How systems grow and scale your cleaning business

October 1, 2022 in Business, Systems & Automation

Last Updated on August 21, 2023 by The ZenMaid Team

The following article is based on a talk given by Bryan Morton at the 2021 Maid Summit, hosted and organized by ZenMaid.

About the presenter

This bio is borrowed from Rescue My Maid Service’s ‘Team’ page:

Bryan Morton is a Virginia transplant from the Boston area. His enthusiasm for helping other maid service owners achieve their goals through automation made him the perfect choice for our Hype Man and Customer Ambassador. He also owns KAS Cleaning in Virginia and has a strong focus on commercial cleaning. He always leaves you laughing and reminds people not to take things too seriously, while still motivating them to take action!

What is a system?

Let’s start with the basics and define a system.

The basic definition of a system is “a set of principles or procedures in which something is done; an organized framework or method.”

Now let’s go a little bit deeper. What is a business system?

A business system is designed to connect all of the organization’s intricate parts and interrelated steps to work together to achieve the business strategy. 

We need to select systems for our business that will help us keep our core principles and enable growth in scale with the same repeatable, consistent results.

How systems help your cleaning business

Systems increase efficiency, maximize capacity, and keep your cleaning business organized. Systems make your results repeatable and consistent. There it is, again – “repeatable and consistent.” 

The idea behind this phrase is to show your employees how you want something done. You and your company share the same result every time you go through that process.

There are two basic ways to capture systems for your business.

  1. Purchase someone else’s existing system. Someone has a system they’ve used for years and sold to hundreds of people. Their systems have a proven track record when implemented correctly. You have an efficient system that saves you time. The only downside is it costs money. 
  2. Identify the systems that you already use — these are things that you do everyday that can be repeated. Whatever the reason may be, these systems are quick and efficient for your business. 

Interested to learn more about automating your maid service? Save this article to read next!

You can’t expect employees to understand your business unless you capture the system, document it, and train them how to do it. 

To adequately document and train, you need to get every single nitty-gritty detail for employees to look at the system as a whole. Only then can your employees understand how you want something done to achieve consistent, repeatable results.

At the basic level, you can document systems with pen and paper. 

If something needs to be explained in great detail, consider making a video. It doesn’t have to be fancy — just hop on a computer, tablet, or phone and press record! Explain what needs to be done, what the expected results are, and step-by-step instructions for how to get there.  

When your systems change, add an updated video to your training library. 

If someone in the company has better knowledge of a changing system, encourage that employee to make the updated video instead of you. Specialization in a business is a good thing; use it to your advantage! 

Why your systems are important 

Most business leaders agree that employee happiness is key. Systems can help your employees be more efficient, and since efficiency leads to ease, ease often leads to happiness in the workplace. 

Don’t forget how hard of a job cleaning is — mentally and physically. Everyone in the cleaning industry should look for ways to make the job easier for their cleaners. 

Burnout can happen very, very quickly. So why not implement ways to improve efficiency, making the job easier and lighter for your cleaners?

Check out this article to learn more about improving your cleaning employees’ work culture and performance. 

There are lots of systems that you can buy for your business — it’s practically endless. 

Some systems are more necessary than others. For instance, bookkeeping is an essential category in every business. 

QuickBooks and Wave Accounting are popular accounting software if you prefer to avoid the old-school pen and paper route. 

If you didn’t start a cleaning company so you could also become a professional accountant, don’t worry! You can hire a professional company to take that burden off your shoulders and usually save money in the process. 

Quality control and engagement systems

Use a system for scheduling, marketing, social media management, networking, and quality control. Here are some helpful ideas.

  • When most cleaning business owners are starting out, they use old fashioned pen and paper or Google Calendars as their scheduling system. But a better alternative, even if you don’t want to spend any money on a scheduling system yet, is the ZenMaid free plan. Yes, the free plan is limited in the features available, but it is still light years ahead of what you can do with Google Calendar (basically, as Bryan says, “It’s like Google Calendar on steroids!”). 
  • Adopt a quality control system with automated inspection dates to make your life easier.  
  • Create a system for employee engagement, bonus structures, and reward systems to recognize outstanding work within your company. 

Price estimating system 

Consistent pricing is vital for the success of your maid service. If you base pricing on how you feel after walking around a property, you’re in a world of trouble. You don’t know the precise square footage, how many pets live there, and you may find yourself dropping your prices too low because the clients are friendly people. 

We love great clients as much as the next guy, but you need to have a system in place to ensure consistent profitability. Prices based on feelings lead to money lost.

Consider using an app like ZenMaid or Rescue to automate and streamline your pricing system. 

How to automate your hiring system

You’ve likely heard of cleaning businesses using an automated hiring system, but might be wondering how it works. We’ll give you a quick overview!

The first step to automating your hiring system is to allow potential employees to fill out an online application.

Certain hiring software will then filter answers to the employer. If the answer is outside of the desired scope of the business, an email is sent to the applicant to express that the company is going in a different direction and that the applicant will not receive a second interview. 

Hiring software does the hard work for you. If an application never makes it to your desk, then there’s one less thing on your to-do list!

Applicants who “check the right boxes” are then given a link to schedule a video interview.

Instead of wasting time reviewing application after application, you receive pre-screened candidates who you want to learn more about. 

Hiring software gives you interview questions designed to ask a candidate helpful questions so you can get to know them —  their character, beliefs, personality, and if they would be a good fit in your company culture.

The old adage “time is money” still applies today. Hiring software doesn’t save you a few minutes; it saves you hours. 

If 200 people apply for your business next year and the software filters out 60 people, you’ve saved yourself a lot of time that year. Cut wasted time in management so that you can focus on your clients.

When your business progresses, you need to look at ways to cut unnecessary tasks or to delegate them elsewhere.

Rescue My Maid Service 

This service now offers a training video series for the new hire process. The videos give you the tools to effectively teach your employees the basics. 

Don’t know what guidelines to include in orientation? Use this service. 

Employees work effectively and are more profitable when they receive adequate training from the onset of their employment.  

Rescue My Maid is complete with a checklist. If you train one day, and the next day a manager trains, both of you know what was covered and what wasn’t covered. Within two or three days, a new employee is ready to work without the oversight of a manager.

Take these forms and checklists, add to them, subtract from them, and do whatever you need to make them yours.

The system includes videos on safety and ethics. The videos provide a clear system on how to approach cleaning every room and the overall workflow pattern for a house.

Employee handbooks start out with a few pages of the basic protocols. After your business grows, these handbooks increase in volume. Soon enough your handbook is a jungle of pages and protocols. The template from Rescue My Maid was created by cleaning business owners with decades of experience.

An employee handbook is a catalyst for your employee culture —  take advantage of one that is professional and comprehensive. 

Take someone else’s hard-earned lessons and learn from them. You don’t always have to learn and grow the hard way. Wisdom is the ability to implement something based on other people’s experiences. 

Use wisdom, grow your company, and have a blast doing it!

What’s next?

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

For more resources on how to grow and perfect your cleaning business, check out the replays from the 2021 Maid Summit, hosted by ZenMaid. The summit featured more than 60 presentations from other maid service owners who shared tools and strategies to help you achieve the highest levels of success in your business. 

To hear Bryan Morton’s full talk from the Maid Summit, click here

Looking for the only system you’ll need to automate your maid service? Try ZenMaid for free today!


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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