Why are all cleaners so unreliable ?
Ok lets analyze this a bit and look at the situation from both sides of the coin.
Summary of this article:
The basic's of this article and our assessment of the industry is that it is a low paid job and labour intensive and if someone is not well or can get work else where paying more for doing less with more prospects they will pass up that job at a drop of the hat. The good ones are also always booked out! So if you get a good one stick with them!
Firstly lets just say not ALL cleaners are unreliable as with Helping Hands we quickly route out chancers and uncommitted serivce providers very quickly.
The cleaning industry is a very unpredictable industry as you are dealing with the world's most unpredictable commodity and that is humans. Cleaners generally do not earn above minimum wage (at helping hands we always try pay above minimum wage as to retain our service providers and keep them happy ) and as a result if they can get paid more for their time they will ultimately ditch the lower paid job for the higher paid job ( logical really - anyone would do that - unless of course it is a regular job that would bring in more long term consistent work). Also if other work is offered to them that is less labour intensive and a bit more glamorous than cleaning generally they will take it.
As humans we are vastly complicated and can and not do things for a variety of reasons.
So who is to blame for the unreliability - is it the agency or the cleaner. At the end of the day the agencies job is to find work for the cleaners and match them with potential clients. The agencies job is to make sure the cleaner is happy to take on the job - if all goes according to plan we dont get frustrated. The frustration comes in when someone has committed and all the checks have been done and then a cleaner decides
A: I don't feel like working today (these people are removed immediately from our books)
B: Illness either of cleaner / child or someone they care for
C: Person was unavailable to do the job and either did not inform the client or agency or this was missed by the agency. ( the agency can only work with the information that cleaner gives them, they can't check in with them every day that would just not be feasible.)
I think its best to look at cleaners in categories and reasons behind why they become a cleaner and why it is so frustrating for clients when cleaners don't show and when and if they do might not meet their criteria or expectations.
The young cleaner who cant speak english:
We have a few cleaners on our books who come from various countries such as Poland, Hungaria, and Lithuania. Most of these young ladies can speak broken english but not fluent english - while this might be frustrating for the client utilizing these types of cleaners there are meany apps out there such as google translate that can help you communicate your expectations and then there are reliable hand signals. Texting these cleaners instructions is alway a great idea as they can translate them on their mobiles.
Advantages of these types of cleaners are: These ladies are normally taught from a young age how to clean really well. Its part of their culture to be very clean and organised. They are normally quick and eager to please. They are usually eager to earn an income and with limited language skills they normally fall into cleaning. Alot of these young ladies often come over to work in hotels and soon realize the pace of a hotel cleaning coupled with payment for their time being minimum wage they soon leave. But in doing so they pick up valuable skills that the hotel cleaning trade teaches.
Disadvantages of young eastern european cleaners: in my opinion not many! I find these kinds of cleaners the most reliable - they are eager to please and do a good job and are generally reliable. The biggest disadvantage is language. But as indicated above can quickly be remedied with google translate. And if they can speak English well they normally don't land up in the cleaning industry as their options become more wider set and they can move up the pay scale to a more skilled job. But you don't need to speak english well to clean well.
Middle aged cleaner from other countries that speak little english:
These are generally the mothers of the younger ladies or have been in the indsutry for a little longer.
Advantages of the mature cleaner: Generally they have had children and understand what a mother needs help with. They generally understand that a mother can't keep ontop of everything all the time and will have a bit more initiative than the younger version of themselves. They are generally very reliable but due to age sometimes have health issues and possible take a little more time off work than the younger cleaners but generally are very reliable and bounce back rather quickly. Generally communication is good and they are reliable in communication with you.
Disadvantages : they can sometimes be very set in what and how they clean. Language is sometimes an issue as they are probably less likely to understand how to uses google translate or a translation tool. However again - a good cleaner doesn't need great communication skills.
English speaking cleaners:
This is a very mixed bag of cleaners. They are either immigrants that speak english really well or people that are born here. They can either be very reliable or not. They have alot of opportunities open to them other than cleaning as often feel that cleaning work is beneath them. They are often on the look out for better work. Generally communication is actually poor but again it is very mixed depending on the person. Helping hands generally hires english speaking mum's who would like to fill their time around their children's school days.
While the cleaning industry is dominated by women cleaners and the women of the houses might feel more comfortable with a female domestic cleaner the male cleaner should not be over looked. They often clean with a lot vigor and can really do a great job when it comes to cleaning stubborn staines and difficult to clean places - due to shear testosterone and muscle power which is what most cleans need.
After being in this industry for 5 years and managing 100's of cleaners. We concluded the following to try help clients minimize unreliability of cleaners.
1. Be kind and polite to your cleaner - offer them a coffee make chit chat - a positive environment is a happy environment and will make the cleaner want to come back - don't be surprised if you are rude and overbearing they dont return - this does not mean you need to make them your best friend but simple kindness and politeness goes a long way in keeping a cleaner.
2. Be understanding - Things come up, people have lives outside of your life and sometimes plans have to change - understandably not every time but occasionally change in plans are necessary.
3. Dont follow them around - Let the cleaners get on with their work. Dont follow them around looking over their shoulder
4. Pay them well - Money does make the world go round and makes people stay. If you find a good cleaner pay them well - tip them at christmas or buy them a nice gift!
5. Provide appropriate cleaning products for them - don't expect them to do an amazing job with no cleaning products - they need their tools to do their job... Also expecting someone to scrub on their hands and knees is a thing for the victorian era - provide them with a mop and broom
If you need any advice or want to book a tried and tested cleaner - give us a ring or book on line here