Category Archives: Trust

Cleaning Your Home With a Team

Ok, so here you are.  The woman who has been cleaning your home has finally given her notice.  She has been with you for the last 15 years, basically since she graduated high school, and here she is expecting her second child.

It’s been nice having one person clean your home.  She was fairly reliable, showing up every week and taking about four to five hours to clean your home the same way you would.  Sure, it took some training to get her to do it your way, but it was worth it.

Woman Cleaning Toilet

What are your options for replacing her (like you could ever replace her)?  Angieslist has a good comparison of your options, here.

You could search for another woman; maybe on craigslist or in the local news paper, but that seems so last century.  Besides, the world is a much different place since you last hired a home cleaner.

The other option is to hire a service.  The nice part of this option is you know that they are most likely insured and there is a certain amount of security involved with inviting them into your home.

A reputable cleaning service will background check their employees, have liability insurance and can be dependable and reliable.  Some will send the same people each time (usually two or three), so you have a sense of continuity on each cleaning.

The down side to this is that where it took your previous woman four to five hours to clean your home, the cleaning company can usually have it done in an hour to an hour and a half.  This may lead you to believe that they did an inferior job or skipped some things you wanted done, but in reality, two or three people naturally can do the same job your previous cleaner did in 1/3 or 1/2 the time.

Team

It may also be disconcerting to have a group of people in your home versus one person.  Whereas your previous cleaner was pretty silent in her work, save for the vacuum, a team will normally communicate during the cleaning (“Don’t forget the stainless polish.”, “Did you do these stairs, yet?”).

The decision is a personal preference and one you most likely will lose some sleep over.  It is your home, after all.  Best of luck to you!

The Cost of Hiring Cheap Home Cleaners

I saw this story on a friends Facebook news feed and cringed.  I always cringe when I see stories about home cleaners gone bad.  It reflects poorly on the industry that I have chosen and, yes, I take it personally.  My issue I guess.

Whenever our kids would do something unwise growing up after we wiped the tears away and the kids were over whatever hurt them, we would ask them, “Did you learn anything?”.  I would like to ask this homeowner the same thing.  Not to be mean or insensitive.  I am sure that when he hired the woman he had no idea she would use the key he gave her to get into his home and steal checks.  Still there are things that you can do to protect yourself.

Of course the most obvious answer is to hire a reputable cleaning service.  Large National chains such as Merry Maids and The Cleaning Authority have a reputation and systems in place to weed out those with criminal backgrounds that may pose a threat to your security.  The downside to hiring a franchise business like the ones I named above is that you may have to sacrifice price and a personal touch to get that security.  These companies tend to be slightly more expensive and you may or may not get the same cleaners in your home each time, something that contributes to trust.

Likewise, smaller local, even family owned cleaning services who are professional and insured will also have those systems in place and you may be able to get a better price.  They may be more flexible with regards to putting the same cleaners in  your home each time and accommodating your needs with regards to scheduling.  The key is in making sure they are professional.

We recently signed up a client that we had given a bid to nearly a year ago.  Initially this client went with a Mother and Daughter team because they were less expensive.  She called us back and signed up after they cancelled her cleanings three time in a row due to personal issues.

Finally, if you just want the lowest possible price and think that a single cleaner can give you a little more personal service, insist on doing a background check on them.  Any cleaning person worth their salt, even if they don’t have insurance, would be willing to submit to this.  You have every right in the world to know who is in your home and whether they have a criminal history.

The events described in the story at the beginning of this blog had a happy outcome because the woman was caught.  Hopefully some type of insurance (we’re pretty sure it’s not hers) will kick in to cover this gentleman.  But the fact is that a little checking on this person could have saved this man a lot of trouble in the long run.

A Maid Service is Not for You

I should probably preface this post with an apology because I believe I am going to offend some people with it.  I am sorry.

Now that that is over; a maid service is not for you.  We know your type.  You have never had a maid service or you have had many and it was always the same result; they could never do it right.  And by right, we mean the way you think it should be done.

Those people who say you should teach your children responsibility by giving them chores to do around the house?  Are they NUTS?  Your kids have the attention span of a puppy in a pet store.  And don’t even get you started on your spouse.  They wouldn’t know a hospital corner if it bit them in the, well you know.

bed

There is a right and a wrong way to clean the house and nobody but you knows the right way.  And that’s OK as long as you don’t hire someone to do it.

We once stopped an in home estimate about five minutes in.  We had never done that before.  Ever.  We heard about how the homeowner expected the toaster to be shined each time, whether it was dirty or not.  The blankets on the back of the couch needed to be folded just so and each of the Snow Baby figurines (about a dozen) each needed to be pulled down from a high shelf, dusted and put back exactly as they were before.

We were on the second room of a 15 room home and we knew.  One of two things would happen; either the price that we would ask the homeowner to pay to spend the amount of time in her house to do it the way they wanted would be so high that they might faint or we would get the job and we would never, ever hit this homeowner’s mark.  Ever.  So we stopped the bid and informed the potential client, ever so gently, that we knew for a fact that our company was not a good fit for them.

toaster

You see, hiring a Maid or Cleaning Service requires you to trust that service and accept that they may or may not do things exactly the way you want them done.  It may also require you to accept that the service may or may not do some things you DO want done.

In the above story, for example, we were unwilling to take the risk of removing, dusting and then replacing the figurines for a couple of reasons.  The first reason was that these were obviously precious to the homeowner and, depending on which of our cleaning team did the dusting at this home, would have required getting a small step-ladder and removing each piece one by one.  This increases the liability to us in the form of a potential fall, and the risk of breaking what may have been an heirloom.

The second reason had to do with pricing.  When you are being careful you take extra time and, as they say, time is money.  Some people are price-conscious when it comes to a cleaning service.  We can sanitize a kitchen counter, making sure to polish the chrome on the sink faucet, clean the inside of a microwave and get fingerprints  and grime off of the outside of the other major appliances in a reasonable amount of time and we build tasks like that into our bids.  But when you start throwing in items like polishing a chrome toaster even if it doesn’t need it, folding blankets on the couch just so and dusting figurines, this is going to take extra time and we need to reflect that time in our bid.  Most clients are not willing to pay that price.

So there you have it.  Is a Cleaning or Maid Service for you?

Our own Dream Team

Do you remember the USA 1992 Olympic Basketball Dream Team?  Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and a host of others.  Men considered to be the absolute best in their field.  The standard for a professional basketball player.  They were the first and, in my humble opinion, the best Dream Team ever.  And I don’t even follow professional basketball.

We here at Freedom Cleaning Services have our own Dream Team.

Dream Team

 

 

 

 

After over eight years in business we have built a team that exceeds all of our and our clients expectations each and every day.  They are a thing of beauty.

They each come to us from very different backgrounds and experiences and yet they work together seamlessly as a team.  I know, that’s how it should always work, but some times it isn’t easy finding several individuals that work together well.

Some, like the talented Rose Krause (far left in the picture above) come from other cleaning companies and bring a unique perspective to what we do, offering advice and insight on how to make our cleanings better.  She has a heart as big as the outdoors.

077Others, such as Lorene Gronskei (third from left) bring natural leadership talents.  Gently guiding the team to give their all in any situation.

Some bring a sunny disposition and an amazing work ethic, such as Miss Jenna Johnson (third from left).  Jenna has a work ethic rarely seen in a 20-year-old Biology student.

And others have several of these talents rolled into one, like Carmela Lyons (far right) who comes to us from Seattle and has an eagle eye for detail.

Each has their own hardships and challenges at home but cheerfully put them aside to work together as a team to accomplish one goal; to give our clients a home cleaning experience.  Dream team, indeed!

Cleaning for Your Four-Legged Family Members

As any dog, cat, ferret, bunny or goldfish owner will tell you, our pets are our family just as much as our children or spouse are.

Dog giving woman high five.When we’re cleaning our homes we need to be sensitive to not only using things that could harm the rest of the family but also our four-legged family members.  This mean knowing what is in our cleaning chemicals and avoiding those ingredients that could be harmful to our pets.

ACHOO!

Did you know that your pet can have allergies, just like you can?  It’s true!  besides the usual suspects in allergies such as dust, dust mites and pollen your pet can have allergies to things like cigarette smoke, and fragrances and dyes in cleaning products and air fresheners.  Symptoms that your pet is allergic to something in your home may not be the same as your red, watery eyes and runny nose.  Usually a pet allergy will manifest itself as scratching, chewing and licking, sometimes to the point of creating open sores, which has its’ own nasty implications.  An open sore on a pet can open it up to infection.

Poison!

There are some chemicals that are just downright dangerous to your pet and oftentimes they are in the same products that we use to clean the areas our pets use the most.

According to the website eartheasy.com “Cleaning products with ingredients such as bleach, ammonia, chlorine, glycol ethers or formaldehyde can put pets at risk for cancer, anemia, liver and kidney damage.”

For example, chlorine is heavier than air, so even though your might be spraying your counter tops with a chlorine cleaning product, thinking that your dog won’t get up there, the chlorine will land on the floor.  the same area your dog loves to lay on and, from time to time, lick.

?????????????????????????????Ammonia, found in oven cleaners and window cleaning formulations is an irritant to the mucous membranes.

There are a number of cleaning products on the market that are natural or eco-friendly.  Choose your products wisely.  ALL of your families’ health depends on it.

 

 

 

Aside

I like to think I am a pretty easy-going guy, but today I am fuming.  As a matter of fact, I probably shouldn’t even be writing this.  The words of my wife keep echoing in my head; “Put it in … Continue reading

It’s all about trust.

Trust.  Is there any more important ingredient in a cleaning business?  You might be the world’s best cleaner, but if people don’t trust you, you will never have clients (also an important ingredient, but if you don’t have the former, you’ll never have the latter).

Mardi and I have always marveled at the trust that people place in us.  It is incredibly humbling to think that someone you don’t know; have never met until that in-home estimate, would invite you into their home to clean.  Their home.  The place where most people feel most secure.  I wondered what made people trust someone so completely as to invite a (relatively) complete stranger into the place where they feel safest to clean it.

As I was doing some research, I stumbled upon an article by Margie Warrell, a best selling author, speaker and life coach, about the key ingredients for trust.  You can find the article here, but let me sum it up for you.  Trust is built on three principles.

Competence:  In the case of a residential cleaning business; does the prospective client think you know what you’re doing?  Are you proving to them that you know a thing or two about cleaning homes?

Reliability: According to Margie Warrell, reliability is “about whether you can count on someone to manage and honor their commitments”.  When you set up an appointment to meet a prospective client for the in-home estimate, are you on time?  If they asked for a list of references, did you bring it?  If the client perceives you to not be reliable, you will never have their trust.

SinceritySincerity boils down to how the prospective client asses our character, our “fundamental integrity” as Margie Warrell puts it.  While the person interviewing you (because in addition to providing them with a firm quote to clean their house, make no mistake; you are being interviewed) may care less whether the average person on the street is an honest, upstanding individual with morals and values, you are not the average person on the street.  The prospective client is considering you to come into their home and clean it.  While you may not be expected to walk on water, you had better be able to doggy-paddle with style and grace!

Like I said, we are so grateful that our clients have chosen us to clean their homes.  We are nothing short of honored that out of all the cleaning businesses and persons in the world we were deemed worthy of a homeowners’ trust.

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