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.