This is a guest post from our friend Dan Olin @ Easyway Maid Service. Dan provides high-quality residential cleaning in the Austin, Texas area and has some great tips regarding hiring.
The hardest part of almost any service business is finding good, reliable workers. This is particularly true if you use independent contractors, and therefore cannot legally train your workers.
Luckily, I’ve developed a solution that has consistently yielded me high quality and professional cleaners. Complaints have gone from frequent (when I first started) to rare, and I attribute this to a combination of setting customer expectations properly, and finding/vetting excellent home cleaning professionals.
The first thing you need to know is that you can never, ever stop hiring/recruiting. The minute you stop is the minute one of your teams gets caught poaching clients, and your other team quits. Always be prepared and keep the pipeline full.
Here is my super secret system:
Craigslist, Indeed, and Facebook hiring groups are the holy trinity from which I pull all my applicants. I post one ad to craigslist Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Every single day, I post to 5 facebook hiring groups specific to my city. Every 2 weeks, I delete and renew my Indeed posts (which boosts your visibility significantly).
I have an online application that specifically asks about all the things I need from my cleaners. For example, I require that everyone who applies has a partner to work with on larger jobs. If they select “no” to “do you have a partner to work with on larger jobs?” then I throw out their application (not really, I keep a PDF file of every application just in case). I also ask cleaning-related questions like “what effect does oven cleaner have on granite table tops” just to weed out the people who don’t know what they’re doing.
I have Trello set up to pull all new applications from Jotform (the application site I use) and add them to the “New applicants” list on Trello. When I have reviewed their application, I move them to either the “rejected” list (which automatically sends them a rejection email through Zapier), or the “need to do phone interview” list which emails them a list of times and dates they can pick to interview on. This means I don’t have to handle scheduling – Tuesday and Thursday from 4-6pm are my “phone interview times”.
Give them a 10-15 minute phone interview, where you clearly explain how your service works, and find out as much about their work experience as possible.
Then, call each and every one of their references. Require client references, friends/family references won’t help you learn anything useful.
Then, if they pass the phone interview, meet with them in-person. This is something I do that many other owners do not. I will never recruit someone without talking to them face-to-face, even if it has to be by Skype. The in-person interview is when you have them fill out their paperwork, and also try to get a sense of their vibe. If I have a “funny feeling” about a candidate after meeting with them, I do not work with them. Use your instincts: if there’s something fishy about an applicant, it will often become apparent when you talk to them in-person.
Then, do a complete national criminal background check, of course.
Next, schedule a small test cleaning of 2 rooms: kitchen + dining room, or bathroom + living room and pay the cleaner $30 for their time. Many companies don’t pay applicants for test cleanings. That ain’t right, that $30 will build trust anyway and reassure your cleaners that you aren’t out to take advantage of them.
If they pass the test cleaning, keep them on a probationary period for the first month. Call every customer and ask them how the service went. If you’re hiring enough cleaners, you will be cutting some of them off within that first month. The idea here is to slowly weed out the undesirables through the long application process.
If you do everything that I laid out in this guide, your company will never be short of workers, and you can watch as your customer reviews skew increasingly positive,
Dan Olin @ Easyway Maid Service