This article is based on a presentation by Katie Pearse at the 2021 Maid Summit. Katie is an award-winning marketing specialist and business owner who has earned $1.5 million in sales in her own cleaning business. She’s also the founder of Glisten Academy where she teaches other maid service owners how to become elite cleaning professionals who attract high-paying clients.
Whether you’ve recently launched your maid service or you’ve been around for decades, training new cleaners can be one of the most challenging parts of running your business.
You’re not alone if you’ve invested in training only to see your new employees quit after a day or two. Or if you’re often unsatisfied with the quality of their cleaning or how they interact with clients.
Even after building one of the most successful cleaning companies in Canada, Katie Pearse and her business partner hadn’t developed a training program that could keep up with their growth.
After buying training programs that failed, Katie developed a system that’s designed to dazzle new employees and teach them the skills they need to succeed from their first day on the job.
Read on to learn some of the methods Katie teaches at Glisten Academy to help you create a training program of your own. This article focuses on the first two weeks of training. You’ll learn how to build a foundation for your cleaners’ success and prepare them to become high performing cleaning professionals.
Understand why training new cleaners is so hard
Before you begin creating a training program, it’s helpful to know the reasons that make training new cleaners difficult:
- It’s a hard job that’s tough on your body and your mind.
- Cleaners have to please their managers as well as clients. That’s a lot of bosses.
- There’s no education or licensing requirements to become a cleaner so it’s often thought of as low status work.
- Every person you hire believes they’re already a cleaning expert. While you’re training them in your proces, you’ll need to help them unlearn some bad habits.
While that may seem like a lot to cover, a training program that’s fun and full of practical information can make training easier and more successful.
A strong orientation can set the stage for a great first day
A strong orientation should include videos and information about:
- Your company
- The training process ahead
- What to wear and bring to their first day on the job
- What to expect overall
Start hands-on training right away
New hires need to practice cleaning methods and interacting with clients until they’re experts.
Build a list of select clients who will let new cleaners train at their homes while supervised by a manager. You can offer these clients a discount or other incentive for participating.
Katie calls this training “the lab.” Your cleaners will learn how to clean according to your processes and standards. Plus, it’s a great place to test new ideas for your business.
Best of all, hands-on training means your new cleaners will produce results from the minute you start paying them.
Pair real world practice with a virtual classroom
Combine training in client homes with online academic-style learning. This can include video, audio and written lessons on computers or phones, and can be done individually or in groups.
Written materials can include guides, flashcards, reference cards and checklists that your cleaners can bring to the job. Don’t expect cleaners to memorize this information or read everything from cover-to-cover. Materials should be easy to scan and reference when needed.
Topics to include:
- Cleaning tutorials – Your exact step-by-step system for cleaning homes.
- The career of a professional cleaning consultant – Why cleaning professionally is different, the responsibilities your cleaners have, how to develop a signature style and how to stay motivated and inspired.
- Professionalism and etiquette – What it means to behave and present yourself as a professional.
- Client care – How to manage one-on-one one situations with clients. Explain your customer service philosophy and include scripts for specific situations.
- Products and tools – Reference guides and instructions for every product and tool your cleaners will need on the job. You can also download or link to manuals from the manufacturer that you can find online.
- History and science – Information about why things are cleaned a certain way that will position your cleaners as experts.
- Health and safety – How to stay safe and healthy on the job, including how to prevent falls and injuries.
- Conducting appointments – A step-by-step itinerary that guides cleaners on what to do from the minute they arrive at a home to when they leave. Include details like where to park, where to put their personal belongings and the order that rooms should be cleaned.
- Appointment evaluations – How to self-evaluate the job they’ve done so the customer is satisfied, even if they ignore your systems.
Developing clear guidelines makes evaluations easier
Feedback, evaluations and assessments are key during training because they help spot areas where your cleaner might need more training. But feedback can be difficult to give and receive. Having clear standards, procedures and checklists will help your trainer give objective feedback that doesn’t seem personal.
Consider starting a secret evaluator program to get direct feedback from clients. In this type of program, cleaners won’t know when they’re being evaluated which will drive them to perform at their best at all times.
Rewarding a job well done builds motivation
Acknowledging improvement, excellent work and milestones (such as 100 homes cleaned) can help motivate staff.
Rewards can include certificates, prizes, bonuses or shout outs on social media.
Moving on to the next phase of training
Once this two-week training phase is complete, new hires move to the next phase which lasts abouts 10 weeks. During that phase they should practice new skills under supervision and also clean rooms independently. By the end, they’ll be fully trained cleaners ready to represent and grow your business.
You can watch Katie’s full presentation below:
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