I need some help in my home… now what?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

Modern life is busy – we have demanding jobs, demanding relationships, demanding children and demanding social lives. So how do we “have it all” and stay on top of this game called life? Well, just as in business, there comes a time when you need to delegate the jobs you just don’t have time for/are no good at/take you an age to do/you don’t have the skills for etc. by employing some outside help.

So, before you start to drown in your martyr-dom of trying to do everything… take your underware off from the outside of your trousers and look for some help!

Do you drown in the demands on your time? Maybe time for some outside help!

 

There are many ways that we can all relieve the stress from our daily lives by hiring other people to take on the burdens for us; there are life organisers, like Tick It Off, who will take on anything you have going on; from de-cluttering tasks, to organising a party, to organising your home office or schedule, to returning your library books. There are pet groomers, pet walkers, gardeners, window cleaners, child minders, painters, repair men and, of course, cleaners.

So now that we have admitted to our self we need help, what are the next stages?

1. Do your research

Weather you are looking for a dog groomer, a life coach or a cleaner you need to do your homework. With the wonderful world of the online web, you don’t even have to leave your chair to do this! Use search engines to type in what you are looking for and in what area, then have a look at several websites (also check out any Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Google+ etc sites they may have). How does their online presence look? What types of things do they post about? Do they have a large following? Do they have recommendations or testimonials online about their business? Do they interact with their audience?

You can find out a lot on a person/business from the internet – does the business you are looking at relate to you? Do you like how they write/interact? Do they provide value to their online visitors?

2. Have 3 quotes

So you’ve looked online, there are a couple of websites you like the look of and their Facebook profiles seem to be exactly what you are looking for. Now what?

Make contact. Call them, email them or submit a website query form – How did they answer? How long did it take for someone to come back to you? Did they sound friendly and keen for your business?

Next, invite them to your home – personally I suggest seeing the top 3 you liked the look of online. Try and see the prospective businesses on the same day, if you can, so that the meetings stay fresh in your mind and are easier to compare. Ask all to bring copies of their insurance, their references and evidence of their work if applicable, then…

3. Interview the potential business

Any personal service worth their salt should be able to answer any question you throw at them regarding their services. Don’t be afraid to draw up a list of questions so that you don’t forget or get caught up with the sales pitch without actually finding out if that service fits your needs. Some questions I would suggest are as follows;

1. How long have you been trading?

2. What did you do before this business?

3. Who does the work, you or do you have staff?

4. How do you train and vet your staff?

5. Have you ever had to claim against your insurance?

6. How do you monitor your quality?

7. What do I do if I ever have a problem or am not happy with an element of your service?

8. How do I pay you?

9. What makes you different from your competitors?

10. (The million dollar question) Do you have references I can contact who will validate your service?

Just as you would at work – get the best people for the job in your home

 

Now that you have looked at the businesses online, had 3 quotes to compare and interviewed each business inside-and-out, you should have all the information you need to employ your outside help. So, make that call, offer that work to the service business and then go and sit down with a cup of tea and decide what you are going to do with that free time you have just given yourself…

 

Help! What Is The Best Thing For Getting Rid Of Urine Smells?

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If you are potty training, have a family member with incontinent issues or have a new pet, the chances are you are going to end with a few accidents on your floors or chairs. Urine is not the easiest of stains to clean up as it is the salt within the urine that crystallizes and acts as a desiccant – this means that the salts attract moisture and never really dry out, so on hot days or rainy days the smell may become worse.

Some cleaning agents will help remove the stain and the odors but most just mask the smell on a temporary basis only; as the months and even years pass after the urine stain has been left the salts will still be active and it is these properties that form bacteria and make the smell that lingers in the air. In order to get rid of nasty smells altogether we need to clean the stain and deodorize the area

There are several chemical based products available for dealing with all types of urine stains from pets to people and a selection can be found here and I would also recommend washing the carpets with clothes washing powder, as not only will this clean the stain but will also deodorize the area too.

However, if you wish to attack the cleaning in a more natural way, below are some tips and techniques to try:

ALWAYS, always, always dab up as much of the pee before attempting to clean. Note the word DAB not rub. Use an old rag you can wash, paper towels or even newspaper. Stand on the cloth and apply pressure to the pee stain, keep repeating this cycle until the the paper towels/cloth does not seen to be absorbing any further. This step is the first step regardless of if you are using chemical or natural methods, the less pee we have to deal with the better right?

1. Using Vinegar – Use neat in a spray bottle or at a 80:20 dilution if you would prefer to weaken the smell a little. Always test on an inconspicuous area of your carpet first. Spray the vinegar mist over the damp patch – the vinegar will not remove the urine but it will help to break it down and loosen it from the fibers of your carpets or furniture. Once sprayed, get scrubbing… rinse and repeat the cycle if necessary. When the carpet has been scrubbed within an inch of its life (especially important if puppy wee to stop them follow their own scent and peeing in exactly the same spot again!), dab up any excess water and sprinkle the carpet with baking soda, leave over night and vacuum up the next morning

2. Using baking powder – Using 1 part baking powder and 2 parts water, make a paste that should be a toothpaste like consistency. Scrub the paste into the damp spot and again, using elbow grease get scrubbing the spot. Once you have scrubbed the fibres with the paste, leave on the stain over night – wash and dab dry the following day

Once the stain has been washed always deodorizer the area with a sprinkle of baking powder, the use of a perfumed fabric spray or household items such as mouthwash

3. If you find that the smell or stain isn’t lifting after chemical and natural methods then it is time to call in a professional carpet cleaner to treat much deeper into the fibers

4. However sometimes no matter what you do it may already be too late and the carpet or an area or carpet will need replacing – if urine has gone unnoticed and was not cleaned straight away it will seep in past the fibers to the backing of the carpet and into the underlay to the floor or through to your cushions if a sofa – this is as serious problems and all the baking powder in the world will not help.

Prevention is most certainly better than cure in the case of urine, so my advice is to always have your product of choice and cloths ready to use in an accessible area as if you are about to embark on a puppy or start potty training a toddler, you need to be on “Pee Patrol” and ready to act straight away on those little accidents that happen

Happy Cleaning 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Do I Get My Granite To Sparkle?

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Granite is the grandfather of all natural stone, it is tough and durable whilst beautiful and classic. But how do we look after it to ensure it always retains its beauty and shine?

Granite is not the biggest fan of acidic cleaning materials so avoid lemon or vinegar based cleaners, as although it would take continued use to damage the granite it will start to make your floors or worktops dull and faded. So, what to use…

Daily Cleaning

Warm water and a microfiber cloth will do the job nicely on a regular basis – wipe with a damp microfiber and buff with a dry microfiber or soft cloth to bring the granite up sparkly. If there are marks on the granite worktop or floor, use a PH neutral washing liquid or cleaning solution with some warm water and as before, wipe with one cloth and buff up with another. Buffing up your granite sides after they are cleaned will keep the surface clean and sparkly by eliminating water spots and streaking.

With a granite floor, use a microfiber flat headed mop daily to remove debris like grit and small stones off shoes as this will lead to damage and scratch marks on your flooring.

Deeper Cleaning

On a weekly basis it would be recommended a deeper clean on your granite to keep it in its best possible condition. For off the shelf products I would recommend a PH Neutral  cleaner such as Dr Beckmanns for floors and walls or a spray such as Method Granite and Marble Spray for worktops and sides, as these products are kind enough to your granite whilst lifting any markings or stains.

If you wish to take the home made product route mix 1 cup of baking powder to 3 cups of water and wash the sides or flooring down, then rinse with warm water and buff up for the perfect mirror like shine.

Protection

To make your granite look fabulous throughout its life span, make sure you look after it, as although it can withstand hots pans on the surface or you chopping an onion without a board, it doesn’t mean you should. Always use coasters and heat mats on your granite worktops and put something underneath you when using knives or hot cooking utensils. Put rugs in high traffic areas on granite flooring to cut back on the amount of debris being walked into the floor.

Most importantly with granite is to ensure it is properly sealed and the maintenance is kept up. Black and darker granite will need sealing less often than lighter granite but always check with the supplier and/or fitter of your granite to check when and if it should be re-sealed

Happy cleaning 🙂

 

 

Help! Black Nail Varnish On My Beige Carpet

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Q: A friends baby has spilled black nail varnish on a beige carpet. Can someone please tell me how to get it up?

 

A: 1. You can use nail polish remover. I would recommend if you take this route it in acetone free remover as acetone is a stripper and it may bleach the carpet.This method is only recommended on white or very light carpets. ALWAYS test an inconspicious area in the room first that no one will ever see . I would also recommend diluting the nail varnish remover down with water. Scrub the stain with the mixture, always keeping it wet (so that it doesn’t dry into fibers) rinse of with clean water and repeat the process until the stain is gone

2. Use a lot of water, keep the stain wet! Use about 15-20 squirts of hair spray and 3-5 splashes of rubbing alcohol. Scrub gently with a small nail/tooth brush. Blot with kitchen towels. Repeat as necessary. Don’t forget to keep pouring water during the process so the stain doesn’t settle

3.Spray with window cleaner, scrub, rinse, blot repeat – Again ALWAYS test on a small area first. Some folk swear by window cleaner.

4. White vinegar dabbed, not rubbed onto the stained area repeatedly until the stain lifted

I hope this helps and good luck!

 

Why Are Dusters Yellow?

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One of our stranger but fun questions…

Q: Why are dusters yellow?

A: It seems no one knows for sure but I’ve come across 3 explanations that are the most plausible

1. In the first half of the nineteenth century a large quantity of bright yellow cotton cloth was imported from Nanking in China, and subsequently imitated and produced in Britain, from which highly fashionable trousers (Nankeens) were made. After the garments wore out, the remaining cloth was recycled as polishing rag in the hands of the thrifty.

2. Dusters are yellow because it’s the colour of the flag hoisted on a ship before coming into port to let those ashore know that the crew were all fit and clean!

3. Connected with spring, such as daffodils and the expression ‘to be as busy as a (yellow) bee’. Spring cleaning with (yellow) wax and duster is an almost symbolic gesture of spreading sunlight around the home.

 

Why are dusters yellow?

Now you know… 😉

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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

Mrs Mopp celebrates turning 3 with ShropshireLive.com

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On the 1st November Mrs Mopp Cleaning Services celebrated its 3rd year in business with exciting news of an expansion into the Shrewsbury area in 2012- click the link below to read the full article from the brillaint, local news site ShropshireLive.com – Thanks so much guys x

 

Mrs Mopp Celebrates turning 3 with Shropshirelive.com

 

Mrs Mopp Parties with the Moppettes

What cleaning service suits my needs?

Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

In the last post we touched on covering the different types of cleaning services available. In the next 4 posts we will look into the 4 models available, the pros and cons of them all, along with questions to ask the quote stage and hopefully answer the question of “What cleaning services would suit me best”?

The 4 options available to a domestic home owner are as follows:

1. Sole Trader

2. Cleaning Business

3. Cleaning Franchise

4. Cleaning Agency