The most important thing we found out when hiring employees for our maid and janitorial cleaning service is that it is best if we knew the job first hand and not learn the job along with the staff.
I’m saying that when you begin to branch out in search of people to help you with your business, it would be a great idea to know that business and all of its needs. It would be wise to know each job description as the business owner. Rather hiring for clerical help, technical support, management and training or cleaners, you, as the owner, have to know exactly what you need. Exactly what the position they will have entails.
Ask yourself these questions for each job description. What exactly do I need done? Who would best fit the profile for this position?
Understand the job description before you look for employees.
Being honest with yourself and being fully aware of your needs will save you so much time, money and anxiety when hiring new staff.
I learned this first hand when I had to hire new cleaners for a very, very different type of service…. Post construction clean-up.
Many, many moons ago, I was providing general cleaning for a reputable real estate management company in Chicago. That company secured a contract to rehab a residential complex that suffered fire damage. One of the members of this special project reached out to me and asked if I could clean after them once the construction was completed. My client wanted to be sure to turn over the fire damaged homes back to the residents fully restored and clean.
Let me just say this first. When my client approached me to provide services to his client I felt on top of the world! I will never forget that moment. I was speechless when he approached me. Do you know what it means to have your client to trust you? Then to trust you enough to refer your services? I must have looked like a deer in headlights! Because, get this, this “special” cleaning wasn’t just another office to provide general cleaning to. Oh no, this was a brand new service. I had never done post construction cleaning. This, in my mind, was going to open up a new type of cleaning unbeknownst to me at the time.
As excited as I was, I had no freaking clue as to what the job would entail. You hear me. Clueless. I was ecstatic but also anxious at the same time. Talk about overwhelmed. Gheez!
Well, I wasn’t going to say no to the job because I felt a certain kinda way. Oh no. Instead, I said what any other desperate but clueless business owner would say… “Can I take a look and let you know?” Haha! He said of course and gave me a week to get a proposal back to him. He also said that the job had to start in 2 weeks. 2 WEEKS!! That was all I had to look over this “special” cleaning, price it right, and staff it appropriately. Are you kidding me?!?! That wasn’t enough time!
I wanted my business to grow and I wanted to expand my business so I had to put my fears aside and step up to the challenge.
Once I got my head on straight, I did a walk through of the job site. I simply calculated an estimated time per person that it may take to clean. Post construction cleaning is a niche in and of itself so my pricing scale should have been a little different than pricing for general office cleaning. I found out by consulting my cleaning supplier. By the way, let me tell you, there was no Google back when I first started doing this. Nope, there was no easy help at your finger tips. You could either consult someone within your networking circle or read a book like “The Kelly Blue Book”. So that was my pricing strategy.
Now, when it came time to hiring employees for our maid and janitorial cleaning service I chose to use a day labor service. At the time, I did have permanent staff, but they were all busy with their regular work. This one time cleaning job was considered extra, so it was wise to hire extra help to get it done right. However, with this being my first post construction cleaning job I just didn’t know to ask the labor service for people with specific cleaning experience. I didn’t know to have extra people to compensate for lost time or for poor work performance. I believed that everything would work out. So, so wrong.
Let’s just say in a nutshell, it took about 12 cleanings, over the span of 6 weeks, (that’s 2 cleanings a week) to finish all of the homes. We literally cleaned after the construction contractors. So, once they remodeled several units, we went in to do a final clean up to make everything sparkle for the residents to move back in.
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It may take some time to figure out the cleaning job.
As I think back, the greatest concern I had was knowing the job. Once I got to the site and mapped everything out I was fine, but that took several cleaning days to do that. I felt so insecure, like I was fraud or something. I felt that everyone on my crew was smarter and knew more that I did. This feeling had to go away and I had to get a grip on things . I was the team leader and I had to act like it.
So the best that I could do every time we went out was to show up an hour early to just map out the scene and write down that day’s assignments. As time went on, I learned the job. All of it. Every task that we had to perform and every product needed to get it done right.
I had to trade out a few of the day labor staff until I found the right crew. We got a good consistent flow going and over time, I established ground rules and made sure to provide a place of safety and comfort. I stopped feeling insecure about the job and learned the job. The lessons that I gained from this experience were invaluable.
So that was my personal experience in the mid 1990’s. Check out our cleaning clientele.
“Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid NOT to try.” Michael Jordan
Until Next Time,
Creator of A Janitor’s Story®. I started my office cleaning side hustle at 20 years old. Years later, with the partnership of my husband and our amazing staff, my business grew to mid-six figures and fulfilled my wildest dreams! Now, 27 years STRONG, I’ve retired, and I help aspiring entrepreneurs to START and GROW their house and office cleaning service businesses to achieve their biggest dreams. I’d like to help you do the same.
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