Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cleaning Up While Dressing Down

TAMPA, FL-- A nude maid stripped off her clothes and stripped a homeowner of $40,000 in jewelry in a brazen robbery in the buff.

After the 50-year-old man hired the woman from the Internet on Friday, the maid stole from his suburban Tampa home despite not wearing any clothes. The woman arrived at the home in a one-piece, light colored dress. She took off the dress and cleaned the house for $100-per-hour, authorities said.

The man told deputies he left the maid alone in the bedroom to clean. When the man's wife came home from vacation, she discovered $40,000 in jewelry missing from their bedroom.

This article is funny. So funny that almost every newspaper in the country has ran the story. But the point remains the same.

Housecleaning is easy. So easy that anyone can do it. And this incident proves yet again that just about anyone will do it at some point.

You're hiring a stranger. And the only difference between this stranger and another stranger is that she claims to be a housecleaner. Would you let a stranger on the street walk into your bedroom alone? Of course not.

Start hiring professionals. And quit hiring strangers.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cleaning For A Reason Patient Testimonial

I am a 3-time cancer survivor currently undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for the second time. I read about Two Maids and a Mop in the Panama City News Herald in January. I applied for the free cleaning service at that time. Due to a high demand for such a service and too few maid services willing to provide free cleaning, I had to wait until May 21 for my first cleaning.

Shelley and Jodi were assigned to clean my house. I would give them a rating of "10". They were professional, thorough, pleasant, and kind to my dog! I was very impressed and grateful to be a recipient of this free house cleaning.

I wish more cleaning services would join Cleaning for A Reason. They provide 4 free monthly house-cleaning services to patients receiving cancer treatment. I can't stress enough how wonderful this is for those of us experiencing fatigue, pain, weakness - all due to cancer treatments. I feel truly blessed to be a client of Two Maids and A Mop. I would strongly recommend them to anyone!

Marcia Beverly
Panama City, Florida

Friday, May 23, 2008

Nice Promises Are Meaningless

I want to caution my fellow residents about a scam I recently fell victim to. I hired a maid service and allowed them into my home to help maintain it while it was on the market. One of their key marketing points was trust. It also promised licensed, bonded, back-grounded and drug tested employees.

At first, I made sure my wife or I were always present while they were. A trust was built with our maid crew "captain" and, because of scheduling, I opted to entrust my house key to the service. I was assured this key would be kept in a secure place and checked out only to the crew leader on the day of the scheduled cleaning.

A few months later, my wife discovered jewelry missing immediately after the maid service visited. An employee was terminated for this and was implicated in another theft. I canceled the service and requested my key back. I was then informed the house key had been hidden under a yard ornament for nearly four months. After more than a month of seeking reimbursement from the company, I have learned that "licensed and bonded" doesn't really mean a thing. The company has refused to compensate us for the theft and has instructed its employees not to cooperate further. I am now in the process of filing a small claims action.

Unfortunately, this is yet another story of "buyer beware" where the customer, and this time the victim, does not come first. I hope anyone reading this will avoid the heartache this has caused my wife and the headaches it has caused me.

TwoMaids Commentary
1. A professional maid service never wants you to "hide" your key. A professional maid service wants to number designate your key and lock it in a fire-proof safe. So, if we lose your key - we lose key #23, not Mrs. John Smith's key or the 227 Baypoint Drive key.

2. Just about every cleaning service claims to be licensed and bonded. Check out this little known secret about being bonded and insured. Long story short, ask how your maid service hired their employees. And the best medicine - the maid service that you decide on should at least perform the same level of investigation on new employees that you would if you hired the maid directly.

Here's how we hire our employees. We do all this because we would expect you to do the same if we hired you to come into our home.

3. Theft is a reality. It can happen anyday to anyone. No reputable cleaning company can promise that theft is impossible. But a reputable cleaning can promise three very important things.

A. They can promise to conduct a nationwide criminal background search on every employee.
B. They can promise to start a formal investigation as soon as you report the theft.
C. And they can promise to fix the problem if they caused the problem. And more than just promising, they can put it all on paper for your protection.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Constant Pursuit Of Customer Satisfaction

Customer service is the backbone of our company. We think customer service is what separates us from everybody else. From our Pay For Satisfaction Plan to our constant desire to listen to our customers, we really think we've cornered the customer service market.

But then again, we're far from the best in the world. Check out this article about Zappos, a shoe company that knows their business is much more than just selling shoes. Their customers say it best....

A Zappos customer had ordered a pair of sandals. When they arrived, she found that they didn't fit. She tried to order the right size, but Zappos was sold out of her size. So here's what the company offered: she could return the sandals (for free), Zappos would refund the purchase price and they'd send her a $25 coupon toward her next purchase. But wait — there's more! Zappos also offered to try to locate a pair of the sandals in her size from another vendor. (Hah! Sure, they will!) Fifteen minutes later, the company called my wife and told her they'd found her sandals, in her size, at another online merchant — "and," the Zappos clerk told her, "they're even cheaper at this other site!"

The article says it best, "companies don’t engage emotionally with their customers—people do. If you want to create a memorable company, you have to fill your company with memorable people."

Monday, May 19, 2008

How A Boston Maid Service Review Can Mean Something In Florida

On this surface, this review of Boston area cleaning companies appears to only be useful if you actually live in Boston.

But when you dig deeper, you can understand why the reviews can be helpful to anyone - including all of you right here along the gulf coast of Florida.

Here's the winning cleaning company's final comments:

Pros: Great customer service. They called to follow up after our initial call about rates, and after the cleaning they left behind a customer satisfaction survey and 49-point checklist of what they had cleaned. The two-person team also showed the best attention to detail and cleaned some of the spots the other services missed, including the insides of the microwave and toaster oven, plus the dust on a dining table centerpiece. They also folded a blanket left on the couch and cleaned the front entry hall though they weren’t asked to do so.

Cons: Some things, such as the kitchen trash can, weren’t put back in their original spots. And some kitchen tools in a drying rack were put away in odd spots.

The final word: Competitive price and an organized back office, plus good attention to detail, won our vote.

What this should tell you that communication is the backbone of customer service. The more you talk to your cleaning company - the better chance they have at making you happy. That's why we started the Pay For Performance Employee Compensation Plan. And that's also why we started the Pay For Satisfaction Plan.

Customer satisfaction can't happen if we don't know what makes a customer satisfied.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How To Steal From Your Clients In Three Easy Steps

A housekeeper is facing more than a dozen counts of felony stealing in the theft of more than $32,000 dollars from a St. Louis home. Police say Trina Lipe stole the money over a three-year period, typically by writing checks to herself. Lipe is also accused of stealing $100 from another resident, who said it was "very, very surprising" when she realized what happened.

Step 1 - Charge the customer a great rate - so low that they can't say no.

Step 2 - Gain the customer's trust - "It was very, very, very surprising. Trina was a very sweet person," the victim said. "She would come, be very nice with my children. When they were sick, and home alone, she would make them lunch."

Step 3 - Steal until the customer catches you - Then run away with more than $32,000.

Please watch this video. Hiring a professional housecleaner means hiring a professional first, then a housecleaner next.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

How To Be The Cheapest Cleaning Service

Cheap keeps on selling. And there's really no way to stop it because, well, it's so cheap.

Maine-- A man who formerly owned a cleaning company has been sentenced to a year in federal prison for harboring and employing illegal aliens.

Manuel Antonio Cornejo, 30, who waived indictment and pleaded guilty in January, is believed to be the first Maine employer to be sentenced in U.S. District Court for hiring undocumented workers. Cornejo also was sentenced to three years of supervised release after he gets out of prison and was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine.

A native of El Salvador, Cornejo went to work for a cleaning company and started his own business, M.C. Cleaning LLC, shortly after he became a U.S. citizen in 2006.

You already know that you get what you pay for. And in the cleaning business, you can be cheap as you want to be - assuming that you ignore all local, state and federal laws.

Cheap means hiring illegal aliens. Cheap means stealing from our government. Cheap means that you'll hire just about anybody - whether they've been convicted of a crime or not. Cheap means not purchasing insurance. But cheap also means that you pay less than your neighbor.

Anybody can start a housecleaning business. And inevitably,
just about anybody does.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

You Have To Define Performance In Order To Reward Performance

A new pay system for some employees in Columbia, Missouri is facing criticism. Since October, salaries for garbage collectors have been based on a pay for performance strategy. Under the new pay for performance system, the city garbage collectors get a one percent increase for doing their job, and a three percent increase for going above and beyond.

Garbage collector Jason Norman says the new system is unfair to all the workers. "We all work hard. We are out here in the snow, ice, rain, heat. We all deserve a certain percentage, but when they said some guys work harder than others, that's not true because it's a team effort."

The plan works by first letting the workers evaluate themselves. Then they are evaluated by their supervisors. Both employees and supervisors go through training on how evaluations will be performed, and the supervisors follow guidelines to help them grade the employees.

This system will never work. It won't work because the worker's performance has no direct measurement. You can't reward performance if the performance isn't defined.

A pay for performance plan works as long as two conditions are met:

1. The performance must correspond to a defined metric
2. The reward must be worthy. In other words, there needs to be a pot at the end of the rainbow.

And yes, we have an example for you.
The Ultimate Pay For Performance Plan

Monday, May 05, 2008

Cheap Keeps On Selling

A man is in jail after he was arrested on charges of kidnapping and rape.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Rudolph Valentino Smith, charging him with a rape that happened Thursday afternoon. The sheriff's office said that Smith, employed by Watkins Cleaning Service, was working at another home on South Haven.

According to statements, Smith left the job site and went to the victim's home about 2:30 p.m., asking to use the phone. The victim was babysitting a child at the time. Once inside the residence, Smith attacked the victim and threatened to kill her if she reported the assault. A child ran to another room in the home and was not harmed. After the attack, Smith told the victim to give him a ride home. The victim told Smith that she needed her keys from an upstairs room. Once there, she locked herself and the child in a bedroom and dialed 911. Smith stole a handgun from the residence and ran off.

According to investigators, Smith has been arrested and jailed on 15 separate occasions. Past felony charges against him include Aggravated Assault, Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute, Armed Robbery and Voluntary Manslaughter.

This guy worked for a cleaning company. That means that you're supposed to be protected. But it's obvious that this cleaning company wasn't protecting anyone. They hired a convicted felon and sent him into a stranger's home. They should feel awful. And they better be insured because they'll be sued soon.

Of course, they should be sued. Mistakes happen. Sometimes you just hire the wrong kind of person. But there are some easy things that a professional cleaning service can perform in order to determine if an employee has a criminal background.

Yes, the steps to determining someone's criminal background are easy. But no, the steps are
not cheap.

Cheap keeps on selling. And cheap keeps on proving that you get what you pay for!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Random Thoughts From The Cleaning World

1. A pair of crooks bullied a 10-year-old girl into letting them into a townhouse where they were caught on tape burglarizing the home. The girl was playing on the front steps of the house when the thieves approached and asked her if there was an adult home last Friday. "Two young guys forced her into the house," said Mark Appel, owner of the townhouse. He said the little girl was the daughter of his housekeeper, who was cleaning when the crooks struck.

That's the chance you take when you hire an individual. The homeowner better be more concerned about getting sued by his housekeeper. Whether he knows it or not, he's the supervisor of a workplace environment. And as a supervisor, it's his responsibility to provide a safe, secure environment. Of course, he could have just hired a professional cleaning company and he wouldn't have to worry about a lawsuit. But then again, professional cleaning companies are so much more expensive than individual cleaning ladies.

2. A narcotics task force seized three-and-a-half pounds of heroin and arrested three people on suspicion of multiple drug-related felony charges. Arcelia Padilla and Yoann Rosas were arrested alongside Heber Ruiz. The drug bust was the culmination of a three-month investigation. Padilla, a housekeeper, was found in possession of the lion's share of the heroin with an estimated street value of up to $160,000.

That could be your next cleaning lady. And you would have no idea until it's too late. Four words: Nationwide Criminal Background Checks.

3. A dry cleaning store clerk arrived at work Thursday morning to find a surprise ceremony honoring her honesty. Jennifer Peña was so startled that she froze up and struggled to get her words out. Last week, Peña found $800 cash and a signed paycheck for about $700 in a pair of pants just dropped off by a customer. Peña, who has worked at the store for 2 1/2 years, immediately called the customer. The customer's wife rushed back and claimed the $1,500!

Proof that there are still good, honest people still alive. Not everyone is out to get you. Just be careful - because it only takes one unethical person to create a big mess for you.