Misconception #1 SOLO CLEANERS are not real businesses! This misconception needs to be cleared immediately! This is a true statement for many solo cleaners. That's right. You heard me. As in any industry, there are solo operators that are unprofessional. They are uninsured, non-compliant to federal, state, and local tax requirements, under-the-table, and inconsistent. They are cleaning as a side job for extra money. This is not a bad thing at all. Entrepreneurship is the liberty we have. However, these amateur and unprofessional cleaners tarnish the reputation of the solo cleaners that do it right! I have been a fully insured and tax-compliant solo cleaning business for over 15 years. I teach others how to do it properly as well in my podcast, Solo Cleaning School. Recently, I wrote an article on the 5 levels of cleaning. This misconception is covered in "Level 0" and "Level 1". It's your job as the client to select a reputable company that is legit.
Misconception #2 SOLO CLEANERS take too long! I don't want to pay them extra for the same work! Let's get to the heart of this misconception. Many solo cleaners charge by the hour. Therefore, you are assuming that you'll pay them more because they take longer. This is logical. I don't recommend EVER hiring a cleaning service by the hour, rather by the job. This takes cleaning off your mind so you don't feel like you have to be a track coach with a stopwatch and wondering if you're getting ripped off. Take your mind off the clock and focus on the quality of the cleaning so you can do the things you want with your time instead of the distraction of the cleaning. This is why you are hiring a cleaning service in the first place! Therefore, select a cleaning service that customizes your home or office to a set price. The cleaning service will give you multiple options to satisfy a full range of prices. They will also give you an estimate of how long it will take. Sometimes, the house will take longer and your cleaner will NOT charge more. Likewise, don't expect to pay less when the cleaner is faster. An excellent solo cleaning service will communicate thoroughly and often to ensure an excellent service consistently to keep you happy.
Misconception #3 SOLO CLEANERS aren't as efficient as teams! Now that you understand the importance of paying a set price, I want to dive into this misconception. You think that more people equal a faster cleaning and therefore less price. This is NOT true. I am a heavily involved consultant in the cleaning industry, coaching solo and team-cleaning companies. Did you know that a typical solo cleaner takes 3 hours to clean a house every two weeks? If you add a second cleaner, the house time is not cut in half to 1.5 hours. In fact, it takes 3 cleaners on a team to reach the 1.5-hour mark! Check out my interview with "Cleaning Business Today: Smart Business Moves" from August 2020 with leading cleaning industry coaches and cleaning business owners. I share the benefits for all companies shifting their model from multi-cleaner teams to solo teams and the idea is catching on quickly in this post-COVID climate. It's my opinion that you will see most cleaning companies use a solo cleaning model regardless of the company size in the future. Now, let me go back to the original concern. Yes, it will take longer for me to clean solo than to hire a team-cleaning company. However, my cleaning system is finely tuned and you will find that I get faster over time while maintaining a high level of excellence. I constantly communicate as I look for ways to build in your preferences to keep you happy with your cleaning service.
Misconception #4 SOLO CLEANERS have to limit their clients and I might lose them! This is such a twist of the truth. I admit that solo cleaners DO have limitations to the number of clients they serve. True solo cleaning companies like me have no desire to scale. Therefore, we select the best clients to serve long-term. As a solo cleaner, I have personally earned more profit serving 20 clients than large companies serving 120! This is only possible because I have excellent systems to keep my clients happy over time and I am an entrepreneur who knows how to optimize profits in my company. As an aside, solo cleaning companies can scale with employees to service more. The good ones will scale with solo cleaners as I explained in "Misconception #3".
Misconception #5 SOLO CLEANERS can get sick or injured and I'll lose them! This is absolutely true! Solo cleaners can age out after 15 to 20 years of cleaning. This is true of every trade and industry. Plumbers hurt their knees. Masons hurt their backs. Cleaners hurt everything! Injury prevention is a critical system in my company. I have worked with a physical therapist to ensure efficient movements to dramatically decrease injury risk. The solo cleaners that take injury prevention seriously, can last decades! Sickness is another story altogether. I can't speak for others, but I sleep well, eat well, exercise, take vitamins, and rarely get sick.
Misconception #6 SOLO CLEANERS don't have systems and are unreliable! I have definitely heard the complaints from clients that their former cleaners "slipped" over time. This is sad but common. The reason they slip is simple. They don't have the systems needed in their business to ensure consistency over time. I already mentioned an injury prevention system and a basic health system to protect the solo cleaner directly. The other critical systems include marketing, sales, operations (cleaning), and accounting. I have developed each one of these systems and teach them to my students in the Solo Cleaning School. They have allowed me to be reliable long-term for every one of my clients!
Ken Carfagno is a presentation cleaning specialist serving the Indian Valley, PA.