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Unrealistic expectations?
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rosebud



Joined: 14 Mar 2012
Posts: 543
Location: Steyning, West Sussex

PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a 3 hour journey from my property so reliant on having a good cleaner / housekeeper.

I now have an excellent person who has been with me for more than a year but she is my eighth housekeeper in 6 and a half years!

Out of the previous 7 only 2 were any good.. I think the others were either rather slapdash, particularly short sighted or just didn't care..

I guess I learned to some extent from my experience. For example I made sure I took up references ... my checklist got longer as I realised it was like a job description that I could refer back to if things went wrong. However you don't really know how good a person is until they have been doing the job for a while.

I also have a now have a back up cleaner who will step in if my number one person is not available...

I guess there are always competent, conscientious people out there but it is not so easy to find them...

Now I am not that sure about my gardener!!
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CarolineJ



Joined: 29 Apr 2017
Posts: 23
Location: North coast of Scotland

PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my day job, I'm a freelance transcriber and a few months ago I was typing up an interview a university researcher had recorded with the head of training for a worldwide hotel chain. They'd had problems with housekeeping standards being very variable, even within the same hotel, let alone across the chain.

Their solution was to 'McDonald's' the process. They broke the whole process of cleaning a guest's room into steps (to the level of 'To clean the bathroom floor, fill your bucket to X level and add Y amount of Z solution') and made a checklist for each member of the housekeeping team to tick off as they worked through the room on a small tablet, with demo videos available of each process and pictures of how everything should look when it was done correctly, and their standard of cleaning has risen dramatically.

Obviously I'm not quite going to go to those lengths, but I'm definitely going to make a cleaning checklist and ask the owner of the cleaning company I'll be using for changeovers if I've got more than a couple to do or I'm away to sense check it and suggest improvements. Then whether I'm doing the changeover or they are, it should, in theory, be done to the same standard - plus I'll have a signed and dated checklist confirming exactly what was cleaned and any damaged/missing items noted, which might prove useful in case of guest complaints.
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Circé



Joined: 13 Aug 2010
Posts: 369

PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The day a client ever asks me to follow a cleaning checklist which they have compiled is the day we part company.
Yesterday I collected laundry & did a floor wash as requested at the house of owners who'd 'cleaned the house from top to bottom for our paying guests and made the beds'.
Huh : what about the products drawer of the washing machine? Behind & under the microwave? Cleaning & tidying the store room where guests can leave their bikes, where the pool toys and other stuff are stored and where the washing machine hangs out? Getting all the cobwebs down between windows & shutters? Emptying & descaling the kettle & coffee machine? And that's before I looked under the beds!
Now I couldn't go in & do all of that unless I wanted to work unpaid (and I don't do that), and anyway I hadn't scheduled time for it, so on the next changeover all the missing bits will be done, and then the client will pay for it by my spreading out the time over the next few changeovers and be none the wiser. Happy all round, so long as these first guests don't complain (but that's not my problem, is it?!)
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Martha



Joined: 16 Apr 2006
Posts: 2202
Location: Chamonix

PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would never have provided a checklist for our original housekeeper as she was superb at her job.

However since taking it over myself I do have a checklist and it is extremely useful. Our place takes at least two people to turn around and sometimes there is an emergency because of illness or whatever, and you can't get someone who knows the house. It's really brilliant to be able to tell them - there is a file in the cleaning cupboard with a checklist, just follow that, it is all clear.

It details everything from what to start with, to finishing touches if there is time, with photos of the place perfectly made up which note the things to look out for in each room on the final once-over.

It's been really invaluable when something's happened and I've had to get someone casual in to help at the last minute. I use it myself after the off season!
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CarolineJ



Joined: 29 Apr 2017
Posts: 23
Location: North coast of Scotland

PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Circé wrote:
The day a client ever asks me to follow a cleaning checklist which they have compiled is the day we part company.
Yesterday I collected laundry & did a floor wash as requested at the house of owners who'd 'cleaned the house from top to bottom for our paying guests and made the beds'.
Huh : what about the products drawer of the washing machine? Behind & under the microwave? Cleaning & tidying the store room where guests can leave their bikes, where the pool toys and other stuff are stored and where the washing machine hangs out? Getting all the cobwebs down between windows & shutters? Emptying & descaling the kettle & coffee machine? And that's before I looked under the beds!
Now I couldn't go in & do all of that unless I wanted to work unpaid (and I don't do that), and anyway I hadn't scheduled time for it, so on the next changeover all the missing bits will be done, and then the client will pay for it by my spreading out the time over the next few changeovers and be none the wiser. Happy all round, so long as these first guests don't complain (but that's not my problem, is it?!)


Circe, if the firm I'll be using was as good as that, I wouldn't need one either Very Happy However, I don't have the luxury of choice, the next nearest firm would have a round trip of over 50 miles to get to me. This firm cleans my house and while I wouldn't dispute the fact that they do a good cleaning job, they do tend to go through it like an absolute whirlwind. I'll often come back in to find, for example, the living room hearth rug folded in half on the coffee table from when they've moved it to vacuum under and not put it back, or the shades on the bedside lamps at jaunty angles, or the five framed photographs on a shelf all pushed to the back (the only ornaments in the house) or the bathroom light left on with the extractor fan running. That's not what I want my guests to see when they first arrive.
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COYS



Joined: 06 Jun 2015
Posts: 746
Location: Greek Islands

PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CarolineJ wrote:
That's not what I want my guests to see when they first arrive.


Couldn't agree more CarolineJ & this is the biggest bone of contention for us. We address it far too often, directly with our housekeeper but a few empty platitudes later & very little if anything changes.
Whatever the dynamics of the owner/housekeeper relationship are, for us it is a simple rule of thumb in this game - first impressions matter & you only get one shot, so make it count.
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COYS



Joined: 06 Jun 2015
Posts: 746
Location: Greek Islands

PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strap yourselves in, I'm going to bore you all again with my ongoing housekeeping dilemma.
Last week it took more than 5 days to get a one line reply to a simple one question email or text.
Same day change last Saturday. Tumbleweed all weekend so I sent a similar short mail early this morning, again with a text back up. Cue silence & my 72hr target for returning a PP security deposit is fast approaching, so it looks like I'm going in blind again. I know that in all likelihood, & despite last weeks breakage things are probably 'good enough'Rolling Eyes but is it really too much to ask for 30 seconds confirming as much?
After all, if I didn't acknowledge or ignored the next 'payment for services' request at months end I would quite rightly be castigated. Drives me nuts ......
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Mouse



Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Posts: 7167
Location: Balearics

PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That would send me over the edge.....so I feel your frustration.

Can you insist they call you, or take your call, at the end of every changeover? And if they dont then the changeover isnt 'signed off'e.g. paid for?
Not ideal......but it's an easy thing to do for them as you say -30 secs.

Mousie
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GillianF



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 690
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Mouse's suggestion is a good one.

Not paying their invoice in your usual, timely manner might focus their minds.

Don't pay and when they contact you to enquire you can say that as you had not heard from them re changeover, breakages, is it OK to return damages deposits etc. you had assumed they hadn't been in to do the work. Point out, politely, you're sorry because you know how important communication is and that it only takes a few seconds!
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Frenchlady



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
Posts: 137
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We let the property owners know of our findings etc the morning after the changeover. After a 6 hour changeover often in temps of 35 deg just too tired to sit down at the computer (usually busy loading the washing machines). We know how important it is for the owners to know quickly and put their minds at rest that all was "hopefully" ok.

On the other hand it would be so nice if property owners replied to our e-mails. If it is something they do not want to hear our e-mails go into a "black hole". They soon e-mail us though when they have a last min booking and need our services at short notice. Works both ways.
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Running Chrissy



Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi COYS what did you do with your cleaners in the end, did you get rid?
And thanks everyone for all the tips and info in this thread, even though as newbies we find it a bit worrying, it’s also forewarned is forearmed!
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COYS



Joined: 06 Jun 2015
Posts: 746
Location: Greek Islands

PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Running Chrissy wrote:
Hi COYS what did you do with your cleaners in the end, did you get rid?


Yes RC, we parted company.
No amount of dialogue was going to address the issues we had so we pulled the plug.
It came to a head in July when me & MrsC took up an empty week. I had mailed 4 days ahead this time, so no excuse for turning up 'unannounced' & to be honest, although the cleaning was just about reasonable all of the same presentation issues prevailed or were even worse.
Bizarrely we had a half empty kitchen even though it was newly fitted & completely restocked only 8 weeks prior. An eclectic array of mismatched cheap cutlery had usurped the quality items so carefully chosen. Crockery was 30% short even though we supplied plenty of spares for breakages & odd things like jugs, mixing bowls were just plain gone. Likewise, brand new bedding, specifically personalized with our branding was mixed with alien stuff that was clearly marked as belonging to somebody else. Who knows who ended up with ours?
This was barely halfway into a short season & we were completely unaware, void of communication & so it was only going to get worse.
I won't continue - it grates even now, but suffice to say it was the straw that broke the camels back. The polite queries just got the requisite shrug of the shoulders & mumbled excuses.
I explained that we would not lower our expectations or standards to meet theirs & that we will part company at sesons end. Fortunately we only had 5 weeks on our calendar & had already decided that we would block out further bookings.
We have some ad-hoc arrangements in place for next years transition but I for one will be glad to see the back of the rental business. It is way too much grief for too little reward, however I wish you all the best in your own venture RunningChrissy
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Running Chrissy



Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks COYS, appreciated.
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susanj



Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Posts: 161
Location: Estes Park, Colorado

PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting thread. I see you have the same problems overseas as we have in the US.

I've been sacked by 4 cleaners in 16 years. (And had 4 great ones who moved or retired or changed careers.) We pay all our bills immediately, keep our property up well, pay our cleaners well, and I am not a person who yells or is abrasive when I find something not to my liking.

One owner of a service thought I was trying to steal her cleaner (I was not) because I contacted her directly by text. 6 months later she asked to come back to work for us but we had someone else.

One didn't like that we sometimes came and stayed when a guest left and then did the cleaning ourselves. (So now I give them all the cleans to do)

One quit after 3 or 4 months when I mentioned there were cobwebs in one room -"I can't work for someone who is not 100% satisfied with me."

And one -the last property manager we had (now I do it myself except for the cleaning) -said I was a micromanager. I wanted her to take 2 nt stays if that's what we had in-between other bookings, when there was a 3 nt minimum.
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