Years ago, on my first day of working for a large corporate cleaning company I’ll call “Thrilled Cleaners”, I was assigned a trainer. He was a bit gruff because he was “volunteered” by the owner to train green workers like me. He felt that new workers were slow workers and he was all about speed.
When we entered the first house with all of our equipment and supplies, he turned to me and said, “Always follow the work order for each house and don’t do what doesn’t need to be done.”
When I heard his words, I was confused. Weren’t we there to clean the whole house? I thought he was promoting slacking off on the job. However, I quickly learned his meaning and the wisdom of those words. He was training me to focus on what was important. All cleaning should be done to the best of my ability, but I should not waste time on cleaning what the customer doesn’t value.
Service Agreement Is Key
One purpose of the Service Agreement work order is to focus the cleaner on what the customer feels is important. That is why the first walkthrough with the customer in their home and asking lots of questions is so crucial in the first customer meeting. The Service Agreement should point you (and anyone who works for you later) to those rooms and tasks that the customer feels is worth the money they pay you for cleaning their home.
For example, customers often tell the house cleaner to skip spare bedrooms, guest bathrooms and basements. They want you to focus your limited time on rooms that really matter to them, like the kitchen, bathrooms, master bedroom, living and dining rooms. The customer may want extra special attention to dusting, washing wood floors or brightening the grout in the shower. If you try to clean a teen’s bedroom or den that is not listed on the Service Agreement, you may not have time to give your full attention to the grout or the wood floors. Rooms and tasks listed on the Service Agreement are tasks that the customer considers most important.
The Time Factor
For you, the cleaner, the most important consideration is time. Every task takes time and the quicker you complete the customer’s house, the more time you have to clean the next house. Unnecessary cleaning is a colossal waste of your precious time and energy. Your time and energy equals money. You are in business to make money and you are not being paid to do work the customer doesn’t care about.
There are times when giving a little extra can be useful. A quick vacuuming of a hallway or laundry room floor not listed on the Service Agreement once every few months can be an inexpensive thank you gift to a longtime valued customer. Just don’t get carried away. Try to balance your time and energy with results the customer cares about.
Over the years, that trainer’s first rule of cleaning has helped me to focus on what my customers considered most important: the rooms and tasks on the Service Agreement work order. I clean everything on the work order and follow the rule of: don’t do what doesn’t need to be done.
How often have you gone into a “services creep” slide where you start doing more work than is listed in the service agreement? Share your experiences in the comments below ⬇︎.