Start Your Cleaning Biz
11 things you must look for in a Professional Cleaner.
Finding the right professional cleaner can make your life so much easier and pleasant.
I’ve heard of friends almost crying when they’ve lost a good, trusted cleaner. So good, in fact, they struggle to imagine life without them!
So, improve your chances of finding the right cleaner by following these suggestions!
This is a big one. Being on time and turning up.
The last thing you want to do is be waiting around for a late cleaner who may or may not turn up.
Of course, the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, so that leads us to….
It’s not wrong to ask a cleaner if you can contact references. If they have been in business for a long time or come from an agency, they should have existing customers that are happy to provide a reference.
However, not all cleaning businesses have been running for 5 or more years.
If you can take a chance on a new cleaning business, that’s fantastic. We all have to start somewhere, right?
Bu we understand that most customers prefer to deal with a cleaner that has come recommended and has a good history of cleaning behind them. These are the cleaners that will have no hesitations in giving you references to contact.
To help, we have a handy list of questions to ask that you can download here.
Checking references is also a great way to find out if they have similar….
Ask references what their standard of cleaning is like.
Do they cut corners? Are they happy to pick up a few items when they are vacuuming or will they vacuum around a crayon on the floor (yes, that really does happen!)
Will they do additional cleaning as they go if it’s needed? Wipe finger marks off the wall if they see them?
Do they use different cleaning cloths in each room? Know not to use the same cloth in the bathroom and kitchen?
Understand which cleaning sprays to use on different surfaces?
This can be a biggy.
Will they be sharing with other homes or will they use your equipment? Are they willing to use eco-friendly cleaning supplies or will they use chemicals?
Is their equipment new and well looked after or is it held together with duct tape and grimy?
Things happen. It’s called life!
If an emergency comes up at the last moment, will you be up for cancellation fees? And if so, how much?
It’s much better to clarify cancellation fees before you take on a cleaner than end up with a surprise bill!
Or an easy solution is to allow the cleaner to have a set of keys so that they can access your home
Which leads us to…
Cleaning agreement type
There are two different types of cleaning agreements.
One is an hourly rate and this is the more common. For example, your cleaner agrees to spend 2-3 hours cleaning your home each fortnight.
The advantages of this is if your cleaner takes less than the set time to clean your home, they may be able to do some extra odd jobs to finish off the remaining time. You know that ceiling fan filter in the bathroom? This is your opportunity to get it cleaned. If they are ok with a ladder of course!
The other cleaner agreement is a quote based one.
The cleaner agrees to undertake a specific set of tasks each time.
Some weeks they may finish the clean in less time, others they may spend more time. There is less flexibility in this type of contract and you may be asked to pay more for additional tasks.
Are you dealing with an agency or direct with the business owner?
This can make a difference. If the owner of the business is also the cleaner, they have a huge vested interest in doing a good job. Their livelihood is entirely dependent on doing a good job, keeping customers and gaining referrals.
And if there are any problems you can communicate directly with them to get it resolved.
If you’re dealing with an agency there is a chance that the cleaners aren’t quite as committed to the job. So it may be harder to get a higher standard of work, or you have to talk to a third party to get issues resolved.
Of course, the advantage of an agency is that if your usual cleaner can’t come it’s much more likely that you will get a replacement!
So there are advantages and disadvantages to both.
But if you decide to go with a cleaner that is also the owner, you need to check…
Are they a registered business with an ABN?
If a cleaner can’t take themselves seriously as a business and register to pay tax (and all the other commitments that come along with it) how can you trust them to treat you the right way as a customer?
The other worry is that if there are problems with you and your cleaner, your ability to follow it up with the Office of Fair Trading (or whatever your local government department is called that deals with consumer complaints) is obviously hampered. It’s a lot harder to resolve an issue with someone who doesn’t ‘exist’ as a business!
It might be cheaper initially to pay cash in hand, but it may cost you more in the long run. Always ask for an invoice or receipt or pay by direct debit. That way there is a legal trail of the relationship between you and your cleaner.
Which brings us to…
How much would it cost to replace a window? Shower screen? That expensive vase that Aunty Edith gave you?
If your cleaner does happen to break something – and accidents do happen, even to the best cleaners – you will want to know that they have insurance to cover it.
This may take different forms depending on where you are. In some countries it’s called a Bond, in others it’s Public Liability Insurance.
But always ask for evidence of some kind of insurance!
Find out what their policy is on handling expensive items in your home. Would they prefer that they are put away somewhere when they are cleaning so that they aren’t inadvertently damaged (a good sign) or will they simply clean around them? Or will they clean everything they see, taking the risk of breaking something irreplaceable (not a good sign)?
If your new cleaner doesn’t ask about irreplaceable items, offer the information yourself or simply secure them away somewhere.
This isn’t a guarantee that the cleaner you are hiring isn’t a criminal of some sort. But honest cleaners won’t hesitate to undergo a police check or provide evidence of a recent one they’ve had (within the last 12 months is a good indication).
It’s a signal that they take their business very seriously and provides some security for you. Especially if you are allowing them to come into your home while you are out working or away on holiday!
But lastly, a lot of the decision of hiring a cleaner comes down to….
In the end, if they have passed all the other criteria, do you like them?
Do you feel comfortable communicating with them?
If you don’t – and I’ve heard some horror stories of bossy, unorganised and demanding cleaners – it’s best to politely decline their service and look for another cleaner.
You don’t want to be stuck with a cleaner that you simply don’t get along with.
If you follow the steps above, you will have a much greater chance of finding a fabulous cleaner that will make your life so much easier!
We are the Kimber family and manage our very own successful cleaning business.
Within six months of starting we were supporting ourselves in Sydney, one of the most expensive places in the world to live.
Over the years we have helped people like you start and succeed in their own cleaning business.
We would love to help you too through our new Start Your Cleaning Biz Community starting soon!