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Chris Schwab: How to Use a Virtual Assistant in Your Maid Service

January 22, 2020 in Grow your Maid Service, Hiring, Training

The following article is based on a presentation by Chris Schwab at the 2019 Maid Summit.

Chris and over 40 other cleaning industry experts came together for this event, hosted and organized by ZenMaid.

Be sure to check out the replays of each of their full talks at maidsummit.com


Chris Schwab is a maid service industry expert in several areas of the field.

He is the CEO and Co-Founder of a home cleaning service and a provider of virtual assistants (VA).

Chris’s company Think Maids, gives him the unique insight of a maid service owner.

Due to this experience he speaks directly to other owners when sharing what he has learned.

The fact that he also owns Inova Local makes him an amazing resource to have if you are a home cleaning business owner looking to grow.

We learned so much there are two other articles to check out on the topic of hiring a VA.

One explains what you need to consider when hiring a virtual assistant, the other dives into the job application process.

Read all three then get ready to live your life and to train your VA to run your cleaning company.

Sort out what tasks to delegate to your cleaning service’s VA

Use the alphabet method to organize what tasks you want for your virtual assistant to work on. You know, like A, B, C, D, E, etc.

Inform your new VA which should be delegated first, second and so forth.

Making your VA aware of these will help them to know how to prioritize tasks they are given and when they are due.

For maximum focus: batch smaller tasks together.

It won’t take you more than a couple hours to group phone calls that need to be made or emails that should be responded to.

If you hand these clumps of to-dos over to your new VA, you can have more of the day to make sales or do other creative things in your business.

Give them the stuff you hate to do at your maid service

Pick the top 3 things you hate to do the most and hand those tasks over first.

These items may not necessarily be what you think they should be doing right away.

When your VA comes on, this is the time to start feeling better about your productivity and ditch the things hate.

Everyone it is a bit different in this regard. So you have to think: what do you NOT want to do?

Do you hate making calls?

Detest writing emails?

Does organizing the schedule feel like a big chore?

Give those tasks to your virtual assistant. It’ll take so much stress off of you because you won’t have to do the things that encourage procrastination.

They should start off with these first, you can then work to delegate other tasks as time goes on.

In order to train your maid service’s VA without overwhelming them too much, pace the training of each task a week at a time.

Although you can give a VA multiple things to do at a time, start with the biggest problem task for you.

Pick one item, focus for a week, then move on to the next “worse” task the next week and so on.

Work with them until they are either as good or better than you are at those tasks.

Create a maid service preferences sheet for your VA

By making a document that allows your VA to know what you want done and how you want it done, you can make things so much easier on yourself.

Let them know how you like the phone answered or how to handle certain mistakes that come about.

Have these typed out and in a properly labeled folder, so that they can refer to it if an error occurs or if they are confused about something.

This will save you time. Not having to go over that information again and again will also save your sanity and the VA’s.

Now they can self-correct without worrying your pretty little head!

Explain the standards at your home cleaning company

Set expectations with your VA from the beginning so that they are aware of what you need from them.

If you prefer for your texts to be answered in 15 minutes or if you want phone calls returned within an hour, let your VA know.

They are doing several tasks for you, so remember that when you are discussing how quickly you want each one done.

Don’t allow your new VA to get burnt out by setting unrealistic expectations or having rushed time constraints for certain tasks.

Ease your cleaning company VA into new tasks

To bounce off of the last section: don’t overload your VA by giving them everything at once.

Give them time to figure out each new task before moving on to the next.

There is no reason to bog down a virtual assistant with a ton of things right in the beginning of your relationship.

As far as the cleaners go and office staff, introduce them to your VA slowly as well.

This will help to give everyone the time they need to get used to talking with the VA. A slow transfer of certain duties will also help not to feel abandoned by you.

Provide an “Oops Fund”

As soon as you are able to, provide your VA with a fund to fix issues with.

This way they won’t have to bother you every time something happens like an error or damage at a residence.

With the fund, the VA can now use their judgement to allocate it how they see fit and without stressing you out about it.

This money cushion can allow you to avoid a bad review or other cleaning client complaint.

Build trust with your home cleaning company’s VA slowly at first

Because you are dealing with a virtual assistant, trust building has additional sets of hurdles. You will have to work on it.

Have weekly meetings so you can get to know each other.

Show your VA that you are to be trusted by being consistent. Show them that you trust them as well by not micro-managing.

Don’t give them too much slack though, if you put all of your trust into your VA too soon you might rely on them too much you might overwhelm them.

It will take time to find this balance, no need to worry or rush it.

When working with your VA, pay attention to your own idea of what a good VA is, this is different for everyone. Express to them what they are doing well to provide encouragement.

Bonus: Common, easily solvable problems maid service owners and VAs have

Time logging

It is ok to use time logging, but it is not recommended to use screenshot software.

It doesn’t make for a healthy working relationship to be so untrusting that you feel the need screenshot your employee’s device.

If for whatever reason you find yourself feeling compelled to do this, you should consider your options and maybe go with an in-office manager.

By using screenshotting software, you put yourself and the VA on edge. It is better for both of your sakes for you to avoid micromanaging at this level.

When you hear that little voice that says to creep into the way they do things, don’t listen. Let yourself build trust with them.

Task regularity

Consistency can be a bit of a problem. In the beginning, though, you will both work out the flow of everything.

This is why in the first few weeks or months you work slowly on each task, it helps you know what to expect from each other.

Developing a balance between independence and micromanagement when you first start working together will build a strong bond.

Customer service

Listen and pay attention to how your VA interacts with others, fellow staff and cleaning clients.

Some people can be very polite with their boss, but not with customers, so it is important to take notice of how your VA handles different dynamics.

We wrote two other great articles for you from this talk from Chris Schwab. Read about how to hire a VA and how to create a great VA application.

This article is based on an excellent talk from Chris Schwab that happened live at the 2019 Maid Summit, hosted and organized by ZenMaid.

Check out replays of talks from Chris and over 40 other cleaning industry experts at MaidSummit.com


Read more great articles from cleaning industry experts like Chris Schwab:

ZenMaid

About the author: Amar is the founder and CEO of ZenMaid Software, Inc (www.zenmaid.com). He previously started and ran Fast Friendly Spotless, a maid service in Orange County, CA. With the help of customized software to automate work he successfully operated the service in under 30 minutes per day. His goal with the maid service software at ZenMaid is to help other maid service owners do the same.

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