Hiring Reliabilty - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
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post #1 of Old 10-30-2013, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Hiring Reliabilty

We are 2 yrs old now and have gone through some workers, mostly due to reliability. We are busy and need help but I can't hurt my business with workers who cannot show up on time and always make excuses.

Marketing the business is a piece of cake compared to hiring good help.
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post #2 of Old 10-30-2013, 10:02 PM
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i've been struggling with the same dilemma for 5 years now and am learning 2 things:
1. the value of understanding and being able to communicate exactly what your expectations are (ie. proper training).
2. the importance of being able to offer the wages that a good employee needs and deserves.
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post #3 of Old 10-31-2013, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Clean Freak, we do offer the wages that these people accept and in some cases more than the standard. As far as training we as owners go through the clients homes with a new employee on first 1 or 2 cleans to make sure they understand what is expected and what must be done.

We just landed the biggest residential contract to date and began yesterday, the 2 employees were late so Kathy and and I had to go in to begin the job. That makes us look like we don't have our act together to this client. Today we have the same client and the same 2 employees just called out sick.
If we lose this big client because of them they won't have a job with us anymore.
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post #4 of Old 10-31-2013, 09:09 AM
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I had a couple of girls show up to the job in the afternoon, only to tell me they couldnt work afternoons, and they wanted to be paid cash :/
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post #5 of Old 11-01-2013, 09:02 AM Thread Starter
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My favorites are interviews we set up and the persons don't even show up, no calls ,no nothing. This happens a lot.

JEFF FUKA - MANAGING MEMBER
MJK TOTAL CLEANING SERVICES, LLC
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post #6 of Old 11-04-2013, 04:13 PM
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We have had fantastic turn over rates in our company. We have been open for almost 6 years and have lost 4 people who have passed training. We have lost 1 person this year. To put it in prospective, we employ 14 people as of this writing. Being picky is the key. We follow Dave Ramsey's hiring process, and it works.

We hire on average 1 person every 2 months. We refresh all of our hiring weekly. We average 200 applications a week. So with math, we do phone interviews with about 20 people out of 200 a week. We interview on average 5 people a week out of 20. We hire 1 person out of 1600 in 2 months (0.0625% of the people that apply get a job). We consider that a good hiring process. We are picky about who we hire and that shows to our team and our clients. Are the 1599 other people bad? No, but I would say that 1560 of them are bad, the other 39 are just not a good fit for our company.

I hear "you can do that because you are larger." NO! We became larger because that is the way we started hiring when I was the only cleaner. In almost 6 years, we have never had someone call out for being sick (we have had people take sick days, they have all told us the day before and we average 1 sick day per person per year). All 4 of our people that have left gave us 2 weeks notice.

Think about how much more time you would have if you hired like that! We don't have to put out "fires" when people don't show up one day. It takes 5 hours of my time a week to hire, but it is so much better than people that just don't show up one day.

Some things to think about... My philosophy in anything we do in business is find someone that is doing something great and adapt it. For hiring I have looked at Dave Ramsey and Google.
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post #7 of Old 11-06-2013, 08:48 AM Thread Starter
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where exactly are you advertising for help? Craigslist has been non productive, it's mainly unemployed persons making a contact by law and never show.

JEFF FUKA - MANAGING MEMBER
MJK TOTAL CLEANING SERVICES, LLC
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post #8 of Old 11-06-2013, 08:57 AM
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40% of our applicants come from craigslist, 40% come from monster.com, 15% come from local churches that we posted on their bulletin board, and 5% are other (searches on internet, we handed them a business card, references, or our BNI group).

If you post on monster.com, wait until they have a buy one get one free special (they have them often). Then buy 1 60 day ad for $300 and get another free. That comes out to $75 a month for monster. Out of our 14 people 2 have come from monster.com and 12 have come from craigslist.

Just remeber, we "weed" through average of 1600 applications every 2 months, that means that there are a lot of looser we toss out. Even with monster.com we get a lot of dead beats. We look for the diamond among the dirt!
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post #9 of Old 11-06-2013, 08:58 AM
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Oh, and when we are shopping, we hand out cards to people that give us great service. I don't mind poaching talent from the grocery store!
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post #10 of Old 04-07-2014, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Again we hire a new cleaning tech who was looking good, very good attitude and wanting to learn.
Problem was she was chronically late to the office for the days work tasks, paper work, equipment, keys to homes , etc. We spoke to her about her lateness, not calling, etc. and how important it is to clients schedules. We say be here by 8am, we mean 8am and not 8:10, 8:15 etc. So one day last week she decided to NOT show up anymore, no calls, no show, period. How do you find people who care and want to work and be responsible. As far as we're concerned she quit.

JEFF FUKA - MANAGING MEMBER
MJK TOTAL CLEANING SERVICES, LLC
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post #11 of Old 04-07-2014, 12:42 PM
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Jeff, how many interviews do you do?
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post #12 of Old 04-07-2014, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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We check ref's , background, and previous employer info. then we do a phone interview. If the phone interview sounds promising we then schedule a face to face with them. Most times that person fails to show up for the face to face interview. Now this is Maryland, does that make a difference?

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post #13 of Old 04-07-2014, 01:07 PM
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In Maryland do you have to do background before you interview them? The key to making sure people REALLY want your job you are offing them is to have at least 3 interviews.

Here is what we found to work the best:
1. Look over application. Must be on last job for at least 1 year (and we now only hire people who have held a job for at least 3 years)
2. 2 minutes over the phone interview
3. 10-15 minute face to face interview (to get a feel of the person)
4. 45 minute face to face interview. They must call us after this interview if they want to move forward. We tell them "give us a call by 10:00 am tomorrow if you want to move forward." We found forcing them to call us is KEY to getting good people, this means they are motivated!
5. If they want to move forward and we want to move forward we run a background check
6. 30 minute face to face interview to fill out rest of paperwork
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post #14 of Old 04-07-2014, 01:16 PM
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Crista,

I know you advertise on Monster, Craigslist, etc.

We do NOT have the money to advertise on Monster or other sites that require a ton of money.

Once the ad is posted on Craigslist, and I have taken multiple ads and combined them to suit our needs, we get responses...and those responses are not that great.

In our ad, I specifically state certain requirements (do not send a resume, attachments will not be opened, etc). We continuously receive resumes, people who have issues in their backgrounds (we can do a prelim background check on the web in MD), people who do not follow directions in the ad. I will not call people who do not follow directions in our ad. This tells me they will NOT follow directions in the field.

I initially do phone interviews. I schedule a time with the potential applicant via email or phone. Then I call at the designated time. I have had hang ups, no answers and no way of leaving a voicemail, etc.

IF the applicant does pass the phone interview, we schedule a face to face interview. This is where we ultimately end up with no shows for the interview. IF the applicant does show for the interview, we go over the expectations of the job and ask if there is any reason they could not perform the job or be at the office at 8 AM 5 days per week. Of course they answer no......

We call references, have had previous employers only verify that the applicant worked where ever and that they WOULD re-hire. Can't get much out of former employers these days.

We then call for a third interview. I would say 50% of the applicants do NOT show for the third interview. If they do, they start out ok...and then before you know it....the lateness starts, the no shows, etc. Of course they are within their first 90 days and the write ups start.

The problem is that we are very close to the City.....and most around here do not want to work.
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post #15 of Old 04-07-2014, 01:19 PM
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We do not HAVE to do a background check prior to interviewing, however, we choose to. I will NOT waste my time with anyone that has anything in their background that will prevent us putting them in a client's home or office.

If we were to start asking an applicant to call us, I am thinking that 50% will not call.

As I said earlier, if the applicant cannot or does not follow directions in the ad, we will not call them. They will not be able to follow directions in the field.
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post #16 of Old 04-07-2014, 02:04 PM
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Crista,

I know you advertise on Monster, Craigslist, etc.

We do NOT have the money to advertise on Monster or other sites that require a ton of money.

Kathy, how much does it cost you to hire 1 person? Background Checks + Drug Checks + Training+etc

We figure it costs us $500 per person with training being the most expensive part of that figure. We can not afford to train a new person every 2 weeks to replace the person that left. That is why it is important to get the biggest pool of applicants we can. The $300 we pay every 4 months for Monster.com is a lot cheaper than having someone quit (or not show up shortly after training).

Once the ad is posted on Craigslist, and I have taken multiple ads and combined them to suit our needs, we get responses...and those responses are not that great.

In our ad, I specifically state certain requirements (do not send a resume, attachments will not be opened, etc). We continuously receive resumes, people who have issues in their backgrounds (we can do a prelim background check on the web in MD), people who do not follow directions in the ad. I will not call people who do not follow directions in our ad. This tells me they will NOT follow directions in the field.

The issue you are having here is that your ad is negative. You are scaring away the good people and the bad people will apply anyway. Just know that you are going to get bad ones no matter what you do. We toss out an average 1539 of 1600 applications every 2 months. Make your ENTIRE ad positive. You can look at our current ad: https://cosprings.craigslist.org/lab/4389483218.html

1. We clearly state who we are (no one wants to apply for a job that just says "Cleaning Position." They want to know about the company. No one who is wise is going to send an application with all their person data to [email protected] without knowing the company they are applying for.
2. We say who: we want "Compassionate" people and we don't care about your cleaning experience.
3. What we offer you
4. Basic qualifications


I initially do phone interviews. I schedule a time with the potential applicant via email or phone. Then I call at the designated time. I have had hang ups, no answers and no way of leaving a voicemail, etc.

So, every week we get around 200 applications. How many of those do we call every week? We call about 20 of them. Of those we call how many do we talk to? About 10 people we are able to get in contact. 50% of the people we will leave a voicemail and they don't call back or there is no way to leave a voicemail. Don't worry about it, just move on

IF the applicant does pass the phone interview, we schedule a face to face interview. This is where we ultimately end up with no shows for the interview. IF the applicant does show for the interview, we go over the expectations of the job and ask if there is any reason they could not perform the job or be at the office at 8 AM 5 days per week. Of course they answer no......

On the phone interview we ask: Do you have a car? Do you have a license? Do you have insurance? Are you willing to work from 8 am to 5 pm Monday Through Friday? Can you legally work in the US? Can you pass a background check including DUIs and DWIs? Can you pass a drug test including Marijuana? (Marijuana is legal in Colorado, but not in the US, that is a whole different discussion).

Don't go to an interview and waste you time when they can't pass these things. On our application they were already suppose to disclose these things, but they don't always.

We call references, have had previous employers only verify that the applicant worked where ever and that they WOULD re-hire. Can't get much out of former employers these days.

This is the most worthless part of the hiring process. We still do it, but by law they are not suppose to say much. Sometimes they just want you to hire them so they don't have a problem anymore...

We then call for a third interview. I would say 50% of the applicants do NOT show for the third interview. If they do, they start out ok...and then before you know it....the lateness starts, the no shows, etc. Of course they are within their first 90 days and the write ups start.

You need to add in there that before you go to their last interview, they must call you. This is KEY!

The problem is that we are very close to the City.....and most around here do not want to work.

Your problem has nothing to do with the city. The issue is that most people that don't have a job are jobless for a reason (and that is true for everyone). Your job is the find the diamonds in the ruff. The people that don't have a job because their employer closed their doors or they could not stand their last boss. That is why we hire 1 out of every 1600 applicants.

We are not perfect at hiring, but we do a good job. In 6 years we have never had someone just not show up one day.

Take a look at our application (you are welcome to fill one out if you like, any feedback would be great too)

Take a look at our Hiring FAQ

Take a look at our Values Page

Take a look at our blog posts about your techs

In my opinion, the good candidates gravitate towards us. We have been doing this so long, that we now get people that apply just because they heard someone say how many wonderful things they have heard about how we treat people. We truly don't have employees working here, we really do have Team Members...

I hope this helps you Kathy. Hiring really is the hardest thing in any business. But if you do it right and treat them right, you will have almost zero problems.

If you need more, just let me know.

Last edited by Maid to Shine; 04-07-2014 at 03:00 PM. Reason: wrong link!
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post #17 of Old 04-07-2014, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by kathyfuka View Post
We do not HAVE to do a background check prior to interviewing, however, we choose to. I will NOT waste my time with anyone that has anything in their background that will prevent us putting them in a client's home or office.

If we were to start asking an applicant to call us, I am thinking that 50% will not call.

As I said earlier, if the applicant cannot or does not follow directions in the ad, we will not call them. They will not be able to follow directions in the field.
You can run them whenever you want to, I can not do that, the cost would be astronomical.

We love it when someone does not call us back. I would rather get a no call than waste my time and money training them. And the rate is about 50% that do not call back by the way.
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post #18 of Old 04-07-2014, 08:49 PM
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Great tips for small business looking to add employees. I've really struggled with the idea of expanding or even remaining in this industry because of my fear of bad employees. The points mentioned in this thread are so helpful. Thank you. I wonder if paying a better than average rate would improve the employee pool? I know this alone isn't a total guarantee for finding loyal employees. I notice many professional services offer $8-$12/hour for new employees, but who can expect anyone to work such a physically demanding job to barely earn enough to be above the poverty level?
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post #19 of Old 04-07-2014, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Maids of South Florida View Post
Great tips for small business looking to add employees. I've really struggled with the idea of expanding or even remaining in this industry because of my fear of bad employees. The points mentioned in this thread are so helpful. Thank you. I wonder if paying a better than average rate would improve the employee pool? I know this alone isn't a total guarantee for finding loyal employees. I notice many professional services offer $8-$12/hour for new employees, but who can expect anyone to work such a physically demanding job to barely earn enough to be above the poverty level?
Our people make around $30k a year. If they are married that would be about $60k if the spouse makes close to the same. And no, paying people well does not guarantee good people, but it does make sure good people stay stay.
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post #20 of Old 04-16-2014, 09:35 PM
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Thanks Maid for Shine

You pay your cleaners around $15 per hour for full time, that's higher than most jobs pay in my area. When I mentioned the higher than average I was aiming a bit higher. But that would probably apply to the self employed Housekeeper. If paying a better rate retains the good employee then paying better does work.

Last edited by Maids of South Florida; 04-16-2014 at 09:39 PM.
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