Friday, November 19, 2010

The Book B.U.G.


If you have ever thought of entering into the cleaning service industry, then this is an excellent book to help you on your way!  I have read it nearly front to back and I am using it to create growth and stability in my own business.

*Some of it's greatest qualities include:

Small chapters
Excellent break down of info
Very thorough regarding topics
Gives a good idea of challenges

*My one concern is that perhaps it is too vague in certain instances.  I have been in the business for 4 years, so when I read about the challenges involved, I know exactly to what they are referring.  However, I feel that someone who has no previous experience with the industry or of ever having employed a cleaner, they might have a tough time understanding why some of things are necessary or which ones, for instance, are not necessary.  This is a pretty light criticism....really overall I feel the book is a mighty good resource!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Accidents Happen

Today I had a slow and mindless day wrought with varying degrees of difficult challenges!
-Two vacuums died, mine and the client's
-The house was taking a long time to clean
-I was behind schedule and to top is all off
-I broke the client's amazing salt and pepper shaker!

I wish I had a photo of the shakers, instead I have a photo of the note that I left in a hopefully-not-so-futile effort to make light of the situation!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cleaning Tip number 7: Impress the Guests with 5 Little Details!

It easy to forget the details when you start cleaning the house.  I find that once you get started and get some big things out of the way, it generally starts to look good enough to stop.  Still if you want to impress the company, there are a couple of details that you can clean that people tend to take note of, albeit, in a subconscious way mostly.  Perhaps the reason that people take note is because they are the things that are rarely done and so suggest a very clean and healthy person.  In any case, these little cleaning challenges are incredibly easy, very quick and quite effective at impressing guests!

1.  Clean the mirrors! - people always stop to look in mirrors and they will therefore always notice if they are dirty!  vinegar and a paper towel or black and white newspaper make quick work of this!

2.  Wipe the baseboards and corners in the bathroom! - When guests use the bathroom, they have time to notice the details.  Hair and dust always make their home on the baseboards but you can clean it easily.  I like to use a microfiber cloth and run it along the boards and corners.  Another cool trick is to use toilet paper and just throw it into the toilet when its dirty and flush!

3.  Clean the sink in the bathroom. - Again, especially if its a dinner party, guests will be washing their hands.  Wipe the sink in the same way either with microfiber or toilet paper.  If you use microfiber, you can also wipe the faucet, which will effectively polish it to a beautiful shine!

4.  Clean your the corners of the room! - Literally, grab a microfiber cloth or duster and especially when  there's a light near by, dust the ceiling, joint, and baseboards.  Cobwebs hang out here and dust really does collect here along the seam of the walls.

5.  Clean the fronts of your kitchen cabinets. - It really does make a big difference!  If these are not very dirty, then I would definitely say instead to clean your kitchen floor!  The cabinets are a really such a small but helpful detail.  However if you don't have a clean kitchen floor, the guests probably won't even notice the cabinets!  These details will help them feel good about where dinner is being cooked....i promise!  Even if you had a sink full of dirty dishes, but the kitchen floor and cabinets were clean, no one would make a fuss except to maybe help you do them out of gratitude for such a lovely night.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The BIZZ: Getting lost in the mess!

Perhaps it's best to hear it from me, yes, even when you're a cleaning lady you can get lost in your own mess.  Even cleaning ladies can make messes like you've never seen!  I must say, it is a rare occasion!

It is my observation that a mess starts in a very subtle fashion.  The seedlings of fantastic disaster lay dormant in the dirty dishes from lunch that you don't have time to clean, the blouse that you just spilled part of your lunch on, the thing that your cat knocked off the mantle to the shadowy depths of the back side of your entertainment console, the email that you didn't finish and subsequently forgot in the draft box thereafter, and the meeting that you cancelled because you were starting to feel sick.  At particularly critical times in the year, all of these little seeds sew right into the fertile grounds of the mystic makings of a perfect storm of mess!

Needless to say, I've been through it!  One of the most blessed effects of being a cleaning lady is helping others weather the storm, but what happens when the storm is hitting the cleaning lady?  Thus you shall see the enormous possibility for mess making at its finest!  A tribute to my tragic stress maker -the mess, and the ways that I combat it:

1.   dirty dishes - do the big ones first so that there is less in the sink (visually it'll make you fee like there are less to do, even if you have more tiny pieces than big ones)

2.   taxes - sit down every night and tackle one folder of receipts OR work in one hour increments.  I also seek advice from the internet, other business owners, and referrals for accountants.

3.   moving - pack 5 boxes a day (you can do it, it's easier than it sounds!)

4.   broken cv boot on car- no money? no time?  list options available to you, ask around to see if any one has any other ideas, you may be surprised what you can come up with!

5.   getting sick - stop it in the beginning!  Some home remedies are to gargle with baking soda water, eat a raw clove of garlic a day, and pick up some vitamins - rest is the best though!  Go get meds from the doctor immediately and pay careful attention to your body's signals/communication!

6.   clients getting sick - be flexible!  Look over the schedule and try to increase your flexibility by determining the relevance of scheduled daily activities.  Also gain the cooperation of other clients in your efforts to be allow for rescheduling

7.   dog getting sick - assess the situation, if immediate care is unnecessary, then save time and money by talking to other pet owners, do some online research, and try a few different remedies

8.   loosing things - The most important 3 things for which a special place should be made are your keys, your wallet, and your phone.  Find a place for each -which may be a place all together like by your bed!  When you put them in that place for the first time, say to yourself "I am putting these here so that I won't forget where they are"....if you say that everytime, your brain will create a catalog of corresponding space and object.  You will find yourself putting them there by habit in no time!

9.   dirty laundry - Assuming you are low on time or funds, my advice is to grab a big bowl, throw in a couple pairs of socks, undies, and necessary pants or shirt.  Fill it with water in the tub.  Add some detergent and agitate with your hands.  When you are done, ring out the clothes and hang over the shower rod to dry.  They are usually ready by morning!

10.   vacuum breaking - Not many people realize that vacuum repair shops still exist!  Try getting a quote on work from one.  You'd be surprised how little it can cost!  Also if you loose parts many online stores offer parts individually or as a set.  You could also try asking friends.

11.   out of cleaning products - If you use commercial cleaners, there are many alternatives!  You probably have everything you need to create a new cleaner right in your pantry!  Look online for a new recipe!  I'm working on posting my favorites soon!

12.   training new employees - Go ahead and write  a list of the most important lessons.  Create small workable scenarios for the employees to experience, then stick to the list.  Extras can be taught once they understand the root/most important lessons.

13.   the cold shoulder from friends less busy - I would say be aware and talk frankly to anyone that may feel neglected.  Make a plan of action with this/these person/s like texting "how are you" and funny jokes or meeting them once a week for lunch.  Whatever it is that you decide on, and make sure it is something you can actually do, stick to it and the person will have less anxiety and frustration with the fact that they miss YOU!

14.   roommate can't pay rent - Talk to the roommate and be open!  Get as many facts as possible and write them down, especially if it happens to be a complex situation!  Determine what the worst case scenario is and become ok with it on some level.  Then problem solve an action plan from there including people to talk to, surmising flexibility financially and in the scheduling, possible ways to make extra money, and an end goal that you and the roommate both agree on.

15.   internet connect broken - the library has free internet!  Also there are tons of little coffee shops, grocery stores, laundry mats, etc. that might be able to help.  If you don't have a laptop, there are computers available at both the library and your local college.  At the college you will probably have to pose as a visitor, with a badge, etc. but the effort might be worthwhile!

16.   computer broken - Call some one who has a laptop to assist you.  Look up possible problems on the internet.  If it looks like you can do the work yourself, attempt it.  If not, take it to any one of the local best buys for the "geek squad" or look up a local, self employed tech!  I like the self employed techs because they are usually dependable, reasonable in price, and on call.  It's also nice to directly support someone's income!

17.   phone broken - phones are way to expensive!  Talk to friends and see if someone has an old one you could borrow or buy.  Look on craigslist too -there are some great deals!  After no luck with either of those, check to see if your phone company has any online deals...and at very last buy one from the store.  if you have to buy from the store, call a couple stores first and price the phone that you want.  Many companies allow their franchised locations to run different deals and prices based on the economy of the area - meaning you can find some great deals if you are willing to do a little research!

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