Finding good employees ~vent~ LONG~sorry! - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
 
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post #1 of Old 02-19-2007, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Finding good employees ~vent~ LONG~sorry!

I've been in business for almost 9 years and my main source of contention with this business is the lack of good help.

First, some background info:

At my largest (in 2002)I had 11 employees with over 60 client accounts plus a contract with my capital city to clean out section-8 housing units in between tenants. I had just gone back to college and the old adage "the mice will play when the cats away" explains exactly what happened. Jobs weren't getting done and the ones that did get done I had tons of complaints, my cleaners would not take direction from my secretary and refused to listen to her ect ect. This sent me into a downward spiral and I began having major cashflow issues.

Since I felt getting my college degree was important to my career advancement I scaled back the business, canceled my office lease and moved the company back into my home. I kept 3-4 cleaners on plus the accounts I could handle. Last year about this time I started having problems again when one of the cleaners stole prescription pain pills from a customers house. I fired her the second I found out about it. Turns out she also stole from about 5 other customers of mine. I almost was sued for negligent hiring over that one because as it would turn out she had a record for shoplifting in another state that I was not aware of (even after doing a background check). Less than 6 months later another cleaner (who had been my very first employee and had been with me almost 8 years!) was diagnosed with arthritis and started having chronic pain. She was then caught stealing pain pills out of customers houses! I guess she got the idea from the other cleaner. After almost getting sued the last time I freaked out and let the rest of my cleaners go and spent the summer cleaning the houses myself with my teenage girls because I felt I couldn trust anyone.

I've only just started getting over the trauma of these incidents and feel ready to get my company back on track. I will be graduating from college soon so that is not an issue anymore.

I ran an ad in my local paper (sunday edition) this past week. Over the last 5 years the price of a help wanted ad has gone up from $60 a week to over $1000 and one sunday ad is over $200! This is very cost prohibitive for me and I really can't afford to run $200 ads that give no results. I have tried the local town papers plus online helpwanted sites and they were a complete waste of money, not even one response. This past ad only drew in about 15 calls with only about 8 of them english speaking. Of those 8 only one person actually showed up to fill out and application. I sat around for two days in the office waiting for people who never showed. The last time I ran an ad, back in September, I had the same issue. I don't know what the problem is. I've never encountered this issue before. There doesn't seem to be anyone that is willing to do this kind of work and I am paying the same amount or higher than the other maid services in my area.

Any advice on finding good help? Someone who would just show up would be a start! Finding clients has never been an issue for me because I have excellent word-of-mouth. What has prevented me from growing is finding employees to do the work! HELP!!!
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post #2 of Old 02-19-2007, 07:55 PM
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Isn't it amazing? I think everyone that actually wants to work starts their own business. We seem to be an a boom for that right now. I had similar employees issues this past year and it stagnated my growth. I know its not the wage, I pay $15/hr. So far this year I have setup three interviews after extensive phone conversations and BS promises. I stressed to each guy that if anything comes up to just call or let me know.. no foul. Sat around waiting, not one showed up. It makes you angry and cynical.

People wonder why companies hire immigrants. At least they want to work and they do it with no complaints.

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post #3 of Old 02-20-2007, 12:24 AM
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I have a couple of suggestions for you -

First instead of advertising in the paper(s) try running help wanted ads on Craigslist if they have a list close to you (they expand almost daily), too you should look into hiring temps from an agency such as labor ready this way you can try the workers out prior to hiring them.

Second, I ask all new hires to submit to a drug test and then pop random tests every so often, this keeps people in line for the drug issues.

Third, I would suggest having a detailed employee manual that spells out the disciplinary actions that will result for infractions and insubordination, have your employees sign for receipt (and comprehension) then keep the signed receipt in their files for your records



Fourth, We have developed a policy within our company that each applicant is offered a 2 week trial period for evaluation to try out the job to see if we have a mutual fit prior to being actually hired. You pay the applicant as "casual labor" and it is all legal. Then once they are hired they are on "probation" for an additional 60 days. If they cannot live up to expectations, follow rules or slack off they are cut immediately during that time.

I hope these ideas help you out some, there are great people out there who want employment, with the right efforts you too can find them
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post #4 of Old 02-20-2007, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I have tried Labor Ready in the past and to be honest the experience was horrible. I wound up with a cell phone stolen out of a client's house and it was found in the hands of one of the workers from Labor Ready. I have tried calling places like Manpower and a few others I can't remember the names of and was told they do not lease employees if the employees are going into personal residences. I was going to give Labor Ready another chance and told them I only wanted people who could pass a background check and I was basically told to take a hike. I know the Labor Readys are franchises so I don't blame the franchise itself but rather the owner of that particular Labor Ready.

I will try Craigs list. I've used it in the past with no results but it can't hurt to try again seeing as its free.

I do have a very comprehensive employee manual and all employees are asked to sign a form stating that they have read it and understand what they have read. It also outlines a progressive discipline policy that I have in place. I also put new hires on a 30 day probationary period to make sure they will work out.

My employee manual has a list of rules that should be so commom sense but I have had to list them because at one time or another I have had an issue with an employee's behavior. Things such as not going into client's refridgerators or cupboards and eating their food, not badmouthing other clients of the company infront of a client, not commenting on the condition of the house being clean, (like saying "oh my god! this toilet is gross!" in hearing range of the client, ect), not turning on tv's and radios ect ect ect.

I have even gone as far as to contact some local welfare agencies thinking they might know of some people in need of a good paying job. They did send a few women over who worked for about 2 weeks and quit because "it was too much work".

I'll let you know if I get anyone good of of Craigs list. Thanks!
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post #5 of Old 02-20-2007, 07:32 PM
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How much do you pay? We pay our girls $12+/hr and don't really have any issues. Somebody gets sick every now and then but we always seem to get it squared away.

Michael Kreisle, First Choice Power Washing LLC
Lexington, KY 859-983-5955
We own and operate a great Cleaning Service in Lexington KY as well as provide
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post #6 of Old 02-20-2007, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Starting pay right now $10.65 which is more than the industry average in my area which is about $9-$10. I used to pay on commission (55% of gross which was also more than the industry average around here of 45%) but found that paying on commission brought its own set of problems.
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post #7 of Old 02-21-2007, 06:19 AM
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The last girl we hired, I found by just asking people that were already working. When you see the same face all the time at the grocery or movie rental store, then you know that person is a "worker" Ask them if they need more work or are looking for a better paying job.

Michael Kreisle, First Choice Power Washing LLC
Lexington, KY 859-983-5955
We own and operate a great Cleaning Service in Lexington KY as well as provide
awesome Pressure Washing and Roof Cleaning services.
You can follow us on Facebook here...Pressure Washing Lexington KY
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post #8 of Old 02-21-2007, 09:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FCPWLLC View Post
The last girl we hired, I found by just asking people that were already working. When you see the same face all the time at the grocery or movie rental store, then you know that person is a "worker" Ask them if they need more work or are looking for a better paying job.
I have done this many times, they start out "part-time" and have worked out great. 3 of my employees that I hired this way are now lead cleaners.
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post #9 of Old 02-22-2007, 06:40 AM
 
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I'm starting to look for good help too. I have to ask, Do you keep the customers after your girl stole from them? I often think about do interior cleaning but finding honest people seems to be hard.
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post #10 of Old 02-22-2007, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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One customer fired us immediately (can you blame them?), another stayed with us and another had stopped using us because of financial reasons but called me a few months later to tell me that some of her husband's med's were missing and that she suspected the cleaning crew.

The customer who had the cell phone stolen (that was 5 years ago) stayed on with us but everytime she misplaced something she would call me up insinuating that one of my girls stole it. I finally had to tell her we couldn't clean for her anymore. I felt she was too much of a liability and a lawsuit waiting to happen.
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post #11 of Old 09-26-2016, 06:42 AM
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Great experiences on here. Thanks for sharing
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