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Are we just dedicated...or Mad ?

Posted by Les (Les), 14 January 2004
Hi to you all, this is my first question on the site so be kind to me. Embarassed
We are a small general cleaning company and feel we need to review how we move forward with one of our current contracts.
We look after a local Conference, Event , Show, Wedding etc. etc. venue. They asked if we could be flexible when we took on the job and we believe we are. However they ring us at all times of the day, and night,(12.30 a.m. on one occasion) to tell us what they require us to do the next,(or same) morning. This is a 7 day cover venue. On some days they don't need us at all and then it might be 1 hour or 8 on the next day. This means our ladies getting up from midnight to 4 a.m. with minimal notice. They Never let me down, (so far), and we pay well,(we need too !)
So that's where you knowledgeable folks come in... We don't charge extra for weekends or anti social working,(1 a.m. start). What rates would you suggest we charge for this work,and should we demand a more regular working schedule ?
Oh and they struggle to pay on time and never appreciate what the ladies get done. Sound familiar ?
Comments please and thanks in anticipation. Embarassed
Posted by Fox (Fox), 14 January 2004
Hi Les

How long have you had this contract?  I have a 7 day contract similar (which is in the public eye lots) but run it very differently to the way you decribe.

You will need to clalify to us what you have agreed with the management and what type of contract you have issued before any further help can be given on how you can change the situation.

It's very difficult to advise you on how to renegotiate rates without knowing the full implecations to your business.  If you lost this contract would you be losing most of your business  - how important is it to you?

This type of work can be a big benefit if run properly.
Let us know the details

Posted by petra (petra), 14 January 2004
Must agree with Fox, We entered into a big contract, and they wanted alot of felxibilty, but we did agree a minimum notice period of twelve hour had to be given for me to be able to garentee good reliable cleaning staff, but we also agreed that in extreme emergencies we would be there, but ground rules were firm and fair.
Posted by Les (Les), 15 January 2004
Thanks for your comments.
We began by taking over some of the venues cleaning which had been, (supposedly) carried out by their own staff. Mainly the bits no-one wants to do, toilets full of vomit after functions etc. then bedause they thought we were so much better,(and turned up every day) they began to ask us to do more and more.
So contract wise we haven't really been able to draw one up before they move the goalposts.
We have had the contract for approx 18 months and haven't raised the hourly rate from an inclusive of materials,(excluding floor polishes/emmulsions) of 15 to match their quote from someone else.
Some months we may do 70 hours,(when they complain that they are paying too much) and sometimes 25 hours, (when we complain we aren't earning enough).
They have just asked for the ladies to 'pop in' early on sunday to'check everything is ok'. That will take approx 1/2 hr.
I don't believe we are charging anything like enough but am willing to hear what you say on the subject qnd take on board any best practise that works for you.

"Learning all the time" Smiley
Posted by petra (petra), 15 January 2004
any short notice work I would increase fee and unsociable hour too, but that is just my thoughts...
Posted by Fox (Fox), 15 January 2004
Hi again

If this were my contract I would drop it like a hot brick!  Not only can you not rely on the revenue it will bring in but it must be a right pain to run.

You are very lucky at the moment to have staff that will be that flexible and work at a moments notice but what if they were to leave?  You would have great difficulty finding anyone who would 'just pop in' for half hour - do they expect to pay for only half an hour when I am assuming the staff would have to have at least an hours pay.

Surely they must have a calendar with all the events they are holding - don't you get a copy?  Enhanced rates should be in operation for weekend work, put your foot down with them.  If they want to look elsewhere then fine - I think you'll find that either other compnies wouldn't touch this or thier prices would be extortionate!

Sorry to be so blunt - but say what you see an all that Grin
Posted by Les (Les), 15 January 2004
Thanks again for your comments...blunt or otherwise Embarassed.
We do get a Cheesy CheesySchedule for the next month in advance...subject to change Angry.
But I agree that we will need to: A) Charge more for anti social hours.
B) Set a minimum charge
C) Ask for a minimum notice in advance of work reqd.

See I'm getting more assertive already and I only joined the discussion group 2 days ago Cool

Oh and by the way, one of the staff is my other half ,(bless her heart), I told her she could become a partner in the business and promised her travel and sights she would't believe in her wildest dreams Shocked Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Well I didn't lie did I ??  Roll Eyes Smiley And she even gets paid, (occasionally)
Posted by petra (petra), 15 January 2004
Bl;ess she is such a lucky Girl!!!!!!!!! Grin
Posted by stephen_gary (stephen_gary), 20 January 2004
hi there,
yes we are all mad. Just the other day I was saying to my wife sue "there must be more to life than this" every client I deal with seems to be of an agressive nature. One of the ways I deal with unreasonble clients is to offer a 'no quibbles guarantee' on all works carried out.

Using the new revolutionary 'oxiglow' client liaison system, we have cut down client complaints by 73%.

This stateside innovation comprises of two main philosophies, The "do you want it or not" and "get someone else then" ethos.

Working to the maxim "the client is always right" does not always apply. Think outside the box for once and offer this difficult client an alternative. Cast your mind back to the time of Al Capone, when business was done with the firm hand of gang warfare.

Adopt the same approach, but instead of trying to sort this issue using charm and willing to adopt new procedures, simply take a firm hand and let the client know "this is'nt a  violin in this case you know'.

"hope this helps'

Posted by cleaning (cleaning), 20 January 2004
Hi Stephen Gary

We have also used the 'oxiglo' client liason system but far from reducing client complaints, we have found that threatening violence has caused one of our clients to report us to the police.

Perhaps you could advise where we went wrong.
Posted by stephen_gary (stephen_gary), 20 January 2004
It all depends what you mean by violence. I myself prefer a subtle approach like  " we would't want you having any accidents would we"

You simply have to ask yourself "will I keep this contract by conventional methods"

On a separate note I must respectfully advise you that liaison is spelt with two i's not onnnne
Posted by cleaning (cleaning), 20 January 2004
Hi Stephen Gary,

The 'OXIGLO' system specifically states that the client should be left in no doubt about what will happen if he/she complains again.

It also states that subtlety has no part to play within the system
Posted by Les (Les), 20 January 2004
Hi all and thanks for the latest 'Best Practise' advice Smiley Wink

We probably have been toooo nice in the past. The ladies had to be in at MIDNIGHT  Angry Angry on sunday/monday to get the place 'Top to Bottomed' by 4am when the staff were due to be in to set up for the next event. they were asked to clean/ polish large floor areas and hoover BIG! main hall carpet plus all usual's, toilets etc. On arrival they found the place hadn't be cleared from the weekend event so they could't do half of the jobs..... Embarassed Sad Cry. It also made them late for the next job AND the staff weren't in when they left at 4.30.
The ladies were slightly peeved.... They reckon the inmates at Camp Xray get a better nights sleep!! Wink
It does get your goat up doesn't it?
At another contract I visit the lady who is supposed to be in charge, (she's 6Cool keeps asking me to do jobs like ..change a bulb or have a quick look at the old boiler, (paints a nice picture doesn't it)? The other day she told me that with age she's getting so stiff that she has trouble getting her drawers on some mornings... (any toy boys out there ? the money's good  Tongue Grin and on that note I'll say tara. Grin Cheesy Smiley

Posted by Les (Les), 20 January 2004
Sorry pressed the wrong key... the lady in charge is 68 ! Wink
Posted by martin_606 (martin_606), 21 January 2004
eeeeew!, gross

quick, someone pass the sick bag
Posted by petra (petra), 21 January 2004
Matin behave whats wrong with mature cleaners

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