Monday, April 30, 2007

Come Clean And Get A Year's Worth Of Free Cleaning

Here'e a chance to receive free housecleaning for a full year. And all you need to do is come clean. Click here for details on the contest. Or just watch this video.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Tips On Finding A Great Cleaner

Here's an article that provides you with tips on finding the best cleaning staff for your office.

The article could just as easy have been written for homeowners searching for the right maid. Here's some tidbits.......

"If you visit a bank or other office that's sparkling clean — don't be shy. Ask an employee if they're happy with their cleaners and see if you can get the phone number"
----Ask your neighbors about their maid. A neighbor's recommendation is much more valuable than a big ad in the yellow pages.

"If you suspect one company is a bit more professional and has better equipment but they charge a bit more, you won't regret paying that little extra."

----You get what you pay for.

"What I usually do when things start going bad with cleaners is to hand out anonymous comment forms to employees," she says. "I compile the complaints and send them to the company."
----You value your maid service more when you know that they're listening to you.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

We Only Have Five Customers

We'll clean more than 250 homes this week alone. But we really only have five customers. If you're reading this, keep reading and you'll find yourself in one of these descriptions.

The Overworked Customer
You work a lot. You work so much that you don't have time to clean your home. That's why you hired us.

The Retiree
You're retired. Some of you don't want to clean your toilets any longer. Some of you can't clean your toilets any longer. That's why you hired us.

The Wealthy
You're rich. You have the means to hire somebody else to do the dirty work. There's nothing wrong with you. The fact is that you don't want to clean any longer. That's why you hired us.

The Mover
You're either moving in or out of a home. The house is totally empty. And it's a big job. Too big a job for you because you've got all sorts of other things to worry about during your move. That's why you hired us.

The Business
You either own or manage a business. And you need someone to clean your office during the work week and during normal business hours. More than likely, we already clean your home. You like what we do in your home, so you might as well hire us to clean your office.

Knowing who our customers are makes our life a lot simpler. We get to focus on just five types of people everyday. Sure, we could clean your rental condo on the beach. We could clean your bank late at night. We could even clean your carpets if we wanted to.

But we don't want to. We want to focus on just a few things. That gives us the best chance at doing one of those five things right.

Monday, April 23, 2007

What Would TwoMaids Have Done?

Take a look at this story about a customer in Illinois complaining to the local paper about her recent service from a maid service.

It all started when the customer called to set up a monthly housecleaning. It started getting bad when the maids were late. It started getting even worse when the maids didn't do what the customer thought they should be doing. And it got real bad when the maid service said, "shut up, we're right and you're wrong".

Now the maid service didn't really say those words. But they might as well. Here's the statement from the maid service....

"The owner said this was one of her most experienced crews. She also said that the customer didn't want a free in-home estimate which the company offers to get a better idea of how much work is involved."

The owner continued on, "She's so convinced her crew did a thorough job that they're willing to take a lie detector test. She says she's proud of her business, which unlike some cleaning services pays Social Security taxes, workers comp and unemployment insurance on its crews."

Ok, lets start from the beginning.

Problem #1
The maid service was supposed to arrive between 2-4 PM. But they were running late and they didn't call to inform the customer. The customer had to call after they didn't show up during the scheduled time. Being late is one thing. But not informing your customer about your problem is even worse. So the customer rescheduled the cleaning to the next day because the maid service had said that it would be 5:30 before they could arrive. Talk about bad first impressions. WOW!

The maid service indicates that they didn't budget their time properly because an in-home estimate wasn't conducted initially. That's no excuse. The maid service could have done what we do. If you can't see the house, then you need to educate the customer about your service offerings. Talk to the customer about each type of cleaning. Talk to them about your limitations. And be honest with them. Let them know that the price you're quoting is an estimate made over the phone. Here's how we explain it....

Let's say you live in a 2000 sq. ft. home and your neighbor's house is similar in size. You have five people living in your home while your neighbor has only two people. That description by itself would lead us to believe that your house requires extra time. However, what if the neighbor has lots of collectibles. What if the neighbor doesn't maintain their home in the same manner as you do? All sorts of variables determine the time required to clean your house. Size and number of people are important. But there are plenty of other things that can determine cleaning time. And you don't see those things until you walk in the front door.

So, the maid service should have spent more time with customer. Don't just set up the appointment and say "see ya soon".

Problem #3
The maid service really didn't seem to care about the customer. To make matters worse, the maid service didn't seem to care even when they found out that the local paper was investigating the situation. Talk about bad publicity. An upset customer has to know that you're listening. In this case, the maid service basically just said to be quiet. You're wrong and we're right. We would have never let it get this far.

First of all, we would have called her before she called us because we do that every day. Our employees get paid based on customer feedback. Secondly, we would have listened to her complaints. Third, we would have visited the home if the customer allowed the visit. And finally, we would have done something to make this customer happy. It could have been that we just finished the job. It could have been that we started over from scratch in her home. And it could have been that we simply gave the customer her money back. Basically, we would have done whatever the customer told us to do.

So here's our recipe. Show up on time. Educate the customer before arrival. Listen to the customer if you don't meet her expectations. Do what the customer says after you've finished listening.

Follow this recipe and your poor customer service story doesn't get published in the 2nd largest paper in Chicago.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I Know What You're Thinking

What nobody wants to say, but what everyone's really thinking......

Click here to see what you're really thinking

A synopsis for those that didn't click......You want a squeaky clean house. You want it cleaned fast. And you want it as cheap as possible. That's what you're thinking.

Don't feel bad. You didn't know any better. You thought that your needs were legitimate. So in an effort to educate you on the realities of the maid service industry, I've put together some required reading for your weekend.

Curl up and learn why you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Required Reading #1

Required Reading #2

Required Reading #3

Required Reading #4

Required Reading #5

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ashley & Rachel

That's the name of two of our brightest stars at Two Maids & A Mop. You may recall an awesome letter sent in from one of our customers detailing our company's greatest strength - customer satisfaction. If not, click here to read it.

Both of these stars work in our Fort Walton beach location. Thank you Ashley and Rachel!!!

Our customer said it best, "Where have you been all my life? Never the less, I'm glad you're here now!"

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Unreputable Cleaning Company

Carlos Diaz broke the law when he crossed the border and took a job as an office janitor. Click Here For The Rest Of The Story.

The article talks mostly about how many of the country's illegal immigrants have started paying taxes to the IRS. But that's not the important part of the story. No, the important part of the story deals with the fact that so many cleaning companies hire so many bad people.

When you compete in the "I'm Cheaper Than You" world, this is what you get. Because somebody will always be cheaper than you. Now how they get to be cheaper than you is a different story.

A reputable cleaning company has to purchase loads of insurance. A reputable cleaning company has to pay payroll taxes. A reputable cleaning company has to provide workers' compensation. A reputable cleaning company has to pay city, county, state, and federal taxes. The bottom line is that a reputable cleaning company has to pay a lot more than an unreputable cleaning company.

But many people don't care. Because the name of the game is money. And if you're cheaper than the reputable cleaning company, so be it. After all, it's just cleaning. Anybody can do it.

And anybody does do it. Convicted felons. Illegal immigrants. Fugitives on the run. All because they know that somebody will hire them. Somebody will hire them because they'll work for nothing. And that's exactly what is needed. Because to get new business, an unreputable cleaning company has got to be cheaper than everybody else.

The fact is that you can never be sure. Look at yesterday's horrible shootings on the Virginia Tech campus. Virginia Tech is a great school. They don't just let anybody in. So I'm assuming that this murderer had proven that he was intelligent enough to handle the stresses of campus life. But yesterday proved otherwise.

Cleaning companies are in the same boat. We conduct nationwide criminal background checks on all of our employees. We interview each one before they're hired. And we send them out with one of our training managers to determine if they are suitable for our workplace. But they are strangers to us. But we do know their history. And history tends to repeat itself. But our system isn't yet perfect. People with clean backgrounds can still do some crazy stuff.

But it's a lot closer to perfect than just hiring anybody that will work. And that's what many unreputable cleaning companies are doing right now. They're hiring for one reason. Because the person will work for nothing.

The moral of this story..........

Don't just pick your next maid because she's cheap. Don't say no to her because she's cheap either. Ask her questions. Conduct reference checks. Perform a background check. Basically, do what every other reputable cleaning company does. Make sure that the stranger you are hiring has not done strange things in the past.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Top Three Reasons People Fire The Maid

It's safe to say that we are experts in our field. We talk to 10-20 people everyday that want to fire their maid. Here are the three reasons we hear most often.....

1. I fired my maid service because they never showed up on time.
It's amazing how often we hear this. It's even more amazing how unprofessional most people are in our industry. Showing up on time is the first step toward customer satisfaction. Showing up late sets you up for failure because the customer is on alert from the beginning.

Of course, we're actually glad that most people in our industry don't get it. Because all we have to do is show up on time for some people.

2. I fired my maid service because they kept getting worse and worse over time.
We've pounded this one in the ground a number of times. Read this post if you don't believe me.

But for you newbies....A person will only care if there is a reason to care. That's why some business owners work harder than other business owners. That's why some kids try harder in school than other kids. And that's why some employees work harder than other employees. We give our employees a reason to care with our pay for performance plan. Click here for more information about the program.

3. I fired my maid service because they kept sending me different people all the time.
There's a maid service company out there that's heard this same complaint about our company. It's our public enemy #1. And we can't do anything about it.

We staff more than 45 employees. We staff this many people not because we need 45 people every day. We staff this many people because we guarantee you that we'll show up on time everytime (See reason #1). Because people get sick. Because people show up to work late. Because people quit their jobs without notice. And when this happens, you never know it. Because we've got plenty of people that are ready and qualified to do the same job as the absent employee.

You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I'm Glad You're Here Now

From one of our satisfied customers...............

"I really enjoy the two girls that service my home. They are wonderful. In my opinion, I think you have such a wonderful company that provides excellent service for which this area so desperately needs.

I can recall when I initially inquired about Two Maids & A Mop. I was listening to the radio and decided to give your company a call. I must admit I was hesitant at first because now a days one has to be very careful in letting people that you don't know into your home. However, I decided to take a chance to see for myself. I figured that that I would find out if your company lived up to the expectations that was described on the radio.

I even put these two girls to the test by setting out baits to see if they were honest and yes they passed with flying colors. I've become so comfortable with the two girls that I have begun to feel like they are part of my family and now feel as though I don't want anyone else to clean my place. They were very professional and clean with excellence.

It makes a great difference when some of the loads of cleaning can be taken off me since I am a student taking classes online to further my degree. When I schedule my appointment I only request the two girls because I have connected a bond and I don't refer them as the cleaning ladies but as professionals who clean my home. When you interview these two ladies you chose the right ones for your company. They are truly dependable, kind, thoughtful and they know my name - which is a plus.

If a concerns comes up or a question I may have they communicate to me professionally and give me an open eye contact when answering any questions or concerns that I may have. In my book, these two ladies are a 10+ because of their mannerism and the consistency in doing a fantastic job in cleaning my home. I now tell everyone at my work about Two Maids & A Mop and the wonderful job that these ladies do for me. I am forever thankful for your company and the two ladies but I just have one question to ask you?

Where was Two Maids & A Mop when I needed you so long ago? Never-the-less, I am so glad that you are here now.

Monday, April 09, 2007

On Tipping The Maid

I hear the question a lot during in-home estimates. Should I tip the maid?

The short answer is no. You don't need to tip any additional money to your maid. However, the long answer is yes. You do need to tip your maid - just not with money.

At Two Maids & A Mop, the best tip that you can provide our employees is your feedback. Your opinion is important. Your opinion can make or break your two maids paycheck. So it's crucial to hear from you on a regular basis. So the best advice I can give you is to take 120 seconds from your day and use it to provide feedback regarding that day's housecleaning.

Now that doesn't mean you can't tip your two maids with a little legal tender. Many of our customers tip our employees on a regular basis. The choice is yours. But keep in mind that our employees are paid well above the industry average as long as they make you happy. So your opinion is really more important to them than your $2 tip. Because your opinion can be the difference in much bigger amounts of money.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Housecleaning In Its Purest Form

You get what you pay for.....

The Birthday Suit Maid Service

At least she's not just charging less than everybody else. At least she's providing a service. Just not sure if her service is legal or not. Pretty sure it's unethical. Maybe even immoral. Doubt we'll see her show up at the next Association of Residential Cleaning Services meeting.

In The News Again

We made the Pensacola News Journal last month.

And this month, we've made the Pensacola H&G Magazine.

Now all we need to do is start getting some pub in our other two locations.

Thanks to our employees Regina and Michelle for volunteering to be photographed for three hours (while they cleaned). And thanks to our customer Joyce Cobb for letting us use her home as photo studio.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Minivan And The Maid

You were rich if you hired a maid twenty years ago. Maids were considered luxuries. In the same class as a Roll Royce. A status symbol.

Today, you need to hire a maid because most of you are just too busy to clean your house. You've got loads of work in front of you. You've got activities planed with your kids in front of you. And the weekend has become more about work than pleasure. So the thought of spending 2-3 hours cleaning house every week has taken a back seat to all of your other obligations. Today, your maid is in the same class as a minivan. A necessary evil.

The minivan is a ubiquitous symbol today. You own one if you have a family. You need one if you have a family. The minivan's biggest attribute is that it provides you with enough space to fit everybody and everything in it. But the minivan has changed over the last few years. You can get TV monitors attached to the backs of seats. You can get DVD players controlled by a remote control. You can get a big engine. You can even get reading lamps if you want them. All for a price of course.

So you buy a minivan because you need the extra space. But you pick the minivan because of all sorts of other things. Think about your maid for a while.

You hired a maid because you need your house cleaned. But why did you really hire your maid?

Rates are an important topic. In fact, that's all most people even care about when they call us for help. That's their first question. The funny thing is that consumers thought this same way about minivans not too long ago. And the only reason consumers think differently today is because the minivan industry started offering alternatives.

That's what Two Maids & A Mop is. We're an alternative right now. Our pay for performance plan speaks for itself. At some point, the maid service industry may wake up and realize that being the alternative works. But until we become standard, we'll keep winning.

Thank goodness that the maid service industry is slower than the minivan industry. It makes me look smart.