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When Should I Hire My First Cleaning Employee

When you run an awesome cleaning business with happy clients and steady growth, hiring is one of the most persistent growing pains. In this article, you’ll find out how to hire cleaning employees that are right for you.

If you’re a new business owner, hiring might be especially scary for you.

Maybe you still get nervous when hiring a new employee, or you still get a little nervous signing on a new cleaner.

How do you know they will work hard and do well? What if they don’t know how to clean?

This post will give you the resources you need to:

  • Interview candidates well

  • Figure out how to pay your new cleaners

  • How to KEEP your best cleaners, once you hire them

When Should I Hire My First Cleaning Employee?

If you really want to grow fast, you should hire your first cleaning employee when you KNOW your schedule is going to fill up.

Hiring someone before your schedule is full will give you time to train them. This will get them up to speed before you get bogged down in work.

An employee is an investment in your business and your life. You’re able to delegate work to them, so that you can move toward working on your business rather than in your business.

When you reach the point where you have to slow or stop marketing, because you’re at’s time to add new team member(s).

Marketing vs. Labor is the central tension of the service industry.

You advertise until you’re running out of labor, then you hire until you’re having too much free time.

Marketing and Labor are like a Newton’s cradle, they knock against each other and throw the other back. They swing back and forth, knocking each other out of alignment as you grow.

This is good pain.

This kind of pain means:

  • You’re doing great work.

  • You’re selling more work (won’t happen if people are talking about how terrible you are).

  • You’re ready to break through your current growth plateau into the next level of your business.

If your business is feeling the strain of too much work, not enough time, it’s time to hire your first employee.

How to Find and Hire the Right Cleaning Employees

Now that you know when to hire new cleaning employees, let’s talk about how to find them.

There are 3 steps to finding and hiring the right people for your cleaning business:

1. Can You “Clone” Your Best Cleaning Employee?

You know right off the bat who your best employees are. They don’t cause problems, they work hard, you trust them.

Who are they?

Moms with young kids? College kids in need of part-time work? Empty nesters?

Whatever commonality you find among your best employees will (more than likely) be true of great hires in the future.

This isn’t to say that someone who’s completely different than your best employees won’t work out, it just means that this kind of person resonates with your company’s mission.

These are the kind of people YOU motivate. A different leader would motivate a different group of people. When you’re interviewing people, focus on their attitude. This is what makes an awesome employee.

2. How to Target Ideal Cleaning Employees

When marketing to potential clients, we use a Client Persona. This helps our marketing to reach that one, ideal person.

Hiring is no different. Create an Employee Persona using the template for clients above.

Create your ideal employee on paper and then go look for people like them in the real world.

Here’s the hang-up most people have: don’t look for that exact person. In the same way, you’ll never find the perfect client, you’ll never find that flawless employee.

What you can do:

  • Use that persona to choose where you post Wanted Ads. Where would that person look for a job? Post there.

  • Use the persona for your hiring ad, write to that person. You can start writing your hiring ad with “Dear Joe Perfect Employee,” just remember to pull that off before you send it out.

  • Know that those great employees hang out with people like themselves. Ask for referrals and offer a bounty on new employees.

3. Interview Like a Pro

Interviews are simple. A candidate with a resume that got them in the door is probably pretty decent.

What you want to measure is coachability.

You’re hiring for attitude NOT EXPERIENCE.

You’re an excellent cleaner. You can teach someone to be an excellent cleaner, if they’re willing to learn.

Make the interview conversational, ask open-ended questions and let the conversation breathe. When you let the room go quiet for a second or two, it prompts the candidate to keep talking.

They’ll fill the silence with additional examples or a fuller answer to your question. Listen to them, ask questions about their answers.

The more conversational the interview, the less nervous the candidate will be and you’ll get good information from them.

How to Perform a Secondary Interview

An on-site interview is a great way to gauge a person’s coachability.

You can do this at your office or home. Give the candidate some basic instruction and then allow them to get started. As they start to work, correct technique, have them do things to your standards.

Check local labor laws about conducting an on-the-job interview. You may be required to pay the candidate for their time.

Pay attention to how the candidate responds to correction. Do they do things again with a good attitude? How many times do you have to explain something?

If a candidate is hesitant to do something differently than the way “I’ve always done it,” they’re demonstrating a lack of coachability. That’s going to be a persistent problem.

You can overcome lack of knowledge or skill, you cannot overcome a bad attitude about learning.

Master the Art of the Interview

Since interviewing is an essential aspect of hiring new employees, it can be a bit intimidating to a new interviewer.

It’s important to note that a good interview reveals the candidate’s attitude more than their ability.

If you find an amazing cleaner who also has an amazing attitude, don’t let a lack of skill scare you off from an otherwise awesome candidate.

How Much Should You Pay Your Cleaning Employees?

There are pros and cons to every compensation strategy.

Ultimately, you have to decide what you believe will motivate your team to perform.

If you have trouble with lackadaisical employees, a piece-rate system might work best for you. If your team is fast and efficient, hourly may work best for you (but may eventually discourage quick work).

You have to consider what compensation plans and benefits you want to provide.

You'll want to consult local labor laws, since they vary from state to state, to ensure whatever plan you implement is 100% legal in your state.

Look at the plans, weigh the costs, and decide how you want to pay your employees.

Article Written By AP

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