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High Employee Turnover is Big Problem For Cleaning Business Owner

If you're in the cleaning business then you've probably experienced high employee turnover. And the increased unemployment rates around the country isn't helping. A cleaning business owner recently shared the following employee turnover problem:

I have been in business for a little over a year now, and I have an employment record of
16 fired
2 quit
8 still employed

The only problem is, half of the employees still working I would not keep if I could find someone better.

I have tried hiring experienced janitorial employees, trained and certified employees and rookies with no experience, and you can see the track record. I knew that the turn over rate was bad when I started the business, but is there any advice anyone can give that has helped them in the long run?

I pay above average for my area, most companies pay $7-$9 per hour I pay $9-$10. We train, I am always open to my employees and I do not yell, I approach every situation as a learning situation. I am just at a bit of a loss.

Another cleaning business owner offered the following comments:

You're definitely not alone with having a high turnover. I hope my answer doesn't offend you, but I've been exactly where you are. I don't know you, or your exact situation, but experience tells me that turnover issues start at the top - with you.

If only two people have quit, you probably pay well and are easy to work with. But firing 16 people tells me that you're probably hiring the wrong people to begin with. Take a look at some of the reasons you've fired people and see if there are any similarities there.

I fired my fair share of people and I almost gave up. I kept blaming the people that were working with me, but once I looked closer, it all came back to me. It was either I didn't make my expectations clear, or I didn't give them what they needed to get the job done properly, or I made a bad hiring decision from the beginning. Either way, it all started with me.

Hiring and keeping good people will probably always be a challenge in this industry, but it really does start with hiring the right people from the start. Once you hire the right people, be sure they know exactly what you expect of them, show them exactly how to do their job, give them everything they need to get the job done, give them feedback often, give them plenty of praise, and thank them whenever possible!

Is My Price Too High?

The owner of a residential cleaning service is getting resistance from her customers on her price quotes for house cleaning. For example, one quote she gave was $193.50. This quote was for an estimated 9 man-hours, which comes out to $21.50 per hour. She's wondering if her price is too high.

Here is some advice she got from a more experienced cleaning business owner:

First of all, your price is not too high.  If you are running into people who think it is, then you are targeting the wrong people.  In fact, your prices are too low in my opinion.  Those are the rates that many in the underground market charge (people who take cash under the table, don't pay taxes, are not insured, etc.). 
Homemade flyers tend to attract people who are not interested in hiring professional services, it can attract "the wrong clients".  The image projected with homemade flyers might be attracting a lot of people looking to pay those really low rates.  Once you have some working capital and can invest in some marketing that is professional and done on a higher volume you will find that more people will pay upwards of about $30 per hour (or more).  This is a goal to work towards.  If you know you are worth it, and if others are charging that price, then work towards that rate as well.

So, gradually work on your image, get help making it look as "big business" as possible with the professionalism of the franchises.  Then advertise heavily.  You'll find that people who are looking for a solid, professional service won't have a problem with paying the prices that are typical for that caliber of service.  It will repel those who are only looking for a cheap deal, so be prepared to hear more "no thank you's" than you are used to once you are charging more. 

P.S.  You might "test drive" $25 per hour next time you market and see what kind of response you get.  You may discover than you get the same percentages of "no" and the same percentages of "yes" even at that rate.  If you do, you'll be charging more, providing room for more profit and the next employee raise!

Please click on the comments link below to share your thoughts on how to charge what you're worth and find customers who are willing to pay the price.