A couple of weeks ago an article came out in Readers Digest called “Thirteen Things Your Home Cleaner Won’t Tell You”, and while I’m not sure how it was received in the general public, it caused quite a stir in the Home Cleaning industry. Three cleaning service owners that I know contributed to the article. The dust-up started because some in the industry felt that a few of the things that ‘we’ wouldn’t tell ‘you’ were unprofessional and, some felt, put the industry in a bad light. Opinions are like noses; everybody has one. I don’t want to get into a discussion about who was right and who was wrong and I don’t want to defend the industry as a whole. There are others out there that are much more eloquent and experienced in this industry than I am. I will leave that up to them. All I can do is speak to my business.
Therefore I would like to address the “Thirteen Things” as they appeared in the online version.
1. My best clients are people who work for their money, like teachers, bartenders, and cops. Rich people think they’re doing you a favor by allowing you to scrub their toilets. Working people understand you are doing them a service by making their lives easier. This is complete and utter crap. We don’t distinguish our clients by how much money they make and to say that one socioeconomic class treats us better than another is pure fantasy. People are people. Some treat you well and others treat you like the help. Doesn’t have a thing to do with how much money they make.
2. I wish you wouldn’t insist on bleach and other harsh cleaners. For almost every situation, there’s an eco-friendly option that’s just as effective. Actually we would agree with this. We work very hard to create a safer environment both for our staff and for your family by using products that are proven safer than their counterparts, which is the very definition of being green. Nine and a half times out of ten we can get your home as clean or cleaner without using harsh or downright harmful chemicals.
3. After I leave, check the base of the toilet and the top of the fridge. If they’re clean, you know I’m thorough. Or the tops of your picture frames, or any other detail area you can think of. Point is, if we take time to do these things, you can feel pretty confident that we did everything else you told us was important to you.
4. Many cleaning companies do not run any sort of background check or even check references. I answered an ad, I was on time and presentable, and I was willing to take the job. That is all most companies care about. We do run criminal background checks and check at least two references on each employee we hire. Anything less is unacceptable.
5. I’m not even posting this one. Too ridiculous to even comment on.
6. Want to save money on high-priced maid services? Instead of booking a regular appointment, ask to be on our on-call list to fill last-minute slots at a discount. Or see if you can be a “training home” for new cleaners. Unfortunately this is not a service we offer at this time.
7. If you use a service instead of an individual, ask for the same people every time. Your cleanings will be more consistent, with fewer strangers in your home. We couldn’t agree more. Although your home will be cleaned to your standards no matter who cleans it, we make every attempt to have the same cleaners in your home each and every time.
8. When using a new maid service, leave a few dollars hanging out of a pants pocket or lying on the counter. If we take a dollar or two, you’ll know we’re probably going to take other things. You can leave a wad of hundred-dollar bills on the counter or a penny. We might move it to clean underneath it, but our employees have been drilled about this since before they were hired. NOTHING except garbage and our payment is removed from the home. Taking anything from the home except our payment or trash that is in a trash can or liner is considered theft and is grounds for immediate termination.
9. Make sure we’re bonded and have liability insurance. Otherwise, you’re on the hook if we break something or get hurt on the job. We do and will be giddy with excitement to provide proof of it when asked.
10. Pick your clothes up off the floor, get your dishes out of the sink, and clean up your kids’ toys. Your house will end up a lot cleaner. You didn’t hire us to organize your home, you hired us to clean your home. We can clean more area more efficiently if we don’t have to pick up a bucket of Lego’s first. Of course, if you choose not to, your home will still be cleaned.
11. If you leave your personal life out for us to see, we most definitely will talk about you. We may even send pictures to our friends and relatives. We never, ever, ever allow discussions of clients’ personal lives or belongings either during the job or after. Furthermore, if we ever found out that an employee had taken pictures of a clients personal effects and emailed them to friends, that employee would be on thin ice, employment-wise.
12. Recommend us to your friends. We may give you $25 to $50 off a cleaning for each referral — if you ask. Actually we just started a new referral program for our clients. It doesn’t involve a cash reward. It involves a free cleaning!
13. If you don’t have a lot of cash, ask me to come for just one hour. I can do just the bathrooms and the kitchen or only the areas guests will see. Another service we don’t currently offer. We’ll look into it, though.
There you go. Freedom Cleaning Services’ take on the (at least in the industry) infamous “Thirteen Things” article. We hope it was entertaining and educational and we can assure you that will be our last word on the topic.