What Sets Us Apart
“What sets you apart from all those other maid services out there?”
This is a question we often receive, and understandably so. As one real estate agent recently told me (after happily discovering us 🙂 that finding a good maid service is “hit or miss”. So what makes Dallas Maids a “hit”? What sets us apart from the others? Glad you asked…
Years ago, when I organized Dallas Maids, I wanted to create a system that guaranteed creating the highest value for our customers. The first thing I did was form close relationships with other House Cleaning services. I quickly found the ones that excelled in providing the best service, incorporating the best I saw there for here at Dallas Maids. In addition, I quickly discovered what did and did not work, innovating my own systems such as Dallas Maids’ highly selective interviewing process. The key is having and keeping the BEST people.
Dallas Maids has the MOST selective interviewing process that I know of among any of the local and national chains in Dallas. This has been one of the most important factors in creating a quality business for several reasons. First, we look for integrity. We know you entrust us with your home and personal belongings. Knowing that the potential employee does not have a criminal record is NOT enough for us. If any dishonesty is detected the applicant is out. Did they say employment at a previous job ended in May when it really ended in April – Out. Any resume embellishments no matter how small – Out. Did they show non-verbal signs that they are being dishonest – Out. As for this last one, one of the wonderful things I have picked up is the ability to read people and understand how the mind works. Some books I have read (usually more than once) on the subject are “The Definitive Book of Body Language”, “Essentials of the Reid Technique: Criminal Interrogations and Confessions”, “Unlimited Power”. Did you know when telling a true story, it has a different structure than telling a false story? That if the word “honestly” precedes a statement, that statement is usually false, as in “Honestly, I never stole…” I have integrated this knowledge into the interviewing process and as a result, there has NEVER been a case of theft at Dallas Maids. Your possessions are protected. Second, in addition to a moral ethics, we look for a solid work ethic. Do they have a stable work history with superior performance? If they hop from job to job – Out. If their references state they were anything but exemplary in their work – Out. If they show up to the interview one minute late – Out. Indeed, one of the “problems” is that our ladies work too efficiently, too effective. A complaint we sometimes receive is that the ladies were not there long enough. When asked, “how was the clean?” they often reply, “it was perfect!” We prefer this complaint than hearing “the job was horrible but they were around all day”. Your home will sparkle. Finally, we have an extraordinary low turn over rate. Other services play the numbers game, hiring and firing hoping to find a star, while playing Russian roulette with a customer’s home! We pick the best from the beginning, paying a salary above the industry average (this is a hard job; tips are welcome!) and treating them with the respect they deserve. In an industry that has an average of 300% turnover rate a year, last year  Dallas Maids was 0%. You have the comfort knowing that the person providing service yesterday will be the one that will be there tomorrow.
We send the same person every time. It allows friendly relationship to form between the professional house cleaner and client. Our ladies learn what you and your family expect so we can tailor the cleaning to your needs. They learn how to clean your house making for a more efficient and effective clean while greatly lessening the chance for breakage. They feel a sense of ownership. That’s their house for they know what is how best to clean the house. This can’t be done constantly switching teams. Many other services switch teams for they think it is necessary to accommodate the logistics; though we have found the benefits of having the same person at your home greatly outweighs logistic pains. Whichever service you decide on, ensure they are in the practice of sending the same team!
Integrity in this industry is awfully important, in my opinion, more so than the actual cleaning provided. With any business, the employees take their cue from management. Management that cut ethical corners can expect the same from their employees. You do not want that in your home. A couple of things to ask are “in a job that is hard, physical labor, does the company do all it can to lessen distractions that hinder the from cleaners doing quality work?” and “Is the business conducting business legally?”.
First, does the company management work hard to minimize any distractions that could affect the cleaner’s work? As mentioned before, management should ensure employees have assigned jobs. Having employees take ownership of a house, and thus total responsibility for it being cleaned keeps the praise or blame located in one team. Also, having assigned jobs gives a sense of order in their week, finding comfort in routine. Working around the logistics is tough. Though it is in the best interest of the customer, the employee, and the business to send the same person. Companies that don’t are taking easy/lazy way out. Management that works hard to make it easier for their professional cleaners to do their job earns the employees respect and gets quality work. Second, is the management conducting business in an ethical manner? Ask if the workers are employees or contract workers. Having contract workers is a red flag for several reasons: One, it is an illegal (law requires all workers to be employed by the company). Two, they tend to be illegal immigrants (checking their legality is more lax than that of hiring an employee, who requires a proper social security number, id, etc). Three, it limits the liability of the company if something goes wrong. Contract workers in this industry rarely have proper protection such as insurance. Important if bleach accidently ruins a wood floor finish, an heirloom accidently is broken, or theft occurs. Ignoring the law of the land for cheap labor, eluding taxes, and liability is not the proper mindset when in an industry that requires integrity. If management can’t be expected to act honestly, how can the employees? Also, see if the company sends teams of 3 or more people. The optimal number of professional cleaners to send are teams of two or one. More than this adds the cost of idle time while driving between jobs. Also, there is more chance of a team member not pulling their weight. Both costs may be passed on to you. Companies that send teams of three or more usually indicates that one or more of the employees do not drive usually due to their inability to get a driver license or car insurance – a red flag that they are not residing in this country legally.
As you can see, our hard work and dedication to excellence has paid off. It has been an honor to be recommended by D-home Magazine, to be voted Best House Cleaner in Dallas on CitySearch for 2006 and 2007, and to have an A rating on Angie’s List, a website whose businesses are reviewed by customer’s like you. I hope this helps in determining the right business for you and your family. I hope this explains what distinguishes us from the rest and why we are a hit. There is so much more to say about Dallas Maids. If you have any questions just give us a call. One of the Office Managers or I would be happy to hear from you.
Article written in 2007
P.S. Note to the aspiring maid service entrepreneur:
Now a note to those starting out in the cleaning business, as I know some of you entrepreneurs are reading this to see how it is done *smiles* as I did similar research when starting out years ago.
First, from the beginning do everything as if you are big business. Businesses become big because they have developed a successful system that provides the best value for their customers. See what works and doesn’t, writing an operation manual and handbooks to create a robust system. When you are not around, your people will know what and how to do it. When business grows, it will not implode.
How can a business implode? Back at Baylor, a professor once said too much business can be detrimental. How can more customers be a bad thing? If you don’t have a tested system things fall apart. Lack of attention to customers, inability to keep up with quality of service, accounting mayhem, loosening criteria on who is hired, and on and on! Regulated growth.
Modify the system to accommodate the latest challenges. If something doesn’t work, throw it out; don’t let it get institutionalized. The key is to make everything as simple as possible. Enforce policy and procedures to keep order – make no compromise to principles. Employees respect fairness.
Though you may not be able to afford them in the beginning, get a good accountant and an honest lawyer to ensure all is kosher. If your accountant says contract workers are ok, fire him. You should have high expectations of all whom you work with: employees, accountants, lawyers, yourself, and customers. Yes, even customers… A good employee is worth much more than a good customer. Fortunately most customers are kind and understanding, a joy to do business with. In the rare times when a customer is acting inappropriately (looking at a lady in an unbecoming manner, treating them as an inferior person, etc.), fire that customer! When your people see that their welfare is important to you, they will reward you by loyalty and providing the best service for your customers. This makes your job much easier! Less turnover, less complaints, and more praise, which is ALWAYS a pleasure. Make sure you pass the praise on to your employees, telling them specifically what they did correct.
The 80/20 rule is invaluable. Twenty percent of your customer’s provide you with 80% of the revenues – Do NOT take them for granted. Likewise, 20% percent of your customers cause 80% of your troubles. It’s ok to let them go. Your service will improve as a result. Twenty percent of your employees will provide 80% of the value – make sure the 20% of your best customers get them. And so on.
Form relationships with your customers. Know what the customer wants and record that in his file. Record any relevant data on your customer’s such as personal likes, children and pets names, where they went on vacation last summer, etc.
Form relationships with other cleaning businesses. The owners tend to be friendly and quite helpful! Know what is working for them and implement it. Communicate. Exchange ideas. Help each other grow and become better businesses.
Finally, ensure you act with integrity. If you say you will do something, do it. Do not cut corners. Do not compromise your principles for anyone. This is the way to win the loyalty of your employees. I hope this helps.
P.S. Further articles Entrepreneurs may find useful:
- 7 Simple Principles of a Perfect Cleaning Business by Cody Owen of Service Autopilot. Based upon this Dallas Maids’ video.
- Cleaning Up Your Business, by DFW Business Culture’s Podcast 016. My interview with insightful information on starting and growing a maid service.
- SEO For Newbies: How You Can Outrank The Pros, an article I wrote for Vonigo.