This article is based on a presentation by Courtney Wisely given at the 2020 Maid Summit. Courtney is the Founder of Rescue My Maid Service and is a maid service consultant here at ZenMaid. As a fellow maid service owner, she knows how stressful it can be to manage your cleaning business day-to-day. In this talk, she’ll share a few of the systems and processes she teaches other maid services that allow them to create a scalable business they love!
Systems and Processes That Allow You to Run Your Cleaning Business from Anywhere
Every maid service owner strives to be able to take time off from their business without the risk of it crumbling to the ground. To some, this might seem impossible, but with the right technology and automation, it’s so much more accessible than you might think.
As a maid service owner, you likely spend a lot of your time doing repetitive tasks. As mundane as they may be, they still need to get done. If you can set aside time to build processes and systems that automate these repetitive to-do’s, you can start going down the path of a fully automated business that runs itself when you’re not around.
So let’s talk about what tasks you can automate that will allow you to run your business from anywhere.
Signing of guidelines
Having specific guidelines in place protects you and protects your cleaning clients. And it makes you look more professional. Having guidelines sets clear expectations between you and your cleaning clients, and it forces customers to take you more seriously.
You might be used to bringing these guidelines with you to a cleaning job, but there’s no reason why they can’t be digital. Virtually all customer guidelines can be signed digitally by customers and sent back for you to keep on file.
If you have some loose guidelines or handle them verbally, then it’s time to write them down so that both your customers and staff know what policies you enforce. Once you’ve written them out, you can use a tool like Sign Request or Adobe Sign to send them to your customers to digitally sign before a cleaning.
Hiring pipeline and application filtering
Hiring is an ongoing process and something that you need to get really good at as a maid service owner. Giving applicants a place to digitally apply is the first step towards an automated hiring process.
When using a form tool, put the link to the form on all of your job ads on every job board you use and ask applicants to use that link to apply. This will make sure that applicants are following directions and lets you collect all applications in one place, instead of having to check different sites for applications.
Tools like Typeform are great because you can include calculations in your form that automatically disqualify applications without you having to review them. For example, if you have a question asking if someone has been convicted of a felony, and a ‘yes’ will automatically disqualify them, you can set this requirement in the form.
If they answer ‘yes’, the form will automatically redirect them to a landing page thanking them for their time. However, if they pass all of the questions, you can include a link right to a calendar where they can immediately book a time for a phone interview and add in all of their information.
The point is not to have to vet applications in person. The form will vet them for you. Then all you have to do is conduct the first interview.
Quote or booking requests
Make sure you have a quote form or a booking request form on your website that people can fill out rather than calling or emailing you directly. These forms make it easy for people to contact you, and lets potential customers get a quote without having to speak to you directly.
ZenMaid has its own booking form and quote form within the tool, or you can use a standalone plugin on your side. When using these forms, make sure you have a clear call to action on your website so people know exactly where to click to contact you. This link should go directly to a booking form link and so that it’s as easy as possible for them to get a quote.
Once a potential cleaning client submits a form, you can direct them to a calendar link or give them a call to set an appointment.
Recurring tasks and organization
You’re probably doing a lot of recurring tasks that you’re not even aware of. Start making a list of everything you’re working on in a day. From this list, try and identify the things that you’re doing over and over again.
Do this for one week and notice the patterns that emerge. This exercise will help you get oversight on what you’re spending the most time on.
Next, start to utilize the red dot, green dot principle. With this principle, you’ll write down everything that you’re in charge of in your business and what you do every day. From this list, put a red dot next to the things that don’t bring you money.
For tasks that do bring in money (AKA revenue-generating activities) put a green dot next to them. Take a step back and see how many of each color you have. All of the red dots are things you should outsource or delegate to an assistant.
As an owner, your brain space is very valuable. You should be focusing most of your time and energy on revenue-generating activities such as new marketing and advertising strategies.
Client and lead follow-ups
You need to do different things to follow up with your cleaning clients than you would for leads. For example, you can follow up with existing cleaning clients asking for review or feedback.
We love the tool Quality Driven Software for sending out post-cleaning surveys to customers after each cleaning. This is a great, automated way to get feedback and make sure that customers are happy without spending additional time reaching out to them directly.
When following up with potential leads, you might send out emails with new offers or incentives to book their first cleaning. We recommend using a mail service like MailChimp to send out emails about special offers or new deals.
To take this process a step further, you can implement project management software to create a robust follow-up process for your leads. This way, you know exactly where your leads are in your sales process, and which leads could use an additional follow-up.
Here’s an example of how Magic Maids tracks their leads using Click-Up.
If you’re using social media (which we think every maid service should) it can be challenging to know how often to post, what to post, and where. Luckily, you can use tools to automate the posting process so you have one less thing to worry about. If you’re using multiple social media platforms, you should be using a social media scheduling tool like Hootsuite, Later, or Buffer.
However, if you’re just using one platform like Facebook, it’s very easy to schedule posts directly within the platform and avoid paying fees on software you don’t need.
To streamline your social media strategy, we recommend sitting down once a week, to create the posts using a graphic design tool like Canva. We love Canva because it comes with hundreds of templates that you can easily use to plug in your own information and create a handful of posts at once.
Training your office staff
Training new staff members can be a long and time-consuming process if you don’t have the proper training materials. Automate your training process and make sure that every new hire gets the same level of training by creating a mini video course for each position you hire.
Every staff member can then go through the course and get the same level of training across the board. In this course, include all of the information that they need to succeed in the role as well as tests or knowledge checks to make sure they understand the material covered.
You can use a video recording tool like Loom to create videos from your desktop. These training videos make it so that if your office manager or another staff member suddenly leaves the company, you have a library of videos that a new hire can watch on their own.
Digital training videos are some of the most important things to create to make your business more autonomous. They make it so much easier for you to step away from your business and allow someone else to step in and run the business for you. They also ensure that every new member of your team knows exactly how to perform their new role with minimal one-on-one training from you.
To avoid spending hours a day answering emails and messages, set up autoresponders on your social media pages, website, and email. These autoresponders will immediately respond to any messages you receive. This way, when someone reaches out to you, they get an immediate response letting them know that someone will respond to them soon.
This is also a great time to link to an FAQ page or additional resources that help them find the answer to their question on their own.
If there’s anything we’ve learned recently, it’s to be prepared for the worst. Anything can happen. It’s more important than ever to be prepared to run your business digitally. If you have to suddenly drop what you’re doing and tend to something else, you want to be able to trust that there are processes so that the business keeps moving.
So how can you do all of this? Utilize tools wherever you can. There are hundreds of free tools that will help you make your business more automated. Here’s a list of tools that we love:
- Virtual Signing Tools – Sign Request, DocuSign, Adobe Sign
- Virtual Forms and Calendars – TypeForm, Calendly
- Project Management Tools – ClickUp, Asana, Trello, PipeDrive
- Virtual Assistants – Fancyhands.com, Handsworkingvirtually.com
- Social Media Tools – HootSuite, Buffer
- Video and Screen Share Tools – Loom, Vidyard, Zoom
- Email Marketing Tools – MailChimp, ActiveCampaign
- For Outsourcing and Finding Freelancers – Upwork, Fiver, Taskaway
If you don’t want to spend time testing out new tools or figuring out how to use them, then consider joining Courtney’s Digital Systems Bootcamp. The DSB is a 10 week course that goes through everything you need to know to automate your business so that you can step away.
Think you’re not techy enough to use tools to automate your business? Think again.
This course is for anyone, even the least technologically-savvy maid service owner. You’ll get access to a plethora of worksheets, video tutorials and a private Facebook group and a community to learn from. After 10 weeks, you’ll have processes in place that will allow you to step away from your business and have trust that it will continue to run without you.
For even more of Courtney’s automation tips and information on how to join the Digital Systems Bootcamp, check out the replay of her full presentation at the 2020 Maid Summit hosted by ZenMaid. The Maid Summit was designed to help maid service owners like you grow your business using the right tools, systems, and processes.
Watch Courtney’s full talk from the 2020 Maid Summit here:
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