure your teams and future team leads are doing their jobs. This shows your clients that you care about them and it gives you the opportunity to see how your staff works in a different light. When you are working alongside your staff, your goal is to stay on time therefore, I believe, you are not able to be as thorough as you like.
4. Website and Marketing
Both need to be updated. I will get a mock up of an updated page for you to look at to show more pics and less wording but still getting your message across. I understand your desire to use graphics over pics but the 2 can work together that is pleasing to the eye.
Take a moment to search through the eyes of a potential client. Try googling top 3 home cleaning services orillia to see what comes up.
It would also be a good thing to go through all of your online marketing sites to see where you need to update...I noticed one that said you have been in business for 7 years
Changing the structure of cleaning homes - 4 cleaning techs to 2 (looking in to using 3 cleaning techs instead of 4 in the larger homes and clients expecting you in and out)
Changing your role so that your business can be more effective
Revisiting your website and updating
Revisiting your marketing and updating
Consulting - Friday October 26, 2018 - By Phone 1.35 hours
1. Using the clipboard in a potential client's home
Issue - you feel you are all over the place when it come to using the assessment sheets.
Solution - keep a blank sheet and use that to write down anything you need, showing the client you are taking down notes instead of keeping it all in your head. It is a comfort thing for the potential client to see you write it down.
Issue - finding it takes longer to go through the home and the client seems agitated because of the length of time it takes compared to time spent beforehand.
Solution - when you set up the appointment let your potential client know it can take approx. 1/2 hour. When at the home start in the kitchen as it takes the longest to explain what they can expect. You need to be in charge at all times so when you enter the kitchen you can start with something like this "May I explain what you can expect from us when it comes to cleaning your kitchen" and end with 'Are there any concerns regarding your kitchen" When you do go through the living areas and bathrooms you can wait until the end to ask if there are any concerns. The hope is that by asking in the kitchen, the potential will continue to discuss their concerns throughout the rest of the home and create a comfortable bond when you are able to answer them in a professional and knowledgeable manner.
Committing to Your Rate
You can always add on more time but once you have committed to an hourly rate, you need to always be at that rate until you decide to create an increase across the board. Based on the discussion we had, it would have been better to explain to the potential client that in those capped hours what to expect and the priority instead of raising the rate to $40 an hour for the capped rate.
Losing Clients over Changes
This is going to happen, and you are not the only business it happens to so this is a perfect time to reflect on what other changes you could make while you are generating less income and one of those would be to work with teams of 2 instead of 4. This way your cleaning techs are not noticing a major decline in their weekly pay and you are not suffering from having to pay out of your pocket to keep the business afloat.
Your Lead Hand - Tamara
Unfortunately, it seems you do not have someone you can confidently rely on to be your lead hand but you are paying a premium rate for one of your employees to take on that role.
My suggestion is to talk with her and give her a 2 week period to show you that she can be a team lead. Explain to her what your expectation from her are and have her write them down so there is no confusion.
If at that meeting she feels she does not want to take on that role, the next discussion you need to have is for her pay to drop back to the $17 rate. This, by law, is acceptable as she was given the raise because of the extra responsibilities she was going to incur and is no longer in the role of team lead
During this 2 week period, don't point anything out on the job that she misses, but make sure you take care of it yourself, if needed, and write down in a notebook the errors to discuss at the end of the probation period. If you notice she has not taken to her new role, then you need to make that decision to remove her from that role and that comes with a decrease in pay. Again you are legally allowed to lower her wage as it was only given because she was going to take on more responsibility.
Take this time to also do surprise inspections, notifying any clients of your intent.
It seems, by talking with you, that you have reached a point with Nicole but you are also in a situation where you feel you can't let her go. If you feel it is for the better health of your business to do so, that is a decision you will have to come to terms with but understand you are not in a crisis mode where your business is going to fail if you let her go. You will find a way, whether it taking this time to let go of clients who you feel are losing you money, hiring more cleaning techs in hopes that one or two will work out but being able to cover the homes.....it all depends on whether or not you feel she is worth investing your time and your money towards.
Here are my thoughts
Give her 2 weeks to 'get on board' with your vision of how your company takes care of its clients. During this time, when she misses something or is not doing her best, you go to your team lead and have her take care of it but continue to write everything down in your notebook for your future conversation at the end of those 2 weeks. Do not lead her as you pay someone to do that. This is to see if a better environment can be maintained when you are not agitated and if your team lead will rise to the occasion. If at the end of the 2 weeks, you are still not happy with her performance and you feel your business will be much better if she is no longer part of it. Give her termination papers (you only need to give one week when she has been there for less than one year or one weeks pay instead of keeping her for that one week). The information you need from the Government of Ontario and Canada is at the end of this session.
Premium Rate and Commuting Rate
Premium rate is based on a percentage your client pays to have your company clean their home
Let's say you have a client that is paying for 4 man hours of cleaning @ $35 per hour for a total of 140.00
$18 per hour @ 51.5% is $18.02 $17 per hour @ 48.6% is $17.01 $16 per hour @ 45.8% is $16.03
New rate for new hires $14.50 per hour @ 41.5% is $14.53
If you had these 4 cleaning techs in one home it is a 1 hour home you would be paying a total of (before any of the other employee expenses)
They are only being paid for the time the client pays for not their time spent (you will have to figure out the ones that are paying much less than you would like as you know it takes your cleaning techs longer than what he client is paying for)
Which leaves the business with $74.41 before expenses
If your cleaning techs were making $14.50 and your lead making $16 per hour (just a glimpse in to what your future earnings could be)
Your team of 4 cleaning techs would earn $59.62 and the business will bring in $80.38
The percentage method is a way to control the time spent as your cleaning techs will learn to work in a more effective manner as they will not want to be working for free but they also will want to ensure they do not get complaints.
When working this method you just have to keep tabs on the time between leaving the office and coming back to the office to ensure they never go below minimum wage. This won't happen with your higher paid cleaning techs but might, in the beginning, affect your new hires. Just top up at minimum wage rate if needed.
Commuting rate should be $14 per hour based on Google maps time not on their time. if they get lost or take the long way it is on them. The person driving your vehicle does not need to paid more, just the commute rate. Only when you bring on people using their own vehicles do you need to worry about mileage pay.
Below are the laws governing employee and employer rights pertaining to letting an employee go
Minimum wage calculation for employees who earn commission
If an employee's pay is based completely or partly on commission, it must amount to at least the minimum wage for each hour the employee has worked. In most cases, when an employer ends the employment of an employee who has been continuously employed for three months, the employer must provide the employee with either written notice of termination, termination pay or a combination (as long as the notice and the number of weeks of termination pay together equal the length of notice the employee is entitled to receive). The Employment Standards Act does not require an employer to give an employee a reason why their employment is being terminated. There are, however, some situations where an employer cannot terminate an employee's employment even if the employer is prepared to give proper written notice or termination pay. For example, an employer cannot end someone's employment, or penalize them in any other way, if any part of the reason for the termination of employment is based on the employee asking questions about the Employee Standard Act or exercising a right under the ESA, such as refusing to work in excess of the daily or weekly hours of work maximums, or taking a leave of absence specified in the ESA. Employers are prohibited from penalizing or threatening to penalize employees in any way for:
exercising or trying to exercise a right under the ESA;
giving information to an employment standards officer;
asking about the rate of pay paid to another employee to determine if an employer is providing equal pay for equal work;
disclosing their rate of pay to another employee to determine if an employer is providing equal pay for equal work;
taking, planning on taking, being eligible or becoming eligible for a pregnancy, parental, personal emergency, declared emergency, family caregiver, family medical, critical illness, organ donor, reservist, domestic or sexual violence, crime-related child disappearance or child death leave;
being subject to a garnishment order (i.e., a court order to have a certain amount deducted from wages to satisfy a debt);
participating in a proceeding under the ESA;
participating in a proceeding under section 4 of the Retail Business Holidays Act (regarding tourism exemptions that allow retail businesses to open on holidays).
An employer that does penalize an employee for any of these reasons can be ordered by an employment standards officer to:
reinstate an employee to their job
compensate an employee for any loss incurred because of a violation of the ESA.
Certain employees are not entitled to notice of termination or termination pay under the Employment Standards Act
Examples include: employees who are guilty of wilful misconduct, disobedience, or wilful neglect of duty that is not trivial and has not been condoned by the employer. Other examples include construction employees, employees on temporary layoff, employees who refuse an offer of reasonable alternative employment and employees who have been employed less than three months.
Written notice of termination and termination pay
Under the ESA:
an employer can terminate the employment of an employee who has been employed continuously for three months or more if the employer has given the employee proper written notice of termination and the notice period has expired; or
an employer can terminate the employment of an employee without written notice or with less notice than is required if the employer pays termination pay to the employee.
Written notice of termination
An employee is entitled to notice of termination (or termination pay instead of notice) if they have been continuously employed for at least three months. A person is considered “employed” not only while they are actively working, but also during any time in which they are not working but the employment relationship still exists (for example, time in which the employee is off sick or on leave or on lay-off). The amount of notice to which an employee is entitled depends on their “period of employment”. An employee’s period of employment includes not only all time while the employee is actively working but also any time that they are not working but the employment relationship still exists, with the following exceptions:
if a lay-off goes on longer than a temporary lay-off, the employee’s employment is deemed to have been terminated on the first day of the lay-off—any time after that does not count as part of the employee’s period of employment, even though the employee might still be employed for purposes of the “continuously employed for three months” qualification;
if two separate periods of employment are separated by more than 13 weeks, only the most recent period counts for purposes of notice of termination.
It is possible, in some circumstances, for a person to have been “continuously employed” for three months or more and yet have a period of employment of less than three months. In such circumstances, the employee would be entitled to notice because an employee who has been continuously employed for at least three months is entitled to notice, and the minimum notice entitlement of one week applies to an employee with a period of employment of any length less than one year. The following chart specifies the amount of notice required:
Amount of notice required if an employee has been continuously employed for at least three months
Period of employment Notice required Less than 1 year 1 week
1 year but less than 3 years 2 weeks
3 years but less than 4 years 3 weeks
4 years but less than 5 years 4 weeks
5 years but less than 6 years 5 weeks
6 years but less than 7 years 6 weeks
7 years but less than 8 years 7 weeks
8 years or more 8 weeks
Requirements during the statutory notice period
During the statutory notice period, an employer must:
not reduce the employee's wage rate or alter any other term or condition of employment;
continue to make whatever contributions would be required to maintain the employee's benefits plans; and
pay the employee the wages they are entitled to, which cannot be less than the employee's regular wages for a regular work week each week.
Regular rate This is an employee's rate of pay for each non-overtime hour of work in the employee's work week. Regular wages These are wages other than overtime pay, vacation pay, public holiday pay, premium pay, personal emergency leave pay, domestic or sexual violence leave pay, termination of assignment pay, termination pay and severance pay and certain contractual entitlements. Regular work week For an employee who usually works the same number of hours every week, a regular work week is a week of that many hours, not including overtime hours. Some employees do not have a regular work week. That is, they do not work the same number of hours every week or they are paid on a basis other than time. For these employees, the “regular wages” for a “regular work week” is the average amount of the regular wages earned by the employee in the weeks in which the employee worked during the period of 12 weeks immediately preceding the date the notice was given. An employer is not allowed to schedule an employee’s vacation time during the statutory notice period unless the employee--after receiving written notice of termination of employment—agrees to take their vacation time during the notice period. If an employer provides longer notice than is required, the statutory part of the notice period is the last part of the period that ends on the date of termination. How to provide written notice
In most cases, written notice of termination of employment must be addressed to the employee. It can be provided in person or by mail, fax or e-mail, as long as delivery can be verified. Termination Pay
An employee who does not receive the written notice required under the ESA must be given termination pay in lieu of notice. Termination pay is a lump sum payment equal to the regular wages for a regular work week that an employee would otherwise have been entitled to during the written notice period. An employee earns vacation pay on their termination pay. Employers must also continue to make whatever contributions would be required to maintain the benefits the employee would have been entitled to had they continued to be employed through the notice period. Employees who earn wages for time spent travelling do not have to be paid their usual wage rate, but must be paid at least minimum wage.
It was a pleasure meeting you on Saturday Ingrid and thank you for sharing your story and your struggles. I hope the suggestions I offer will assist you with creating a new beginning that will see your business start to blossom and for you to be able to step back from the physical labour to the art of growing your business.
Below you will find my suggestions and that is exactly what they are....just my thoughts and ideas based on our discussion. There are also files you can use and examples of what some of my clients received.
Near the end of our discussion it was concluded your biggest issue is Employees so this is the priority.
#1 on your list is to incorporate a multi tier wage for the cleaning techs already on your payroll. This should be done as soon as possible
Tier 1 - Premium Rate - This is the wage earned while in the clients home based on the time clients pay for. For example;
Jasmine pays for 4 hours of cleaning so then the cleaning techs should only be paid, with a team of 4, for one hour. If priced right they should be able to accomplish all tasks within the quoted time frame. By paying them hourly from the time they leave the office to the time they return to the office this gives your cleaning techs no incentive to increase their speed while still be consistent with the expected end result.
Every time your cleaning techs go over on their time in a clients home your business is losing money. You don't need to figure out a ratio just need to know the amount of time your clients are paying for (hopefully based on $32 to 35 per hour)
Tier 2 - Basic Rate - minimum wage for time spent travelling based on Google maps and for morning/mandatory meetings. Anything that is done outside of the client's home should be minimum wage
Tier 3 - Training period - is minimum wage (from the starting point to the ending point) with the understanding that the hourly premium rate will be $14.25 when training is complete (this will ensure they stay over minimum wage on a full day without having to pay loading and unloading wages). My suggestion would be to raise it to $14.50 after 6 months as long as they do not get any viable complaints and I would let them know when hired to give them incentive.
Tier 4 - Bonus System - I would suggest you wait for at least one year before incorporating a monetary reward for service excellence. In the meantime you can do a reward system based on a monthly draw. For every compliment you receive on the team you place each of their names on separate pieces of paper and place in a box. When there is a complaint you take a way the piece of paper with the name of the person who failed to complete the task in the manner expected. At the end of the month you draw a name and that person rewarded with a gift basket of goodies valued at what you think is fair (sales are going on all the time and Groupon is great for getting gift certificates to salons, dinners out and massage therapists for a fraction of the cost).
Every time you are looking at candidates for hire, you should be looking for potential, looking ahead at how you envision your business in 1 year, 2 years, 5 years and being able to create new positions from within. Who could make a great team player, a leader, a supervisor, a manager eventually. Or who would be happy with just a few hours a week.....happy never being anything else except a cleaning tech. Which one of your possible new hires would love to help with the social media aspect of your business.
We discussed the hiring and interviewing process. What worked the best for me was the working interview. After speaking with potential candidate by phone they were given instructions
1. What to wear. A plain t-shirt or shirt, jeans or casual pants with no rips and to bring indoor shoes or gripped socks. 2. To bring their police check 3. To be at set location at a specific time (points if they were early)
If they don't follow these simple instructions, they sign the expense contract, I hand them a $20 bill and send them off.
They work on a bathroom only for 1 hour. When the time is up, I talk to them for about 5 minutes to see if they ask questions or share insight. I then tell them that I will be in touch with them within 24 hours, get them to sign the expense contract and hand them a $20 bill. I then go in to the bathroom and go through the checklist
We discussed the use of a clipboard and how it comforts potential clients. Below is the assessment checklist I take on a clipboard, along with my business card. It has 3 degrees of clean. Detailed, normal and light. For example; dusting blinds is light cleaning, wiping blinds is normal cleaning and washing blinds is detailed. Just click on Download File
This is the excel sheet for pricing homes based on the number system I showed you. It was created by members of the Association I belong to and tested by more than 100 residential business owners for accuracy. It has been used successfully since 2006. Just look for the hourly rate you would like to charge (yes, I do suggest you set an hourly rate so that you have more control over the financial part of expenditures vs income) at the top of each section
For now this is probably enough to help without overloading. I will go through a few more things this week and add more to this page by the end of the week. Adding links to residential cleaning service websites and other information that will help you with deciding on how to move forward.
No one else has access to this web page so everything on here is confidential