Monday, December 31, 2007

Maid Service Accounting 101

You have three choices when it comes to housecleaning. You can clean the house by yourself, you can hire a professional cleaning service, or you can hire an individual maid.

The first choice is easy to figure out. All you'll need is a some cleaning supplies and maybe a little sweat too.

The second choice isn't that complicated either. All you need to do is select the cleaning service that best fits your needs. Some people want cheap. Some people want fast. And then some people want professionalism. As a consumer, it's your choice.

The third choice is a little more complicated - at least if you follow the law. Of course, the choice is still yours to make. You can hire anyone that you want to hire. But since you're hiring an individual, you must ensure that all taxes are paid. And there's lots of taxes to pay!

Click here for a great article that tells you everything you need to know about taxes and maids.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Another Article On How To Hire A Housecleaner

The Wall Street Journal has published a great article on how to hire a housecleaner.

Click here for the article. Here are some snippets...

  • Generally, the best way to find a cleaning service is to ask family and friends for recommendations. We have two friends who use the same service, and they rave about it.

  • Cleaning services generally handle the tax collection for their workers, but Gerry and I may have to pay the so-called nanny taxes for an independent house cleaner. Generally, if we pay a nonfamily member more than $1,500 a year to work in our home, we must pay Social Security, Medicare, state and federal unemployment taxes, and withhold federal and state income-taxes.

  • I've heard friends tell me they've had trouble hiring workers, such as nannies and housekeepers, because the workers demand to be paid "off the books." Some homeowners are more than happy to oblige, but that can be a mistake. Besides the risk of an IRS audit, paying child-care, cleaners and other in-home workers "under the table" may prevent homeowners from taking valuable tax breaks, such as the child-care deduction.

  • If we did opt for an independent house cleaner rather than a service, background checks would be up to us. We'd need to get the worker's Social Security number to check for criminal history.

  • In the end, we went with the cleaning service our friends recommended. It saves us the hassle of worrying about taxes, insurance and background checks.

P.S. The article still didn't address the most important question. The question - How can you ensure my satisfaction?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Two Maids & A Mop Featured In "The Entrepreneur Story"

Two Maids & A Mop has been featured in a new book detailing the plight of entrepreneurship. Read the press release and click on the link at the bottom for more details regarding the book.

Rexburg, Idaho (PRLeap) December 26, 2007 –

The Entrepreneur Story, a newly released e-book from 26 year old entrepreneur Carolynn Duncan, speaks to the nearly 60% of Americans who dream of starting their own business.

Duncan collected stories from 70 entrepreneurs in 35 states and 5 continents, in order to help “wannabe” entrepreneurs get started. With 255 pages of anecdotes from business owners, worksheets, and brainstorming questions, even the book’s unique background—produced on a $49 budget— is a testament to its message of making plans a reality.

“The Entrepreneur Story has been an invaluable experience,” said Carolynn Duncan, of the Eastern Idaho Entrepreneurial Center. “I started the project because I experienced a costly business failure, and needed to learn from others, quickly, before trying again.” She continues, “I’ve read these stories dozens of times, and continue learning critical lessons from each one.”

Ryan Byrd, University of Utah MBA, declared the book to be “a goldmine of entrepreneurial wisdom—not from sheltered academics, but from seasoned, successful small business owners working in the trenches.”

“There are a slew of books about establishing and operating a business; however, learning first-hand from individuals who have actually been through it makes this book a truly valuable resource,” said Danielle White, freelance consultant for the Utah Small Business Development Center and co-founder of The Cancer Crusaders Organization.

Click here for a free sample of the book.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Top Five Posts Of 2007

The Birth Of A New Cleaning Company
Here's how your next housecleaning company might have gotten its start!

Waving Goodbye To Marge
Here's why you keep having to hire maid after maid!

Four Steps To Customer Satisfaction
Here's the four step plan on how Two Maids & A Mop makes its customers happy!

The Independent Contractor Maid Service Company
Learn the secret of the maid service industry - and how it hurts you as a customer!

If You've Never Hired A Maid Before
Here are six myths that most first-time maid service customers don't know!

Friday, December 21, 2007

How Free Can Become Costly

Police believe a 41-year-old woman charged with breaking and entering of a church may have broken into other local churches. The woman is not a member of the church, said police. The regular paid cleaning staff had introduced her to church officials as someone who liked to help churches with cleaning and maintenance; she was not issued a key to the building. Police believe she may have been acting as a volunteer cleaning person at other local churches.

Click here for the full article.

Two Big Points To Remember:
  • Volunteer means free. Free means that you don't have to pay anything up front. But free also means that you'll most likely have to pay something later.
  • If a business can't be better than their competition, then the only competitive advantage is pricing.
For every benefit that a business delivers, there's a cost. And as a business, one of the easiest ways to lower your cost is to lower your benefits.

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Dirtiest Home of 2007

Two Maids & A Mop is looking to find the dirtiest home of 2007. We clean homes everyday and we've seen some pretty bad ones. Now we want to see your house. And we want to see just how dirty it really is.

No, you're not going to win a free housecleaning. And no, you're not even going to win a free vacuum cleaner. We just want to see it. And the rest of the world does too!

Click on the following link if you want to post pictures of your dirty home -
The Dirtiest Home of 2007

Killing Fleas

Researchers from Ohio State University have discovered that vacuum cleaners kill fleas just as well as any poison. They said a standard vacuum cleaner abuses the fleas so much that it kills 96 percent of adult fleas and 100 percent of younger fleas.

Click here for the full story.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Proof That Anyone Can Start A Cleaning Company

James Hamill, a self-confessed tobacco and booze bootlegger, got out of Castle Huntly jail in September 2006. He got the idea for a cleaning company after taking domestic courses in jail.

That's an excerpt from this article.

Hamill, nicknamed Hammy, served half an 18-year prison sentence handed to him in 1997. He's now the proud of owner of AAA Sparkle Clean. Few potential clients will have any idea he was once the biggest heroin dealer in Scotland. One source said: "Folk won't know who Hammy is."

Yes, these folks are in Scotland. No, you probably will never even have the chance to hire his company. But the premise is still true.

Anyone, and I mean anyone, can start a cleaning business. Starting a cleaning business is easy. So easy that they teach it to you in jail!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tips On Hiring A Maid Service

And I didn't write any of these tips this time.....

Maid Service Hiring Tips

The best of the bunch -
Satisfaction: Ask if the maid service measures customer satisfaction and if so, what type of procedure is used to collect responses. Are you asked to fill out a survey online or on paper? Will a manager contact you following the house cleaning to be sure your expectations were fulfilled or exceeded? The steps a company takes to ensure a customer's satisfaction tells a lot about how much they value their customers.

Please, please ask this question. Because we'll win this battle every time. Nobody else can compete with our pay for performance plan. Absolutely Nobody!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Quantity vs. Quality

It was discussed here just last year.

The person that cleaned your hotel room probably makes minimum wage. The person that cleaned your hotel room has cleaned that same hotel room forever. The person that cleaned your hotel room hates that job.

Hotel maids have no incentive to deliver customer satisfaction. Hotel maids are expected to clean fast, not good. And that's exactly what happens.

It's safe to say that you get what you pay for. A $35 room probably should be dirtier than a $200 room. But even the $35 room could provide better service and quality. Here's a profound approach to providing incentives to an employee: pay for performance.

Pay the hotel maid based on customer feedback. Pay the hotel maid for quality instead of quantity. The same goes to every other cleaning company out there.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Shameless Plug

Check out this news article.

Yes, the story is about Two Maids & A Mop. Yes, I wrote the story. And yes, I only wrote it because I was trying to get someone's attention.

But it's all true. And if you're looking to hire a maid, then reading this can only help you.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Talking To Your Customers

According to this article, a man called police to report that while he was at work his apartment had been cleaned.

Not "cleaned out" - simply cleaned.

The man, who recently moved into the building, left his apartment at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday and when he returned that night at 10:30, the entire apartment had been scrubbed down.

Police later discovered the apartment's previous tenants had forgotten to cancel their cleaning service. Police said the man had recently moved into the apartment and had not changed the locks.

One word: communication.

Without communication, you don't know if your customers are satisfied. And without communication, you may not even know if your customers have moved!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How To Spot An Ilegal Contractor

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday fired a landscaping company for using illegal immigrants to work on his lawn.

Click here for the full article.

No, you're not running for president. And you're probably not even running for your local city council. But the fact is that you could be hiring an illegal contractor. Here are some points to consider when hiring your next housecleaner.

1. Make sure that the cleaning company is bonded, licensed and insured. The key word is insured. Insurance isn't cheap. And that's a good thing for you. Being insured means that you have a policy in place in case of damage caused as a result of the housecleaning. If nothing else, it's the first step in determining if your company is professional or amateur.

2. Make sure that your cleaning company performs extensive background checks on their employees. A background check costs money. And a lot of companies don't perform these checks for that very reason. But they are important. First off, hiring a convicted felon voids the surety bond. This means that if they steal from you, then there is no policy in place to protect you. Secondly, you need to know that the strangers in your home have never been arrested for any type of violent crime or theft.

3. Make sure that your cleaning company is really a company. A real cleaning company pays payroll taxes. A real cleaning company pays income taxes. And if they don't, then it's your legal responsibility to do that for them. Because Uncle Sam wants a cut of this transaction. And if you don't do it for them, then you are just as guilty as they are. Ask for the company to prove that all taxes are being paid. Don't worry! If they want your business, they'll do it.

4. Make sure that your cleaning company only hires legal citizens. A cleaning company hires an illegal immigrant because the labor is cheap. Think about it: If your cleaning company is hiring illegal immigrants, what else are they doing illegally? Now how can you determine if someone is a legal citizen? Refer to point number three. A legal citizen has to pay to payroll taxes.

5. Make sure that your cleaning company has more than a handful of customers. Now this technique isn't perfect. There are some quality individual housecleaners out there that follow the law. But the fact is that our business is easy to start. And the fact is that a lot of people use this to their advantage. They can start this business today. Make a little money tomorrow. And then quit the next day. Ask your cleaning company for references. Don't let them dictate the names to you. You dictate the list. Ask for customers only in your zip code. Or your subdivision. Or whatever. You see, most companies have a standard list of references. They hand them out when someone asks. And these three or four people say all sorts of good things about the company. Of course, it could be that the reference is the owner's bother. Or the owner's next door neighbor. That's why it is important for you to determine the parameters. And if they can't, then keep your eyes wide open. It doesn't mean they're bad, but it does mean that they might be bad.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Redneck Vacuum

Hey, we are located in the Redneck Riviera! But no, we don't really use this vacuum.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Three Reasons Why Your Last Maid Service Sucked

1. Your last maid service sucked because they paid their employees the old fashioned way.They were paid a commission. This system works if you're a used car salesman. This system works if you're a stock broker. But this system doesn't work if you're a maid. Because your clients want quality. And your employees want quantity.

2. Your last maid service sucked because they weren't really even a business. Starting a maid service isn't difficult. It isn't expensive. And it doesn't take a rocket scientist. And when something is easy to start, it's just as easy to quit.

3. Your last maid service sucked because they had an abnormally high employee turnover rate. What would you do if you had to clean your own home three times today? And what would you do if I told you that I was only going to pay you minimum wage today? You would quit.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Meet Rachel - Our New Manager in Panama City

You may even remember Rachel. She was one of two star employees that were mentioned in a fantastic customer testimonial. Click here to read the testimonial.

Now if you read the testimonial, you already know why we selected Rachel as our new manager in Panama City. She's energetic. She's ambitious. And she's excited. She embodies everything we look for in a leader.

Some of you in Bay County have already met Rachel. Many of you in Okaloosa County have also met Rachel. That's because Rachel was our lead training manager for the last 18 months. She's trained every single new employee for our Fort Walton Beach office during that period. Our customers loved her and they already miss her.

But the good news is that everyone in Panama City gets to receive her awesome customer service now. Thank you Rachel. You've got a bright future.

Click here for another article about Rachel.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

How To Declutter Your Home

Holiday entertaining season is upon us, and in some households it will run clear through to Super Bowl Sunday on February 3.

But what to do now if you cringe each time you look at the stained carpet, fret that the draperies look so last-century or that the living room could use a little something, though you're not quite sure what?

We asked five experts -- a real estate agent, a model home stager, an interior designer, a professional organizer and a cleaning service owner -- what three or four things they'd recommend to spiff up the homestead, even if time and money are tight.

Click here for the full article.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

On Not Expecting Much........

We're not cab drivers. But this story about a Dallas based cab driver says a lot about our philosophy on customer service in the housecleaning industry.

Our philosophy: You've probably hired a housecleaner before. You probably weren't very happy. You're not expecting much out of us. But we're going to surprise you. We'll show up on time. We'll listen to you when you speak. And we'll let your feedback drive our business. Basically, we'll do the opposite of every other cleaning company you've hired in the past.

Hat tip to Maria at the CustomerAreAlways Blog.

Monday, November 26, 2007

From Worst To First

"I believe that I am making history not because of my race or my sex but from whence I came," Carson said.

That was vintage Julia Carson. She never forgot where she came from and the voters in her district rewarded the one-time cleaning woman by never forgetting her on Election Day, voting to send her back to Congress six times.

That's from a story in Indianapolis about a local politician deciding to retire. And what they're saying is that being a "cleaning woman" is bad. It's as low as you can go.

They say it because that's what everyone thinks. It is easy to understand.

A cleaning woman does the work that you don't want to do. She mops your floor. She cleans your kitchen. She scrubs your toilet. She does all this for almost nothing. Not a rosy picture.

No wonder that the average cleaning company changes its entire staff around at least six times per year.

Yes, there's no reason to hide it. Cleaning for a living isn't looked upon very highly by society. But you need us. You might not admit it, but you know it.

You can't live without us.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bad Apple Alert

When 83-year old Lorraine Nelson got a phone call last month from a telemarketer offering carpet cleaning for $57 per room, she thought she was getting a deal.

“These guys showed up and, while one worked, the other one kept me busy outside talking,” said Nelson. “They gave me two separate receipts and never told me what the real cost would be.”

Nelson said she gave the men $100 cash as a deposit and asked the balance be put on her credit card. She was soon informed by the workers that stronger and more expensive cleaning solutions were needed to treat her carpets.

“They gave me a second receipt for $856 and I wondered what the charge was for,” said Nelson, who increasingly felt intimidated by the workers. “I asked them what happened to the $100 I gave them and they said that was their tip.”

Click here for the full article.

The formula is simple. Everybody knows that money talks. So the simplest and most efficient way to attract your attention is to offer a service at a ridiculously low price. That gets them in your door. Cheap sells.....

Be careful. Cheap may sell, but cheap has its own high price to pay.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Talking To Your Maid About You

They rid the rug of pine needles and ensure that guests don't find scum in the bathtub. They render the kitchen floor gleaming, so that if the turkey slides off the platter and lands on the tiles, it's still edible. And with any luck, they keep pace with the kids' bedrooms so that if auntie decides to hike up to the second floor, she'll have no cause to finger-wag.

While the hoopla of the season is mostly devoted to purchasing the perfect gifts, it might be said that it is the cleaning folks who are the true elves of the holidays. They provide the pristine backdrop you need to ensure that your decorations aren't lost amid clutter or dust.

With this in mind, we decided to talk to a few of those undaunted souls who battle our grime weekly; we listened to their tales of a life lived on the front lines of people's messy lives and heard about the special pressures of the holiday season.

Click here for the full article.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Thanksgiving Cleaning Rush

This is a very busy time of the year for a cleaning company. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and you've got tons of things to accomplish before next Thursday. That's good news to us because it means you really need us. The good news for you is that we really need you too. We always do.

Now we don't have many openings next week since we're off Thursday and Friday. But we do have a few slots still available. Here's what we have available at each location.

On Tuesday, we have two openings. We can clean your home first thing in the morning (8-9AM) or in the early afternoon (1-2PM).

On Wednesday, we have one opening. We can clean your home in the late morning (10:30-11:300AM).

Fort Walton Beach
On Monday, we can clean your home in the early afternoon (1-2PM).

On Tuesday, we can clean your home first thing in the morning (8-9AM).

On Wednesday, we can clean your home in the early afternoon (1-2PM). We have two early afternoon slots available.

Panama City
On Monday, we can clean your home first thing in the morning (8-9AM) and in the early afternoon (1-2PM).

On Tuesday, we have all three cleaning times available.

On Wednesday, we can clean your home in the early afternoon (1-2PM).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cleaning Services Analyzed

A newspaper in Minnesota recently published an article on area housecleaning companies. The article's intent was to inform its readers on what to expect from local cleaning companies if they needed to hire a cleaning service for the upcoming holidays. Click here for the full article.

The paper concludes that its better to hire an individual rather than a large company. The paper concludes this by hiring three local outfits. Here's a few snippets from their experiences with the three companies....

The First Company-The first company selected was Mary's Maids, which quoted her $26 an hour and estimated four hours based on her description of the home. She was told to provide cleaning supplies. A team of two arrived at 10:45 a.m. and started cleaning upstairs. She left the house and returned at 12:15 p.m. to find them both still working upstairs. They said they had to leave by 1 p.m. and wouldn't be able to get to her first floor, which they guessed would require another five hours to clean. To top it off, the upstairs didn't appear to have been cleaned. 'I could see the dust on the shutters over the bathtub,' Ratzloff says. Same with the top of a dresser and the hallway chandelier. The team said they spent 90 minutes on her shower, and Ratzloff couldn't tell.

The Second Company-Randle went to the company's Web site to request a service quote and then spent two days playing phone tag with an agent. The first available opening was nine days out. Randle explained she had $100 to work with and the living room, dining room and kitchen were her priorities. That's about all she could get, since the company charges $70 an hour (average time to clean a whole house: three hours). Randle requested a call 20 to 30 minutes before the team arrived, but they showed up unannounced. The two cleaners vacuumed and cleaned glass tables, a dining table, TV and computer very well, she says. The kitchen countertops and outside of the refrigerator were also sparkling. But an entire side of her entertainment center and baseboards were left dusty. In the kitchen, they missed mopping around the stand-alone stove. When the company followed up the next day, Randle expressed her concerns. 'I was told I couldn't expect much with the money limitation I gave them'.

The Third Company-Patterson called to schedule an appointment and was quoted a price of $99 (the company bases charges on size of home and type of flooring rather than by the hour). Patterson was told the service would include high dusting, wiping down kitchen cabinets and appliances, hand-washing floors, wiping windowsills and vacuuming under everything. One cleaning person arrived on time and cleaned the house in about 2½ hours. Patterson's first impression: The house looked and smelled great. The inside of the microwave sparkled. But upon further inspection, she discovered the kitchen cabinets and hood above the stove had not been wiped.

Several conclusions can be gathered from this informal study. But the article's conclusion that smaller companies are better than larger companies is not one of them. Here's my view of the "study".

1. To make a conclusion that smaller companies are better, shouldn't you have to at least hire one small company?

2. Your budget determines the quality of your cleaning. Two Maids & A Mop would not have even cleaned these three homes. Our one time cleaning jobs are straightforward. You either get a deep cleaning (hourly rate with no constraints) or you get a one time cleaning (two hour maximum for two maids). Our one time cleaning doesn't promise the world. It only promises time. You get what you pay for.

3. Customer service stinks in the housecleaning industry. Poor communication will almost always create a bad customer experience. All three of these companies performed awful in that respect.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

So Why Are You Here?

You probably navigated your way here via Google. You came here simply looking for a reliable housecleaner. You came here wondering what we charge. You came here wondering what we clean. And then we didn't talk about housecleaning. We didn't even talk about what we charge. Nope. All we wanted to talk about was how we pay our employees.

We talk about our pay for performance plan so much because that's what makes us different. Yes, we clean your bathrooms. Yes, we clean your kitchen. And yes, we'll even clean your baseboards.

But of course, so does everybody else. Everybody vacuums your floor. Everybody cleans the inside of your microwave. But nobody else allows customer feedback determine employee compensation.

And that's why we talk about it so much. Because you need to know it. You need to know why you should pick up the phone and dial our number.

And when you do call, we'll be glad to talk about cleaning as much as you want.

Friday, November 09, 2007

How The Pay For Performance Plan Benefits You, Me, And Everybody Else

If you've made it this far, then you should have a good idea as to how our pay for performance plan works. Here's how it benefits all three segments of our business.

Benefits to the Customer
Your satisfaction level determines our employees' paycheck. Just about every cleaning company states that customer service is their top priority. We say it too. But we prove it everyday by letting you tell us what to pay our employees. Your feedback is the only thing that matters. Your feedback makes or break a paycheck. Your feedback even determines when an employee is eligible for a promotion. Without your feedback, we're just like everybody else.

Benefits to the Employee
Your satisfaction level determines our employees' paycheck. A pay for performance program can only work if there is a pot at the end of the rainbow. In other words, an employee needs to care about your satisfaction level enough to raise her level of productivity. Our pot at the end of the rainbow is money. Each of our employees knows that their pay can change very quickly. And only one person can control the situation. The formula is simple.

Work hard-->Make customers happy-->Earn more money.

Benefits to the Business
Your satisfaction level determines our employees' paycheck. The fact is that our pay for performance plan is a tremendous marketing tool. And it's obvious why it makes our service sell so easily. We're different. We don't say the same, old tired stuff. We prove to you why we're better. And if quality is important to you, then we're the obvious choice.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

World's Busiest Mom

Bemis Manufacturing, a toilet seat manufacturer company, recently sponsored a nationwide contest to find the world's busiest mom. Each contestant was required to submit an essay explaining why they should be crowned as the nation's busiest mom. The winning mom receives a full year of free maid service, along with other free services for her home. The mom deemed the busiest in the country is Robin Kirton of Murray, Utah. Take a look at her story (as told by her husband)....

My wife, Robin, is definitely the busiest mom. Why? She ensures that our lives are as "normal" as possible. You see, she's not only the mom of six children—they're all Autistic. We have three boys age 3, 8 and 13 and three girls age 2, 5 and 9. And, Robin has fibromyalgia, causing her to be exhausted most of the time.

Robin doesn't have a typical week. Our home is a constant, ever-changing, swirling combination of meals, diaper changes, laundry, housework, mopping, wiping, crying, comforting, appointments and so much more.

This past year was an especially busy one. We were just discovering and dealing with the emotions of finding out about our children's Autism. Then, our family was hit by a heavy blow. Robin commented to a social worker about her frustrations and need for a break from the daily disasters in our home. As a result, our children were taken from us.

At first, the state Child Protective Service thought how we dealt with maintaining our home and children was unsafe. Within two weeks our children were returned to us when the court realized exactly what we were dealing with. The judge ordered my wife to be evaluated. Robin has borderline clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder (not surprising). She is now on medication to help her through each day.

The three youngest are still in diapers and the 3 and 5-year-olds are completely non-verbal. We have to put them in one-piece outfits, backward, to keep them from stripping. Our three-year-old climbs on, breaks and rips everything. We call him "The Destroyer" (like Conan the Destroyer).

I often hear the dryer's buzz at 3 a.m. The washing machine runs nearly 20 hours a day. After the children are in bed, Robin will dash to the gym.

If any mom needs a break from her busy life, it's my wife Robin.

Read all of the nominations by clicking here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Take This Test

1. Does your maid make the same mistakes over and over again? If yes, move on to the second question. If no, stick with your current maid service.

The reason: She might be late. She might be unprofessional. But quality is the most important virtue as a customer. It's hard to find a maid that cares about her quality. If you have her, forget about her bad virtues.

2. Has your maid been late more than once during the last six months? If yes, move on to the third question. If no, then stick with your current maid service.

The reason: Showing up on time is rare. If you have a maid that shows up on time, that may just be enough reason to keep her.

3. Has your maid started getting too comfortable with you? If yes, move on to the next section. If no, then stick with your current maid service.

The reason: It's human nature to get comfortable. We all do it. That's why it's important to constantly remind your maid that this isn't a friendship. It isn't a relationship at all. You're her customer. And she's your vendor. Her job is to make you happy. And if she doesn't, it's your job to find another vendor.

Now if you answered yes to all three questions, then you've found the perfect maid service right here.

But Two Maids & A Mop isn't really perfect. We're going to make mistakes. But one thing is for sure, you can bet that you'll answer NO to each of these three questions.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bad Apple Alert

Jerry Prola takes special care of his cream colored carpet, getting it steam cleaned regularly. So when he saw a coupon from Premier Carpet Care for a $90 cleaning, he thought he'd found a deal. But the day after the steam cleaning, he noticed streaks and blotches, and a stain.

Prola said the carpet cleaners caused the stain by not putting blocks under the furniture. So Prola called Premier Carpet Care to fix the problem. They charged him another $35 for the second cleaning, and the stain still didn't come out.

"I tried calling them for over a week, and they didn't reply, and so I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and they didn't contact them either," he said.

That's when Prola got in touch with Consumer Watch. When Premier Carpet Care didn't call us back, we found Dry Master Carpet Care in Alameda. Joe Russell, owner of Dry Master, went to work on the stains, and less than an hour later, the blotches and the stain were gone.

"He had a furniture stain, and or rust stain, and it appeared like it'd been spot cleaned, cause it kind of spread out a little bit," said Russell.

Jerry was thrilled with the results. But he has a different message for Premier Carpet Care.

"Just more anger than anything at the company for not following through, for not even returning a phone call, it's absolutely ridiculous," he said.

Premier eventually called and said it emphasizes customer satisfaction, and offered to come back out to fix the problem. Since that was no longer necessary, they sent Prola a check for $90. The tip before hiring home cleaning services, ask friends and check out the company on the Better Business Bureau website.

Full Article

It's ironic that the author states that the best way to prevent this from happening is to contact your local BBB. It's ironic because this guy called his local BBB to inform them of his problem. They did nothing. Just like his initial carpet cleaning company.

Calling your local BBB can't hurt. But the best way to prevent this from happening is to ask your cleaning company one question, How can you ensure my satisfaction?

As a side note, the first cleaning company could have done so many things differently. What do you think the first company should have done to change the outcome?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Turning Negatives Into Positives

Industry Negative
The barriers of entry are essentially zero. No start up capital is required. No education is required. Nothing except a little sweat.

TwoMaids Positive
That means that a lot of customers aren't going to be happy. When something is easy to start, it's just as easy to quit. And that's exactly what happens. A cleaning business dies every minute. And then another one starts. And all along the way, we're still here.

Industry Negative
There are no limits on pricing.

TwoMaids Positive
Our claim to fame isn't pricing. Being cheap is a business owner's last resort. You sell yourself cheap because you know you've got nothing else to sell. We sell our pay for performance plan. We sell our guarantee for on-time arrival. We sell our commitment to customer satisfaction. And our customers know that we're not the cheapest in town. And they're fine with it.

Industry Negative
Negative stories surround our industry. Thefts. Broken items. We've even heard of one customer that caught her maid sleeping on the customer's own bed!

TwoMaids Positive
Three words - pay for performance. Our employees get paid based on our customer's satisfaction level. The happier you are; the more our employees' are able to earn with our company. Our employees know that only one thing matters: customer satisfaction.

Industry Negative
Maids just aren't real professional.

TwoMaids Positive
If you're reading this, then you already know how we turn this negative into a positive. If you don't get it, click on the following links.....

The Pay For Performance Plan - Explained

The Customer Advisory Board

Three Quick Facts About TwoMaids

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Party In Pensacola

Take a look at some images from our Halloween party in Pensacola.

Everyone having some food and drinks

Start carving your pumpkins

The final masterpieces

A close up of one of the pumpkins

Scary Stories About Your Maid

In the spirit of Halloween, here's a few scary stories that might hit home with you.

1. Your cleaning lady didn't show up today. Did ghosts take her away? Did aliens abduct her? Nope. She just quit on you. Just like you're last cleaning lady.

2. Your maid service is late again. Is it because they think your house is haunted? Is it because your house is located on a creepy hollow? Nope. They just don't care about you. They're unorganized. And they're late every time.

3. Your housecleaner keeps making the same mistakes over and over again. Did your resident goblin put that dust on your nightstand? Did your maid see a ghost in the mirror? Nope. They just forgot again. Just like last week.

4. Your maid keeps leaving earlier and earlier. Is it because your kid's doll is possessed? Is it because your dog is evil? Nope. She's just gotten too comfortable with you. She's your buddy. And you're no longer her customer.

5. You keep hiring one bad housekeeper after another. Did a wicked witch cast a spell on your home? Is your house haunted and you don't know it? Nope. You just keep hiring the same person. You want your house cleaned. But you don't want to pay too much for it. After all, it's just housecleaning.

But of course, if it was only about housecleaning then you wouldn't be hiring a new maid four times a year.

Happy Halloween!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

On Being A Snob......

How much do you charge? The question gets asked everyday. And we have a different answer almost every time.

And not for the reason that you're thinking. Yes, it's important that we know the size of your home. Yes, it's important that we know how often you'll need our service. And yes, it's important that we know what city you live in. But it's even more important that we know your history.

We need to know what has happened to you in the past. Have you recently fired your maid because she quit abruptly? Have you recently fired your maid because she stole from you? Have you recently fired you maid because her quality has slipped? Have you even fired your maid? Have you ever even hired a maid? The list could go on and on.

But the premise is simple. If you've fired your maid, then we want you as our customer. If you have never hired a maid, we don't want you. Nope. We don't want you at all. We want you to hire someone else. Then call us back. And then we'll answer your questions.

No need to explain. If you're recently fired you maid, you already know why. If you haven't, then you'll know soon enough.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

And Yet Another Bad Apple Is Discovered

You already know this, but it bears repeating. It's easy to start a domestic service company. No start up capital is required. No education is required. Nothing is required. Except you. They need you in order to start their business. And they know that they can get you by just offering ridiculously low prices. And you'll accept. Because it's cheap. But remember, there's lots of bad apples out there. And here's another example of one.....

"When an unsolicited caller offers to clean your chimney for $40 or $50, consumers may think they have little to lose. But odds are they'll feel differently once the chimney sweep arrives.

Instead of a bill for a low-cost cleaning, many consumers receive estimates for thousands of dollars worth of so-called emergency chimney repairs. The dubious sweeps pressure consumers to make decisions on the spot. Many do, without getting either an itemized bill or a second opinion to determine if the proposed work is necessary.

The questionable sweeps often offer discounts for cash. Failing that, they'll encourage consumers to bill the full amount to credit cards.

It is an important part of seasonal home maintenance. But many homeowners lose money every year to scam chimney service companies that turn discount cleanings into profitable jobs for unnecessary repairs.

They use low-cost cleanings to get their foot in the door, and then create fear by saying the chimney needs expensive repairs."

Click here for the full article.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Another Bad Apple Is Discovered

Another Bad Apple Is Discovered!

It's happens everyday. It happens because you let it happen. Do your research on these companies. Don't hire them just because they left a flyer on your door. And please don't hire them just because they're cheaper than everyone else.

It happens everyday. And it can happen to you.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Finding The Bad Apple

In 1972, Linda Darby escaped from the Indiana Women's Prison in Indianapolis by climbing over a barbed-wire fence. She had been arrested for murdering her husband. For 35 years, she was known as Linda Joe McElroy, a grandmother who baby-sat children and cleaned homes.

Even though Darby had no driver's license, authorities tracked her to Tennessee, where she was living a quiet, normal life.

"It's actually quite easy to be absorbed if they cut all ties from their previous life, which appears the case in this situation," said Brad Garrett of the FBI.

Click here for the full story.

It's easy to start a cleaning business. You don't need a lot of money. You don't need to be smart. You don't need much of anything. All you really need is a customer. And to get a customer, all you need to be is cheap. After all, it's just housecleaning. Anybody can do it. And anyone does do it.

You better be careful. The cleaning industry is ripe with bad apples. You can hire the cheap maid from down the road and cross your fingers, or you can hire the more expensive professional cleaning company and rest easy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Survey Says.....

A recent survey was conducted on our customer base to determine what the number one concern was when selecting a maid service. The results ranged from affordability to dependability.

Now we like to tout our strengths pretty loudly here. We like to tell people that you should select us because we'll show up on time every time. We like to tell people that you should select us because of our pay for performance plan. Basically, we like to tell people that you should select us because we care more about making you happy than any other cleaning company.

And that's all fine and good. But that's not what most of you really want. All you really want is consistency. So that raises an interesting question.

How can we better provide a more consistent cleaning? The challenges are obvious. We employ people and people aren't consistent in nature. Of course, doctors are consistent. Even a fast food restaurant is relatively consistent (that's why you go to them). And each of these industries employ people. People just like our people.

In my mind, it all boils down to this...consistency is the result of superb training and constant motivation.

So our job is create a better training program. Of course, this is easier said than done. Your house is a challenge. It's big. It's different every time. And it contains hundreds of little areas for us to screw up in. We already have an adequate training program. But maybe it needs to be refurbished. We'll be working on that in the coming months. And when we're finished, we'll detail our plan here.

The second tool that we can use to create consistency is employee motivation. Three words: pay for performance. We think that our pay for performance plan speaks for itself. You get paid based on your work ethic in our company. Our customers' satisfaction level ultimately determines our employees' compensation level. We're the pioneers in this field. We started it and now people are following our lead. It works. And it's obvious why. Money talks.

So, our job is to better train our employees. Stay tuned for our plan....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Dissatisfied Maid Service Customer

You've hired the wrong maid. Here's one of the reasons that you're unhappy.

1. Safety Issues
No, you're not concerned about your physical safety. But you are concerned about your stuff being broken on a regular basis. You can accept mistakes. But over and over again? You're tired of this mess.

2. Theft Issues
You've just noticed that your favorite ring is gone. And you know that the only other person that has been in your house today is your maid. You're tired of this mess.

3. Quality Issues
It really started out great. Your house looked wonderful after her first visit. But it steadily got worse over time. It's gotten so bad that you have to clean when you get home now. But it's hard to complain. After all, you know how much your maid needs her job. You know this because she's become your friend over these last several months. You're tired of this mess.

4. Reliability Issues
You're sitting there again. Waiting on your maid. She's late again. Just like last week. You're tired of this mess.

5. Affordability Issues
You know that your neighbor pays less for her home to be cleaned. You also know that your house is the same size as her house. What gives? You're tired of this mess.

We know this because you tell us everyday. We're the last refuge for many dissatisfied maid service customers. And that's fine with us because we want you to be educated. You need to know that hiring a maid has little to do with housecleaning. Once you know this, call us.

Friday, October 12, 2007

On Being Cheaper....

Seth Godin says it best......

Here's what I think: Cheaper is the last refuge of the person who's not a very good marketer. Cheaper is easy and cheaper is fast and cheaper is linear and cheaper is easy to do properly, at least at first. But cheaper doesn't spread the word.

Cheaper is a short term hit, not a long term advantage. Cheaper doesn't create loyalty, because the other guy can always figure out how to be cheaper still, at least in the short run.

Even free isn't cheap enough to win in the long run. Not if other people can figure out how to match what you've got.

So, if you can't be cheaper, be better.

And that's exactly what we're trying to prove to you. We're better. No, we're not the perfect housecleaner. We make mistakes every day. We're better because we care more than your last maid. We prove it with our pay for performance plan. We prove it by begging for your feedback every day. Our claim to fame is customer service. That's what your paying for. Not the perfect cleaning. But the perfect customer service.

If you want that, we've got it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

If You've Never Hired A Maid Before.....

Then you think that the work is simple and brainless. And you'd be right. The work doesn't require a high level of education. The work doesn't require any special technical expertise. The work requires sweat. Lots of sweat. Five days a week. Three times a day. Think about that for a minute. Think about cleaning your own house three times a day for five consecutive days.

Then you think that pricing is the only real difference. After all, you already know that anybody can do the work. But of course, that's the problem. If anybody can do it, anybody will do it. Being cheap is easy. Just as easy as starting a cleaning company.

Then you think that a professional cleaning company cleans better than you do. And why not? Your accountant knows more about money management than you do. Your attorney knows more about the law than you do. Professionals are supposed to be better than you. And we are. But we're also human. And we make mistakes. Of course, that's where the professionalism comes into play. When we make mistakes, we correct them. Fast.

Then you think that your maid is going to show up when she says she is going to show up. And she might just do that. But if she's like most in our industry, she won't. The reason is simple. This isn't a business to her. You're not a customer to her. You're just a quick and easy way to make a few extra bucks. She doesn't care if you fire her. She doesn't care because she knows that she can get another customer in a second. Because she's cheap. Remember why you hired her in the first place?

The you think that your cleaning company needs to be bonded. Of course, it doesn't hurt. But it doesn't really mean anything either. Being bonded means that you're not going to get reimbursed anything unless you can prove that your cleaner stole something from you. A bond only pays if a conviction occurs. Plain and simple. (FYI: A bond costs less than $100)

Then you think that hiring a maid is easy. And it is easy. It's easy because there are hundreds to select from. You can pick up the yellow pages. You can search the local classified ads. You can ask your neighbors. There's a bunch of us out there. And that's what makes it so hard. It's a crowded marketplace. And there's some rogue participants mixed among the crowd. It only takes one wrong hire to figure out what I'm talking about.

Monday, October 08, 2007

When Your Individual Maid Goes Corporate

You've worked for the cleaning company. And you know two important things.

1. You know that customers want the same people every time.
2. You know that customers don't want to pay a whole bunch of money for your services.

You also know that you can accomplish both of these things if you start your own cleaning business. So you start one. And why not, you can get started for less than $100. And all you need is just a few willing people to schedule you on a regular basis. Which leads you back to the two things you already know.

So you charge less than the professional cleaning companies. And you perform all the work yourself. Everybody's happy.

Case in point #1......

“She’s a very hard worker,” the customer said. “She’s a quiet, unassuming lady. She’s always responsible and punctual, which are important qualities. And she charges a lot less than the corporate cleaning services. I think she’ll really build up the business.”

But then something happens. You want to make more money. And you want to stop cleaning everyday. So you hire an employee. Then another one. And then all of sudden, you've become a company.

Which means that you have to start charging more for your services. And which also means that you have to start sending different people.

And most importantly, it means that you've lost your market advantage.

So if you're a customer, know that it won't last forever. Know that your individual maid will quit one day. And know that she's quitting for the same reason that you hired her in the first place.

She'll quit because she doesn't want to clean your toilet anymore.

Case in point #2....

Rice serves most of her customers on a bi-weekly basis. She currently has nine regulars. She can handle 20 regular customers on her own, she said. After that she plans on hiring employees. “My goal is to build up the business,” Rice said. “It’s been going really well. I started out going into neighborhoods and putting fliers on the doors. That’s how I got my first customers. I’ve just started advertising. I’m hoping that will build up my clientele.”

Click here for the perfect illustration of how an individual maid starts out small, gets your business, and then gains your trust. And the whole time, she's striving to quit.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Meet April

We have an employee named April Bolding. She's been with our company longer than any other single employee. She's a star. Listen to what one of her recent customers said about her......

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank Two Maids and a Mop and specifically your employee, April Bolding, for the outstanding work that she has done for us over the past year. House cleaning can be a hard and thankless job that few aspire to do and do well. April has broken that mold and has impressed us with her determination and perseverance in cleaning our house. She listens well, and gets it right every time. Not only does April complete the basic tasks of housecleaning, but she also notices items that need attention and makes sure that they are also addressed. Upon arrival at our house April briefs her assistant so that they have a clear understanding of the tasks, thereby relieving us of the requirement to brief the team at every visit. April is the best that we have experienced from all your staff. Through her hard work and determination, April Bolding has brought great credit upon Two Maids and a Mop and herself personally. Our thanks for the great work. "

April works in Pensacola. When you see her next time, go to sleep. You can go to sleep because you have nothing to worry about. April will take care of everything. She always does.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Life Cycle Of A Customer

The First Stage
You've done the work before. You know it's not rocket science. You know that anybody can do it. So you hire the cheapest person. And that's all you care about right now. Because you think everyone is the same. The only difference is price.

The Second Stage
You've grown sick of your current housecleaner. You wonder if you've hired the wrong person. You still recognize that the work isn't rocket science. But you're really getting sick and tired of waiting and waiting on the maid to arrive. Not to mention the lack of consistency in her work. So you decide to hire another maid. You just picked the wrong one the first time.

The Third Stage
Ok, now this isn't funny anymore. How can you keep hiring the same old maid every time? This maid shows up late too. This maid keeps getting worse and worse over time. And this maid isn't much different than your last maid. So you reach a fork in the road.

The Fork In The Road
This is the place where you decide to either pay a little more for your housecleaning, or just go back to doing the work yourself. Some of you don't have the time. Some of you don't have the physical capabilities. And then some of you just don't want to do it any longer. For you, the choice is obvious. You're not going to do the work. You're going to hire someone dependable.

The Fourth Stage
You've already hired the cheap, individual maid. And you've discovered that getting your house cleaned has little to do with housecleaning. You've got to worry about punctuality. You've got to worry about dependability. You've got to worry about consistency. And you've got to worry about professionalism. So you hire a professional cleaning company.

So you start calling all the professionals. And you start hearing lots of great things. Things like we'll send the same person every time. Things like we'll guarantee our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Sounds good to you. So you hire the cheapest cleaning company you can find. Because they all sound the same.

The Fifth Stage
Are you kidding me? You're still waiting on the maid to arrive. You're still complaining about the same mistakes. You're getting different people all the time. And now you're paying more than ever. You're wondering if anyone does this thing right. Do you live with the mistakes? Or do you try to find yet another maid service company?

The Final Stage
This is the only stage where we want to earn your business. We don't want you anywhere else. We don't want your business anywhere else because you think housecleaning is about dusting and vacuuming. You think housecleaning is easy. You think anybody can do it. After all, you've been doing it all your life. And quite good if you must say so...

This is the stage where our pay for performance plan sounds good. This is the stage where our commitment to customer feedback sounds good. This is the stage where our guaranteed on-time arrival sounds good. This is the stage where you decide that you get what you pay for. And this is the only stage that will make you appreciate us as a business.

If you hire us anywhere else in the life cycle, you're just going to think we're too expensive. Because you're going to think anybody can do it. And more than likely, you're going to fire us down the road.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Pay For Performance Plan - Explained

If you are one of our customers, then you get this little reminder every time we clean your home. But you're probably not one of our customers. That's why you're reading this in the first place. So why not read this and then maybe you'll understand why someone would decide to hire us.......

One of the most common questions that we receive is the question, “Why do you think you’re better than all the other cleaning services in town?” It’s a valid question because the fact is most cleaning companies say that they are better than everybody else. What makes Two Maids & A Mop so different?

It all boils down to three little words: pay for performance. That’s what makes us different. We pay our employees based on our customers feedback. The happier our employees make you; the more money they’re able to make with our company. It’s a simple concept. But the funny thing is that we’re still the only cleaning company around that does business in this manner.

Most cleaning companies pay their employees on a commission basis. A commission is defined as payment received as a result of a sale. The more sales you make; the more money you make. So what does that tell you about most of the cleaning industry? It’s in the employees best interest to clean as many homes as possible so that they can earn more money. Now there’s nothing wrong with that idea. People should want to earn more money.

The problem is that the speed of the cleaning directly affects the quality of the cleaning. Our employees get paid like every other job. They clock in for their day’s work in the morning and they clock out when they are finished for the day. However, our employees hourly rate is determined by you - the customer. You rate each cleaning on a scale from 1-10. The rating that you provide is applied to a pay scale. And that’s how our employees get paid.

Just think of it this way. The pace of our cleaning doesn’t really matter. It’s the quality of our cleaning that matters the most. Now get ready to get impressed by our professionalism. You’ve never encountered another cleaning service like Two Maids & Mop.

That’s why we get to call ourselves “The Most Customer Friendly Housecleaning Company In The World”. And that’s why we think that we’re better than any other cleaning service in town.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Acting Like A Customer

If you're going to be a customer, then you need to start acting like a customer. And once you start acting like a customer, then you'll start getting treated like a customer.

Take a look at this article detailing one guy's decision on whether he should fire his cleaning lady. (Caution: contains a few inappropriate words)

He says it way better than I could ever say it...

"I don't like confrontations. I like that Krakovia feels comfortable with me. I've never shown disapproval and now that we've been together for two years, I find it harder than ever to suddenly be the boss."

"Of course I'm more frustrated with myself for not knowing how to fix my relationship with Krakovia. After Krakovia left ("See you Thursday after next, Mr. Mo!") I resigned myself to breaking up with Krakovia by leaving her a message canceling her next visit, then never calling back to reschedule. Unhealthy, I know, and nonsensical considering I was so concerned about her feelings."

If you were a customer, you could just complain. You could complain about anything you wanted to complain about. Because you're the customer. And it's your service provider's job to make you happy. But you're not a customer.

You're a friend. And you can't go back. You can't go back to being a customer. You left the world of customer service a long time ago. Of course, you did hire an individual maid.

She's not a company. No matter what her business card says. She's an individual. And this is what happens when you hire an individual.

When you hire an individual, the world of friendship always overtakes the customer service world. It's called human nature. And it's inevitable.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Top Five Most Frequently Asked Questions

It's true that every house is different and every customer is different. But for the most part, we hear the same questions over and over again. Here's our top five most popular questions....

1. What are your rates? What do you charge?
The phrases change, but the premise is the same for everyone. Everyone's first question deals with our rates. Click here for a detailed answer to the question.

And if you're too lazy to click, just know that we can't answer this question without first asking you a series of questions, such as....

1. What is your home's total square footage?
2. How many bedrooms/bathrooms do you have?
3. How often do you require our service?
4. What type of cleaning do you require?
5. Where do you live?

Make sure you click here for a better explanation.

2. Will I be able to get the same two people each time?
Yet another question that isn't so easy to answer. Click here for a detailed response to this question. And if you're too lazy to click, here's a synopsis.

It's our goal to send the same people every time. It makes your life easier and it makes our life easier. Our system works like this. Two people are assigned to a route. Your home is also assigned to a route. As a result, you should get the same two people every time. The only reason that you won't receive the same two people is because one of the two people isn't at work. Which is exactly the problem. We can't guarantee you that everyone will be at work every day. Stuff happens and people miss work. People also quit. And when they quit, we lose one of the two team members.

The good news is that we will show up. You don't need to worry about that. We will show up. And you can bet that the two people who show up will care. They'll care because your opinion determines their pay level.

3. Are you bonded, licensed, and insured?
In a nutshell, yes, yes, and yes. But there's far more to the story than a simple yes. And of course, we have a link for you to click so that you can learn more about this subject.

Click here to learn more about the joke of the cleaning industry called a bond.

And click here for even more information on bonds, licenses, and insurance.

4. Do you supply your own equipment and supplies?

Click here for a detailed description of our cleaning equipment and supplies.

5. Do you need to be home for us to clean your home?
No. We only need you for three things. We need you to let us in your home. We need you to tell us what you want us to accomplish. And we need for you to critique our cleaning after we're finished.

Entering your home can sometimes be accomplished without you. We do accept customer keys if you can't be home when we arrive. We lock each safe in a fire proof safe and we also number designate each key to ensure your safety.

We can also talk to you before the cleaning to discuss your specific needs. Of course, talking directly to us at your home is a great benefit. But then again, you're hiring us because you don't have enough time in your day anyway.

And we'll either call or email you after we're finished to receive your critique of the cleaning.

Monday, September 24, 2007

High Five

Once a month, we send out a newsletter that awards a free deep cleaning to one lucky visitor to our website. We usually ask our newsletter subscribers to answer a simple question regarding our business and its practices. There's no need to bore you with a sample question-you get the picture.

Anyway, here's a response from one of our subscribers last week....

"I am not really entering your monthly sweepstakes (thanks to your generosity I still have my free 2 hour coupons) but this monthly giveaway and the one you have below are just another example of a great business plan. Two Maids and a Mop involves the customer directly in the business. You offer incentives for good work by basing wages on effectiveness. The Customer does the rating. Management sends out newsletters to keep the customers informed. If anyone ever asks me about maid service, Two Maids & a Mop is the only one I recommend because I know I will not be embarrassed by either the personnel, quality of service, or customer service."

Now that's what I call a testimonial. Unsolicited. Straight from the customer's mouth. And humbling to say the least.

How about you joining in on the fun? Click here if you would like to enter our monthly free housecleaning giveaway.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Three Quick Facts About The Housecleaning Industry

1. There are a lot of us out there. There's a new cleaning company opening every day. And of course, there's another cleaning company closing every day. The solution:

Do your homework. Don't just ask for three references. Ask for a complete history of the company. Housecleaning is brainless. And when something is brainless, you get all sorts of people without a brain. It's your job to figure out who has a brain.

2. There is no such thing as the perfect maid. Everybody makes mistakes. You know this and you admit this. But just wait. Just wait for that mistake. Just wait for that kitchen floor to be dirty. Then tell me if you're ok with mistakes. Because if you're like everybody else, you're not ok. You're not ok because you paid good money for the house to be cleaned. And it's not clean. And you're not happy. The solution:

Relax. When it's all said and done, it's really just a little dirt, dust, or grime. We can fix it. But give us some time. We'll listen to you and we'll fix it. You don't need to threaten to cancel the service. You don't need to raise your voice. Just relax. After all, it's just housecleaning.

3. There no reason to care about being licensed and bonded. But there's a lot of reasons to care about being insured. A business or occupational license costs less than $50. A bond costs less than $100. Neither one does anything for you really. A license is a tax - plain and simple. A bond is supposed to reimburse you for anything stolen. But you've got get a conviction in order to make the bond pay out.

However, insurance costs thousands of dollars. Insurance pays you back if something is broken or damaged. For example, imagine if a very expensive piece of art was destroyed. An individual cleaner without insurance could just run and hide because she doesn't have the funds to reimburse you. Of course, she could if she had insurance. But insurance isn't cheap. And that's exactly why she doesn't have it. But then again, you probably hired her because she was cheap too. The solution:

Don't just hire a maid because they are cheap. There's always a reason why rates are low. Rates are usually lower because overhead is lower. And a big part of a cleaning business' overhead is insurance. It's called general liability insurance and it's just like your homeowner's insurance. When something happens, they open an investigation. Someone estimates the damage and that's how you get paid. Long story short, force every cleaning company to provide you with their general liability insurance policy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

You Really Only Have Two Choices

Now that I own a maid service, it's easy. It's easy to sit here and tell you why Two Maids & A Mop is the obvious choice when it comes to professional housecleaning. But it wasn't so easy a few years ago.

We had just sold our house and we needed both a moving company and a maid service. So we picked up the phonebook and we started calling a few businesses. Turns out that moving is expensive. Turns out that housecleaning isn't cheap either. At least when you talk to the people in the yellow pages.

So we turned to the local classified ads. And we found a group of people that would help us do both things all at once. They would help pack the house and they would help clean the house. All done by the same people. All done for one low price.

Of course, it all ended ugly. They showed up late. They took several breaks. They took forever. And they sucked.

The truck wasn't packed properly. A couple of items were broken or damaged. And the house wasn't too clean either. In the end, we were forced to rearrange some items in the truck. And in the end, we were forced to re-clean some areas that we were missed.

We were forced to do this because we couldn't locate these folks after the work was completed. They had their money and were long gone. Ready to take on another cheapskate like me.

Of course, that was then and this is now. I now know that you really only have two choices.

1. You can do the work yourself, or
2. You can pay someone a fair amount of money for the work.

It's been said before but it bears get what you pay for.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Cleaning Tips For Your Weekend

There's a cleaing tip in this directory for everyone out there. Click here for tons of cleaning tips.

Have a great weekend. And don't forget, you can always call a cleaning company if you don't want to tackle the house yourself. Maybe even this cleaning company - Two Maids & A Mop.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Cleaning Lady vs The Cable Guy

You've been there before. You've gotten that crazy timeframe from the cable company. You know, something like "We'll be there sometime between 12-5". You hate it. It's ruins your day. But you can't do anything about it. Nothing.

You can't do anything about it because you need your cable. And there's only one choice when it comes to cable television in your area. So you're forced to sit and grumble for 4-5 hours. And then you're forced to pay your cable bill month after month.

The housecleaning industry is a lot different. There's literally hundreds of so-called cleaning companies out there. A new one is born everyday. But the cable industry does have a link to the housecleaning industry. The link - you have to wait just as long for your maid as you do your cable guy.

Of course, you don't have to wait for your maid. You could force her to treat you like a customer. You could demand that she arrives on time. And if she doesn't-then you could fire her. After all, there's more than one maid in your area.

But you don't. You keep sitting there. Same, old tired thing week after week. You do this for one of two reasons.

1. She's cheap.
She's so cheap that you're willing to overlook the terrible customer service. She's so cheap that you don't expect her to treat you like a customer. But then, you're not really acting like a customer anyway. You're fine with it as long as she keeps charging you next to nothing.

2. She's become your friend.
She's now your friend. And you can't really discipline your friend. No matter if she's late. No matter if she screws up. You can't do anything about it. You're no supervisor. You're not even a customer. You're her buddy.

Of course, you're going to hit your tipping point someday. It might be that her late arrival makes you late to an important meeting one day. It might be that her constant lack of attention irritates you so much that you just explode one day. It might be that you hear about your neighbor's housecleaning company and you get a little jealous.

Your neighbor is talking about punctuality. Your neighbor is talking about customer service. Your neighbor is even talking about professionalism. Your neighbor is talking like a customer. That's the difference.

Your maid isn't a monopoly. You don't have to keep sitting there waiting on her all the time. The choice is yours.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Hard Way To Open A Maid Service

The Easy Way

Step 1. Go to Wal-Mart and buy the following items: one vacuum, one big bag of rags, three mops, one mop handle. Don't buy anything else because your customers will be able to supply everything else.

Step 2. Print about 100 cheap looking flyers and distribute them in an area neighborhood. You want the flyer to look cheap because you want the customer to know that your rates will also be cheap.

Step 3. Call all area cleaning companies and determine their rates. Charge less than everyone.

Step 4. You're in business in less than 48 hours.

The Easier Way

Step 1. Don't buy anything. Don't buy a vacuum. Don't buy a mop. Don't even buy a rag. Your customers will supply everything for you anyway.

Step 2. Go knock on a bunch of doors. Ask the customer what she is currently paying her housecleaning service. Then clean the house for free. Remember, your time cost you nothing so you're not really losing anything.

Step 3. After you've finished, tell her that you'll charge her less than she is currently paying. Remember, you don't have to pay taxes on this new income stream so go ahead and charge her $10 per hour.

Step 4. Your in business in less than 24 hours.

The "I Look Professional" Way

Step 1. Go purchase a business license and a surety bond. Now you get to tell everyone that you're licensed and bonded. And just think, both of these things only cost you about $75 bucks.

Step 2. Repeat all the steps from "The Easy Way" method.

Step 3. Your still in business in less than 48 hours.

The Hard Way

There are no steps. There are no steps because there is no quick way to start a real, professional cleaning company. It takes time. It takes patience. And it takes an investment. Here's what you'll need to invest in order to open a maid service the hard way.

1. Yes, you'll need money. Money buys you proper insurance coverage. Money buys you some real advertising. Money buys you employees. And most importantly, money buys you time. Because you're not going to get rich overnight. It's going to take time to run your new company this way. And time means money. So yes, you'll need money.

2. You'll need patience. This thing isn't going to take off overnight. Know that it will take at least one full year before you ever see a paycheck.

3. You'll need an education. No, you don't need a college degree. Not at all. But you will need to educate yourself on customer service. You'll need educate yourself on your cleaning products. You'll need to educate yourself on everything from A-Z. You're running a company now and it's your job to know everything. And the game changes everyday. So you'll need to learn more and more everyday. Learning never stops.

4. You'll need good people. Your people will determine the success of your new company. Of course, it's your job to find these good people. And it's your job to retain these good people. You can't do everything by yourself.

So why would anyone select "The Hard Way"? After all, it is a lot harder. You select the hard way because it's the right way. The hard way doesn't rip off the government. The hard way doesn't scam its customers. And the hard way doesn't rely on you being the cheapest in town. The hard way gives you the best chance of making it down the road.

And that's the goal of every new business. Not just to be here today, but to be here tomorrow too.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Remember These Three Points

You're going to hire us one day. It may be that you hire us today. Or it may be that you don't hire us until several months from now. But you're going to hire us at some point.

You're going to hire us because you're going to get sick of your current housecleaner. She's going to start showing up late on a regular basis. She's going to start becoming too close to your family. She's going to start missing the same things over and over again. And she may even just quit showing up one day. That day is coming. And when it does, you'll call us.

So when that day comes, remember these three important points about Two Maids & A Mop.

1. You will not receive the same person each and every time.

This is how we lose the majority of our customers. Everybody wants the same person in their home. Heck, so do we. But the reality is that we can't do it. There are just too many variables for us to overcome. Vacation, sick time, and most importantly, employee turnover. Nobody makes housecleaning a career. And we don't blame any of our employees for leaving. People need to have ambition. How can we get upset with someone that decides to leave our business for a more lucrative business? The fact is that our compensation system is far better than the average cleaning company. But the larger fact is that we can't compete with some businesses. Some businesses are able to trounce our compensation system. And when that happens, we're happy for our former employee. That's what makes our country so great. There's always a way to get ahead. It's up to you to decide how far you want to go in life.

2. You will get sick and tired of our constant need for your input.

Our pay for performance plan works because it gives our employees a reason to care about making you happy. Of course, the only person that knows if you're happy is you. And the only way that we can know if you're happy is to talk to you. Every time. So we're going to contact you after each and every housecleaning. We do this because we care about your opinion. And we do this because your opinion is the only thing that separates us from everybody else. Without your feedback, we're just like everybody else.

3. You will be inundated with countless offers that promise to beat our price and our service.

Your mailbox will have a flyer in it one day. Your doorknob will have one too some day. The reason for all these flyers is because there's a new cleaning business born everyday. A cleaning business is cheap to start. For some, there is no overhead. In other words, the money that you pay them is 100% profit. With no overhead, it's pretty easy to beat our prices. Of course, there's a reason you decided to hire us in the first place. Make sure that you keep remembering that because you will forget it somewhere down the road. You'll forget it because we'll do so many things right. We'll show up on time every time. We'll correct our mistakes when you tell us about them. We'll call you after each cleaning to determine your satisfaction level. We'll do a lot of things that no other cleaning service has ever done for you before. We do all these things because you're our customer. You're not just another attempt to make some easy money. And most importantly, remember this. If it's easy to start, it's just as easy to quit. That's why your last maid quit showing up....

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Three Quick Facts About Two Maids & A Mop

Fact #1- If you hire us for long enough, we promise that we'll make a mistake.

Your house is big. It has a bunch of rooms. And it has a bunch of stuff in each of those rooms. We're going to forget to pick up your rug one day. And we're going to forget to wipe down your bedroom baseboard one day. We're going to forget lots of things because we're just like you. We're human and we make mistakes.

Fact #2- We won't know that we make a mistake unless you tell us.
The best medicine for one of our mistakes is communication. If you tell us, we'll fix it. Plus, we'll document it so that we can limit the occurrence of the same mistake. But we can't know that we messed up if you don't tell us. Customer feedback is the only thing that separates us from everybody else. Without your feedback, we're just like everybody else.

Fact #3- When you tell us that we messed up, we'll fix it-FAST.

Of course, it's according to how fast you tell us about one of our mistakes. The quicker you communicate to us; the quicker we're able to respond. The bottom line is that we want to correct our mistakes - no matter how small or trivial. Because we want you to be happy. And you can't be happy if you still have dirty floors after we leave your home. Talk to us and we promise that we'll run to your house in order to make you smile.