Cleaning Business Life

Episode #58 - Transforming Passion into a Thriving Cleaning Biz: An Inside Look with Fresno's Natalie from Peak Cleaning

April 27, 2024 Shannon Miller
Episode #58 - Transforming Passion into a Thriving Cleaning Biz: An Inside Look with Fresno's Natalie from Peak Cleaning
Cleaning Business Life
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Cleaning Business Life
Episode #58 - Transforming Passion into a Thriving Cleaning Biz: An Inside Look with Fresno's Natalie from Peak Cleaning
Apr 27, 2024
Shannon Miller

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When passion and purpose collide, extraordinary things can happen. Just ask Natalie from Peak Cleaning, who transformed her love for helping others into a thriving business right here in Fresno, California. Her journey isn't just about sparkling countertops and streak-free windows—it's about impacting lives, from her clients to her staff, and fostering a sense of community. Our heartfelt discussion peels back the curtain on the personal and professional growth that comes from a cleaning business, all while keeping the conversation as fresh and lively as a newly tidied room.

Ever found yourself elbow-deep in suds, wondering what peculiar turns your workday might take? Natalie shares her side-splitting tales of indoor poultry escapades and surprise pet pig encounters, proving that a day in the cleaning biz is never dull. Beyond the chuckles, we face the realities of staff retention and the no-joke physical demands of the job head-on, with Natalie offering up her tips for keeping healthy and keeping spirits high. You might just pick up a few tricks to enhance your own daily grind.

Rounding out our chat, we focus on the nuts and bolts of nurturing a business from a fragile start-up to a robust enterprise. Natalie walks us through the value of building a rock-solid foundation with Standard Operating Procedures, the strategic moves that propelled her growth, and the innovative ways she says "thank you" to her hardworking team. We also shine a light on the nuanced art of interviewing in today's legal climate and the creative ways to show employees they're valued—because at the end of the day, it’s all about the people. Tune in for an episode that's as enriching and sparkling as the homes Peak Cleaning leaves behind.

Questions? Feel free to reach out!
Kimberly Gonzales: info@purevergreen.com
Shannon Miller: cleaningbusinesslife@gmail.com

Join my FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1583362158497744
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIjMz_-9YyiFvNVIgb61iYg

To order All-Natural Cleaning Products: www.PÜREvergreen.com
See Shannon's latest courses: www.KleanFreaksUnversity.com

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

When passion and purpose collide, extraordinary things can happen. Just ask Natalie from Peak Cleaning, who transformed her love for helping others into a thriving business right here in Fresno, California. Her journey isn't just about sparkling countertops and streak-free windows—it's about impacting lives, from her clients to her staff, and fostering a sense of community. Our heartfelt discussion peels back the curtain on the personal and professional growth that comes from a cleaning business, all while keeping the conversation as fresh and lively as a newly tidied room.

Ever found yourself elbow-deep in suds, wondering what peculiar turns your workday might take? Natalie shares her side-splitting tales of indoor poultry escapades and surprise pet pig encounters, proving that a day in the cleaning biz is never dull. Beyond the chuckles, we face the realities of staff retention and the no-joke physical demands of the job head-on, with Natalie offering up her tips for keeping healthy and keeping spirits high. You might just pick up a few tricks to enhance your own daily grind.

Rounding out our chat, we focus on the nuts and bolts of nurturing a business from a fragile start-up to a robust enterprise. Natalie walks us through the value of building a rock-solid foundation with Standard Operating Procedures, the strategic moves that propelled her growth, and the innovative ways she says "thank you" to her hardworking team. We also shine a light on the nuanced art of interviewing in today's legal climate and the creative ways to show employees they're valued—because at the end of the day, it’s all about the people. Tune in for an episode that's as enriching and sparkling as the homes Peak Cleaning leaves behind.

Questions? Feel free to reach out!
Kimberly Gonzales: info@purevergreen.com
Shannon Miller: cleaningbusinesslife@gmail.com

Join my FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1583362158497744
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIjMz_-9YyiFvNVIgb61iYg

To order All-Natural Cleaning Products: www.PÜREvergreen.com
See Shannon's latest courses: www.KleanFreaksUnversity.com

Speaker 1:

This show is brought to you by the Maids Network. Want to get serious in your cleaning game? Join my group. It's one of the larger Facebook groups just for cleaning business owners. I look forward to seeing you there To the cloud. I don't know why it makes me laugh every time, but it does.

Speaker 2:

A license symbol record to the cloud Natalie. You should say it with your accent. How would you say it? What?

Speaker 3:

What must I say? Say record to the cloud. Record to the cloud.

Speaker 1:

See, it's much more elegant, that's for sure, definitely, oh, my goodness, gracious Well, welcome everyone. Good morning, welcome to Cleaning Business Life and thank you for joining us on this episode with Miss Natalie from Peak Cleaning, located in Fresno, california. Thank you, thanks for having me on.

Speaker 2:

Is it warm there right now?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's in the 60s, 70s, it's not cold. Are you wearing shorts right now? 60s, 70s, it's not cold. Are you wearing shorts right now? No, but I'm wearing short sleeves. There you go. I only wear shorts when it hits 90s.

Speaker 2:

In the 90s, I'll be in the pool.

Speaker 1:

Fresno has grown a lot over the years. I grew up in Southern California. My parents separated California. My mom had Southern, my dad had I'm sorry my mom had Northern and my dad had southern California. So we would go, you know, over summer breaks we'd do the. You know the i-5, the drive yeah, it's just a long drive when you're a kid well, I've known Natalie for a long time.

Speaker 2:

I don't even remember Natalie when we started talking, but it was it's been a while and I remember when you started your business you were like just starting, like you're growing and stuff, and now it's like crazy. You are a huge company and I'm so proud of your growth and just seeing like the growth with you it's just been awesome thank you.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's been good to good to see the change and the growth, and it's been a long journey. It wasn't a quick one, but we're here now, so that's good well, can we ask you a few questions?

Speaker 2:

we'd love to just get to know you a little bit better. Yeah, of course, awesome. So we have to ask you what do you love most about your job? Because that's the biggest thing, I think, being a business owner, we have to constantly ask ourselves why do we love our job, why do we we love owning our business?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think it's the people for me. By nature I just enjoy people, I love to help people, I'm a helper. So I think from the client's point of view I always see it, you know, where it's not necessarily always just a job, it's how we can help them. So it's being more personal with the clients and then, obviously, from the staffing point of view, it's just bettering people's lives hiring them, giving them a job, giving them a purpose and then, you know, teaching them a skill to move on to. You know, this is not a job that people stay in, for some do, but it's generally a pass through job and as long as I've touched someone's life and made them for the better. That's kind of for me what it's all about.

Speaker 2:

I love that. That's how a business owner should look at things, don't you agree, shannon?

Speaker 1:

Oh, totally, I think we were just discussing this in the other podcast. People get upset because there's no longevity in the industry and it really is a pass-through industry.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And sometimes they stay a long time. I've seen cleaning techs that have been in some companies 25, 30 years. I'm like wow, where'd you find that?

Speaker 2:

one. That's the diamond. That's what we call it. Do you have any?

Speaker 1:

cousins that want to work.

Speaker 3:

I have had someone that's just hit five years and I'm like, wow, you know how long are we going to keep you for. But I think it's not just pass through from changes. Also your body burns out. I mean, I don't know how they do it for 25 years. That, from a physical point of view, is more amazing to me than yeah, I'm not sure it must be because I did it for 10 and I'm dying now.

Speaker 1:

You can take a toll for sure. And yoga I always recommend yoga and magnesium daily. Yep Magnesium helps a lot for those listening and radio land.

Speaker 2:

Shannon and I always give our our tips for keeping our bodies in good shape after three hand surgeries I'm like. So, shannon, you know you do the next question? Sure?

Speaker 1:

We would love to know about. You always give me these questions. We would love to know any weird or odd experiences that you or your staff have had and how you have handled the situation Kim knows me so well have had and how you have handled the situation Kim knows me so well.

Speaker 3:

I was actually listening to one of your other podcasts you did where you had some non-so PC ones. I was having a good laugh.

Speaker 1:

I try to keep those filtered, but sometimes I don't.

Speaker 3:

Well, when Kimberly told me this question before I was like oh my goodness, I had to really think. But we probably had two. One is a staff-related issue, which is a good one to explain how we handled it. And then the other one was just a funny. I was still cleaning and in the field and I was kind of taking on any job I could get, because that's how you build your business.

Speaker 3:

I wasn't too fussy in the beginning, right, and a client phonedoned me, said he's got a move out clean. When I meet him there, um, and you know, he'll do a quick walk through and then we can clean that. So I said, yeah, sure, that's fine. When I pulled up he was kind of pulling out of his driveway and he he just handed me 500 and I hadn't quoted him. I think I told him it'd be about 300 at at the time. He gave me $500 out of his window and he says, just excuse the pigsty, go on in. And you know I'm sorry about that, but you know it is what it is, I've got to go.

Speaker 3:

And I was just I was shell shocked. I was like, okay, it's fine, you know it's what we do. I walked in and I didn't see, it wasn't that messy it was. And I opened the one bathroom door and when I told you it was literally a pig sty. He had a pot belly pig that lived in this bathroom and had defecated all over the bathroom. Oh my gosh and um, yeah, so I was. I was like, oh okay, well, this is clearly the pig sty he's talking about and why I got an extra 200 bucks for for cleaning it. So I was just okay, glove up, mask up, and I got in and I did it. It's what you do at the time.

Speaker 2:

So definitely, those are crazy. Had something similar to her house with the chicken, didn't you, shannon? Oh my gosh, it was a chicken chicken style.

Speaker 1:

We have um chickens who insist on being indoor chickens and um she has to lay an egg inside. She drives me nuts, so we have a pot that she has to.

Speaker 1:

She can't go outside with all the other chickens. She has to lay an egg inside this pot. Well, I um asked my daughter to put her outside and she forgot. And then I was trying to get them off to school and I came back and I had just made a whole batch of turmeric ginger shots and I left them covered on in a bowl and a glass bowl because you know turmeric stains. And I had come in and it had looked like a war zone had gone off. There was.

Speaker 1:

She had jumped out of the pot, had walked over to the fireplace which had ashes in it. Thankfully it was not hot ashes, so you could see little marks of her walking across the floor with ashes on it. She brushed her feathers off and all of the dust from the fireplace because I had a computer sitting over there just sprinkled everywhere. And then she hopped on the kitchen counter because the kids didn't put their bagel away so she ate. That broke the plate, broke the bowl that the turmeric ginger shots were in, knocked the blender down. My countertop is still stained yellow. I told Kim I'm like you're going to appreciate this because I wanted to kill this chicken Chicken for dinner.

Speaker 2:

She told me that I was laughing so hard. Like even now tears are like coming out of my eyes because I'm like picturing, like if you've ever read that book, if you give a mouse a cookie, it's going to want a glass of milk. So I pictured that a mix between that and family circus. When you know the family circus they do the little footprints of where the kids have been. Oh yeah, I'm trying to picture the chicken like it started here and so I could see the animals in. I will say I have a chicken too that likes to come in once in a while to lay an egg. So I'm right there with Shannon, but nothing like Shannon's mess.

Speaker 1:

At the sliding glass door to be let in and she will not stop. I'm afraid she's going to break her beak off. It's just crazy.

Speaker 3:

Oh my goodness, she's really domesticated what about your staff situation?

Speaker 3:

Have you had any staff experiences? Yeah, yeah, so I, we had one, and I'll try and skirt around certain of the issues that are probably not PC, but we had a team in a house and, um, they were cleaning and the the while we communicate with a wife fully because the husband had a stroke um a few years ago and he's obviously has a few challenges, so we never really communicate with him, but whenever we come in he's in his office and the ladies do their clean and then they go and it's all fine. The one day they were on the clean and, um, he walked from his office into this like open music room they had like kind of like between the kitchen and the bathroom, kind of went in there and, um, anyway, an incident happened and I didn't know anything. The girls never phoned me or let me know anything, but they came into the office afterwards and they told me that he had gone into this room and he was making noises and they thought that he was pleasuring himself. Um, and they one was in the bathroom and one was in the kitchen, so he was kind of right in between these two, the two ladies, and he was making these sounds and they were absolutely horrified and they didn't want to go back to this house. And I was like, oh my goodness, how do I deal with this now? You know, so I can't, just I don't deal with him. So I've now have to phone the wife and say, well, I'm sorry, we can't come back if this is how it's going to happen.

Speaker 3:

So, anyway, I phoned her. It was probably the most awkward conversation of my life, so I sort of said so, you know, unfortunately we had an incident in the house and the ladies thought that perhaps there was something going on with your husband because he was in the music room and they were very uncomfortable with the sounds that were coming from the room. And we're just not sure if we're comfortable to come back to the house. And she was totally flabbergasted. She didn't know what I was talking about.

Speaker 3:

So, short of me having to physically tell her what the girl's thought was going on, you know, she could not kind of get my undertone to sort of say to her, you know. Anyway, long story short, I eventually did have to tell her because she just was not getting my hints and she was absolutely horrified. Anyway, she said she'd phone me back. So she not. 10 minutes later she phoned me back and it turns out that he had had a medical incident kind of the week before and the doctor told him he had to exercise regularly and they had an exercise bike in this room between the two things and he had obviously gone in there to do his 10 minutes of morning cycle or exercise or whatever.

Speaker 3:

But because of his challenges with the stroke, he obviously, you know, he breathes loudly or he, you know, makes these noises. So anyway, she phoned me to tell me this and I would like to say we still have her to this day because I managed to somehow recover myself out of that situation. The girls were never allowed back at that house. She said to me they are never allowed back in my house If they're going to accuse my husband of, you know, things like that.

Speaker 1:

She was mad as she was supposed to do, walk around the corner to verify that's what I said.

Speaker 3:

I was like well, what do you want us to do? Like go and check to see if he is actually doing what we think he's doing?

Speaker 2:

That's not their job, that's not in their job description oh my goodness.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, but I mean, you learn the art of diplomacy in this job. I'm telling you whether it was with your staff, with your clients, it's. It's one of the first things you have to learn is how to be as polite as you possibly can, but getting your point across, and some people just don't get the nuance.

Speaker 1:

So Unfortunately, sometimes you have to be pretty blunt about whatever it is because they've overstepped and you're just like, well, what did you mean when you said that?

Speaker 3:

yeah, yeah, that was probably the the hardest thing I had to deal with with the clients was that one because, goodness gracious, anyway that'll be back at it now, though, and you're like oof, that was a doozy. So there you go. Those are my two crazies that I thought of.

Speaker 1:

I'm going to write a book one day of cleaning experiences. There's so many stories.

Speaker 2:

Life of a cleaning business owner, the things that you will experience in your job, your business, oh my gosh. So how I? Obviously I've known you for a while and I've seen you grow your customers. So where do you think you are for your customers? Like, how many customers do you think you have right now?

Speaker 3:

so we regular recurring clients, we at about 250, oh nice, yeah, 250. And then we have um, we do, I'm going to say approximately 15 to 20, like one time deep cleans a month, um, so yeah, but on on a regular, continuous basis. We are 250, just just on or just over, it kind of fluctuates. Yesterday we lost two clients but then we gained three. So it's just, you know, it is like that in this industry, that cycle do you focus more on like residential, commercial or construction cleaning?

Speaker 2:

is there something that you focus like more? Primary solely residential, fully residential, fully residential, yeah we don't do any um commercial at all.

Speaker 3:

And then we don't really do post. We'll do remodel cleans, um, but not necessarily post-construction, where they've just built the house and you're doing a rough clean and uh, you know, those cleans we don't do that, we just do residential.

Speaker 2:

That's cool, that's good to know. I didn't know that. I just learned something new about you.

Speaker 2:

Oh, there you go oh my gosh, yeah, so that's our focus. That's cool, yeah, um, and then what do you, what have you done to, like, increase your customers, like marketing network, like what would be the best advice? To tell a lot of these new people and I see it, we see it, shannon, and I see it in the groups all the time Well, I need more customers, I need to get more customers. What do I do? I need you know? So what would be your advice for you know our audience of how to get more customers?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I know, I mean it's a hard one to say because I don't really. I mean, like um chan said right in the beginning, fresno is, is it's big, it is growing and it's continuously growing. So there is no shortage of houses, clients or and I mean you can we've got quite a few cleaning companies, but there's enough for everybody and more. And I even make my um. We live in a county that's really big, we call Fresno County and it's it's massive, but we don't even do the whole county. We stick to pretty much a very specific service zone and we have more than enough. We have over half a million like people in just our service zone living in our service zone. So I Yelp.

Speaker 3:

Yelp is a big thing for me. We do Yelp as much as it's not my favorite, and I hate the way their algorithm works.

Speaker 1:

I think we all agree.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, but it is very big in Fresno. Everyone if they want something, they go on to Yelp. So I mean we have to we what works for us in our um industries. So yelp and then my and my website. I have seo running on our website and then, um, pretty much just referrals, nothing else. I don't honestly don't do a lot of marketing at all. I don't do outside of that um. We do a lot of charity work and we do we're with cleaning for a reason. We do a lot of charity work and we do we're with cleaning for a reason. We do a lot of like when schools have these charities. We do like nurse cleaning, free cleans. We do a lot of that and we actually get a lot of clients from those things. We give away a clean and then we seem to keep them as clients. That's awesome, but it's more community-based. Yeah, that's a hard one for me. A lot of people. It works for us but it doesn't. Each industry or each market is different.

Speaker 1:

You know it's hard to pinpoint and say whatever so, just so that the audience is clear, as you use yelp. And then what was the second one off your website, acl, you said oh sorry, seo, um, oh seo, gotcha se, perfect, it's just so, because I didn't hear you, so I apologize. So that's awesome that you can get away with just that. So just can you give us a ballpark range on what you hypothetically are spending with Yelp to make it work for you?

Speaker 3:

Oh, $500 a month. I spend very little yeah.

Speaker 1:

That's actually pretty reasonable for Yelp.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and they phone me every month and I'm just firm with them and I say, nope, it works for me. Thank you very much. I don't want any more from you guys. I don't need it. If I want to up it, I will and I end the conversation Because they're aggressive and they'll keep you on there for hours trying to push you up and tell you you could have more hits and likes and I'm just like no, thank you, I'm all right. And I do check on Yelp, though I do track to see that I am getting the clicks. You know, because you can. When you put in an advert, you can go in and see okay, what days, what are you getting? How are you getting it? And I do track that and we definitely have weeks and it's actually it's pretty regular if I can track month for month, like our first week of the month is very low, our second and third is very high and then our fourth is low again.

Speaker 1:

Interesting and it's month on month true leads. They're not like fake leads, for you know, everybody else offering services comes in and tries to get you to get their service. Sorry, when, when yelp works, I have found that it's like a 50, 50, 50 of them, 50 of what who call you are actual, real leads, and then the other part of that is not a really. They're like an another service trying to do you find that happens in your market. Um, I haven't picked that up.

Speaker 3:

To be honest, I have to say that I have. Yeah, I know I don't. No, I've never noticed that.

Speaker 1:

That's fantastic. I love it.

Speaker 2:

And I love that you do charity work and you donate a lot. I really feel like that's so important in our businesses to be able to give back. Not only is it so good for us knowing that we're helping somebody else, but at the same time, it shows the community that you're involved in the community, that you care, that you love and they notice those things, and if you were to support a company, they'd want to support a company that gives back to others. So that's a great way to market and you're still marketing, but you're doing it with, like you know, giving back. I love that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah it's, it's big. It's always been like that for me. I've always wanted to. One thing I'd love to get into is more parents with sick children. That's where my heart really is to just really help the moms or dads that have got sick children. I just haven't got the avenue yet. I would say. I've been so busy building that I need to get to a point where I can go into the next phase. You know, Right, Not there yet Definitely.

Speaker 1:

And then, looking back to when you first started, what are some of the things you've learned to help your listeners Like? Was there anything specific to really get them up and going? I know you had mentioned marketing. Is there anything else?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think that you can't grow in a matchbox and a lot of people think that you know you can if you want to grow but you're too scared to take on staff or you're too scared to step out and maybe get an office or get a website. You need to understand that if you want to grow, you have to do those things. You have to step out of your matchbox and take the risks or take the hit that comes with that. And I'm talking about personal. You know, like I didn't take a salary for two years. I mean I was lucky to say my husband worked separately. He's now in the business with me, but he worked separately so we could do that. But you know it's the only way you're going to grow is to make those sacrifices. So I always say educate yourself for sure.

Speaker 3:

Do your Clean Freaks University, do all these courses that are out there, because you know everybody's business is individual, so you know you work a framework. I've done lots of different courses but I take little bits from every one. I don't follow one specifically from beginning to end, because what works in their market might not work in mine. Right, but every bit of information that I get I can learn. I can adapt and create my system that works for me. And as you do things, you go okay, well, that doesn't work, let me try this, that works great. And then you form your own system but getting an office for us was was huge Stepping out of the garage.

Speaker 2:

We've all been there.

Speaker 3:

Storage unit yeah it just legitimizes to a certain extent. I don't know if it's me, if it legitimized me for my company, or it just felt like, yeah, you know kind of, I have arrived and I can keep growing, but yeah, you just have to step out. You can't think that you oh, I don't want to get staff, I'm too scared to get staff. You're never going to grow unless you risk certain things.

Speaker 2:

Definitely I like that. What are your goals for this year? Because I know we all set goals at the beginning of the year. So what are some of your goals?

Speaker 3:

And I'd love to hear them. So my big goal for this year is to set up SOPs, Standard Operating Procedures. I spent so many years, kind of like I said, adapting as we've gone along, that we've now got to a stage where we know what we're doing but nothing is documented, Nothing is kind of structured. And I always say you want your business to be able to. If you wanted to sell it tomorrow it could sell, and my business is not there in the sense of my standard operating procedures. So that's my goal for this is to set up all those things. Take every department or every factor of the business and build and document and create sops for everything so that if ever you step out it's there and also when you start getting office staff, you know if they change. You don't want to have to repeat what they're doing, just give them a folder and say read that.

Speaker 2:

You should start doing that, like when do you think in your business you should start at, you know, start that process.

Speaker 3:

I think I've left it too long, to be honest. I probably should have started about two years ago. Um, yeah, I don't. Uh, I mean I left it too. I've been very hands-on in my business, which is good in a lot of ways, but it's also it's that whole thing of you're never going to grow if you're working in your business, not on your business. Um, it's. We've all heard that saying from all the gurus out there. They all say it. But unless you actually change your mindset, it's very difficult. And I've always worked in my business to a large extent, and I'd say the last year I really have started stepping, stepping back a lot more. So, yeah, but I probably should have done it about two years ago. So I mean, I think when you, I mean we're at 20 staff, I probably should have started it at 10 staff, you know, because you're repeating yourself every time you hire somebody new, right?

Speaker 1:

I mean I'm going to write that down and then, like you know, weeks go by, you're like, oh, I was going to write that down. I remember it's interesting that you mentioned standard operating procedures, because I have been working on something behind the scenes for everybody else who doesn't have any idea of what those should be. So I love hearing that just confirms I'm going in the right direction. So that's awesome.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, it's a. It's a great tool to have. I mean I wish somebody would write mine for me. I don't have to do it.

Speaker 1:

All you have to do is get the book and then go through the thing. Yeah, and just pick what I need. What kind of cleaning supplies are you using and why?

Speaker 3:

So we have a mix. We're not. I know Kimberly's going to cry with me when she hears me say this yeah, come on in close. We are a mix of we're not solely organic green cleaning company. I've tried it and just for the nature of what we clean in Fresno or in our industry, it just doesn't work. But our main cleaning product is Pure Evergreen. I'm very proud to state that we use that on 90 of surfaces and it's great.

Speaker 3:

My clients love the fact. It's one of my biggest selling pointers that I say we use all organic for our main cleaning for surfaces, floors, everything like that. It's safe for their pets, for their children and for our staff. A lot of the time I'll say to clients we're actually protecting our staff because we're the ones who are breathing it in. Five days a week, eight hours a day. They only see us every two weeks or once a week. So, um, it's not. As for me, it's not as important about the client as it is actually about my staff. So, um, and they love it. So we have we alcohol, we use a citrus-based acidic cleaner for the bathrooms, and then obviously pure evergreen, and then we have one or two other non-green products. But they work.

Speaker 2:

But your bags are pretty minimal. So when your staff goes into the houses, your bags are pretty minimal. They don't have an overabundance of supplies.

Speaker 3:

No, so we take um into each house. We take literally one. We have those husky bags. I think a lot of the cleaners use those now. We have a husky bag and inside is all our products, all our cloths, everything that we need is in that bag. They take nothing else other than a mop room and a vacuum into the house um, a ladder, obviously. So, yeah, everything will fit in there. So we probably have four products and then the rest is cloth scrubbers, things like that, and we can do a deep clean, a really hectic deep clean, with those products.

Speaker 2:

Do you feel like the training time has gone down? You know, obviously using Pure Evergreen and then your other products. Do you feel like when you train your staff to use the products, do you feel like your training time has gone down so they're not having to choose all these different products and get confused?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean definitely we. They know that. They just, I always say if all else fails, just use Pure Evergreen. This bottle broke. I'm like, don't worry, just use Pure Evergreen, you're okay. So yeah, definitely, I mean our training is intense. I can't say that I think the confusion of usage of what to use where that has definitely minimized training time no, because our training is intense, we do two weeks of solid training with our staff um, uh, so are you teams?

Speaker 2:

yeah, I was just gonna ask that because we just did a podcast before this about triples and like, doubles, like and then solo. So what do you use? We do both solos and teams.

Speaker 3:

But uh, we're solos, primarily solos, but we we have a rule of up to four hours will be a solo 345. Three hours, 45 minutes is a solo cleaner. Soon as we go over that we will team um and then it's not a specific team, it's whoever's available, they just meet at the house. So they're still all going their own cars, they all. We run as if we're a solo, independent company. But they will meet at a house and go to we. We always say the clients are like, oh yeah, but I don't want different teams. We always just say, look, after three hours, 45 to four hours, the staff are tired, right, and then you're gonna get worse quality and complain and I'm gonna lose you as a client. So trust me when I tell you it's better to have a team once we hit four hours and they. We've got some very big houses, so we have anything from three, two and then solos what is the biggest house you have done?

Speaker 2:

sorry, what was that? What was the biggest house you've done?

Speaker 3:

we've got a 7 000 square foot home on service currently um. So our generally our houses are from 2 500 up to about 5 000. That's our. That's kind of where we sit a lot, and then we've got quite a few of the again then 16 to 2,200.

Speaker 2:

So for that 7,000 square foot, how many do you send to that house? Three, three. Yeah we're talking about that. We're trying to figure out.

Speaker 3:

We did the math breakdown of like what it costs to having like bigger teams and how long it takes and yeah, it's not always financially viable because I always say I can send one person solo to a house for x and then if I times that by three I'm not getting the same amount of money, because that person who lives in the seven thousand dollar home is not going to pay four hundred dollars, you know, for one clean. Well, you know they should, but they don't really want. If I'm like if I can get 200 for one, then I should be getting 600 for three of them in your home, you know, but they don't always want to pay 600, so sometimes it's not viable. But we do them a lot of those on the weekly. So then it makes it financially worth it for us because it fills that weekly spot. I'm getting a set 500 a month from that house, as opposed to then trying to find an extra three clients, right, so that makes sense.

Speaker 2:

So we have to ask what is your secret for retaining employees? I know this is one of the biggest things in the cleaning industry um is being able to keep employees.

Speaker 3:

I think it's my nature is to be very understanding. I'm a people person, so I'm a very understanding person. So I think there's that. But there also has to be boundaries and it's a very fine line you have to draw. I often say staff are like children, there has to be boundaries and accountability, because they just can misbehave. I know it sounds terrible to say that set staff for like children, there has to be, there has to be boundaries and accountability, because they just can misbehave. I know it sounds terrible to say that, but you know they just if you don't have set boundaries, they they don't. You know they feel like they can just push that, push that envelope just a little bit, a little bit, a little bit, and if you don't kind of put your boundary in there, then they'll push it too far.

Speaker 3:

But we're very good to our staff. We do a lot of incentives, we do a lot of giveaways. Um, we, we kind of do every staff meeting we'll have a theme and we'll have a little gift bag for them. Um, we just do a lot for them to make them feel like they're valued. I think that's everything people want is just to feel like what they're doing is valued. When we get compliments. We blast it out all over our discord pages. We um, you know, we give them, we do birthday celebrations. It's just. I really think it's just about uplifting them and who they are what are some of the uh incentives?

Speaker 2:

because I'm kind of curious, like to give examples. What are some of the incentives?

Speaker 3:

so we normally do two or three a year and one that is very. We've got two that are very popular. One is we have this like um, you know those spin boards or whatever, and we put um cash or gift cards on there and then they have to achieve certain things. So like, if they get a compliment or a review, they get a point. If they get um, if they come to, I mean it's silly that we have to incentivize them to come to work. But if they come to, I mean it's silly that we have to incentivize them to come to work. But if they come to work for like a whole week without a call out or something crazy happening, they can get a point and kind of those types of things. And then we do what's called check-in on a thursday. So they all come into the office on a thursday, change out, get their um, top up their chemicals, whatever they need, get their cloths, and then we they can spin the board and they can win, depending on how many points they get. They get spins and things like that. So that's the one. And then we have another one which we normally do at december, which we kind of build into their bonuses, is we call it bucks in a bottle, and they each get a bottle with their name on it, um, and then they can earn bucks, literally dollars. So again, we put in criteria.

Speaker 3:

So if they get a review or a five-star rating from a client, if they have to do something extra and photograph it, we have this little something extra that they do. We don't normally do for a client, but they'll wash out the dog bowl or make a swan on the towels, whatever it is, you know something fun. If they do that, then they post it to a board and they can earn bucks. And then every week we put their bucks into this bottle and then just before Christmas they get to take the bottle home and they I mean I think one year they were some of them had like three to $400 in this bottle that they'd earned over six to eight weeks.

Speaker 3:

But we, we budget for that. That's part of what I put away like every month, something towards running these incentives for the staff, because it's it's cash. I mean, yeah, um, but that's how we do it and a lot of our cash clients, we kind of just put that in the safe for those things, yeah, and then the staff and they have fun with it. We had one where they had to do a scavenger hunt around the city, so we put things out for the week. Okay, you have to take a photo of another cleaning company, or you have to take a photo of a funny billboard, um, and then they posted it. They had groups and we just make it fun that's awesome.

Speaker 1:

I love those ideas. Those are some great ideas, definitely. So let's talk a little bit about interviews for hiring. What are some key questions for the newbies out there listening that they should ask when looking for the?

Speaker 3:

perfect cleaning time.

Speaker 1:

I'm in California, you cannot ask anything I know it's a it's to operate out there.

Speaker 3:

You cannot ask. You know, I find it so hard because this is not a job or an industry where you can ask about experience or um. You know, if you're going for a job as an admin assistant or a marketing manager, whatever you it's, what have you done? What are your things? You can't do that. These people are generally coming from the food industry or we have a lot of people coming from the fruit packing or things like that coming to these jobs. So I can't ask them those kind of jobs and I cannot ask them anything about themselves.

Speaker 1:

So, being in California, it's really crazy, I've heard. But in general, how do you skirt around?

Speaker 2:

the um, yeah, so so to speak.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so one of the big questions that I ask and I wrote down is I, I always ask um, if I had to ask your previous company what your attendance was like, what would they say? So that kind of gives me an idea of depending on how quickly they answer. If they go, yeah, no, no, no problem, nothing, then I know, okay, there were probably somebody who genuinely came to work. Or if they're like, um, well, you know, there was maybe one or two times, then I'll be like, okay, um, and then I generally listen more and I ask them to so, so tell me about that, so they'll tell me. And I ask them to so, tell me about that, so they'll tell me, and I look for red flags.

Speaker 3:

So it's really I ask them a lot about their previous jobs. Why did they leave their job? And based on they'll sometimes I'll say, oh well, because you know management, they didn't like the management. So they will tell me about that, because I'm looking for red flags. Is it always management's fault, or is it always your colleague's fault, or do you take accountability for whatever happened at work? So those kinds of questions. And then I always ask them what's their goal over the next year. So that allows me to kind of see where they are in their mind. At this point. I don't want to know your five-year goal, because I just want to kind of know where you're at in your life right now and where are you kind of seeing where you want to go in the next year. That will tell you a lot about a person. If you ask them what their now next year's goal is and what else did I ask and I always ask them how did they have a difficult situation in work and how did they handle it? It also gives me an idea.

Speaker 1:

Awesome, Do you background check? We always used to ask you know we do national background checks, Can you pass one? And that would usually indicate, like you know, that would be their opportunity to vomit, whatever it was. It's like well, that's like five felonies. I'm like, what were they for?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, so we used to be able to. We're not allowed to anymore. In California, you actually not even you have to offer the position and then run background you're not allowed to run background prior to offering positions.

Speaker 3:

Wow, it's changed so much. That is, it makes it up. But in that, in saying that because of our training is so strict, I gen you, I can I let go a lot during training. If I hire three, only one will stick. So I like hiring batches of two or three and then we kind of split them out over, starting over three weeks, and then generally two will fall off because you don't really get to know who they are until they start with you and I make in my initial thing. I say you have to pass training in order to proceed with us and these are the criteria. So we, we judge them. We're not judged. We assess them every day on and one of the things is personality, punctuality, speed and quality. Those are the things that we assess every single day and if they fail on personality, um, we let them go during training I didn't realize california had so many.

Speaker 2:

It's crazy strict red tape things that you have to go through. That is insane. Natalie, I don't know how you like. It must be so hard having a business in California with all these rules.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean it can be challenging, but I suppose it's like any state. There's always challenges somewhere. It's just the people challenges, I think, for us. But once you accept them, you just make sure that you're covered from an HR point of view. You've got to be very strong in your HR. In California I saw your listeners out there in California.

Speaker 2:

I said all our listeners that are in California.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, just make sure your.

Speaker 2:

HR is strong.

Speaker 1:

That's her advice for Californians and I believe they also offer extra classes to help educate you guys more than in other states. I know Massachusetts has their Department of Labor has extra classes that you can take online, and I believe California does as well to keep abreast of all of those extra requirements.

Speaker 3:

No, they're very good, yeah, and your chambers also have a lot of resources. If you belong to your chamber, they have, like we've got something called not just the chamber in your county but Cal Chamber, which is California Chamber of Commerce. They have all the notices that you put up, they do trainings and like Zoom training, so you just sign up, you don't have to attend, and then you just download and they teach you, like the termination, what you should and shouldn't do and all those things. So if anyone is in California and they're worried, just go to the Cal Chamber and if you belong to them, you can actually get free legal advice on certain aspects. Obviously, if it needs to go to lawyer arbitration, that's different, but just basic like oh, I really need to get rid of the staff member.

Speaker 3:

But I had a situation where someone was on workman's comp, out for workman's comp, but there were other factors that were involved and I reached out to the chamber to say, well, what is my recourse? And they said you have not. Basically, um, you have to just stick it out because she's on workman's comp if you do anything disciplinary, and she can tell you because of that. You know.

Speaker 2:

So, right, but they were a great resource at that time for me, so is there any like incentives, like because, california, I feel like you're shelling out so much money for your business. Is there any incentives that they give you for your business?

Speaker 3:

no, it's like oh well, done, you have a business, thanks, pay me. It's kind of how it works absolutely wild but it's I mean, but then the other side of it, I suppose, is we get, we can charge more. You know, when a lot of you guys that are inland I suppose we do charge, our hourly rates are higher than you guys oh, definitely on the coast, east and west coast there's a lot more, because your cost of doing business is higher.

Speaker 1:

I mean, it's crazy, the 401k thing and then the other thing that goes along with that, and then you have to have special insurance for that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, and your sick leave. We're up to now 40 hours of sick leave, mandatory, whoa.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, a week for the year.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, 40 hours mandatory sick leave.

Speaker 2:

Wow, yeah, it's a week. So, you really have to charge a good amount to be able to cover that. Yeah, you have to put that in escrow.

Speaker 3:

I mean the problem with us is because we're in Central Valley, it's a bit difficult. We're not on the coast so we don't kind of have that same. We don't have those same incomes as the coast has. So we're kind of valley, so incomes as the coast has. So we're kind of valley. So we're in a little bit of a funny spot that we can't charge the 70, 80 dollars an hour in the back here in the valley. So we're not as bad as 40, 50 but we're definitely not up there with the 70, 80s so it's wild, it's absolutely wild.

Speaker 1:

Well gosh, thank you so much for coming on. I really thank you. Station we have. I learned a couple things about california that I didn't know. Great like we walk away.

Speaker 3:

We need help on california. Well, thanks for having me on. I appreciate it. I couldn't talk too much. No, no, we enjoyed it.

Speaker 1:

You have any questions for us? No, we enjoyed it. Do you have any questions for us?

Speaker 3:

I went to binge listen to your podcast, where it was actually very entertaining. So thank you, you're welcome.

Speaker 2:

We try to separate ourselves from the other cleaning business podcasts. We try to like make it fun and entertaining.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, no, it's great. And let me know when you bring up those sops.

Speaker 1:

I'm definitely going to invest in that one definitely it's, it's a goal, it's on the it's on the agenda for this year. I started it last year but I I had too much going on to finish it of my yeah, my old man who passed away in january. So, um, yeah, he was. I love that dog. I still like have moments of like weepiness over a dog. He's eight pounds at my. I had him for 19 years, five months and 10 days.

Speaker 3:

Well, I'm starting to well. Now I'm like I don't know if.

Speaker 1:

I'm ever gonna get another dog. I have three other dogs, but there's just that one dog, you know, yeah, oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Oh, don't be sorry, he's not suffering anymore. So thank you though. Oh, that's a good thing all right. Well, ladies, thank you have a great day, thank you so much thank you cleaning business life is sponsored by pure evergreen cleaning products. That's p-u-r-e-v-e-r-g-r-e-e-ncom. Pure evergreen cleaning products.

Cleaning Business Growth and Motivation
Longevity and Unusual Cleaning Experiences
Cleaning Business Owner's Customer Insights
Business Growth and Standard Operating Procedures
Employee Incentives and Interview Strategies
Cleaning Business Podcast Interview and Sponsor