Sure, it’s convenient for consumers to order up stuff on an electronic device, even cleaning service. According to HomeAdvisor professional house cleaners can cost anywhere from $50 – 90 per hour on average. Whether or not you believe these numbers, that’s a big spread. So how to consumers know how to place value on the service they receive at any pricepoint? And what is lost when the wall of technology becomes a barrier between the customer and their intent – quality service from a trained, vetted professional backed by a licensed, insured company?
Amazon showed us that contracted labor in residential cleaning is just a bad idea when they made the move to actually hire employees. The reasons cited demonstrate just why contracted labor in residential cleaning is a bad idea: training, safety, quality, and production concerns. But for Amazon to ultimately succeed in a venture far outside their wheelhouse they have to learn a lot more about the cleaning business. Even small details belie their novice standing. For example the progress steps when booking a cleaning service appointment through Amazon are titled “Shipping & Delivery”, “Gift Options” and “Place Order” – the same progress step titles copied and pasted from the sequence to purchase a book or a lamp.
How should business owners sell against companies that are the match.com equivalent of cleaning services? Being able to articulate these key points will go a long way toward educating prospective customers on the value that stands behind your price.
Companies that have Uber-ized the cleaning industry say they train their employees, but what kind of oversight and retraining is really feasible when a cleaning company is using contracted workers instead of permanent employees?
Training is essential to providing cleaning that is consistently above average. This relates to the performance of industry-vetted best practices and the know how to recognize different surfaces and adapt cleaning methods and products accordingly. Safety and personal protection equipment (PPE) training is a vital component of a professional training program to help employees thrive in their roles as cleaning technicians.
QUESTION: Is the company you’re bidding against committed to invest in their employees through on-going, real-time training?
A dedicated team of consistently trained employees is an important component of ensuring that customers’ individual needs are understood and honored from cleaning visit to visit. If companies can’t arrange it so that at least one member of the team is consistent from visit to visit the customer will likely find himself or herself to be spending time and energy micromanaging the team.
QUESTION: Is the company you’re bidding against training team members to remember client preferences and act on them?
Companies that use independent contractors sidestep the worker’s comp requirements for their labor force. If cleaners are contracted, and not true employees, the companies they “work” for are not required to cover them against injury.
Slip and fall accidents or weight-bearing injuries are more common in service industries than in office jobs. What happens if a house cleaner trips over a vacuum cord and falls down the stairs, breaking her arm – who covers the medical costs? If the worker is not insured for on-the-job injuries by the company a consumer hires, the consumer may be liable for the doctor and hospital bills and potentially lost wages as well. When house cleaners must pay for their own transportation, gas, cleaning supplies and uniforms, there is little left for this type of insurance coverage.
QUESTION: Is the company you’re bidding against appropriately insured for worker injury so that this prospect is protected against medical costs if a cleaner gets injured while cleaning their home??
If a consumer uses a cleaning company whose employees don’t receive a W2, no payroll taxes are paid by employer or employee. There is no way of quantifying what percentage of independently contracted workers are paying tax on the money they make for cleaning houses. Consumers who hire independently contracted cleaners through these online booking sites may risk tax liability on the worker’s earnings. The money saved will not compare the potential costs and penalties if the customer is liable for having a “domestic” worker in her home.
QUESTION: Is the company you’re bidding against covering payroll taxes for work done in the prospect’s home?
When you educate this prospect about the hidden dangers behind the tech wall with virtual competitors you help the prospect avoid the potential frustration and risk presented by using virtual cleaning services. You are informed and confident and when you explain these considerations to your prospect, they will likely place a higher value on what you provide. If they don’t, there are other reasons why this prospect may not be a good fit for your employees.
Quality house cleaning is about caring for the customer, not merely cleaning their house. The intimate nature of cleaning demands accountability. The cleaner must know how to clean but they must also understand why they are cleaning. A high level of accountability is required to know what cleaning solution is appropriate for a certain soil on a specific surface so they can do their job well and without damage or injury. They must understand the customer’s property, possessions and particulars in order to meet his or her needs. So they must have the values and character necessary to perform this professional service.
QUESTION: Before sending someone out to clean your home, who looks this cleaner in the eye and decides real-time whether their values and character should be trusted to care for your personal possessions?
When the prospective customer looks at these issues they can make a more informed decision about who to hire, based less on price and more on value. To educate is to establish credibility and trust. Business owners who can confidently articulate these comparisons stand to win against the trend toward commoditization brought with technology and we all reinforce it when when we accept a lesser price. Know your value. Speak your value. Price your value.