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What Every Cleaning Business Can Learn from this Startup

What Every Cleaning Business Can Learn from this Startup

Tuesday, June 9, 2015/Categories: Starting a Cleaning Business

As a cleaning expert, you know better than most that technology can't replace everything. Sure, an autonomous vacuum cleaner may pick up crumbs around a room, but is it going to dust surfaces or clean the bathroom? Some tasks simply require a human eye and a delicate touch.

Recognizing that human effort is the wheel that makes your cleaning business move forward is important – but rewarding that effort with competitive pay and benefits? Well, now you're entering game-changing territory.

The startup Managed by Q decided to take this approach. The foundation of the business is simple: take what Uber did for ridesharing and apply it to the office services industry. However, according to the cofounder's write up on Quartz, Managed by Q wasn't interested in breakneck hours or scrape-by wages for its operators who clean offices in New York and Chicago. Instead, the company…

  • Hires employees instead of relying on independent contractors.
  • Covers a portion of employee income taxes and provides Workers' Compensation Insurance, paid sick leave, and unemployment benefits.
  • Pays employees competitively.
  • Offers excellent benefits, including a 401(k) plan and health insurance.
  • Trains employees properly.
  • Provides career tracks that allow for growth and development.

It's a model more businesses would be wise to adopt if they want to retain talent and thrive. And because it's such a smart model, let's explore it in more detail so you can steal a few pages out of Managed by Q's book.

Cleaning Employees: The Machine, Not the Cog

What Managed by Q gets right is that employees aren't just a means to an end. They are the foundation of the whole business. Without them, offices don't get cleaned and clients don't get served.

It's interesting that this business decided to forgo the reliance on independent contractors – the model other app-based startups have opted for to cut costs. Managed by Q argues that if you want a consistent caliber of work, your best option is to hire actual employees. There are a few reasons for that:

  • You can't control the manner in which independent contractors do their work. The law considers contractors business entities in their own right. That means they get to choose the supplies they use and how they complete the job. You can establish the project specs and deadlines, but if you overstep, you could be in trouble for treating the contractor as an employee.
  • You can train employees on how they should do their work. This allows you to establish a consistent level of performance, which helps you manage the services your cleaning business offers.
  • Employees represent your business. You want to build a staff of cleaners you can trust to put your business's best foot forward, no matter where the work takes them. Employees who are treated well are loyal to your business, and it will show in their work and how they talk to others about the business.

In short, your employees affect every aspect of your cleaning business: its reputation, the quality of services, and customer retention. So if you want your cleaning business to wow clients and keep winning contracts, be sure to invest in your workforce first.

For tips on finding talented employees, read "7 Things to Keep in Mind When It's Time to Hire."


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