Do you need a uniform?
Yes, you do. And here’s why: When you show up to clean a house looking the exact same way every time you show up, you send an unconscious message that you are offering a consistent product or service.
Uniforms Reinforce Your Company Brand
Do you need a uniform?
Yes, you do. Here’s why. When you show up to clean a house looking the exact same way every time, you send the message that you are consistent. This translates at an unconscious level as you offering consistent service.
Let’s suppose you show up one day with sweat pants and your hair in a ponytail. And then next time in jeans and hair down and flip flops. And then next time in sweats and a bun. Nobody knows quite what to expect. (Even if they are just watching you on a home security camera.) Each time you clean, there will be an unconscious jarring that says “you never know what you’re going to get from me.”
Keep it super simple. Wear a uniform that is appropriate to the job they are expecting you to do.
When you go to the Emergency Room and a guy walks in with a lab coat, you immediately feel like he knows what he is doing right? He must be a doctor, he has a lab coat on. A lab coat and scrubs is a uniform consistent with the job we expect a doctor to do.
But if he tries to take your blood and he is wearing jeans and a biker jacket, you might think twice about handing your veins over.
A Uniform, Like a Picture, Speaks a Thousand Words
It lends credibility to your business. It also builds confidence in the person wearing the uniform. Or rather keeps them in character with the job they are performing. This is important if you are just starting your house cleaning business. You want to “look” like you know what you are doing right from the start.
Your uniform doesn’t have to be expensive or have embroidered logos or a company name on it, although those are great options.
I recommend saving embroidered logos until you are ready to hire a team and expand your cleaning services. Then I do encourage everybody on your cleaning team to match and look alike.
If you are a solo cleaner – a simple consistent uniform will do just fine. Your object is to get up and running right away with minimal start-up costs.
So my suggestion is to buy plain simple clothes online at a uniform store.
Buy six or seven of the same outfits so you have clothes to wear every day and you’re only doing laundry only once a week.
NOTE: When you are ready to make a logo and get it printed or embroidered on your shirts there are several companies that do a great job. See “Resources” at the end of this post for special deals Savvy Cleaner has negotiated with our partners for your convenience and savings.
For your uniform shirt, you can pick any color you want.
If you have already created a media kit for your business – you will have company colors.
If you haven’t chosen colors yet for your business, do that before you choose your uniform colors. Again this reinforces the consistency in your brand.
The rule of thumb is to pick two colors – three at the most for your business. Use these colors in everything you use to brand your business.
Choose shirts that are stretch polyester. They are super comfortable, they last forever, they are stain resistant and breathable. Best of all, they have a lay flat collar that doesn’t curl.
Order 7 new shirts a year. This gives you one for every day you work so you only have to do laundry once a week. I usually save 2 shirts to toss in the mix about halfway through the year if one gets stained, ripped or torn.
I used to buy my shirts at Costso or Khols – but now I order them from a uniform store. They specialize in service industries like house cleaning. And they have some fantastic athletic style fabrics designed to wick away sweat.
At the end of the year, (or whenever they wear out) rotate all the shirts. Last year’s work shirts become this year’s gardening shirts. Or when you are doing move out cleans or attic or garage cleans where you are bound to get them dirty or soiled.
You might find that your seven shirts last two or three years – that’s fine. You only need to replace them when they no longer represent a top notch professional look.
Time Saving Bonus for Wearing Uniforms
Wearing the same outfit every day takes the guesswork out of what you will wear, so it saves time getting dressed each day.
For uniform pants, I buy Dickies or some other form of loose fit cargo pants (with lots of pockets) online. They come in a wide variety of colors including camel, navy, and black.
You can buy them from Workwear USA ($9 – $19 a pair) or Amazon
Navy and black are preferable since they don’t show grime as easily, as lighter colored pants. Work pants are durable and have double stitching on the seams and pockets. Most of them are made from stain resistant stretch fabric. Most you can wear every day for three to four years of daily use without needing to replace them. I’ve had the uniform pants I’m wearing now going on three years and they’ll hold out for another year or two. They are colorfast and they don’t fade.
The dark pants go well with solid color shirts. I recommend ones with big cargo pockets on the side where you can hide your cell phone, and small cleaning utensils5. The ones I wear have a back pocket on both butt cheeks that button. This is perfect to hold the handle of a Swiffer duster without it falling out. This way you always have it within reach if you need it.
Pick one color of the shirt and one color of pants and stick with that combo.
Remember we’re going for consistency here. If you keep changing the color of clothes, it’s subtle, it has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of work you do. But your clients know something is not the same as before, and they will assume it’s your work. Solve that question before it becomes conscious.
For shoes, I wear comfortable sneakers with good support and I do not remove the shoes when I go into homes. Rather I buy in bulk from a medical store, shoe booties or shoe covers that slide right over my shoes. This protects my shoes from scuffing hardwood floors as I clean.
The shoe covers I buy are:
- Manufactured from spun bond polypropylene
- Sewn seams, not glued – offers greater strength
- All come in a blue color
- Elastic opening provides a snug comfortable fit
- Non-skid shoe covers offer improved floor traction
Turn Any Sneakers into Slip-Ons
Some house cleaners prefer to take off their shoes when they clean rather than wear shoe covers. It really comes down to personal preference.
For those who prefer to slip off their shoes, I recommend Hickies to replace your shoelaces. They turn any sneakers into slip-on shoes. This way if you have to run outside to dump out a mop bucket or you have to go to your car for extra supplies you can get in and out of your shoes in a jiffy.
NOTE: Hickies are also awesome for people who have a tough time bending over to reach their shoes to tie them.
- Never tie your sneakers again
- Snug, secure fit for an active lifestyle.
- Made from Memory-fit elastomer that reacts to the movement of your foot.
I buy my shoe covers and nitrile gloves at the same company. (You can also buy latex or plastic) but I find non-powdered nitrile gloves are more durable than plastic or latex. They are all about the same price and come in a box of 100 for an average of $9.99 per box. If you buy them in bulk you can get ten boxes of 100 for about $4.50 a box. When you combine your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) items (Gloves, shoe covers, and face masks) in the same order by reaching a certain dollar amount, you can usually get free shipping.
Face Masks (Protective Equipment for Nasty Jobs)
Doctors use these face masks when performing operations and I find there are some nasty cases in cleaning where these come in super handy. I keep them in my car and use them for jobs like attic cleaning, and garage cleaning. They are also helpful for households with lots of pets or in-home smokers or during pollen season or if customers are sick.
- Procedure Masks offer a flexible nose piece that helps form a closure for better protection against exposure
- Pleated earloop procedure masks with glass-free filter
- Also available with optically clear plastic wraparound face shield which provides protection for the face and eyes against pathogens contained in body fluids
- Mask has fluid resistant shield
- Latex free
- Ear Loops
If you are a guy, cut your hair short and shave. Unless you are an actor and you have a signature look, a tidy clean professional look sends the branding message that your service is also well groomed.
If you do have long hair as a girl or guy, when you get out of the shower in the morning (and yes, you do shower before going to work, even if you will need a shower when you get home), make sure when your hair is wet, to pull it back in a tight knot. (Bun, clip or hair tie.) This removes the need for styling before you go which will again save time on your morning routine.
I have shoulder length hair and I add a glob of conditioner to my towel dried but still wet hair, work it through my hair, (which acts like moisturizing gel to hold the hair in place) then do a side sweep of wet hair over my forehead and back into a tight bun with a clip. Four bobby pins hold wisps from getting away, and it’s very tight, clean, look that promotes consistency, and it keeps my hair from falling in the Clients house – which I will later have to clean up.
While you are running flyers and setting appointments, your uniforms can be shipped and in transit.
Hickies – Turn any sneaker into a slip-on shoe