How to hire the best staff for your cleaning service

Photo courtesy of flickr user neetalparekh

The first thing to note before you throw your hands up in the air and wonder why you’re having difficulty hiring is to figure out what the unemployment rate is for your area. Typically you need about a 5% unemployment rate to fuel a decent labor pool—anything below that makes it a struggle to find workers. It’s not impossible, but it’s not easy. You’ll need to compete harder to get the best employees in a low unemployment area.

Approach finding good job candidates the same way you approach finding clients. Adopt a mindset that you’re always advertising your business as an employment opportunity for the best job candidates.

  • It starts with having a good job to offer — if you offer the kind of job that nobody wants (low wages, not enough hours, inconsistent schedule) then you’ll have a hard time attracting good people.
  • Then continually advertise to find good employees. Just as it’s not effective to start and stop marketing for clients, it’s not effective to find employees that way. Looking for employees when you’re desperate is just like looking for clients when you’re about to run out of operating cash for your business—don’t let it come to that! Don’t ever stop looking for great workers. That said, sometimes you’ll turn up the volume when you’re short handed or turn it down when you’re overstaffed.
  • Don’t just list your job on a single job board. Just like your advertising for clients, be in many places — print, social media, networking, hosting events, PR. Spend money on Facebook or Google ads to market to job candidates in your community.
  • Work hard to win a local “best places to work” contest — it’s powerful to get this. We put out an ad saying “thank you for voting us top 3 best places to work in the county” as a way to market ourselves to the best candidates.

Let’s talk about that job posting. Don’t just throw out a post with a bunch of rules— must have this, must do that, listing everything they better do instead of writing an inspiring and compelling ad. Talk about your family-friendly environment, high wages, insurance, whatever you offer that sets you apart. Keep it positive and exciting. At the end of the post, add your caveats of “don’t apply if you won’t pass a background check, etc.” The top of the ad should be about the benefits of working for your company that make your business sound like a desirable place to work.

You must remember, it’s a numbers game— you’ll have to talk to 25 people before you get the handful that sound nice on the phone to get half of those who will show up for the interview. And of those who you give offers to, realize that only half may accept. Work the numbers and keep your top of funnel filled with prospective employees.

Hire slow, fire fast. Don’t hire when you need two people immediately. Always be hiring and looking for best candidate. When you think you find the perfect person, after a week or two you may realize you made a huge mistake— they’re not reliable, uninterested in trying, won’t follow instruction. If you discover that you made a mistake, correct it quickly and get rid of the person. Don’t keep investing more and more of your time, energy, patience, and training in the wrong person. Fix the mistake once you realize it.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket — if you desperately need one person, hire two. Something is bound to happen, whether they can’t handle the job, or something unexpected comes up.

Treat your staff like gold. Give people the respect that you want and that they deserve. Give them the courtesy and compassion that you want. Be compassionate, kind, patient, and nice. Don’t lose your temper— you’ll lose good people if you can’t control yourself. But be firm. If they’re not working out, be firm, show them the door.

Finally, when you find a good worker, keep them busy. Don’t dilute their schedule. If someone proves herself, give her lots of work so she can make a big paycheck. Give her plenty of work.

This is just a sample of the kind of help I can offer in my 16 week Cleaning Business Fundamentals course. My course is a no-holds-barred program to teach you how to get out of the field and what the right way is to add customers and staff quickly. For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss whether my course is a good fit for you, simply fill out my owner’s survey and I’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk.