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Cleaners! We are at breaking point - advice needed please

 
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seaturtle



Joined: 23 Jun 2015
Posts: 100

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:05 am    Post subject: Cleaners! We are at breaking point - advice needed please Reply with quote

Hello Everyone

We have a serious problem as our cleaners in their mid 20's are leaving the house not up to scratch. They fail to understand that bad reviews = less bookings = everyones livelihoods being threatened. We had to cancel an Air BNB listing altogether as ones guests review about a green pool was so bad. Lost revenue all round....

They are just not taking ownership of issues for example.... plaster fell onto a bed which although she cleaned the plaster dust she didn't let us know that there was an issue with the wall.

Given our rural location in the Med it would be difficult though not impossible to replace them.

We would prefer to work with them for this season at least.

Would incentivising good cleaning work? Exposing them to guests reviews maybe?

How do you educate cleaners to clean to the right standard particularly younger people that in fairness have never booked or stayed in paid accomodation themselves?

Many thanks in advance.

Seaturtle
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rosebud



Joined: 14 Mar 2012
Posts: 604
Location: Steyning, West Sussex

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sea Turtle

I do sympathise having taken on 5 different cleaners in the past who were just not good.. all ages!

One, I discovered, ignored crumbs on the kitchen worktops and even nail clippings in an unlined bin. Another kept letting me down at the last minute (fortunately I had a stand in)

I did not mange to change their ways despite trying very hard and giving feedback. I had checklists of tasks but they did not adhere to them and it is difficult anyway to detail every potential job.

Personally I would make every effort to find someone else.

I now have a reliable conscientious housekeeper /cleaner (also a second person who can stand in or provide extra help). She actually does not have another job .. due to health issues.. so can be very flexible.

I found her after I had a advert up for a long time on a local notice board. This may of course not be practical for you.

I think what really helped me was taking up references and speaking to other employers. The person I chose had a glowing recommendation from a local hotel manager.

I wish you luck in finding a replacement.

Jenny
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seaturtle



Joined: 23 Jun 2015
Posts: 100

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rosebud I’m grateful you’ve shared your experience & I suspect that in the end if the proverbial horse won’t drink the water we’ll just have to change the horse! All the best to you!
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Mouse



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 7230
Location: Balearics

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a dilemma seaturtle. Cleaners are so important so I understand completely the stress you're under to get this right.

I agree with rosebud that it will be difficult to get them up to scratch but, given that the season is upon us, I would endeavour to try whilst alongside that work hard to get replacements.

Have you ever worked alongside them? Maybe try that? They sound inexperienced but being young they may take your recommendations on board if you explain that the bottom line is reduced income for everyone. I'd set out your standards and yes, incentives might work. Plus you could include the clients by getting them to give a star rating. That way it is them, rather than you, that is setting the standard.
If you dont want to involve guests, could you pay a friend or neighbour to do a check after the cleaners have left?

One final thought....you mention a pool? So I'm guessing you're abroad. Could you find a pool company to do this?

Most people thing cleaning is easy...but it's not. Good cleaners give you the heads up on issues and look outside the box. They're hard to find. Plus it's rare to find anyone who has the same eye as an owner.

Best of luck.

Mousie
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COYS



Joined: 06 Jun 2015
Posts: 792
Location: Greek Islands

PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If they aren't up to your required standard, cut your losses & look elsewhere.
I'm sure many if not most of us (overseas) have faced a similar dilemma, several times over in our case & it is hugely frustrating, but no amount of discussion or incentive will guarantee a rise in standards so if you feel their input isn't up to scratch, tell them so & that you will be ringing the changes otherwise. In the unlikely event they get the message you're in luck. If not, move on.

From what I've seen over the past year or so, I'm absolutely gobsmacked at the contempt with which many absentee owners & their properties are treated in their absence.
You can always guarantee when an owner, rather than a holidaymaker is due to arrive - a frantic (long overdue) clear up, cut the overgrown grass, dispose of the dead plants & weeds, overshock the pool etc. etc. As soon as they leave, it's back to minimum requirements, sad but widespread here & I suspect in plenty of other locations too.
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seaturtle



Joined: 23 Jun 2015
Posts: 100

PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good afternoon Mouse Rosebud & Cous
First of all apologies about the radio silence
- forgive the tardy reply please.
I’m grateful for your input to this trying situation.

The angle I’m trying now

- incentivizing the job done well & absence of complaint - a top up of €20
- inviting the guests to send a smartphone of anything “not right” with the cleaning within 24 hours of check in.

Also we’ve subtly let it be known through a third party that they aren’t the “only game in town”.

Hoping that this strategy works & I’ll report back in a few months so you know whether this has shifted attitudes in the south of Italy.

Best regards

Seaturtle
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Pengman



Joined: 22 Apr 2019
Posts: 17
Location: Portland, Dorset UK

PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We're in the first year of operating a UK holiday let property, so far via airbnb only. Initially we were doing laundry and cleaning ourselves to set a high standard and to get good reviews from the start, and so far this has worked exceptionally well. We've now got a laundry doing the laundry, but I'm nervous at passing the cleaning to cleaners as it seems to me the very high standard we've set is bound to dip, and this post has made me even more nervous. Particularly as we've set our prices low this year to build up trade and next year expect to increase them significantly, and I don't want this to be accompanied by a drop in quality. What to do...?
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zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 978
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have been able to do the changeovers yourself, I would suggest working alongside your new cleaner(s) so they can see for themselves exactly what is expected.

After all, one of the rules of good management is to never ask someone to do something you won’t or cannot do yourself.

Once you are happy they can meet your standards, start to withdraw. Arrive part way through, or at the end before they leave to do a final check.
Eventually miss some changeovers and leave them to it, but pop back frequently and unexpectedly. A good cleaner wil not be phased it you approach this with a cheerful and non threatening manner.

Can’t do anything about your low prices though. You’re stuck with that until next year. You will need to think carefully about how any jump in prices will appear to a guest who would have wanted to return. It is likely to put them off.
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rosebud



Joined: 14 Mar 2012
Posts: 604
Location: Steyning, West Sussex

PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Sea Turtle

Seems a very sensible approach .. do hope it works for you..

Zebedee

Think your idea re cleaning is a very good one..

Yes some people could be more concerned about prices than cleaning standards and won't return..
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gh



Joined: 01 Dec 2005
Posts: 739
Location: Poitou Charente/Moraira/UK

PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hopefully Sea turtle,
your situation is much better now a few months on.

We had a similar situation with new cleaners as well. Came to a head when a repeat guest sent us pictures.
Unannounced I flew out in time for next change over, stayed in a local bnb met them at the house. Long story short they were asked to bring that current clean up to standard, when it was done I sacked them.

There was 4 wks remaining of our peak season, our home is let out July ~ August only. Had a lovely break with OH coming out a few weekends.

Appreciate it may not be possible for you though. They had more than enough warnings and I did feel bad doing it, however, our 2nd home and our guests holiday satisfaction is paramount.
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