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