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