Friday, December 26, 2008

Cleaning For A Reason Extends To South Walton County

Two Maids & A Mop has always had a so-called "dead area". We define that area has the stretch of land between Santa Rosa Beach and Panama City Beach. The area is filled with plenty of potential customers, but it's simply too far for us to reach from Fort Walton Beach or Panama City. So we've always had to turn people away as a result.

But it looks like we might have a found an answer to our dilemma. A new maid service that serves our "dead area" has recently joined Cleaning For A Reason.

Of course, Cleaning For A Reason is the national, non-profit organization that teams with local cleaning companies to provide free housecleanings to women undergoing cancer treatment. It's a wonderful charity and it's an even better service that is provided as a result of the charity.

Southern Maid & A Maintenance has recently joined the charity and we'd like to welcome them to the Cleaning For A Reason charity. They serve our "dead area" and your welcome to call them if you're reading this from Highway 30A!!

Click here to read a local article from the Northwest Florida Daily News about Cleaning For A Reason, Southern Maid & Maintenance and, of course, Two Maids & A Mop.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas From Bailey The Reindeer Dog

It never snows down here along the gulf coast, but this is still funny.......


Friday, December 19, 2008

Another Individual Maid Strikes Again

IDAHO - A woman was arrested for allegedly stealing money from houses she was contracted to clean. The Major Crimes Division went to investigate complaints of missing money at three different houses.

Investigators believe an independently contracted house cleaner, hired by all three homeowners, stole the money.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Real Life Examples Of People That You Can Hire Today

Example #1 - Hi, my name is Susanne. I am looking for a job prefferably under the table pay. I have cleaned for aramark before at the niagara on the lake wineries (hildebrandt and piller) please let me know if you have anything available. thanks


Example #3 - I'm looking for any under the table odd jobs or labor jobs in or around the foothills area....just looking for some work

You get the picture. Hiring an "under the table" maid or cleaning lady usually results in you calling an "above the table" cleaning company at some point. You can repeat the mistakes of thousands of other people or you can just go ahead and hire a professional cleaning company first.

I always thought it was ironic that most people lock their doors at night, yet some of those same people sometimes hire just about anyone to clean their home (assuming that the price is right). The irony, of course, is that strangers are in your home voluntarily during the day.

There's a tremendous difference between a housecleaner and a professional housecleaner.

Monday, December 15, 2008

1100 Women Helped Through Cleaning For A Reason!!

There’s nothing like chemotherapy to kill your will to get up and mop, wax and vacuum. That’s why cleaning crews across the nation are performing these duties without charge for women who are undergoing cancer treatment.

"I can’t make the pain go away. I can’t make the fear go away," said a co-owner of a cleaning company that supports Cleaning For A Reason. "I can’t make it better, but I can make home OK."

Downer works with Cleaning for a Reason. The nonprofit organizes professional housekeeping businesses that donate their services to women who are receiving cancer treatment.

The housekeepers will clean the house once a month for up to four months. The maximum each cleaning service will take on at a time is two patients. For a patient to qualify, physicians must verify her illness.

Debbie Sardone created the Cleaning for a Reason Foundation a little less than three years ago. By her calculation, its volunteers have donated services worth $180,000. "It’s probably been my greatest joy in my career," said Sardone, who owns a Texas-based cleaning company.

"We’ve helped over 1,100 women."

Click here for the rest of this great article. And click here for more information on how to start receiving this free service from Two Maids & A Mop.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Top Immigration Officials' House Cleaned By Illegal Citizen

Every few weeks for nearly four years, the Secret Service screened the IDs of employees for a Maryland cleaning company before they entered the house of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the nation's top immigration official.

The company's owner says the workers sailed through the checks -- although some of them turned out to be illegal immigrants.

Now, the owner finds himself in a predicament that he considers especially confounding. In October, he was fined $22,880 after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators said he failed to check identification and work documents and fill out required I-9 verification forms for employees, five of whom he said were part of crews sent to Chertoff's home and whom ICE told him to fire because they were undocumented.

In addition to the Chertoffs' house, the service once cleaned the home of former president Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, as well as homes of Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright. In those cases, he said, his company worked as a subcontractor and billing was done by a larger contractor firm.

Red flags everywhere!!! Anytime you hear the word subcontractor - be wary. Be vary wary because subcontracting is most often used as a means to provide cheap labor. Plain and simple.

Of course, another red flag deals with the illegal employees. A simple nationwide background check would have verified the citizenship of each employee. It would have cost $50 per employee, a lot less than a $23,000 fine.

In the end, this article proves a much bigger point. Cheap sells - even to our most decorated public officials.

If you want to hire a professional cleaning company, don't expect for a low price to be the biggest benefit that you'll receive. Expect on-time service, every time. Expect legal, safe and secure employees. Expect customer service at its best. Expect quality, nontoxic cleaning supplies. And yes, expect a clean house too.

Be careful out there. Hiring a maid is easy. So is starting a maid service company.

Monday, December 08, 2008

How To Hire An Illegal Maid

One would assume that a U.S. border official would know the difference between an illegal maid versus a legal maid. You know what they say about assuming....

A U.S. border official whose job it is to keep illegal aliens out of New England was busted yesterday for knowingly employing three Brazilian housekeepers who snuck into the United States unlawfully.

Cheap sells. Even when it breaks the law.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thank You For Loving Us!!

We've had a terrible week. I guess even Nobel Peace Prize winners can't make everybody happy. But we'll keep trying. Thanks to Brian for ending the week on a great note.

Hey Guys, the house looks great as usual. Please give the girls a 10. I don't know what I would do without you.
Brian from Gulf Breeze

The Micki Guarantee

It's been a difficult week for Two Maids & A Mop. We've battled the flu with some of our key staff members. We've battled a customer in a tug of war of right versus wrong. And we've battled several decisions relating to our future marketing plans.

All in all, we've learned a lot from this week.

1. The flu has no remedy. Only time and rest work.
2. You can't make everybody happy. Not even Nobel Peace Prize winners have made everybody happy.
3. Marketing is much less important than operations, quality control and human resources.

As the week comes to an end, we'd like to announce an unprecented customer satisfaction guarantee:

So that we'll never forget the one time that we really upset a customer, we're introducing The Micki Guarantee:

When you hire Two Maids & A Mop, you can be guaranteed that you will be 100% satisfied. No, that doesn't mean that we'll clean perfect all the time. No, that doesn't mean that we'll say all the right things all the time. And no, that doesn't even mean that we'll refund all of your money when you ask for it back. The Micki Guarantee is much more than each of those three things.

If you are not 100% satisfied with your housecleaning.... or, if you are not 100% satisfied with your level of customer service.... Two Maids & A Mop will reclean your home for free... plus, Two Maids & A Mop will let you decide what the appropriate payment should be... plus, Two Maids & A Mop will donate your entire payment to
Cleaning For A Reason - the national nonprofit foundation that we partner with to provide FREE housecleanings to women undergoing cancer treatment.

Yes, these are just words right now. But we'll back it up everytime by posting a picture of our check to Cleaning For A Reason. In addition, we'll use this blog as a means of learning from our mistakes so that similar mistakes in the future won't occur.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

On The Most Recent Nonsense.....

The recent turmoil centered around an unhappy customer has created quite a bit of interest. Just scroll down to the next post and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Throughout the saga, there's been lots of name calling. Trash talking. And even some rude and character defaming comments. It ends now.

Two Maids & A Mop was contracted to perform a deep cleaning for one customer. The hourly charge was $75 per hour for a team of two maids. The fact is that we needed more time to completely finish our job. Yes, there's a chance that we made mistakes. Yes, there's a chance that we fast forwarded through some areas. And yes, there's a chance that - given time - we would have produced a sparkling, clean home. But nobody can concretely say yes or no to anything at this point.

That's why we refunded the customer $324. That's why we were willing to lose money on this job. That's why we apologized privately and publicly. And that's why changed our procedures so that this saga never gets repeated.

We've begged for forgiveness and yet - our business continues to get trapped in the line of fire. Please stop the nonsense and move on.

The smart thing to do would be to eliminate any history of this mess. But the professional thing to do is to address the issue. Our customers know that we're not perfect. And our customers also know that we care more about our reputation than a silly dollar.

At the end of the day, we feel comfortable knowing that we've done the right thing. We refunded 60% of the customer's money (at the customer's request mind you - and yes, I know I negotiated for $25 more dollars). We apologized countless times. We accepted responsibility. We learned from our mistakes. And we've never once lowered our ourselves to the point of name calling or character defamation.

We're all human. Let's all now start acting a little more humane. Please.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The REALLY Unhappy Customer

Two Maids & A Mop has finally done it. We've made one person EXTREMELY upset. Take a look at this blog and you'll see how unhappy she is......

What Happened:
1. For a deep cleaning, we charge $75 per hour for a team of two maids. We typically provide a rough time estimation for the deep cleaning and that estimate is correct 90% of the time. We make every attempt to tell the prospective customer that we don't know for sure how long the cleaning will take - after all, we're just talking over the phone. But history usually serves as the best example - so we use historical examples of similar sized homes as our guide. We're correct about 90% of the time; which means that we're wrong 10% of the time. That's why we strongly suggest that the time estimation is just that - an estimation based on our best guess.

In this case, we needed two days. Yet, we stopped after just seven hours because the work day had ended. However, we were more than willing to arrive the next morning to continue our work. Unfortunately, we weren't called by the customer until 9 AM the next morning (the day before Thanksgiving). That left us in a bind because all of our employees time had been allocated for the day. In addition, the problem was compounded by the holiday because we were not open Thursday or Friday.

2. The fact is that our deep cleanings are SLOW. They should be slow and we will not ever change the pace of our deep cleanings. The very definition of a deep cleaning infers the pace of the cleaning.

3. This cleaning cost a lot of money to the customer. No doubt about it. In fact, it may be the most costly cleaning ever since our inception. When I heard about the cost, I was immediately concerned because I knew that someone had just paid a ton of money and their house was still not completely cleaned. The perfect recipe for disaster.

What Should Have Happened:
1. Once we saw the mountain that we had to climb, we should have informed the customer that we were going to require at least two days of cleaning. That was our fault and we accept responsibility.

2. We should have responded to this customer's complaints well before today. We can blame the holiday, but the real blame lies with me. I should have checked into our email system periodically over the break just to make sure that everything was ok. It wasn't.

3. We should have been open and honest with the customer about the cost implications and the time requirements. We can defend our time quote, but once inside - we should have alerted the customer to the possibility of an extremely expensive cleaning.

What We Have Learned:
1. We will no longer charge by the hour for a deep cleaning. Too many people think we're working to simply inflate our price. Too many people think our pace of cleaning is slow. And too many people just sit there calculating the final total. This isn't the first time and it won't be the last - so from this point forward - we're going to charge flat rates based on the number people living inside the home and the home's total square footage. This should alleviate this problem forever.

2. We need to check our email during holiday breaks.

What We Will Do To Make This Customer Happy:
1. We'll do whatever she wants us to do. It's a hard lesson, but we're willing to learn from our mistakes. We've never claimed to be perfect and we'll probably make another mistake just as serious as this one down the road. But for now, we've learned our lesson. And we'll pay for it.

This won't happen ever again. The formula for this type of disaster is now dead.

P.S. There's a reason our customers selected us for this award. And this one too.