How to set up a professional cleaning business.
This website is bursting at the seams with specific information on starting a cleaning business, so today we are going to take a more philosophical approach by looking at what it means to be a professional.
What gives someone the right to call themselves a professional? Are there legal requirements to be met? Or are there ethical and moral standards one must aspire and adhere to, in order to be considered a professional?
If you have ever dealt with an unscrupulous plumber or electrician, you have probably wondered whether we all agree on some basic guidelines for being professional. We advocate that you devote yourself to some basic principles to obtain the title of professional cleaner extraordinaire. Not to worry, I'm not going to pontificate about the intrinsic implications of morality, even though I do enjoy that sort of time-waster. These are common sense ideas that from time to time seem to vaporize right out of the service contractors’ universe.
Being professional means holding to more rigid standards of ethical behavior than you might in your personal life. Observe industry standards in the cleaning profession. Be skillful and attentive. Do not pursue personal agendas on your cleaning clients’ dime and time. Work hard, play fair. Be dignified when representing your cleaning business, your employees and yourself. Deliver service above and beyond the average for the cleaning industry, which I’m sad to say can be quite low.
These basic concepts are not a whole lot different from the basic commandments encouraged by various wisdom traditions.
Thou shall be on time. (See, it's simple!) Sometimes one is delayed for good reasons, and that is why you should always leave a little early. However, do not arrive early. Time your trip according to the travel conditions. I often had to park around the corner and read or I guess these days you could surf. But I was rarely late or early and I know people really like this trait in a professional, even if they do not notice it consciously. Be late, or too early though, and they will immediately take note.
Communicate clearly. Keep it simple, and keep it about the job you are doing. Do not repeat yourself about an issue over and over. State it once and come to a conclusion. Never make excuses when receiving a criticism, simply thank them for the feedback and adjust. Criticism is like a hand-wrapped gift that your client has just given you. Treat it as such
Treat others as you would like to be treated. The golden rule. Be clear, polite, calm and attentive.
Leave people alone - be like a ghost. Do not get curious about a client outside of your own thoughts. Do not look for validation of your attitude towards them, just clean the darn house and bend your thoughts toward the job at hand. I was so quiet (in-between vacuuming tasks) on my cleaning jobs that often people had thought I left and were startled to run into me in the hall. The ghost cleaner!
Do not discuss religion or politics. Must you, really? Why not just enjoy the freedom and tranquility that professionalism offers you? If you need to vent, do it on your own time in the appropriate forum or at the pub.
Do something special for your client. Every couple months, leave a flower or a small gift or a nice note full of kind wishes, etc. Random acts of kindness are so rare from service professionals that if you do it, you are almost certain to keep that client for as long as you wish.
One the great things about having a professional cleaning business is that if you wish, you can find the time to study such arcane things as moral philosophy and ethical discourses. Or you can just go fishing!