Is your cleaning business growing so quickly that you can’t keep up with all of the work on your own? Then it’s the perfect time to think about scaling your business and hiring some cleaners.
But how should you go about that? What kinds of questions should you ask potential candidates, and what traits do you need to look for? It can feel confusing and overwhelming to figure this out if you’ve never had to hire someone before.
Not to worry – we’ve got the complete guide to hiring house cleaners right here. We’ll cover everything from where to advertise your job opening to holding interviews to making sure you retain your best employees once they’re part of your team.
5 Traits to Look For When Hiring Cleaning Staff
Before anything else, you need to determine what kind of employee you’re looking for. Starting the hiring process before figuring out the kind of person you want to hire could mean you’ll hire someone who isn’t a great fit for the job.
Think about the things that have made you successful in your cleaning business – those are things you’ll want to look for in your employees.
In our experience, these are the top 5 qualities that make someone an ideal candidate for a cleaning job:
Possibly the most important quality for a cleaner is that they appear to be someone you can trust. You’re sending cleaners into your client’s homes, which will be filled with all kinds of valuable items. Both you and your customers need to know that the cleaners you send will not steal or damage anything. For this reason, we recommend running background checks (more on that below).
The next quality to look out for is someone that is friendly. They will be interacting with your clients, so they need to be approachable and able to make a good first impression. They also need to be able to work well within a team and get along with the rest of your crew.
Although anyone can be taught how to clean properly, it sure helps when they already have previous cleaning experience so you know they can handle the demands of the job. Cleaning is hard work, so you’ll need to find someone who has experience in a physically demanding role and who understands what will be required of them.
It’s also important to find someone who can work independently and solve problems on their own. Even if you send a team of cleaners, they won’t be side by side. Each cleaner needs to be able to handle their own work without slowing down the others by asking for help or how-tos.
Finally, you’ll need to look for people who are committed to showing up on time, every single day. Your clients are expecting you to be there on a set date and time, so you don’t need the hassle of employees who call out frequently or constantly run late.
If you think of other qualities that are important to you, that’s fine too! It’s important that you hire someone who you’ll get along well with, so put some thought into exactly what you’re looking for.
Writing Your Job Advertisement
Your job advertisement is likely to be the first time your potential applicants see your company, so you want to make sure that it is well-written and includes everything they need to know. Be honest about what you’re looking for and what the role demands so that you can weed out candidates who aren’t a great fit.
Make sure that you include the following:
- An Attractive Job Title
- Information About Your Company
- A Clear and Specific Job description
- Expected Salary Range
- Employee Benefits
- How to Apply
If this is the first time you’re hiring cleaners, you may not be able to offer medical benefits, but that’s okay. You can offer other employee benefits to make up for that, such as paid vacation time, sick leave, and flexible working hours.
It is worth mentioning that cleaning experience is preferred, but you shouldn’t rule out other hard-working people if they have good references.
End your advertisement with contact information so applicants can reach out to you, as well as directions for how to apply (e.g., “Send your resume to this email”).
Where to Post Your Job Advertisement
A great job advertisement won’t do any good if you don’t post it to the right places. These days, most job seekers look at online sources, so that’s the best place to start. These are some great options for posting your advertisement:
- Your Website – be sure to upload the job advertisement to the careers page on your website. You can even create an online form to fill out right there to make it easy.
- LinkedIn – this networking site charges a fee to post an ad on the site, but it is a great place to both meet potential clients as well as check out their profiles and work experience.
- Facebook Business Page – you can post a link to the job advertisement in your business page’s feed, but you can also post a job announcement which will be shown in the jobs bookmark and in marketplace. The job announcement is free for 30 days, and after that time you can pay to boost it.
- Job Boards – many job seekers visit popular job boards such as Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, Craigslist, or Glassdoor Jobs, so they’re a great way to reach a wide audience. Some do charge a fee to post your advertisement, so you’ll need to determine your advertising budget and which boards are best for you.
- Social Media – if you are active on social media and have a reasonable number of followers, it might be beneficial to post your job advertisement and ask your followers to share it with someone who might be a good fit. A few places you may want to post are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
The Hiring Process
Once you have posted your job advertisement, you’ll begin the hiring process. There are several steps to ensuring that you hire the right people, so the process can take some time. Rushing through this process could lead to hiring someone who wasn’t right for the job, so consider all the following steps carefully. However, taking too long could mean that you lose your best candidates because they accepted other job offers before you made your decision, so be sure to follow up and interview candidates in a timely manner.
Step 1 – Review Applications
Determine whether you want to review applications as they come in or set a deadline and review them all at once. Look at every single application and sort them according to how interested you are in each candidate. It might be helpful to have three piles: very interested, somewhat interested, and not at all interested. Keep in mind the qualities you’ve identified which would make a good cleaner as you sort.
Starting with your top candidates, move on to Step 2.
Step 2 – Phone Interview Screening
Set up an initial phone interview for a quick screening of whether or not the candidate is a good fit. These should not be lengthy, in-depth interviews at this point; just a quick discussion will help you determine if the candidate meets your initial requirements.
If you are happy with the candidate, schedule a time for Step 3 during this phone call.
Step 3 – Cleaning Test
To ensure that you hire someone who knows how to clean, or at least has enough knowledge that they can be taught, you’ll want to give them a cleaning test. This test should be paid, but make it clear to the applicant that they must pass this test before they will be hired for any further paid work.
This test should not be at a client’s home, but it should be at a real home that is representative of the type of jobs they’ll need to do. You may want to have them clean your own home or a family or friend’s home. Pay attention to both attitude and technique. It’s important to find someone that is willing to learn how to improve.
If they passed the cleaning test, you can move on to Step 4. If they did not do a great job and you don’t feel that you will be able to train them, you should not feel obligated to move any further through the hiring process. Pay them for the test, thank them for their time, and let them know that you will not be moving forward with their application. You should always provide some constructive feedback, but it is up to you how much feedback you provide about why you chose not to continue with them.
Step 4 – In-Depth Interview
Once you’re satisfied that the candidate knows how to clean a home properly, set up a time for a more in-depth interview either in person or on a video platform like Zoom.
During this interview, you should use focused questions which will help you get to know the applicant’s personality, background, strengths, and experience. Here a few topics you might want to discuss:
- Why they’re interested in working for you
- Cleaning supplies, equipment, and techniques they’re familiar with
- What kind of availability they have for shifts (e.g., nights and weekends)
- Whether they have reliable transportation
- How they deal with emergencies
- How they handle teamwork
- Previous jobs they’ve held and responsibilities
- Where they see themselves in a few years
Although you want to get to know as much as you can about your potential employee, be careful not to ask questions which are illegal, such as age or religious preference.
Step 5 – Background Check
Once you’ve shortlisted a few good candidates, conduct background checks to find out about any criminal records. Candidates must give their consent for this, but if they don’t it’s probably a red flag.
There are numerous companies which offer background checking services for a fee, but you need to make sure you find one which is Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliant so that you do not open yourself up to lawsuits. Good background check companies can also help you decipher the information in the background check.
Prices for background checks can range anywhere from $19.99 for a basic check to over $200 for a premium check.
Step 6 – Check References
Many employers skip this step because they know that candidates will only list references who will give them positive reviews, but this is still a useful part of the process because it can you insight to what others believe are the candidate’s strengths. Be sure to ask what they believe the candidate could improve and what they see as their weaknesses.
Step 7 – Job Offer
Once you’ve determined who your ideal candidate is, send them a formal job offer stating the salary and employee benefits they’ll receive.
Many people will accept a job offer as-is, but be ready for a good candidate to try to negotiate. It’s important that you know your budget and how high you are willing to go before you send them the job offer so that you don’t go over budget. You may be able to negotiate other benefits in lieu of a higher salary, or you can set up a probation period after which you may raise the salary depending on performance.
Step 8 – Onboarding and Training
Once the candidate has accepted your job offer, you’ll need to begin the induction process. This consists of two phases: orientation and training.
You should begin with an orientation to help your new employee learn you business’s rules and regulations. During the orientation you should also clearly lay out their duties and responsibilities so that they know what is expected of them. If there are other employees, this is also a great time for them to learn who they are and what role they fill.
You’ll need to train your new employee to make sure they know what services are offered and how to perform each one. This might include how to use specific products and equipment, the best techniques for cleaning different surfaces, or even how to perform each task more efficiently.
How to Retain Your Employees
Yay, you’ve hired an awesome new employee! But your job isn’t over. You need to make sure you know how to retain your great employees so that you don’t continually have to deal with this hiring process. Understanding the reasons why employees stay or go will help you ensure that you’re doing all you can to keep them.
Why Employees Stay
Employees stay at a job when they are happy and engaged. So how can you ensure that they stay happy and engaged in your job?
Surprisingly, more money is not the answer. Instead, employees value things like health benefits, a positive company culture, great bosses, autonomy and empowerment.
If you don’t already offer health insurance to your employees, you may want to consider doing so. This is the biggest benefit that employees look for and value. Even if you can’t pay for 100% of it, you may be able to find a great plan and pay for a portion of it – say 50%. This will still allow your employee to have access to affordable, great care.
Employees also value companies that foster a healthy and positive atmosphere. Make sure you adhere to industry safety practices, and if you provide the equipment, make sure it is high-quality and in good working condition. Treat all your employees with respect and encourage them to do so as well.
Another way to keep your employees happy is to be a great boss. Encourage and inspire your employees, acknowledge their hard work, listen to their feedback, and make improvements to the workplace. Help them grow their long-term skills by investing in training opportunities and allowing them to take on more responsibilities when they feel ready.
And finally, give them the tools they need to perform their job well and allow them to take charge and make decisions. This will give them pride in their jobs and let them know that you trust them.
Why Employees Go
Understanding why employees leave is equally as important as understanding the reasons employees stay. You won’t be able to control every reason for leaving, but some factors are within your control.
Micromanaging employees leads them to believe that you don’t trust them or appreciate their work and may make them wonder why you hired them in the first place. Allowing them to take on more responsibility and acknowledging their successes will go a long way in making them feel trusted and appreciated.
A lack of employee benefits may drive employees away as well. As mentioned, healthcare is highly valued among employees, but it is not the only benefit you can offer. Paid vacation time and sick leave go a long way in providing a healthy work-life balance.