Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sometimes They're Just Better Than Us

But most of the time, they're not. They're not better because they do so many things wrong. Like spending only thirty minutes in your 3000 square foot home. Like showing up late all the time. Like not showing up at all. That's why people select us. Because we do those things right.

But every now and again, somebody's better than us. Here's how another maid service can beat Two Maids & A Mop.

You can beat us by cleaning all the homes yourself. You can't hire anyone. You can't depend on anyone but yourself. And you've got to really enjoy the challenge of cleaning. Making that house look clean has really got to get you going. That's it. That's how you can beat us.

The good news for us is that you can't clean every house in town. The good news for us is that you are rare. And the best news is that you're not our competition. Because we can't compete with you. You're better than us.

Our competition is everybody else. Like the ones that show up late all the time. Like the ones that get pregnant and have to quit cleaning. Like the ones that get married and move away. Like the ones that miss the same things over and over again. Like the big, franchised maid service companies that spend more money on advertising than on payroll.

They're the ones we're trying to beat. Better yet, they're ones trying to beat us.

Sidenote: If you live in North Dakota, call these people. They're better than us.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Rise Of Pay For Performance Programs

No need to explain this article. This quote says it all....

"The majority of companies have realized that only through performance-based awards can an organization effectively motivate and reward employees for helping achieve their goals," says Ken Abosch, a consulting business leader for Hewitt Associates. Variable pay plans, as opposed to holiday bonuses, clearly connect employees to company performance."

Click Here To Read The Article

Thursday, December 21, 2006

One Sentence That Says It All

"I'm not a cleaning lady anymore", proclaimed Jody Crane after she received her bachelor degree in Leisure Studies recently.

That one sentence says it all. Nobody wants to do what we do. Nobody is proud of it. Nobody likes it. Nobody thinks they'll be doing this forever. And that's exactly why the average turnover rate for a cleaning business is over 300% annually.

So what makes this job so bad? For one, you gotta clean dirty toilets several times per day. No matter how you dress it up; cleaning a dirty toilet stinks (pardon the pun). Secondly, the job has no future. It really doesn't. Sure, you could work you're way up to quality control manager, or team leader, or whatever else some companies call those positions. But you're not really going anywhere. Because you're still cleaning those same dirty toilets everyday. You're really just making a little more money. Third, the job pays crap. Imagine cleaning your house three times a day and then getting $40-$50 for your day's worth of work? That's what your cleaning lady is doing. She's working at or near minimum wage. That's a lot of work for not a lot of money.

And these are the reasons why Jody Crane hated calling herself "cleaning lady". Cleaning homes for a living has a negative persona surrounding it. It's not something you can be proud of. Not like a college degree in Leisure Studies. You can be proud of that. Even if you're not making any money with the degree yet. Because your neighbors now can look up to you. Instead of down to you.

These are the problems that we face everyday. Now we can't change the fact that you're gonna clean toilets everyday. That's what we do. But we can do something about the other two problems.

You see, money talks. Our pay for performance plan talks. You don't have to make minimum wage if you don't want to make minimum wage. In fact, you can make more than a lot of people if you want to. We've got several people that make more than $11 per hour every pay period. And while we can't offer unlimited career advancement opportunities, we can offer more money. We offer four levels of employment. Each level allows you to make more money. The top level allows you to make more than $12 per hour.

That's nearly $25,000 annually. And we're not in California, or New York, or even Orlando for that matter. We're in northwest Florida. Where the average median income is only $24,000.

Yes, our employees are cleaning ladies. Yes, they clean your toilets. But stand up and take notice. They may just be making more money than you.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

An Unequal Playing Field

There are two ways to start a professional cleaning service. Imagine that you're looking to get into the business. Which of these two ways would you pick to get started?

The Legal Way
County Occupational License - $40
City Occupational License - $50-$100
City Business License - $100-$300
General Liability Insurance - $2,000-$5,000 Theft Bond - $100-$200
Workers' Compensation - $1,000-$3,000
Payroll Taxes - $15,000-$????

The Illegal Way
Nothing, zero, natta, zippo...

Now which way do would you get started? Keep in mind that these expenses are recurring costs that you'll need year after year. In fact, the busier you get; the more money you'll need. But not if you run your business like the majority of cleaning services.

Nope. You get to operate out of your spare bedroom. You get to pay yourself under the table.

And you also get to run and hide when you damage an expensive piece of furniture. You get to sleep in when you don't want to work. You get to steal money when you know that you're about to move out of town. You get to do all these things because you're cheaper.

You're cheaper than Two Maids & A Mop. You're cheaper and that's why it's so easy to find work for your new cleaning business. Because most of your new customers think that every cleaning business is the same. Because it's just cleaning after all. Anybody can do it.

Now what if you're a customer? Which one do you want inside your home? The answer seems obvious; doesn't it?

Until you have to pay the money. Then it becomes more difficult. After all, your neighbor uses the same lady. What are the chances that you'll end up like these people?

Chances are you won't end up like those people. Then again, do you want to place your house on a roulette table? The choice is yours.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Closing The Doors

No, we're not closing our doors. But there's a dry cleaning business in North Carolina that's just closed after 50 years of service.

Now, most people don't care when your business closes. In fact, some people may even be glad your business is closing. But Gene's customers are sad. Even his competitors are sad.

Click here to read the article.

An important question to ask yourself if you own a business..........

Would anybody care if I closed my doors today?

An important question to ask yourself if you are a customer.......

Would I be upset if this business closed its doors today?

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Birth Of Competition

A New Competitor Is Born

And this how the competition gets their new cleaning business started. Next stop, Wal-Mart. Time to get that mop and bucket.

Watch out Santa Clara. There's a flier coming to your mailbox in the near future.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fort Walton Beach Customer Advisory Board Meeting Notes

Click on the link below to read notes from our most recent Customer Advisory Board meeting in Fort Walton beach.

Customer Advisory Board Notes

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Monday, December 11, 2006

Someone's Got To Do The Work

Click right here if you want to see the ugly side of the cleaning business.

Click right here if you want to see the pretty side of the cleaning business.

Mowing grass, washing cars, picking up trash, laying brick, cleaning toilets. All jobs that you need in order for your day to go. These jobs don't require education. These jobs don't require anything other than two hands, two legs, and a willingness to work.

Willingness to work. That's the key phrase. You can pay anybody $40 to clean your house, or you can pay a real business a little more to clean your home.

For some, the choice is obvious. Click here to see what happens when you hire the wrong maid.

For others, the choice is just as obvious. Click here to see a list of professional cleaning businesses in your area.

Your house isn't a roulette table. Is the risk really worth it?

Friday, December 08, 2006

'Tis The Season

To lose business. Yep, we lost business this week. Six customers in all. And they all had the same reason for canceling our service. Simply put, they weren't satisfied.

Not being satisfied is a dirty phrase at Two Maids & A Mop. Nothing else triggers a bigger reaction. So our reaction was to conduct an investigation into each of the six cases. The investigation didn't take long to conclude because there was one common theme.

Our customers weren't satisfied because we kept making the same mistakes over and over again. Fair enough. So went dove into each of the customers files. And we found another common theme. Only one of the six customers had ever contributed feedback. And the one customer that did contribute feedback provided nothing but positive feedback. In fact, her most recent cleaning was rated a 10. In other words, we thought that she was completely satisfied. Her response, "I didn't want to get anybody in trouble".

But you did. We lost your business. Which means we have less work for our employees. Which means that our employees make less money.

The moral of the story. We desperately need your feedback. Your feedback is what makes us different. Your feedback is what makes us better. Without it, we're just like everybody else.

If you don't plan on providing feedback, you should cancel our service. Because we're not worth what you're paying us. Because we can't provide a better service without your help.

I know it's hard. I know you don't have time. But you're paying a premium for our services. There's only one way to make sure that we provide a value for that premium.

Feedback. Feedback. Feedback.

Keep us informed. Let us know what we're doing wrong. Let us show you why we are better than other cleaning services. Let us show you that we care more than anybody else that you'll ever hire.

Please. Because losing your business stinks.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Christmas Parade

Assume that you work for Two Maids & A Mop. You've just finished a long day of housecleaning and you're beat. Now what if I told you that you're day isn't over yet? You've still got another 5-6 hours of work left to complete. To make matters worse, you've got to perform that work in near freezing conditions. And one more thing, I'm not going to pay you for it. You're going to do the work for free.

As crazy as all that sounds, it happened. But there's one thing I'm leaving out. I didn't tell anybody to do it. They volunteered. That's right. Five of our employees in Fort Walton Beach volunteered to take part in this year's Christmas parade. Better yet, it was their idea.

Thank you Angelique, Sandy, April, Lori, and Elicia. Also a big thank you goes out Sandy's family for providing so much help. You all have not only made me proud, but you've proven yet again that we're not just another cleaning company.

Just three years ago, I was scared to death that my employees were going to kill my dream. Today, my employees are the only reason my dream is still alive.

One More Picture From The Parade

Does this look like work to you?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Picking The Right Maid

Imagine two maids sitting next to one another. Also imagine 100 people standing across the room. The task is to select the maid that they want to clean their home. They don't get to ask any questions. They only get to look at them. Now imagine that one of the two maids is neatly groomed. And imagine that the other maid is not neatly groomed. In fact, she is downright dirty. Imagine her looking like the lady in the picture. The end maid has 100 new jobs and another maid is still jobless.

Imagine those same two maids on the phone. This time everybody gets to ask questions. But nobody gets to see them. But you can ask any question under the sun. Since I'm in the business, let me tell you what the most popular question will be. What do you charge? The end result....each maid gets about 50 new jobs.

It's funny what happens when your pocketbook gets involved. Personal safety, quality control, customer references....all that stuff gets thrown out the window. Because anybody can clean a home, right?

Nobody hires the cheapest dentist. Because your teeth are important.

Isn't your house important?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Buying A TV

It doesn't matter if you're buying a newspaper or a flat screen television. The decision to purchase comes down to a simple thought. What makes your product better than their product? The consumer must be able to answer that thought in a few seconds. If the consumer can't answer in a few seconds; she buys the cheapest product available.

Now check out this article on flat screen televisions.

It takes a full page to describe the difference between LCD and plasma technologies. The average consumer isn't going to read this. As a result, the average consumer is going to buy the cheapest flat screen televison she can find.

Same goes for your maid.