Unreliable Employees for House Cleaning

Unreliable employees for house cleaning can wreck your maid service. Many house cleaners wonder what to do with unreliable employees who say they want the job and are reliable. But they are tardy, late or no call, no show.

Unreliable employees come in all shapes and sizes. Ask in your interview what motivates employees. Set policies. And put consequences in place for breaking rules and regulations.

Your team is only as strong as your weakest link.

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.

What do You do About Unreliable Employees?

Unreliable Employees, Woman in Bed Looking at Alarm ClockWho wants unreliable employees? Nobody does. But how you deal with them is going to be the secret to success in your business.

When you very first hire somebody, in the interview, they’re going to tell you they are reliable. People are trained to tell you they are reliable because they want the job.

Find Out Why They Want the Job

Unreliable Employees, Women Discussing Business at LunchWhat you need to find out in that interview is why do you want that job. Because there are house cleaners that are motivated by an array of different things. If they have food to feed their family, that is their motivation.

But if they have no motivation whatsoever and it’s not money that motivates them, and it’s not free time. You have to figure out what motivates your employees to push those buttons and keep them reliable.

Explain That You Expect Reliability

Unreliable Employees, Woman Looking at WatchOn day one, it’s important that you explain, “I expect reliability. If I have a customer and we promised them a house cleaning, then I hire you and for whatever reason, you are not reliable, then I have a problem. If I hire you for this job, I need to make sure that I’m not going to have a problem with you later on.”

They say, “Oh yes, yes, I’m reliable. You can count on me.” Then you need to tell them what happens if you can’t rely on them. Right from day one make it clear what your expectations are.

Many Employees Start Their Own Businesses

Unreliable Employees, Woman Cleaning CounterA lot of times in the house cleaning business your house cleaners are going to leave. They’re going to go start their own businesses somewhere else. They’re going to do what they do for you somewhere else for even your same customers.

We all take business from each other whether we like it or not. Whether it’s part of our business plan or not, whether we’re intentional about it or not is irrelevant. We all take business from other people, and your employees will take business from you.

Ask Unreliable Employees to be Independent Contractors

Unreliable Employees, Woman ThinkingOn day one, ask the new person, “Are you coming in as an employee or are you coming in as an independent contractor? Because if you’re coming in as an independent contractor then I will pay you and treat you differently than my employees.

If you bring them in, now you have a choice. You want to hire for attitude. If they are unreliable, they are not going to be an employee. Employees get benefits. Employees get to wear uniforms. They get to drive company cars. 

I take taxes out for the employees so that they can later claim this on their Social Security. If you are an independent contractor, you are on your own. We will fire you from being an employee and rehire you as an independent contractor.

Explain Your Rules to Unreliable Employees

Unreliable Employees, Sick Woman in Bed on phoneYou have to paint the rules. Figure how many late calls or how many no shows or sick calls or whatever it is you allow. You have to figure out what works for your business.

I know one business that has a 40 call out policy. If you call out 40 times, you’re fired. Wow. Somebody told me this yesterday and I’m laughing because I would have fired you long before 40 call outs.

Sometimes people have more leniency than others. Figure out what works for you and spell that out in the rules in the very beginning.

Fire Unreliable Employees to be Independent Contractors

Unreliable Employees, Smiling Woman on PhoneNow I had a girl work for me and she was completely unreliable. I loved her. She was an amazing person and she was a great cleaner.

But I fired her from this status, and she became an independent contractor. She did have a few other jobs, but I don’t know if she did or how she did or when she did, because every time I called her she was available.

I had my regular team and my team would go out and they would clean houses. If somebody called in sick or there was an emergency or whatever, I would call her. She was on call, it was random, she might not work for weeks, she might not work for months.

I would call her and say, “Hey, I need your help. Are you available today?

I would pay her more money because she was on call and did not have the regular income coming in. She usually said, “Oh yes, I’m available.” She would come over and she would clean, and she would do an amazing job.

Some People Aren’t Motivated by Money

Unreliable Employees, Woman Handing a CheckWhat was weird about this scenario is she would hold onto my checks for like three months. She didn’t even cash her checks. It wasn’t money that motivated her.

I have no idea why she would even say yes when she wasn’t even going to cash the checks that I gave her at the end of the workday. I paid for her at the end of every day to ensure she would come back again tomorrow.

Like hey, if I get paid today, there’s a reason for me to come back tomorrow because I know I’m going to get paid again. You have to treat them differently than you do employees.

Work Out Deals With Unreliable Employees

Unreliable Employees, Woman Doing Billings at HomeThere are employment gaps, and you can work out deals with unreliable people. I don’t know why, but there are house cleaners that are good at what they do, but their heart is not in it.

They don’t want to do this every day for a living and they’re not good business people. They’re independent contractors and they have their own accounts that they do sometimes.

It’s a separate process. But they’re great fill-ins for gaps in employment. If somebody quits but you have houses to clean and houses to service, you call that person back ask them to fill in. They’re like, “Sure, no problem.

Unreliable Employees Aren’t Ideal

Unreliable Employees, Confused WomanIt’s great to figure out a way to still have unreliable employees work with your business. Now it’s not an ideal situation.

In a perfect world, everyone would show up on time and they would never get sick. That’s utopia and that does not exist. As a small business owner,  you have to re-motivate all your employees every day. You have to handle unreliable employees.

You have to prepare for that weird moment where somebody doesn’t show up. Every day you ask yourself, “Did all my people show up today?

Unreliable People Can Work in Your Business

Unreliable Employees, Man Cleaning OvenUnreliable people can still work for your business. You have to figure out a way to work with them and a way that they can work back with you.

You have to have that agreement from the very beginning. Because the agreements I have to this day are beautiful. It might not be house cleaning. You might need something else.

You can say, “Hey, you’re available for hire. Can I hire you for this particular set of tasks?” And they’re like, “Sure, I need the money. I’m on my way over.” They’re great people. They’re just unreliable sometimes.0 Savvy Cleaner Spacer Savvy Cleaner

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Employee Retention for Cleaning Companies –

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