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It’s That Time!

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Registration opened this week for the Residential Cleaning Connection package at the ISSA/INTERCLEAN Show. Between working with our new teammates in Chicago and the great job Amy King and her Convention Committee have done, we have an exciting agenda. We have managed to bring together the tried and true and the shiny and new. (See story below).


Every year our Convention Committee has the challenge of putting together an education line up with programming for our members that must have topics of interest for everyone from start ups to $2M companies. We cover the topics that you tell us are of the most interest to you, but we also try and bring some new faces to the table. Our speakers cover cleaning issues and general business topics, but we also think it is part of our job to bring you speakers that make you step out of your comfort zone and cause you to stretch a little. 


The most exciting aspect of this year’s show is the new “Residential Cleaning Pavilion” on the show floor. The 2800 sq ft portion of the show floor will be dedicated to ARCSI and vendors who have a connection to the residential community. Your favorites are also back, including our roundtables on Monday night. 


There are some new procedures this year regarding registration. We are now part of ISSA so our registrations are going through the ISSA registration portal. It will be a little different, but do not hesitate to contact us, if you need assistance registering. Because of our merger, we are also able to offer you an exceptional value, and a registration fee that is only $249. This package includes all of our evening events, education on Monday (including free lunch at the Lunch & Learn), Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and access to the show floor. 


One final note, the ISSA Foundation holds a golf tournament on Sunday. I would love to put together an ARCSI Foursome to support the Foundation. If you’re interested in participating, contact me at ernie@issa.com


See you at the Show!


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Garman’s Cleaning Wins 2017 ARCSI/Cleaning for a Reason Photo Contest

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, April 26, 2017

 Congratulations to Garman’s Cleaning in Manheim, Pennsylvania, for winning the ARCSI/Cleaning for a Reason Photo Contest. The contest was held in honor of the 2017 Cleaning for a Reason Week.


Photo Contest Winner


In 2014 we began Cleaning for a Reason services with beloved mother Aimee. Raising two children while undergoing treatment took much of her energy. One appointment, our staff members came across a hand written letter from Aimee's daughter to her mother. It read "Dear Mommy, I hope you feel better. I love you no matter if you don't have hair, you are still beautiful! Love, Marcella" Cleaning for a Reason is such a beautiful group that helps let women battling cancer focus on treatment, recovery, and family! #ARCSIC4R







Photo Contest Honorable Mention


We wanted to give this photo an Honorable Mention. Tresha McCarty’s team at Custom Maid in Owasso, Oklahoma did a great job coming up with a photo idea for the photo contest.



I am so proud of my team! I asked my Custom Maid team to help with ideas for this contest and while I was attending a workshop they created this incredible photo to submit! I am more than blessed! (Hands of a few Custom Maid team members and chalk drawing.)













At ARCSI, we are so extraordinarily proud to support Cleaning for a Reason and the work they do. It is says so much about our industry that so many of our cleaning companies give generously of their time and talents to offer free cleaning services to women that are undergoing treatment for cancer.


Cleaning For A Reason strives to aid women who are battling cancer by teaming up with cleaning services across the United States and Canada. Together, these two forces offer free maid services to meet the needs of women, and since 2006 have donated up to $6,000,000 worth of free services. Based in Lewisville, TX, Cleaning For A Reason works with more than 1,200 residential cleaning services and continues to grow and gain support. To learn more about Cleaning For A Reason, please visit the website at: www.cleaningforareason.org.



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It’s Cleaning for a Reason Week!

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Not that you can’t celebrate Cleaning for a Reason every week, but we take extra time this week in April to remember what Cleaning for a Reason is and why we participate.


“This is a great opportunity to give back to our community,” Deborah Crowley of Exclusive Cleaning Services shared during a special Hot Topic Tuesday on April 18. “You never know about someone’s journey.”


The journey of a cancer patient is never easy. It is too often filled with tears, exhaustion and frustration, at the very least. Cleaning for a Reason steps in and helps to alleviate at least one concern for cancer patients. So many members of ARCSI, A Division of ISSA participate in Cleaning for a Reason and we are so proud of the work they so generously offer to cancer patients free of charge.


Special thanks to Debbie Sardone and Lynn Frankenfield for the work they do and for joining ARCSI on the special Hot Topic Tuesday.


“There is a great feeling that comes with participating in Cleaning for a Reason,” Debbie Sardone said. She also reminded participants that there is also a business reason to participate as well. “The good you do will come back ten-fold.”


“I wanted to share that we have generated business because of what we do with Cleaning for a Reason,” Donna Garman of Garman’s Cleaning. “I have had many new customers tell me that they chose us because they have heard about our work with Cleaning for a Reason. Our customers like to see that we participate.”


Be sure to check out the video from the Cleaning for a Reason 2016 Volunteer Day on YouTube.


And to find out more about Cleaning for a Reason and how you can participate, please visit their website.

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ARCSI & Cleaning for a Reason Photo Contest

Posted By Erin L. Lasch CAE, Monday, April 10, 2017
Updated: Friday, June 2, 2017


We want to show the world that members of ARCSI, A Division of ISSA support Cleaning for a Reason. This year we are going to have a photo contest and winner gets one free Residential Member package to the 2017 ARCSI Education Conference and Show.




We want you to submit pictures of your team showing their support for Cleaning for a Reason. They could be:

  • Decked out in the “pink” gear
  • Cleaning for a Cleaning for a Reason patient
  • Showing support in some way for Cleaning for a Reason

We are sure our many members have taken pictures over the years. Share them now and get a chance to win a free registration to the 2017 ARCSI Education Conference & Show.


To be entered, pictures must be submitted on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag: #ARCSIC4R




All pic

tures submitted on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #ARCSIC4R will be considered.


Companies can enter multiple photos.




Winner will be selected by the ARCSI and Cleaning for a Reason staff teams.


Winner will receive one (1) Residential Member package to the ARCSI 2017 Education Conference & Show which is Sept. 10-14, 2017, in Las Vegas. Winner assumes all other costs to the event, including travel and hotel.


ARCSI retains the right to reject any photo for any reason.


Photos become property of ARCS, A Division of ISSA to be used in other future promotional materials


Tags:  Cleaning for a Reason 

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Hiring Independent Contractors for cleaning

Posted By Dhruval Patel, Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, April 4, 2017


I started my cleaning referral agency and I have the hardest time hiring independent contractors to start with my company. 


I post on Indeed and I get many applicants. I then text them to either fill out online application and other forms which did not go well as some try to fill it out and send incomplete application. I provide them clear direction on what to do with these online application. Some don't even respond to text.


I then tried texting these applicants to meet to discuss the position and fill out the forms in person. This is also not successfully as most cancel on me last minute or don't even respond.


Is anyone experienced this or experiencing this? It is so frustrating to deal with this unprofessional behavior. I can't start marketing to get clients because I am stuck with no staff. I have 2 staff ready but I need more. 


I feel that if you want to work then why not show that you want the job. 


I really need advise on what I should do to hire reliable independent contractors.




Tags:  employees  hiring  human resources  Interviewing 

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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. 

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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.


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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.

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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 

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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

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more Calendar

5/18/2018 » 5/19/2018
IICRC House Cleaning Technician Certification Class (Baltimore)

Hot Topic Tuesday: Happy Memorial Day!

Residential Networking Event


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