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General Cleaning Issues - Floorcare, car valeting, buying and selling businesses, pricing, staffing, market research, etc.

Problems With Staff

Posted by karen (karen), 3 January 2004
Hi there,

I started my cleaning business in July but I am having real problems with staff. They generally only last two to three weeks and when they decide to leave give no notice at all.

Can anyone offer any advice? Do you have the same problem? If they leave without giving notice do you still have to pay them?

Any advice is appreciated!

Thanks, Karen  
Posted by Musicman (Musicman), 3 January 2004
Hi Karen, turnover of staff in the cleaning industry is relatively high compared to many others but for many to quit after such a short period is unusual.

Notoriously cleaners change jobs for an increase of 10p an hour. Maybe you're not paying a high enough wage. It's sickening to recruit and train staff only for another contractor to benefit from your time invested in that person, or in your case people.

If it's not the wage rate could it be the working conditions on the contracts that you have? (I'm assuming that this is happening over several sites - not just one.) This could be the shift times, the duration of shift, the working environment etc.

If there is no common link maybe they just don't like you or your management style - but I find that hard to believe, all us users of this forum are such lovely people.

If you want to give more information to enable me to narrow down the possibilities I may be of more assitance - I'd need to know shift start and finish times, type of work involved (inc factory/office/school etc), the wage rate you are paying and the Post Code of the contracts you are having problems on (this will help to confirm whether the wage rate is sufficient).

I appreciate that this is sensitive information so you may well not want to publish it to all and sundry - in which case send the info via a personal message.

If your work is domestic cleaning maybe someone else can help you as everything I know about that sector can be written on the back of a postage stamp!

Hope to hear from you soon, but any reply will not be forthcoming until tomorrow as I'm out on the lash in Notts tonight.

Posted by karen (karen), 5 January 2004
Hi Musicman,

Thanks for the reply. I agree with you, the industry has a high turnover of staff.

I am based in Wales and pay 5.50 an hour, which is a bit more than the going rate in this area. Sometimes more depending on the contract.

I have spoken to other companies and they seem to get the same problem. It can be really frustrating, especially when you have spent the time to train them!!

I have only taken on part time staff and wondered if a few full time employees may solve the problem??

Anyway, thanks again for your help! Was it a good night out??


Posted by Musicman (Musicman), 5 January 2004
Hi again Karen, every night in Nott'm is a good one thanks - plenty of boogieing and drinking.

What are the unemployment levels like in your area? Are the contracts you have the problems with single or multiple cleaner jobs? Are the shifts of less than 2 hours? Is there public transport available to and from the contracts?

On problem sites such as these we have introduced Attendance Bonusses paid either fortnightly or monthly which seem to be pretty successful.

If you're paying 5.50 per hour retain 50p per hour as the bonus part. Assuming a 10 hour working week this will amount to a bonus of 10.00 per fortnight - makes anyone think twice about not turning up.

As yours is a problem of staff leaving rather than the occassional shift missed I'd go for the bonus being paid 4 weekly or monthly.

Have you tried phoning or writing to them to ask why they have left?

One big problem is the Working F amilies Tax Credit system. The cleaners work just for long enough to qualify for the benefit and once it has been awarded they b****r off again as they get it for 6 months at a time-whether working or not. I understand this has been modified/re-branded but am not sure if the rules are still the same.

Are you being asked to complete forms to enable people to get this?

Posted by petra (petra), 5 January 2004
I do belive the rules have now changed, and you have to notfy the relevant agency as soon as changes ocur, that that idea out the window, but it was a good one mate.
Posted by karen (karen), 5 January 2004
Yes, the contracts that I have the problem with are single cleaner jobs where the contracts are for two hours. I liked the attendance bonus, I am interviewing this week and will give that a try.

Thanks for your help!  
Posted by Musicman (Musicman), 6 January 2004
Hmm, single cleaner jobs are the ones with the most problems and many of us shy away from them.

Nobody likes working on their own, especially during winter when they are travelling to and from work in the dark. Your staff may have concerns about their personal safety - even when inside the buildings. I guess that this is probably the reason behind your difficulties.

I think I read from one of your other posts that you may have several contracts on one or two industrial estates. It's a long shot, but if it can be arranged try doubling your staff up so you have 2 cleaners doing one hour each at one building and then another hour each at the second one.

Alternatively, you may be able to pursuade your clients to have the work done when some of their own staff are there. I accept that this can be a little impractical, but you can use 'whisper' vacs to minimise disruption.

I'm even aware of some contractors who insist on this if they are to take on single cleaner contracts and they still get the work so it may be worth a try.


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