Will a cleaning agency suit my needs?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

In this final part of “What cleaning Service will suit my needs” we will be looking at Cleaning Agencies.

What is a cleaning agency?

A cleaning agency is very similar to your typical recruitment agency – the agent finds, interviews and vets the workers and then “sells” the workers time/skills/trade to employers who may need them on a temporary or permanent basis.

This is true of a cleaning agency – With a cleaning agency, like a franchise, an individual can buy the licensed rights to use the brand name of the agency. The agency will heavily leaflet drop a set geographical area, then place ads in jobs centres to finds the cleaners to undertake the work, which they then sell to a homeowner, in chunks of the cleaners time, off the back of their leaflet campaign. Cleaning agents that you may have heard of are Maid2Clean, BellaCasa and Dolly Char and they are an ever increasing trend in the cleaning sector.

The cleaners are not employed by the agencies and are self-employed individuals, responsible for completing an annual self assessment and their own taxes and insurances. The homeowner will have to leave the agreed hourly rate in cash for the cleaner every time they have a clean – the homeowner will also have to pay the agency a fee every week by direct debit or standing order to pay for the services of the agency. The homeowner will be locked into a contract for a minimum of 3 months with a cleaning agency and please note, the agents fees are payable weather the homeowner has a clean or not that week!

The Pros of using a cleaning agency

  • The homeowner does not have to place an advertisement, interview and reference a potential cleaner, as after a brief telephone call of requirements the agency will send a cleaner to you
  • The homeowner is able to design their own cleaning rota for their home rather than with a cleaning business or cleaning franchise who will have their set standard cleans and deeper cleans
  • If you do not like your cleaner or the standards are not good enough, you can replace the cleaner with a telephone call

The Cons of using a cleaning agency

  • Even though the agency say they will interview and vet a cleaner, many times they will not physically meet the cleaner and handle all inquiries over a telephone, as more often than not the agents office is not based in the locality of the cleaning work
  • You as the homeowner are still responsible for interviewing the cleaner in your home and vetting them again for your piece of mind (written in 3 agency agreements I have had the pleasure of reading)
  • You as the homeowner will be responsible for the design and implementation of your cleaning rota, along with the quality control aspects of your clean
  • Like with a Sole Trader (which is what these cleaners are with the added cost of paying an agent) how do you know what training your cleaner may have had? How good is the cleaners insurance? Do they even have insurance? What happens if a cleaner falls and hurts themselves in your property? What happens if a cleaner spills bleach on your new rug?
  • 2 costs – cash to cleaner, direct debit to agency… very messy and complicated
  • The costs work out quite expensive when broken down as their are the two costs for the cleaner and agency as well as the cleaning materials and equipment as cleaning agencies DO NOT supply any
  • Cleaning agencies tend to have an even higher employee turnover than both a cleaning business and cleaning franchise as there are no employee schemes or training and the hours of work offered can be spasmodic and often not worth the cleaners time to travel to
  • There is no come back for the house owner – Not happy with your clean? Would like to talk to someone about it? Well with a cleaning agency you will be directed to talk to your cleaner directly or the agency will just replace… going on holiday or your cleaner going on holiday? It is up to the house owner to arrange cover for that period… Cleaner ill or broke their leg? It is up to the house owner to arrange the cover – The agent does what for their money?????

As a cleaning business owner, and obviously working within the cleaning industry, cleaning agents are not my favourite flavour of cleaning service available as I, personally, do not feel they give a value added service to either the homeowners or the cleaners involved and the only party that benefits is the agent – they offer no training, no quality control of cleans, no back office support and no structure.

If you, as a homeowner, want to be in control of the rota and the quality, then you could hire your own cleaner direct as that is what an agent offers, with a weekly cost! If you want an uninterrupted service look at franchises or cleaning businesses and if you want to just make a phone call and hire/fire a cleaner then perhaps an agent is for you but please before you make any decisions, read through all the posts in this section to see which one would suit your home, family and pocket best

Please feel free to add your comments or questions

Next blog post: How to complain about your clean

Will a Cleaning Franchise suit my needs?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

In the third of our What Cleaning Service Would Suit My Needs? this week it is the turn of the Cleaning Franchise

What is a franchise?

A franchise is the practice of an individual  buying the name, brand and proven business model from a successful business, with on-going fees for the continued use of the brand and business model. The franchisor owns the business, the intellectual property and the trademarks of the business. The franchisor expands their business by selling set geographical areas to the franchisee to operate in, following an operations manual of methods and procedures to replicate the original successes of the first business.

Franchising has been around in business for many years and was first sold as licensing agreements were the owning party would sell the right to use their branding to an individual.  Business model franchising (full turnkey solution) is now the most typical arrangement and has grown massively since the 1950’s when Ray Kroc decided to grow the empire, we all know and love, McDonald’s, through a business model franchisee route. Since Ray Krocs proven world wide success of creating “The worlds biggest small business” many other businesses have followed suit – Subway, Toni & Guy, Dominoes Pizza, Signs Express and Spar to name just a few of the brands you may know

Cleaning services are very popular within franchising and many cleaning brands already exist such as Molly Maid, Time For You, Bright and Beautiful and Daily Poppins to name but a few but what does having a cleaning franchise mean to a homeowner looking for a cleaning service provider?

Like with a cleaning business many of the pros and cons will be similar with a cleaning franchise, such as a stand in cleaner if your cleaner is sick or on holiday, training and quality checking and of course the cons are there too like staff turnover and standard consistency etc but below are more franchise specific pros and cons

 

The Pros of using a cleaning franchise

  • Big brand = Big success: Well known brands are perceived as trusted and reliable as they have stood the test of time
  • A good franchisor should always be providing training and refreshes of training, so that you as the client,  always have a good service using the latest products or the latest cleaning techniques for example
  • Franchises tend to be throughout and area, region or country –  so even if you move house or area, you should be able to stay with the same company

The Cons of using a cleaning franchise

  • Big brand = Big expectations: A franchise that operates in Leicester may have different standard levels as a franchise in Glasgow both selling the same service or product. Although all franchises claim to sell a complete business operations manual, some may not rigorously enforce or check up on the standards and output of some of their franchises leading to different brand reviews and feedback up and down the country.  Some franchisees may be not operate their business to the letter of the franchisors vision. Just because a cleaning company is part of a franchised brand, it doesn’t mean it is the magic solution; bad businesses and business leaders can exist in a franchise model just as they do in an independent business
  • Costs – From all the competitor research undertaken it is found that franchises tend to be more expensive then both Cleaning sole traders and cleaning businesses. Most franchises don’t operate with a cost per hour to the client and tend to run “cleaning schedules” were they will state that a house, let’s say a 3 bed detached with 1 bathroom, would be a cost of £52 a fortnight for example.
  • Contracts – The great majority of cleaning franchises (I’m yet to come across one that doesn’t) have cleaning contracts with their clients that can last 3, 6 and in some cases 12 months – If you are not happy with the standard or service it will either become a case of grinning and bearing whilst trying to sort it out with your franchisee to get the standard/service you want and were expecting or it will cost you money to get out the agreement

Checklist for a cleaning franchise

  • What insurances does the franchise have and can they provide you with copies?
  • Can they provide references and testimonials?
  • How many branches do they have? How are they audited and checked for quality standards?
  • How often do they receive training?
  • How often do they undertake pricing reviews on their services?
  • Does the owner/manager clean/ever cleaned?
  • Are they a member of the BFA (British Franchise Association) ?
  • How does the franchise stay in touch with its clients to give the feeling of local customer care?

 

Next week: Cleaning Agencies