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Implementing SOPs to Make Your Cleaning Business Shine

Running a successful house cleaning business involves more than just delivering a sparkling clean home to your clients. If you want to stand out in this competitive industry, you need efficient operations, consistent service quality, and exceptional customer satisfaction. In other words, you need strong standard operating procedures (SOPs), ideally accompanied by software to enhance their effectiveness.

In this article, we will explore best practices for residential cleaning businesses and look at how leveraging SOPs with modern technology can help you sweep away the competition.

Implementing Detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

When you onboard a new employee, you need to be certain that they will be able to operate independently following training - after all, as your business scales, you won't be physically able to be at every job to make sure things are done properly! To ensure your cleaners all adhere to the same high standards of consistency, quality, and efficiency while representing your business at your clients’ homes, you need to provide detailed SOPs across all aspects of your services.

The following sections provide thought-starters to create SOPs for your business:

Client Onboarding and Initial Assessment

Effective client onboarding sets the stage for clear communications and aligned expectations. This is your chance to show your client how professional and thorough you are, and it’s the first step to building a long-term, profitable relationship.

Responding to Client Enquiries

Capture client details through the website, phone, or in-person inquiries, and respond within 24 hours of lead capture.

Use a standard script to introduce the company and gather basic information about the client’s cleaning needs. Sample questions could include:

  • How many bedrooms and how many bathrooms?
  • How many stories is the house?
  • What kind of flooring do you have? (carpet, hardwood, etc.)
  • Are there any specific cleaning requirements or areas that need special attention?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • How often are you looking to have your home cleaned - one-time, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly?

Conducting an On-Site Walkthrough

A house cleaner taking notes during a consultation with a prospective client
During the initial consultation, be sure to capture exactly what the client wants done during cleaning sessions.

Conduct an on-site visit to inspect the property with the homeowner and finalize the service agreement.

Take notes and photos of key areas to be cleaned - make sure you understand and document exactly what they want done.

Explain the next steps to the client, including service options, pricing, and scheduling.

Finalize the cleaning schedule, frequency, and any special instructions. Topics to review during the onsite visit should also include:

  • Parking
  • How to get into the house
  • Managing an alarm
  • How to handle pets
  • How to lock up
  • Where to put trash
  • Best number to reach homeowner in the event of questions, emergencies, or if you can’t get into the house

Client Onboarding Completion

Update the client’s job profile with specific notes and requirements.

Send a detailed service proposal based upon the walkthrough findings, including service options, pricing, and scheduling details.

Once the client agrees to the proposal, schedule the initial cleaning appointment.

Send a welcome package to the client, including information about the cleaning process, contact details, and confirmation of the first scheduled appointment.

Pre-Cleaning Preparation

Preparation is key to a smooth cleaning process and happy clients. SOPs in this area should include what details should be added to the job checklists, as well as how jobs are scheduled and how teams should present themselves upon arrival.

Job Checklist

Ensure cleaners have a checklist of tasks, appropriate cleaning supplies and cleaning tools in good working condition, and any specific client instructions.

Arrival and Setup

Ensure timely arrival and organized setup by coordinating effectively.

Plan routes and schedules using cleaning business software to minimize travel time.

Send the client a notification that you are on the way.

Arrive at the client’s location on time and set up equipment in an organized manner, working from the top floor down.

Cleaning Procedures

While these SOPs will vary depending on your preferences and the services your business provides, here is a good framework to build your own step-by-step cleaning procedures to maintain consistency and quality. Include any specifics around products to be used during each procedure (e.g., eco-friendly products, proprietary solutions):

General Cleaning

  • Dusting: Start with high surfaces (e.g., ceiling fans, light fixtures) and work down to furniture and baseboards.
  • Vacuuming: Vacuum all carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture thoroughly.
  • Sweeping and Mopping: Sweep and mop all hard floors, ensuring corners and edges are clean.
  • Trash Removal: Empty all trash bins and replace liners.

Window Coverings

  • Blinds: Dust blinds using a microfiber cloth or vacuum with a brush attachment.
  • Curtains: If the curtains are machine washable, take them down, wash them, and rehang them. For non-washable curtains, vacuum them or spot clean as needed.
  • Window Sills and Tracks: Clean window sills and tracks, removing any dust or debris.

Kitchen Cleaning

  • Countertops and Sinks: Clean and sanitize countertops, sinks, and faucets.
  • Appliances: Wipe down the exterior and interior of appliances, including the microwave, refrigerator, and oven.
  • Cabinets and Backsplash: Clean cabinet exteriors and backsplash areas.
  • Floor: Sweep and mop the kitchen floor.

Bathroom Cleaning

  • Fixtures: Clean and sanitize sinks, countertops, toilets, tubs, and showers.
  • Mirrors and Fixtures: Polish mirrors and fixtures to a streak-free shine.
  • Cabinets: Wipe down cabinet exteriors and replace towels if provided.
  • Floor: Sweep and mop bathroom floors.

Bedroom Cleaning

  • Bedding: Make beds and change linens if requested.
  • Dusting: Dust all surfaces, including nightstands, dressers, and lamps.
  • Floor: Vacuum or sweep floors, including under the bed.

Living and Common Areas

  • Dusting: Dust and clean all surfaces, including electronics, coffee tables, and décor.
  • Floor: Vacuum or sweep floors and arrange furniture neatly.

Quality Control and Client Feedback

Once your team has finished cleaning, it is important that they conduct their own walkthrough before leaving to ensure all areas will meet the client’s expectations and your business’s high standards.

Internal Walkthrough

Use a detailed checklist within your cleaning business software to verify each task is completed.

Address any missed spots immediately.

A task list for a cleaning job in the ServiceM8 mobile app
ServiceM8 lets you create standardized task lists by room for cleaning jobs, making sure nothing is overlooked.

Client Walkthrough

Gather feedback using surveys or follow-up emails.

  • If client is onsite, invite them to inspect the cleaned property and address any concerns on the spot.
  • If client is not home, provide a feedback form or follow-up email to gather client impressions.

Leaving

Ensure all cleaning supplies and equipment are packed up and removed (or, if using the client’s supplies, stored properly).

Ensure all doors and windows are locked according to client instructions.

Continuous Improvement

Regularly review feedback and make necessary adjustments to cleaning SOPs, enhancing overall service quality.

Analyze feedback trends using your cleaning business software to identify areas for improvement.

Hold regular team meetings to discuss feedback and implement changes.

Post-Cleaning Procedures

Post-cleaning routines are just as important as the cleaning itself - a good routine will capture the work you've done and set you up for your next job.

Documentation

Update client records and job details systematically.

Log details of the completed job and any client notes.

Maintain a record of all client interactions and job specifics for future reference.

Follow-Up

Send follow-up messages to clients, ensuring ongoing communication and satisfaction.

Send a thank you message and request feedback through your cleaning business software.

Confirm the next scheduled cleaning appointment, if applicable.

Invoicing

Use cleaning business software to automatically issue an invoice upon marking the job as complete.

Leveraging Cleaning Business Software for Efficiency

Running a cleaning business isn't as straightforward as it seems - to be profitable, you need to be efficient. Happily, cleaning business software like ServiceM8 is your secret weapon for managing your operations, enhancing efficiency, and boosting client satisfaction. Here are some areas where technology can really give you an edge over the competition and help your operations be as efficient as possible.

House Your Cleaning SOPs

Do you have a new person on the job who is not sure how to handle a water stain on a marble countertop, or who wants to confirm which attachment is ok for shag rugs? No worries. With ServiceM8's knowledge add-on, they can tap right into your expertise by reviewing digital versions of all of your cleaning SOPs. You can even record video tips and techniques! By keeping your SOPs in a digital format where they can be searched and viewed by all field staff, you can be sure even the newest employee will have access to the guidance and knowledge they need to meet your high standards.

Client Onboarding

ServiceM8 offers online booking functionality to let your clients answer questions and book an initial cleaning session straight into your schedule. Or, if you prefer to do on-site walkthroughs before accepting bookings, it can also instantly analyze an online request for information and generate follow-up questions, arming you with the information you need to be well-prepared for the initial consultation and win the business.

ServiceM8's online booking functionality gathers all information needed to let the customer book.
ServiceM8 can analyze information provided and book automatically, or it can save the information for you to arrange a consultation - you decide!

Generating Quotes on the Spot

If you are using a job management software with a mobile app, you can generate professional, branded quotes right on the spot and share them with your client. ServiceM8 lets you select from pre-set services and materials for standard jobs (such as # of hours required, add-ons like appliance cleaning, rug shampooing, etc.), as well as add any other billable services, quickly and easily right from your mobile device.

Automated Scheduling and Appointment Management

To maximize productivity, you can use software to automate the scheduling process, send reminders to clients, and adjust schedules based on staff location and availability. ServiceM8 will even provide clients with real-time updates on appointment statuses, using its GPS tracking feature to advise the estimated arrival time of their cleaning team.

Comprehensive Client Management

Understanding and managing client preferences is key to delivering personalized and satisfactory services. ServiceM8 helps you create and maintain detailed client profiles easily, and keep track of special requests, allergies, and specific cleaning instructions by job to ensure personalized service.

Efficient Billing and Invoicing

The right software will automatically generate quotes and send invoices digitally upon job completion, ensuring timely payments reducing administrative workload. ServiceM8 also offers multiple payment options through a secure payment gateway, making it easy for clients to pay you in the way that is most convenient for them.

Which Owner Would You Rather Be?

Here is an owner of a cleaning business describing their business management process on Reddit (u/Long_Fennel_2501):

I schedule appointments on google calendar with clients info and special requests, type of pay, what they owe, etc. I have 3 teams of 3 to clean. I then the night before insert the cleaners name in the google calendar appointment (which team is cleaning that appointment). And then i use a messaging app and add each teams in separate group chats. I send the address, special notes, start time, and etc in that group chat. and i communicate with them via those group chats anytime they need something or a client asks for something.

Now, compare that with the comments from another cleaning business owner describing their business before and after migrating to ServiceM8 (Satya Bourgeot, Pristine Professional Cleaning):

Before, we had several different systems that didn't talk to each other. We had at least 10K owing every week because we were either chasing invoices or had a backlog of invoices to issue. We were drowning in paperwork. We needed a software that would integrate with all of our systems.
We tested several different options, and settled on ServiceM8. There's one-touch client messaging, all invoicing and payment is done within the app, and it integrates with Xero. There was no need to create new processes, we just had to link ServiceM8 to Xero, and it worked! Our business has more than doubled in a year since adoption. I actually enjoy working in the business again, and it's so nice to have our evenings and weekends back again!

(See Satya tell her story here.)

Which owner would you rather be? The owner that is scrambling the night before each job to schedule and message their team? Or the owner that has one software integrated to manage all aspects of their cleaning business, giving them back their evenings and weekends? It's a pretty clear decision.

Conclusion: Building a Thriving House Cleaning Business

Success in the house cleaning industry requires a commitment to excellence in every aspect of your business. By incorporating detailed SOPs and leveraging the capabilities of software like ServiceM8, you can create a seamless, professional experience for your clients, leading to higher satisfaction and retention rates. SOPs ensure that every task is performed consistently and to the highest standard, while ServiceM8 enhances operational efficiency, from client onboarding to invoicing.

In a competitive market, differentiating your business through exceptional service and streamlined operations is crucial. By adopting these best practices, you not only enhance your service quality but also free up time to focus on growth and client relationships. The result is a reputable, thriving cleaning business that stands out and scales successfully.

For more insights on how ServiceM8 can transform your operations, check out this overview video and start your journey toward a more efficient and successful business.

Article last updated on
June 12, 2024

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