Thursday, July 31, 2008

Complaining About Your Maid

Isn't it funny? You'll complain about a botched order from a fast food restaurant. You'll complain if the wait is too long at your local convenience store. And you have no problem complaining if you're cable TV goes out.

But when it comes to housecleaning, you're scared to death to complain. Why is that?

The reason is pretty simply to understand. When you're ordering food at that fast food joint, you're a customer. When you're standing in line at that store, you're a customer. And when your cable goes out during your favorite TV show, you're definitely a customer.

But when your maid makes the same mistake three weeks in a row and you stay silent, you're far from a customer. All you are is someone's side money. Someone's extra cash until something better comes along.

You didn't hire a business. You just hired someone without a job.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How Do You Know If Your Maid Is Bonded And Insured?

One of the most common questions that we get asked is, "Are you bonded and insured"? It's a funny question because almost everyone that asks it doesn't have a clue as to why they are asking the question.

First off, why would you tell a prospective customer that you are not bonded or insured? Especially if that prospect will be fine if you just say that you are bonded and insured. So the first thing a prospective customer needs to do is not only ask the question - but they also need to demand that the answer be backed up with proof.

A bond and a general liability insurance policy are both represented as easy-to-read documents. Of the thousand or more calls, we may have had two people actually demand to see our bond or insurance policy. And you can bet that if we know that no one asks to see these documents - everyone else knows that too. So, make your cleaning lady prove it to you.

Secondly, you can determine the maximum payout limits of each policy by simply reviewing the documents. It won't matter if your cleaning lady is insured if her insurance only covers a few hundred bucks. A normal surety bond covers theft up to at least $10,000 and a normal general liability insurance policy covers damages up to at least $300,000.

And finally, don't forget the cleaning industry's best kept secret.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Housecleaning Is Easy Money

LAKELAND, FL - Two granddaughters of a housekeeper were arrested and accused of stealing jewelry valued at $17,000 from a client's home.

According to a Sheriff's Office report, the clients noticed that jewelry had started to disappear from the house whenever their housekeeper brought her granddaughter with her to clean. The jewelry included several diamond rings, a diamond bracelet, gold rings and a gold pendant.

The stories keep happening over and over again all over this country. Yet, we keep hearing this same tired phrase, "You're rates are just too much."

It always amazes me that someone will pay a professional accountant a small fortune to report their finances, but that same person will not even think about paying more than a few bucks to protect those same finances.

You already know this, but it bears repeating...

Hiring a housecleaner has very little to do with housecleaning.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Not To Beat A Dead Horse....

....but hiring a housecleaner has very little to do with housecleaning. The quicker you realize that - the easier it will be for you to understand that a professional cleaning company is far different than a cleaning lady.

SEBRING, FL - A woman who sheriff's investigators say worked as a cleaning lady remained in jail in lieu of $22,500 bond after a 71-year-old client reported someone took his cash, a watch and racked up charges on a stolen credit card.

Felicia Renee Carney, 38, also known as Felicia Silver, was booked on charges of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, petty theft second offense, grand theft $300 or more but less than $10,000 while victim was 65 years of age or older, fraud - illegal use of credit cards to obtain goods or money $100 or more, and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

The total value of the grand theft was $1,949, the report stated, and petty theft amounts on the unauthorized credit card use added up to $720. Carney has a history of arrests.

The charges dating back to July 2004 include domestic violence battery, violation of probation for domestic violence battery, obtaining property by worthless check, giving a false name to a law enforcement officer, fraudulent use of a credit card and failure to appear, violation of probation for fraudulent use of a credit card, cocaine possession, along with several warrant arrests and driving with no driver's license or vehicle registration.

Sheriff's Capt. Randy LaBelle has some advice for anyone wanting to hire domestic help.

"Request references, and check them," he said. "If they don't give you any, then I'd be leery of them. Do a background check at the sheriff's office. Go online to the clerk of courts Web site and see if they've participated in any litigation. Contact your chamber of commerce and the Better Business Bureau."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

You're Looking For The Wrong Kind Of Maid.....

...if you think that professional means perfection. As definite as death and taxes, you can bet that we will make mistakes. Every day and at every customer's home. All it takes is a little digging to find something.

This is one of the biggest hurdles that we cross with new customers. New customers know that their last maid was late all the time. New customers know that their last maid decided to cancel at the last minute one too many times. Most importantly, new customers know that their last maid rarely treated them like a customer.

That's why new customers decide to call us in the first place. But new customers also realize that our rates are higher than their last maid. Yes, we show up on time every time. Yes, we never cancel your appointment. And yes, you certainly get treated like a customer now.

But with such high rates, shouldn't the quality of our cleanings be exceptional? Some would answer yes. But the reality is that our cleaners are not computers or robots. In other words, they make mistakes - no matter how hard they work or how well they are trained.

The quality of our cleanings is good. So good that we've received countless numbers of customer testimonials proving that our work is pretty good. But our work isn't always great.

So what makes us great? And more importantly, what makes our rates worthwhile?

We're great because we guarantee our arrivals. We're great because we show up on-time every time. We're great because our employees go through an extensive nationwide criminal background search. We're great because we've got you protected against any worst case scenario. And we're great because we let your feedback determine our employees' paychecks.

But the real reason that we're great is much bigger than how we dust your nightstand. It's bigger, but very simple.

We listen. We listen to you more than any other cleaning service in your area. We encourage you to talk to us. We beg you to talk to us. And in some cases, we demand that you talk to us. And we listen for one reason. Because the more we listen to you, the happier we make you. It's been proven time after time.

No, you haven't found the world's greatest housecleaner. But yes, you have found the world's greatest housecleaning company!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Where's The Bond?

Step 1. Get in the door by offering a low cleaning rate.

Step 2. Gain the family's trust by getting to know them.

Step 3. Steal until you get caught.

"People who hire individuals to help them, hire them thinking they and their belongings are safe," Judge Sharon Nicklas said to the maid, calling her offense an extreme breach of trust. "People are entitled to feel safe, especially in their own home."

The maid had taken jewelry worth about $70,000, ivory miniatures worth $48,000, antiques, silverware, figurines and rugs totaling $50,000. The items were valued at a total of $168,000!!

Some of the items were retrieved, but the maid was ordered to pay the outstanding restitution of $157,350. And since there was no bond, you better hope this maid wins the lottery real soon. Otherwise, good riddance to your money.

Another Individual Maid Gone Bad

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yes, It Happens To The "Professionals" Too

It's been said many times here that hiring an individual housecleaner is bad news. Yes, it probably means that you'll receive a low cleaning rate. But more importantly, it could mean that something bad could occur. Hopefully, you're individual cleaner will just show up late to your home. But in some cases, your individual housecleaner may steal from you and leave you without any recourse.

But it's not just individual housecleaners that can hurt you. Even professional cleaning companies can make your life miserable.

Click here to see what the four cleaning ladies on the right got caught doing...

So you know that you aren't supposed to hire an individual housecleaner. But now you find out that you aren't supposed to hire a professional cleaning company either. Now what?

First off, you still aren't supposed to hire an individual. Too many things could happen because that indvidual housecleaner isn't a business - it's just some side money. You wouldn't let a stranger from the street into your home, so why would you let someone in just because they left a flier on your mailbox?

Secondly, make sure that your professional cleaning company is bonded and insured. In other words, think of every worst case scenario that could happen and ask them how their company protects you.

Third, make sure that your professional cleaning company conducts a nationwide criminal background search on its employees. That goes for the owner's daughter-in-law and that goes for the little sweet girl with a pretty smile. Hiring people with clean backgrounds doesn't mean that you're completely safe, but you're exponentially safer if the background checks are conducted.

Finally, just because your professional cleaning company calls itself professional doesn't mean that it's professional. Professional means answering the phone every time you call. Professional means arriving on-time every time. Professional means hiring employees rather than contractors. Professional means a lot of things. It's like comparing a flea market to a department store.

A flea market has hidden gems amongst loads of crap that nobody else wants. In a department store, you rarely sneak up on a gem. But you also know that you aren't in a flea market. A department store is a business. A flea market is someone's side money. The difference is obvious.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Another Cheap, Uninsured Maid Strikes Again

CAPE CORAL -- This a story you need to hear if you ever have anyone come to your home to do any sort of work - even if you trust and think you know that person well.

Betty Bowman, 92, says the woman she hired to clean and take care of her home, cleaned out a lot more than just her closets. She cleaned out her bank account too.

Bowman said her housekeeper of two years, Susan Beckers, "stole her personal bank checks and cashed those checks without permission."

The arrest report says Beckers forged 25 of Bowman's personal checks, totaling more than $10,000. Detectives say the stolen checks were written to, and endorsed by, Beckers. They added the account numbers on the stolen checks matched Beckers' personal bank account number.

Now, Beckers is being charged with two counts of forgery to a bank note and one count of larceny - charges she admits to.

The general manager of Bowman's housing complex said that she is not a bonded, licensed, or insured cleaning person.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Story Of The Dirtiest Home Ever!!!

The Introduction To The World's Dirtiest Home

The Overhaul

The Final Results

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Dependable, Honest, Consistent And CHEAP?

"What do you charge to clean a house?", said the potential customer.

"Well, it's hard to provide you with a quote without first knowing what you are looking for. So, tell me what you are looking for in a housecleaner", said the maid service manager.

The potential customers responds by saying, "I am looking for someone that is dependable, honest, consistent and cheap."

It was hard not to laugh. Because it ain't gonna happen. It's a myth. An oxymoron. There is no such thing as a cheap, dependable, honest and consistent maid.

The reason is simple. Money talks. You might be willing to offer your services for cheap. And you might tell your customers that you're honest, dependable and consistent. But the reality is that you can't be all those things. The money just won't allow you to be all those things.

Because at some point, another customer is going to be willing to pay your maid more money. Because at some point, your maid is going to get sick and tired of cleaning your toilet for nothing. And because at some point, your maid is going to decide to sleep in one morning rather than scrub your baseboards.

Your maid will do each of those things for the same reason that we're willing to do each of those things for you. Because money talks.

You can't buy from Wal-Mart and expect to receive Nordstrom's customer service. And you shouldn't expect to buy from an independent maid and expect Two Maids & A Mop customer service.