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Seriously, my husband and I have been in the residential cleaning business for less than 6 months and it's has been both of us and our bodies are spent. We're always in pain, a weekend just isn't enough to recover. We're pretty much throwing in the towel and calling it quits. We can't find employees right now that can clean and it seems like the ones that have the cleaning experience can't pass a background check. It's pretty sad, but I guess it's off to thinking about new business ventures for us - preferably a business that we can sustain on our own without employees. It hurts to cancel on clients, but I guess it is what it is. Money wise, things are going great, but our bodies can't take the work and we can't find adequate help...
 

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Employees are not motivated from hourly pay from my experience. I have found my success in paying a percentage of each job, or "piece work". Offer a flat rate per job for the service, and if they have to go back its on their dime. This seems to work well in general.

Throwing in the towel only exists as an employee mindset. I would never throw away any business with clientele. That is like throwing away a used car instead of selling it. At the very least, sell your contracts to another cleaning company in the area. The book of contacts in itself has some type of value.

Good luck to you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Employees are not motivated from hourly pay from my experience. I have found my success in paying a percentage of each job, or "piece work". Offer a flat rate per job for the service, and if they have to go back its on their dime. This seems to work well in general.

Throwing in the towel only exists as an employee mindset. I would never throw away any business with clientele. That is like throwing away a used car instead of selling it. At the very least, sell your contracts to another cleaning company in the area. The book of contacts in itself has some type of value.

Good luck to you!
We offered to pay a bit above minimum wage per hour plus a small percent commission per job, which would make their hourly pay pretty good because some of those bigger jobs that may mean an extra $5 - $20+ in their pocket.

We hired one person and they did great on the interview, said they were great at cleaning and everything and they couldn't even wind up the cord on a vacuum cleaner or they'd be like, "Okay, I'll go clean _." and then we'd check it after they were supposedly done and it didn't even look like they wiped it. Like, I dunno what they could've been doing that whole time. We trained them further and they started to do much better, but at that point, word got around that they weren't a motivated employee (only took one home) and we've had other people say, "No new people." It isn't fair to us, either, because we needed the help.

We tried to hire a couple of other people and they couldn't pass a background check. One other didn't have cleaning experience so we weren't too certain if it would be a great idea as we needed help ASAP.

There were also a couple other people that already had their own cleaning business and these two people acted so alike it was creepy. I couldn't even ask them questions in an interview because they kept interrupting and these interviews took a good 30 minutes to try to press through. They said they wanted to move up to management/owner positions and wanted my job....literally. Didn't think this sounded great because if they weren't listening to me in the interview, they probably wouldn't listen on the job. One of them begged me not to do a background check because they ruin people's future and all that. Ugh.

I can't believe three people I interviewed did not know what our company was even called. One lady was so mad at me, she thought I was a different cleaning company in town I think. "You're the ones that have 'x amount' of employees, aren't you?" "Um...no..." and, "You're the ones that do all of 'this type of clean here', right?" "Um, no...?" It's like...I dunno....if people show up and don't even know what they applied for, it worries me a bit.

We charged client's a flat rate as it made more sense in the first place. It was a pretty good deal for employees if you ask me for a part-time job. If someone were dedicated and would've stuck with it, it wouldn't have been hard for an employee to earn $120-$200+/week depending on their willingness to work/availability. We were so booked we literally could not take any new clients.

Today we had a large two story house, the payout was great, but our help for the day decided they would go to another state and not tell us until the day before that they couldn't. It was me and my husband and we are so worn out. We just can't do it anymore. Hiring people clearly isn't working...we haven't been able to find any good, reliable employees. It has been a nightmare in that department. Can't even find people that want to show up. The one time we offered someone to go back to a house to correct what our employee has missed in some parts, the person refused and as the owners we offered to go because they said they didn't want our employee back in their home. That client still refused anyway.

At this point, my husband's heart condition has gotten worse, his asthma has gotten a lot worse - earlier it was pretty under control and he'd rarely need his inhaler. Now a days, he finds himself having multiple asthma attacks a day. Not sure if it's the air quality inside some of these homes setting him off or he's pressing himself to work harder than he should or what. He's having a harder time each time we go clean. I can't even recover on a weekend. We did our first huge job in April, my wrists have never fully recovered. They hurt badly every time I press down to scrub. I have to switch hands constantly to get scrubbing done. One of my knees sometimes gives while I'm cleaning so I'm limping through some of my jobs for a time. It gets better then worse then better while cleaning. My knees and hips always hurt. Oddly, my back is never the problem. I guess it's all the squatting and kneeling.

We've worked ourselves to the bone trying to do our jobs and keep doing it. My mom is pretty much the only reliable person to spend time with the kids we have and I don't feel like it's fair to her to have her watch the kids for 2-5 days/week every week. She says she doesn't mind and doesn't want us to pay her, but some days I know they burn her out. I can't keep doing this to them. I need to stay back home with the kids. Our littlest has been most affected and is having some difficulties with us being away still. Also, we hoped to have employees before I have to get back to homeschooling the kids, but it hasn't happened, sadly.

We have been doing our last cleans and canceling on clients. We're sad to have to do it. I will miss our clients and miss serving them, and it's sad to have to say that. Our bodies can't handle the intensity of the work anymore.

I'm not sure if we can exactly "sell our contracts," as we're only a residential cleaning service. We have them sign a service agreement, but have not said anything to clients about selling their info to another company so I'm not sure I would go there out of respect for their privacy. Not sure how we would sell a client list to another company, either way. It's a small town, too, a lot of these people we have serviced have been through multiple cleaning companies in the area or have chosen us over other cleaning companies.

Either way, we're not in any kind of debt. We started up all out of our own pocket and we can use our cleaning equipment in our own home when we're not using it on people's homes anymore so it's not exactly a total waste. I think we'll be thinking about different business ventures in the future. One that doesn't require having employees (hopefully). As the saying around the town goes, I guess I see the truth in it, "This is the place where businesses come to die."
 
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