Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In   |   Register
Community Search
ARCSI Member To Member
Blog Home All Blogs
This is an opportunity to ask members your questions about the cleaning industry, get advice and share ideas and thoughts.


Search all posts for:   


Top tags: hiring  marketing  chemical-free cleaning  Cleaning Convention  customer service  marketing ideas  new website  scheduling software  advertising  ARCSI  awards  blog  Board  branding your business  cleaning chemicals  Convention  customer relations  disinfectants  employees  etention  feedback  growing business  human resources  Interviewing  ISSA  membership  personnel issues  policies and procedures  quats  real estate 

Empowered Cleaning Supervisors Free Owners from Having to Micromanage

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Friday, March 3, 2017

By Sharon Tinberg


The first week of February took me to Seattle, Washington. What a GREAT city, even if it did snow three inches my first night there. It is a city full of success stories generating hope and excitement, which was also true of the office I visited. The owners were excited from the remarkable growth they achieved in 2016 and were filled with hope that increased growth could also be accomplished in 2017, but this year with the added benefit of fewer operational challenges.

This is one more common theme I have heard in the 18 offices I have visited in the past 1 ½ years. Owners everywhere are hoping for shorter work days and less stress from their business. I have yet to meet an owner who does not dream of managing their business from a remote location – like an island somewhere. There is the paradox. You can lead a service industry from a remote location but you cannot manage it from afar. The actual management of cleaners requires on site presence from a person of influence. With our tight margins, how can owners afford a person of influence in every home? Promote one of the cleaning partners to the position of supervisor and then teach them how to become a person of influence with their partners, that’s how.



"You can lead a service industry from a remote location
but you cannot manage it from afar."


I have witnessed two types of cleaning teams while observing cleaners in the field cleaning homes.

  • One type of team has co-team leaders where all team members are responsible for organizing the team and insuring the home is left spotless.
  • The second cleaning team is one with no designated leaders/managers where the team is instructed to just work together as a team and look out for one another’s errors.

I always ask owners who work under either of these models “When a key is lost who is ultimately responsible for that lost key?” I can ask the same question regarding the quality of the cleaning. “Who is ultimately responsible for walking the home at the end and insuring all fringes on carpets are straightened, no cleaning clothes have been left behind and the alarm was actually set?” If you have not delegated this responsibility to a sole person on a team then you end up dealing with the issues when the client calls complaining about the fringe not being straight and the cleaning cloth left lying on the sofa. I ask the key question instead of the quality question because it is more finite and does not lend as well to the answer “Well they all watch out for one another.” Either question leaves the same results, something left not perfect because no one felt ultimately responsible for leaving it perfect.

New cleaning partners feel more assured when they have confidence in the knowledge and skill level of the supervisor they are working with on their team.

Clients will also have more confidence with discussing their cleaning concerns with a eam supervisor if they are clearly the “person in charge.” This one change alone will stop your phone from ringing. After all, it is the cleaning team that needs to fix the problem, and they can on the spot, rather than the client having to look at it until they call the office and you get someone out there to fix the cleaning.

Many of the offices I visit do not have team supervisors because all of the team members say they cannot speak English so the client could not communicate with them. First, never put a cleaning team in a home where at least one person on the team is not at least 40% bilingual and then get them to 90% bilingual within a year. When I visit offices and ask team members if they speak English and they say “pequito.” I start talking in English. You would be surprised how much English these cleaners actually speak. Have team supervisors start learning a minimum of 10 English words per week and partners a minimum of 5 English words per week. All of my cleaners who came to me without speaking a word of English were at least 60% bilingual within 2 years. And really, owners, this is where you gain the greatest satisfaction from your career. You have changed a person’s life, and the lives of their family members, forever, when you teach them to speak English. Mothers can now go to their children’s parent/teacher conferences and actually engage in their child’s education. What other paid job results in so much personal satisfaction?

Owners are only one being and cannot be everywhere all of the time. In order to grow you need to stop checking every house that is cleaned. When we cleaned 95 homes per day it was simply impossible to check them all. If you can’t check them all then you need to think of a different way to ensure quality in each and every home. My working team supervisors were my alternative to checking each home. Did it work? My company had 754 repeat clients and we never quality checked a home from an office perspective. Our working team supervisors were ultimately responsible for that task.

When you have key supervisors in place, you have started the ground work for a tiered-organizational chart which makes growth manageable and almost easy. When you have enough teams and supervisors you simply add a field operations manager and you are ready to lead your company remotely.

In my next article I will cover the field operations manager position that has been my main focus of training in the past 4 offices I have visited and will be my main focus for the next 10 days when I reach Annapolis in two hours. What an amazing and small world we live in!


Sharon Tinberg is a national residential cleaning service coach who has worked with cleaning companies across North America. 

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Ten Tips for Training Your Staff

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Monday, February 27, 2017

From Debbie Sardone, The Maid Coach


Training is one of the most important things you can do in your business. So many business owners don't have a training program in place, they simply rely on seasoned employees to bring newbies up to speed. Here are ten tips to getting your training program up to speed. I also have an in-depth bootcamp you can purchase that will help you achieve perfect maintenance cleaning with your staff.


  1. Train the trainer - just because they can clean doesn't mean they know how to train the new person.
  2. Teach technique over results - emphasize technique, show step-by-step how to clean with less focus on results. Don't talk about the clean mirror, talk about the exact steps it takes to get that clean mirror.
  3. Financially incentivize trainers to want to train new staff. Reward your trainers instead of asking them for favors. Give a bonus during the weeks that they train.
  4. Keep the trainer's schedule consistent and predictable. Make sure your trainer has their set of usual houses and avoid adding a lot of first time cleans to the schedule. The predictability of schedule creates a better environment for training and less stress for the trainer.
  5. Give the trainers a step-by-step process to follow and teach. Give them something tangible they can hold in their hand. (The best training manual on the planet can be purchased here).
  6. Meet with your trainers often to refine their skills. Talk about the challenges of training and give guidance and suggestions. Collaborate to improve the training program.
  7. Evaluate the trainers and let the trainee rate their trainer. Get feedback from the trainees directly.
  8. Help the trainer understand they are not the trainee's peer. Let them see themselves as an authority and to be able to come to you with concerns about the people you've hired if they are showing signs of poor character, low integrity, or just not following the training instructions.
  9. Teach the trainer who they should be loyal to - loyalty should be with you, the business owner, not the person who they've worked with for a few days. They should be looking out for your best interests, not those of the person they've just met.
  10. Help them understand that many trainees don't work out. Otherwise trainers could get discouraged and quit. Let them know it's a numbers game and that normally we only retain about 50% of trainees, or whatever your usual rate is.


For more from Debbie, visit her website.


This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

7 Simple Ways to Tame Morning Chaos

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Thursday, February 23, 2017

Kyra Deprez, Fieldd Service Software


There is nothing worse than a rushed and chaotic morning to set the mood for the day.  So many variables can disrupt the flow in your morning schedule -- especially when you have a handful of field employees that you *have* to get out the door and onto their jobs first thing in the morning.


So I am here to share with you some tips and tricks that will help to calm the morning, and start your day on the right foot.


  1. Get to the office at least 30 minutes before anyone else.
    When your morning consists of a gazillion questions coming from a gazillion different employees, you need to be ready to handle them all.  Getting to the office before everyone else will give you a moment to check all voicemail/emails and to make any adjustments to the schedule before your earliest people arrive.
  2. Stock vehicles with supplies the day before.
    Stocking your vehicles in the afternoon or evening when the office is quiet is a no-brainer.  It will also give you time to take a quick inventory and make a stock run just in case there is something that was overlooked.
  3. Use a whiteboard to keep your team informed.
    It can be really easy to forget the simplest of things.  Prominently displaying notes on "topics of the week" can keep those reminders in the forefront of everyones' minds.  This is a great place to put notifications of team meetings, praises for your team(s), and any upcoming training sessions that you are holding.
  4. Keep all keys in an organized lock box.
    Whether you have supply room keys, vehicle keys, or keys for clients' homes, they *all* need to be organized and in a central location.  Securing them in a key lock box adds additional security.  Prepare the keys needed for each team the evening before...."On average, we spend 6 minutes looking for our keys in the morning. -- IKEA"
  5. Ready to go paperless?
    Check out Fieldd: field service management software which would enable you to eliminate the paper trail and put an end to lost work orders  Have your field employees receiving real-time updates as soon as office staff have made them.
  6. Stagger in start times.
    Trying to talk to 30 people at once is fine if you are in a meeting with an agenda, but trying to answer 30 people with questions, requests and ideas in the morning (when all you want to do is get them out the door and to the first job) can become a hot mess.  Stagger in times by 10-15 minutes so that your crew doesn’t walk through the door all at once.
  7. Smile  :)
    A smile on your face reflects the attitude of not only you, but your company as well.  Putting on a smile while greeting your employees, or co-workers *does* make a huge impact and they'll radiate a little piece of that happiness back on to their customers.


Courtesy of the Field Service Software blog.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Best scheduling software for larger cleaning teams

Posted By Maid Teams, Inc., Wednesday, February 15, 2017
I have investigated many of the scheduling software options available and feel like most are geared towards 1 or 2 person teams that are paid hourly.  We typically work in 4 person teams and pay commission.  Looking for some ideas on scheduling software that accommodates this business model.  We use Quickbooks and prefer to keep using this, we also use Google Calendar to create our daily schedule.  While this way works, we are looking to streamline and have the ability to do email/text confirmations through this software as well.  

Tags:  scheduling software 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Embracing the Unknown

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Tuesday, February 7, 2017

by RJ Patel, Chair, ISSA Residential Cleaning Council


Last year I received a phone call from Ernie Hartong and he told me that ARCSI had a new opportunity. He explained the details of a possible merger of ARCSI with ISSA.


My first thought was anxiety because of the unknown. What would this mean for ARCSI? What would happen to the family we had built at the association over the last decade? I knew if I had these concerns, so would the rest of the Board and the members.


We had several conference calls with the team, then we established a task force to delve into this opportunity. As the incoming chair of the Residential Council, I was on the task force and went with to Chicago with the team to meet with ISSA. We met John Barrett, the CEO of ISSA, who is the mastermind behind ISSA. I wasn't sure what to expect but the meeting was nothing like what I had expected. The meeting was anything but stiff and corporate. They were casual and friendly. One thing John told us has stuck with me since that meeting. He said ARCSI will still be ARCSI – just on steroids. Going from a staff of 3 to 50 is ARCSI on steroids and represents the opportunities that we have in front of us.


I have spent most of this week in a conference with the Residential Cleaning Council, the Emeritus Council and several key members of the ISSA staff team. In the words of Tom Stewart, I think we “laid the foundation for how the world sees housecleaning.” We talked in depth on how consumers generally view the residential cleaning profession and in many cases, don't even see us as professionals. We are in the service industry and are no different than building contractors, electricians, etc. We are going to continue our efforts that began with the 2nd Decade Campaign in creating an awareness among the public of the need to hire a professional to clean your home.


The Council also spent significant time and energy on discussing how we can grow the membership. As a young association, ARCSI struggled to create awareness among residential cleaning companies of our existence and the benefits to your company. With the support of ISSA, those struggles have been minimized. We have the very real opportunity to pull more companies into our ranks and make our vision for ARCSI a reality.


Near the conclusion, I asked the Council to put into words how they felt about the future of ARCSI. Here is how they responded:





After leaving the retreat, I am filled with even more optimism than I was during our initial task force meetings. I think this was a beautiful marriage between ISSA and ARCSI and I am looking forward to our future.

I encourage you to take advantage of all that ISSA and ARCSI have to offer. Also be on the watch for more to come on what your membership can mean to you! If you have any concerns or questions, please don't hesitate to contact Ernie Hartong or me.


RJ Patel

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Same Hours But More Pay For Cleaners

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, February 1, 2017

by Sharon Tinberg, Rags to Riches


With the passing of the hectic holidays I am back on the road again. This month I spent a week in an office in Virginia and am now in an office in Houston dropping seeds of hope amid the cleaners and owners.


The seeds of hope I dropped in these two offices – not unlike the offices I visited in 2016 – were more pay for the same hours for the cleaners and dependability on the part of the cleaners for the owners. In this article, I will cover how we are able to give more hours to cleaners without lengthening their day. In the next article, I will cover dependability for the owner.


I believe it goes without saying that all workers and owners would like to bring home more money without extending their already long days. In this industry, our margins are tight. Paying more money per hour or a higher percentage per home is simply not in the margins.


Then how can your cleaners make more money without dedicating more time to their jobs? Think quality of time and not quantity of time. Are your cleaners maximizing their revenue generating hours from the time they leave their homes in the morning until they return to their homes in the evening or are they spending a couple hours a day in non-revenue generating activities? When cleaners look at their paychecks they are not thinking about the actual paid hours, especially if they are paid on percentage, they are thinking about how long their days are for the money they are receiving.


There is a way that you can increase that money for your cleaners by $20-30 per day without lengthening the time in their day. The answer is really quite simple, especially in today’s world of GPS tracking and Internet work orders. Do not bring your cleaners into the office every day. Only bring them in once – or max twice – a week for their supplies and one-on-ones. Send them directly from their homes to their first job and send them directly home after their last job. This allows the average team to clean one more home per day increasing their paychecks and your revenue.


Cleaners were filled with hope and smiles when we rolled this program out in the two offices I visited this month, as they did in 2016. What is even more remarkable is that this system is equally advantageous to the owner, if not more advantageous, than the cleaner in terms of time and money.

  • Your payroll will be greatly reduced. If you pay hourly this can save you as much as two hours of payroll per day per cleaner. Just like any other job the clock starts when they get to work and they get to work when they get to their first job, not when they get to the office and then drive to the first home. If your cleaners are percentage you still need to give them something for their time in the office and going directly to the first home eradicates that need.
  • If you use company vehicles, allowing your team supervisor to take the vehicle home will turn that vehicle into a walking billboard. Having your company vehicles sitting in your parking lot during rush hour traffic does not generate any sales for your company. (In my last article I discussed the benefits of company vehicles in terms of marketing for cleaners. This addition enhances those benefits ten times.)

Not bringing your cleaners into your office every morning and every night will return to you two hours of time per day that you can spend selling, organizing, visiting teams, etc. If I had brought my 52 cleaners into the office every day I would not have had 754 repeat clients because we would not have had the time to sell and service that many clients. We literally got very little done on the Tuesdays and Thursdays that I brought all of the cleaners into the office. If I had it to do all over again I would only bring them in once a week.


It will take some co-ordination for each team and you will need to call clients to let them know you will be there at 8 am and not 9 am but it will be well worth your effort. You will be amazed at how many clients will be thrilled to have you arrive earlier.


If you would like to speak to the two owners that are in the process of transitioning to this system feel free to call or email:


Suzanne Hayzlett, Set Cleaning in Powhatan, Virginia
804-598-7882 |


Julie Parish, The Home Keepers, Houston, Texas
713-459-1122 |



Sharon Tinberg is a national residential cleaning service coach who has worked with cleaning companies across North America. 

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Be Prepared in the Event of a Disaster

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Thursday, January 19, 2017

If you have ever stared down a natural disaster and its aftermath, you know how quickly they come upon you and the devastation they can leave. As a small business owner, there are many steps you can take to mitigate the risks of a disaster and enable your business to survive.


In a new article on SmartBrief, a senior meteorologist shared three tips to take when catastrophe calls:

  1. Solidify your contingency plan. Nobody can completely prepare for what's unknown, but you can create a business continuity plan to help you stay one step ahead. What's most important is having systems in place to get your organization back to normal operations as soon after a disaster as possible.
  2. Show employees your playbook. Executives should always help employees understand the risks that could affect the business and how to keep things going when the unexpected occurs. Furthermore, include provisions for secondary and tertiary disaster into your preparations.
  3. Don't be afraid of experts. Base any information on solid reports provided by experts. Having a seasoned mind around will also help answer questions, explain processes and identity unknown variables.

What comes up repeatedly in this article and in these steps is to “prepare.” In fact, it’s better to even overprepare. When I was journalism school, we memorized the mantra of the 5 Ps: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.  In June 2015, ARCSI held a special Hot Topic Tuesday with two members that had faced a natural disaster and its aftermath -- Shirley Perlinsky on Manville, NJ & Enid Tate-Shephard of Rochester, IN. Visit the ARCSI store to download this Hot Topic and hear what lessons they learned that can help you prepare in advance for a disaster.


This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

DiJulius Group Shares What Your 2017 Focus Should Be

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Do you have a solid Customer Experience strategy for 2017? The experts of The DiJulius Group share some of their insights for what they believe will be key for this coming year.

In this piece from Dave Murray, Senior Customer Experience Consultant for The DiJulius Group who spoke at the 2016 Cleaning Convention, shared more customer service expertise.


What Are Your Service Standards?

The first few weeks of the year are a time to focus on what is important. Prioritize and create goals for the coming year. Is the experience you are delivering part of those goals? If your answer was no, here are some things you can easily do with your team to re-focus on your experience and improve it at the same time.

First, what are your current service standards? How quickly do you ask your team to respond to voicemail and e-mail messages? Is this fast enough? You may have to look outside of your industry for the answer. Companies using social media and other tools are having real-time conversations with their customers. How does that stack up with your current standard? Remember, a consumer compares experience-to-experience, and not just within that industry. Being the best in your industry with today's tech savvy consumer may not get you very far.

Watch Dave Murray's presentation at the Secret Service Summit.



This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Welcome to ISSA!

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Tuesday, January 3, 2017

On behalf of the leadership and staff teams we want to officially welcome our new ISSA Residential Members. This membership will continue to provide all the benefits you received as a member of ARCSI along with a wealth of new benefits and services from ISSA, including expanded education opportunities, online training, and access to more industry partnerships.


You will be receiving a packet in the mail that details the benefits, resources, and services available to you. We are excited that all the work we did in 2016 is so quickly coming to fruition. As it reads in our vision statement, “ISSA will be the leading resource for information, education, networking, and commercial opportunities as well as the leading voice in government and the community for firms within the cleaning industry worldwide.” Bringing the residential cleaning community into the fold helps us take that vision further.


You will continue to receive the high quality and excellent service you have come to know and expect from ARCSI. Our team has been working feverishly to make this merger run as smoothly as possible, providing you with access to your new benefits as soon as we can.


Welcome again to ISSA and we look forward to the many opportunities this merger presents.








John Barrett                                                    Ernie Hartong
ISSA Executive Director                                  ARCSI Executive Director



PS: If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your ISSA Residential Member team of Ernie Hartong, Jeff Fisher or Erin Lasch at 614-547-0887.

Tags:  ISSA  membership 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

The Central Theme Is Hope

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Friday, December 30, 2016

By Sharon Tinberg, Rags to Riches


I am a residential cleaning service coach and have spent the past year and a half traveling across North America working with owners, managers, cleaners and home owners.  During my travels the one consistent universal theme I have found everywhere is hope.  Everyone is either driven by hope or looking for someone or something to put their hope in.   At the end of the day everyone is hoping for the same thing in any work environment.  A job they love to go to each day with clients who respect them.  Leaders of companies who offer that hope will turn employees into followers and stop their turnover.


Ironically, my job as a coach is the same as yours as an owner.  It is to put hope where, often times, others think there is none.  Gratefully, hope is not that hard to plant because, again, everyone is motivated by the same outcome.  A job they love to go to each day with clients who respect them. 


From an owner’s perspective, you have two sets of clients:

  • Internal clients
  • External clients

Internal clients are your cleaning staff and external clients are the people who pay your bills (you included).  You need to implant hope in both of these clients if you are going to turn both of them into followers. 


First, however, you need people you can turn into followers.  That is the number one challenge for all cleaning services in the United States and Canada today.  The bigger challenge is the internal client.  It can be difficult to find people who want to be cleaners, especially in this tight employee market.  If the number of prospects in your market is shrinking I would recommend thinking of ways to expand your market.  Without cleaners you cannot possibly grow so you need to put your money and time into that arena first. 


If you do not have company cars I would recommend trying one or two.  I have a client who said they could not afford it.  When they added up all of the expenses they were paying their employees for driving their own vehicles it came to more than two new cars plus the insurance and gas for those cars.  The free advertising and added equity to your bottom line are really free.  How many more people would you be able to put into your ‘eligible for hire’ pile if you did not need to ask “Do you have a car?”  I believe that this one simple change is one of the key factors why most of my clients realize such rapid significant growth from 110-410% in 18 months or less.  There really are people who love cleaning houses for a living.  They feel proud of the end results and feel it is something they can do well and want to do for the remainder of their working lives.  Many of these people do not have transportation so they do not qualify for a cleaning position with many house cleaning companies.  You can give them the hope that they can do the job they really want to do by providing them with transportation.  The majority of companies that generate $1M+ per year in gross revenue do offer company vehicles.  Most of the major franchises utilize company vehicles.  I believe they are a necessary component in the ability to grow a company that does more than $600K per year in gross revenue.  There are, of course, exceptions to that statement but I would say it would not vary more than 15-20%.


The other structure that experienced cleaners are seeking is a guaranteed hourly rate that is paid from the start of the day until the close of the day with a guaranteed number of hours per week, hopefully 40+.  In the majority of companies in which I have worked we have actually shrunk the number of cleaners yet increased the number of openings available for cleanings.  If cleaners clean perfect, why not allow them to earn more money by cleaning more houses?  My philosophy is that it takes a lot of integrity to follow a process and do a perfect job every time a home is cleaned.  Again, there are exceptions to this statement, but most employees who hold that kind of integrity also want to earn enough money to pay their share of the bills. They also want to know they will receive that money every week, not just some weeks.  They are people of integrity so they understand the value of hard work and are willing and ready to work 40+ hours per week to reduce the stress in their lives in many other areas, the majority of which are financial.   As long as you continue to fulfill their hope and continue to know what their hope is you will have a follower forever.


I hope you found this information useful, or at least it gave you a new perspective and reason for hope.  Starting, growing and even maintaining a residential cleaning service is not an easy task.  The rewards, however, are endless.



Sharon Tinberg is a national residential cleaning service coach who has worked with cleaning companies across North America.  

Tags:  growing business 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
Page 1 of 4
1  |  2  |  3  |  4
more Calendar

4/6/2017 » 4/7/2017
Carpet Cleaning Technician Certification Class (CCT)

5/19/2017 » 5/20/2017
IICRC House Cleaning Technician Certification Class (Vancouver)

8/30/2017 » 8/31/2017
IICRC House Cleaning Technician Certification Class (Raleigh)


Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal