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


Posted by dave (dave), 5 October 2003

We're now in a position where we can't take on any more work unless we employ staff.

This is a bit worrying as we have only been trading four weeks and I have not even advertised or marketed our cleaning business yet as work has come from word of mouth.

Yes I am very pleased !!

However, we need to take on staff on a part-time basis and would be grateful for any advice that anyone can give to us and the pitfalls to look out for.

We already have employers and public liability insurance cover so the questions I really would like to know are.

* What will they expect to earn - car/non car driver
* What is the best way to advertise for staff
* What type of people to avoid employing
* Do I pay cash in hand
* What about agencies
* Do they work a week in hand

Regards Dave

Message to Allan,

My virgin  email has right cocked up, apparantly virgin have had problems which has had a knock on effect which I am trying to sort out

Posted by DP (DP), 5 October 2003
First off “well done" what a great start and a great inspiration to others about to start.

Although new on here and looking for inspiration myself, I noticed a lot of the same questions being asked.

Not sure if this will help both you, me and others, but I have come across a set of low cost books on many aspects of cleaning at:

I can’t vouch for how good they are yet, but from their index, they sound very promising and seem to cover at least the basics of your question.

Perhaps others can give you more immediate help on here, but these seem to be worthwhile having on the shelf

Make sure to open up the heading of each title on the left to find its contents as they seem to cover much more then the title suggests.

Hope this helps.

Posted by petra (petra), 5 October 2003
I have learned quite a bit about staff in the last two year, so my advice is based on my experience.
Do not get invoved with cash in hand, you will get the benift people sraight on your back.
If some is on benefit, you can employ them (part-time) bu they have to declare their earnings to the benefit agency.
Always make sure you get a national insurance number.
I advertise in my local shops or the shops near the place of work. did try the job centre, but you end up interviewing people that do not realy want the job.
I always pay people for the week they have worked, make life easier when it comes to record keeping.
When I interview I always ask if they can drive, as this is a bonus, (but if they use there own car to travel to and from different places of work they will need class 1 business ins. the upgrade is usally free or small charge)
I always ask for references and take them up and I like to have people police check too.
Wage depend on where you are based, anything from the minimum wage, but most seem to find around £5 per hour is fair. But I always put people on probation for up to three month and a start rate of £4.50 per hour.
Who not to employ, well you have to use your own judgement on that, but avoid anyone with a criminal past, do not fall for 'Im a reformed character' I did and reform was not the word this person got caught with his hand in the till (so to speak) and could have cost me a big contract.
Hope all this helps
Posted by DP (DP), 5 October 2003

Which agency do you use for police checks, if you dont mind advising that is. might help others as well as me.

Posted by petra (petra), 5 October 2003
we use the police, prospective employees collect a form from the local police, fill it in and send it off with £10. It can take up to six weeks to get the report back, but usualy it only takes 2 weeks.
Posted by DP (DP), 5 October 2003
Ok my previous statement about the books looking promising is slightly embarrassing as these books seem to represent the official standards in many cases, and no doubt many of you will have seen them already, oopps  Embarassed  Grin
Posted by Claire_Bennett (Claire_Bennett), 6 October 2003
Dave well done with your business, can I ask what type of cleaning are you doing, domestic or commercial ?

Posted by dave (dave), 7 October 2003
Hi , Thanks for the advice. I was going to try the job centre but I shan't bother with that route.

We cover all house cleans and the area that has taken off is domestic cleaning in a mainly rural area. What we have found is that people have wanted a local person to clean but they are few and far between, therefore they have contacted M**** M**** or an agency where they have to pay so many weeks up in front and have not been happy with either of these services.

They want a single person cleaner on a weekly or fortnightly basis. However they want blood for their money.

We have found that when we go to see them to ask what budget they have to spend on cleaning, the average is £25 per week. From this we say that we can't do the whole house for that but will alternate upstairs one week, downstairs the following and include a full hoover throughout. This they accept.

If they try to knock us down on price we then tell them we could come down slightly but they provide all materials and equipment, this may go against the grain of cleaning companies but has proved successful for us.

Regards Dave
Posted by petra (petra), 7 October 2003
We give customers the choice too, as alot of people do prefere their own product's, but I only reduce my price by £1 per hour

Posted by sshcc (sshcc), 13 October 2003
i have just started my own domestic cleaning co. regards payment of staff, according to the tax inspector if you are collecting on a ongoing basis from the client, and not just a lump sum recieved. You are responsible for paying your staff! you cannot let the client leave the money for the employee. I am going to interview at the employee home, take photo, 2 references, d. licence, passport, proof of address. if you try to employ mums for example.. they are only going to realistically be able to do 16+ hrs a week. and they will more than likely be the core of your staff!
hope was of some help from jo lincoln
Posted by petra (petra), 13 October 2003
Welkl in my opinion part time staff are better as there is cost reduction if you keep them below the LEL and more staff helps you out if you have some off sick it is easier to fill that work. What im trying to say better to have 2 part time, than 1 full time.
Posted by Ian_G. (Ian_G.), 28 October 2003
I have been investicating domestic cleaning market for a number of years but never did anything about it so congrats all on taking plunge

However I have come across two companies where the client appears to pay staff, and pays a weekly finders fee to company.

Have I understood this system correctly.

It appears to me that you can reach VAT threshold quickly.
This then put hourly rate charged to customer up 17.5%

The Window Cleaners must have this problem

As a matter of interest do you pay extra if staff use own car,van.

The market appears to be vast with all add on services
Posted by Ian_G. (Ian_G.), 28 October 2003
Is there a spell check on this board as although I am English and reasonably intelligent I cant spell for toffees
Posted by DP (DP), 29 October 2003
Ian,  just copy and paste into Word then spell check and copy back, or generate in word first then copy and paste in here.
Posted by petra (petra), 29 October 2003
I thought it was the trend to mispell on this forum...HAHA Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy

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