How to Fix Staffing Problems in Your Maid Service with an Incentives Program

August 9, 2023 in Hiring & Training

Last Updated on April 4, 2024 by The ZenMaid Team

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Taking Charge of Employee Issues in Your Maid Service

Are you tired of feeling like a hostage in your own cleaning business, dealing with frequent employee absences, and struggling to maintain quality standards? You’re not alone. Most maid services face this at some point in the course of business, and you’re in the right place to learn how to fix it. In this article, we’ll explore a game-changing solution that will empower you to regain control and motivate your team: a simple yet effective incentive program. Join us as industry expert Martha Woodward, owner of a successful maid service for over a decade, shares how she transformed her business operations and achieved remarkable improvements in quality and attendance.

The Power of Pay-for-Performance: Empowering Employees to Excel

Imagine a workplace where your team members have clear choices: actions that lead to greater benefits, recognition, and rewards, or behaviors that may result in warnings or termination. Pay-for-performance programs provide a transparent path for employees to understand what is expected of them and the outcomes of their actions. By creating options and incentives, you shift the power from micromanagement to employee motivation. While this article is not a full-fledged pay-for-performance class, the incentive program we’ll discuss serves as a stepping stone towards this transformative approach.

What is a Pay-For-Performance Strategy? 

Pay-for-performance is a compensation system that rewards employees based on their individual performance and achievement of specific goals or metrics. It is a performance-based approach where employees are incentivized to meet or exceed predetermined targets, which are often tied to key performance indicators (KPIs) or other measurable criteria relevant to their job roles. 

The Benefits of Offering Incentives to Employees

If you’re feeling skeptical about the time and cost it takes to start an incentives program, consider the following benefits:

Increased Employee Productivity: According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, companies with incentive programs witnessed a 22% increase in productivity among their employees. 

Higher Employee Retention: A research report from the Incentive Research Foundation found that organizations with well-designed incentive programs experienced 79% higher employee retention rates. 

Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: Satisfied and motivated employees are more likely to provide exceptional customer service. A study published in the Journal of Business Research revealed that companies with strong incentive programs saw a 25% increase in customer satisfaction scores.

Improved Employee Morale: Incentive programs can significantly boost employee morale and job satisfaction. The Incentive Federation’s 2021 study indicated that 88% of employees felt more appreciated and valued when their companies had effective incentive programs in place.

Increased Revenue and Profitability: Research by the Aberdeen Group showed that companies with incentive programs achieved 2.4 times higher revenue growth and 3.2 times greater profit growth compared to companies without such programs.

Defining Expectations for Quality and Attendance

To create meaningful incentives, you need to set parameters that reflect your desired levels of quality and attendance. Not sure where to start? Consider your best-performing employees as benchmarks. Determine the standards these top-performing employees consistently meet and aim to set parameters that challenge but remain attainable. As you progress, you can raise the bar to further elevate performance across your team. Whether it’s zero absences or a specific quality score, establish parameters that inspire your employees to go above and beyond.

7 Implementation Tips from Martha Woodward

Okay — now, are you ready to implement an employee incentive program? Here are seven tips from one of our maid service experts, Martha Woodward:

#1: Start from Where You Are:

Always, always, always start by assessing your current situation. Every cleaning business is unique, so understanding where you stand will help you determine the appropriate thresholds and parameters for your program. Reflect on your past statistics like quality scores, percentage of excellence, and absences, to identify the areas that need improvement.

#2: Set the Frequency and Parameters:

Once you have a clear picture of your starting point, it’s time to determine the frequency and parameters of your incentive program. If your attendance and quality are subpar, starting with a weekly program might be beneficial. However, keep in mind that the prizes for weekly programs will be smaller. Monthly programs will likely produce better results.

#3: Budget for Success:

As with any incentive program, budgeting plays a crucial role. At the beginning you might need to allocate funds and make adjustments to accommodate the prizes. However, as your employees become more dependable and your business reputation improves, you’ll start saving money on refunds, redos, and marketing. Eventually, your exceptional employees will become ambassadors for your business, generating referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations.

#4: Choose the Right Prizes:

The prizes you offer should be enticing and valuable to your employees. Involve them in the decision-making process by asking for suggestions within different price ranges. Whether it’s a spin wheel, gift certificates, or other games of chance, ensure that every prize on offer is something your employees genuinely want. Excitement and buy-in are key to motivating them to strive for excellence.

#5: Use Effective Tracking and Verification:

To maintain transparency and engagement, employees need to track their progress and know whether they qualify for the incentives. Implement a system that allows them to monitor their own performance, whether it’s related to attendance or quality scores. Reports and scorecards, either generated manually or through software, provide valuable insights and comparisons to motivate employees to improve.

#6: Try Public Recognition for Maximum Impact:

Recognition is a powerful tool for boosting morale and fostering healthy competition among your employees. Publicly celebrate the achievements of those who qualify for the incentives  —such as during staff meetings or holiday parties. Create a special moment where they spin the wheel or engage in a game of chance, while their peers cheer them on. This recognition not only makes the qualified employees feel special but also motivates others to strive for the same recognition.

#7: Overcome Resistance with Positive Change:

You may face resistance from employees who oppose change or misunderstand the system. It’s important to address their concerns and communicate the benefits of the program clearly. While it’s difficult to let go of problematic employees, allowing them to stay can harm the morale of your exceptional team members. By creating an environment where excellence is rewarded and poor performance is not tolerated, you’ll attract and retain the best talent.

Final Thoughts

Imagine running a maid service where employees are motivated, absenteeism is rare, and quality shines through. It’s not just a dream — it can be your reality. Incorporating a simple incentive program can truly work wonders when it’s done right. Sure, setting up the program takes some time and resources, but trust us, it’s an investment that pays off in the long run. So, take that leap and embrace the power of incentives. Your employees, your business, and your bottom line will thank you.

Next Steps

If you found this article helpful for your maid service, you may also like:

This talk first aired at the 2022 Maid Service Success Summit. The Maid Summit is an annual online event that brings together the most successful leaders in the cleaning industry, like Debbie Sardone, Angela Brown, Courtney Wisely, Amy Caris, Chris Schwab, and more. Get free access to masterclasses and workshops to help you grow, scale, and automate your cleaning business to get more leads and profit. Make sure you’re on our email list to find out how to get free tickets to the next event.


Amar is the founder and CEO of ZenMaid Software, Inc. He 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. He created ZenMaid scheduling software to help other maid service owners do the same.

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