fbpx
Do you Trust your Cleaners? 1
Do you Trust your Cleaners?

This is a great article that we came across, and thought we would share it with you today. It deals with Theft and how as owners of cleaning businesses we need to stay on our toes with how we deal with, and approach such topics. Credits for Article are at the end.

Dealing with Theft

Many cleaning companies are confronted with theft accusations. How these complex situations are handled can be crucial to ongoing success.

One of the first theft accusations that Maria Dorian, owner of Welcome Home Cleaning Services in Austin, Texas, dealt with was from a very well-known woman with an enormous house. The client was a local, celebrated political figure and had a live-in nanny and full-time gardeners. Her house was always open with multiple workers in it.

The Backstory

One day, the woman called and accused Maria’s staff of stealing a $25,000 bracelet. Maria’s approach to these situations is always to be as transparent as possible and to immediately begin helping the client get to bottom of the mystery, even if that means encouraging the client to file an official police report.

In this case, because Maria keeps an internal database of client theft reports, she was able to say with confidence that she had not had a single call on the cleaning technicians that had serviced the client’s home. She knew the two long-time employees well. She trusted them and had never had any other clients report suspicious behavior from them. As standard procedure, Maria performs background checks on all of her employees. Both had clean records.

The homeowner fired Maria’s company, but did not press charges until three weeks later. Maria and the two accused cleaning technicians had to go down to the police station. The detective grilled them hard. In the end, the police were unwilling to link any of Maria’s cleaning technicians to the disappearance of the bracelet. “The last I heard of this incident,” Maria says, “was when I talked with the client and told her there was nothing more I could do to try to help her get to the bottom of the disappearance. I had even told the detective to give us polygraph tests. He wasn’t willing to do that. I didn’t understand why at the time, but perhaps they need at least a suspicion to warrant the expense of polygraph testing.”

Problems and Decisions

Each theft case has its own distinct set of circumstances and outcomes. However, every time a theft claim comes up, a feeling of dread and stress accompanies it. “We are always proactive when clients have concerns, but that doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome or even a resolution,” says Maria. “We work hard to hire only honest people. We do background checks and have established policies in our handbook that limit the opportunity for theft. For example, my company requires that two cleaners be present in a room at all times. There is also a strict policy against opening cabinets and drawers. Any reports of suspicious behavior are recorded in a database in order to establish possible patterns. If a theft accusation does occur, we work with the client and authorities to help find the guilty party, if there is one.”

Despite Maria’s best efforts, she worries her company might one day be the victim of negative publicity regarding a theft claim, regardless of whether or not her cleaning technicians were at fault. “Cleaners are often the first to be accused,” she says, “regardless of other possible scenarios.”

Another problem with theft accusations is that the parties involved can often take a long time to come to a resolution. Some companies suspend their cleaning technicians while they attempt to figure out what happened. “I’m divided on this approach and I don’t practice it,” says Maria. “One time, we had a client accuse one of our cleaning technicians of taking $500 worth of makeup. Three months later, after she’d fired my company, she found the missing makeup in a suitcase. She apologised and rehired us. What if I’d suspended or fired the falsely accused technicians? Not only would that have been unfair to the cleaning techs, but as an owner, I could have set myself up for a wrongful termination lawsuit or an unemployment claim. Sometimes, when the missing items are not too expensive, I wonder if I should offer to pay half or even the full amount right away, just to resolve the issue quickly. I haven’t done this yet, because I wonder if it would look like an admission of guilt or possibly even have legal implications. The stakes are high for small businesses like mine, even when we are vigilant and take every precaution for both our clients’ and employees’ safety.”

Carrie Phillippi, APR
Public Relations Director
Copperfox Marketing

Maria is doing a great job and is absolutely right to take precautions. The best way to prepare from a public relations standpoint is to have a carefully crafted plan in place for several types of potential crisis scenarios. This includes theft accusation scenarios, even before they happen. Part of being prepared includes having standby statements at the ready.

These are the main points you want to get across to your clients. Standby statements are always truthful, brief and deal only with known facts. They include no speculation or assumptions. A standby statement in this instance could be:

“We take complaints very seriously and give police our full cooperation to investigate the loss of property. This employee has been with us for X years with a stellar record of client service. We stand behind her and believe in all our employees (references, background checks, bonded, etc.).”

“We have a protocol in place for how we handle these situations and maintain complete records.”
“While we understand the homeowner’s distress at the loss of this item, please remember this case was dismissed earlier for lack of evidence.”

If your company has the unfortunate experience of having to deal with an actual theft, your statement should show that you took swift action, fixed the problem and will do your best to replace or make good on the lost item.

If you are prepared, choose your words carefully and stand your ground, Welcome Home Cleaning Services’ image will stay “clean” among consumers.

William H. Urban
Certified Fraud Examiner
preventloss.com

From a loss prevention point of view, Maria is responding appropriately by helping her clients resolve these issues. However, words have meaning. If Maria keeps an internal database of client ‘theft’ claims, I would consider changing that system to an internal database of client ‘incident’ reports. A database of “theft” claims could give the impression that theft is a problem for her company, even if it isn’t.

Also, there’s always the possibility of a dishonest client who wants to collect insurance on a high-value item. One way they can do that is to file a theft claim and point the finger at a ‘likely’ suspect, such as a cleaning technician. To mitigate such accusations, owners like Maria might elect to conduct a security ‘audit’ of new clients (or even existing ones). This could be a value- added service. The Security Audit could look for vulnerabilities, such as high-value items lying out in the open. An audit could show how easy it is for “anyone” to gain access to a client’s high-value items or that $25,000 bracelets are better secured in a safe, rather than a sock drawer. Can Maria help both her clients and her company by advising clients to secure their assets ahead of any contractual arrangements? The answer is “yes,” and with very little time or effort. Lastly, not all background checks (BGC) are created equal. A BGC must be performed in real-time and be targeted to the job position. It must consist of the correct legal components. A “down-and-dirty,” inexpensive BGC often provides misleading or outdated data. A ‘real’ BGC might cost more and take more time, but the data is usable and can help keep a company’s reputation “clean and tidy!”

Greg Hare
Employment Attorney
Ogletree Deakins

As an employment lawyer, my advice is to start by offering to do a thorough internal investigation of the matter. This involves gathering as many facts as possible and interviewing all involved employees and witnesses separately. Those directly accused should be interviewed last. Report your findings to the homeowner in detail and as soon as possible. If you’ve discovered wrongdoing, outline the prompt remedial actions you have taken. If you did not uncover wrongdoing, report the facts you’ve uncovered. Then, tell the homeowner you certainly understand if they’d like to report the incident to their insurance company or law enforcement and that you will completely cooperate in the investigative process. As for polygraph testing, Maria should be aware of the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, which states that employees should not be subjected to polygraphs in the routine course of employment with the exception of theft of goods. However, there is some debate in the cleaning industry about the interpretation of this law. Polygraphs are not to be taken lightly and a business owner should confer with their employment lawyer. Maria’s question about the suspension of employees is really more of a labor relations issue than a legal one. Barring a collective bargaining agreement with a union, there are no legal restrictions surrounding the suspension of an employee with or without pay during an investigation.

Finally, I’d like to advise against offering to pay for a missing or stolen item. If, however, the homeowner threatens to damage the reputation of your business and you do decide to pay a homeowner, make sure to get the homeowner to sign a settlement agreement with a statement of release of all claims.

The information contained in this article has been supplied by the participants whose names are mentioned. The editors at Cleaning Business Today have collected and reported the statements of the participants, but have not attempted to verify the accuracy of the information supplied. Accordingly, Cleaning Business Today does not make any representation, warranty or undertaking expressed or implied with respect to the information contained in this article and no responsibility is accepted by Cleaning Business Today as to the accuracy or completeness of that information.

Source:

http://cleaningbusinesstoday.com/blog/deep-dive-dealing-with-theft

Author: Maria Dorian

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this article and we at the Redgum Cleaning Company hope it helps answer some questions you may have had in this area.

Remember, if you are wanting a high quality & honest cleaning service to come and visit your premises, please do not hesitate to contact us via our online form, or Get a Quote, or simply make a booking and Mike will come out at your convenience.

Call Us: (02) 8006 1356 or  0409 481 597

Redgum Saves REAL ESTATE Agents Thousands! 2
Redgum Saves REAL ESTATE Agents Thousands!

BREAKING NEWS!

The Redgum Cleaning Company saves Central Coast Real Estate Agents THOUSANDS in revenue.

 

Have I got your attention now? Good.

If you’re a Central Coast/Hunter real estate agent then you know very well how difficult it can be to find a quality cleaner at competitive prices, who does the job properly. We all know that there are many in our Industry who provide sub-standard services to our regions.

The Redgum Cleaning Company are renown for there High Standards in commercial cleaning services. We have experience in Hospitality cleaning, Self-Managed Apartments, Serviced Apartments, Units, Holiday Flats, Holiday Homes – you could say we are the specialist when it comes to cleaning up after a lengthy party or after a family of 16 who thoroughly enjoyed their holiday away.

In most cases, it is the “short-term” stays that are the bread and butter for most Real Estate Agents, Property Managers and their respective firms. This is certainly true in the “Holiday” destinations like; The Entrance, North Entrance, Blue Bay, Toowoon Bay, Shelly Beach, Bateau Bay, Forrester Beach, Umina Beach etc, these area’s mainly survive on the fact that people enjoy the beach-side frontage or close proximity to those beaches. And in these holiday seasons Property Managers want to maximize their margins and you can’t do that if the property is less cleaner than the “Guests” own homes.

This is why Central Coast Agents are looking towards the Redgum Cleaning Company for their cleaning solutions and eye for detail. Our approach to your problem is that you no longer have a problem, it’s that simple.

How many times in the past have you had properties that needed attention and your cleaners have let you down? Either by not performing to your expectations, or by not being able to fulfill the job order itself?

How many times have you had to ask your cleaner to return to the property to finish the job properly?

How many of your “Guests” have complained about the standard of cleaning or your cleaners themselves?

By engaging with the Redgum Cleaning Company, you will finally have found a way to get your cleaning needs attended to in a promptly manner, and you will find that you are saving thousands of dollars to your firms bottom line by utilising a higher quality cleaning service that will generate more revenue with less complaints from your holiday guests.

Ok, as a Real Estate Agent I like the sound of that, but what about all my other requirements like – “End of Lease Cleans” – you might be saying. Well Yes, The Redgum Cleaning Company do provide all those other services that you require including “End of Lease Cleans”. You can be assured that our “End of Lease Cleans” will leave you and your Client satisfied that your “New” Tenants will feel Welcomed and impressed with the level of presentation that you have provided for them. We also provide more frequent services like Weekly Cleans, Fortnightly Cleans and Emergency 24/7 Call-out Services.

So as the Headline says, – The Redgum Cleaning Company saves Central Coast Real Estate Agents THOUSANDS in revenue can be true for you too, but you first must contact us to arrange an appointment to discuss your needs and requirements.

Contact the Redgum Cleaning Company on (02) 8006 1356 to arrange an appointment today!

Are your Cleaning Chemicals REALLY helping you? 3
Are your Cleaning Chemicals REALLY helping you?

When you have a new baby, your house might seem a lot dirtier than it did before. The first time your little one stuffs a dust bunny or a desiccated housefly in her mouth is often a low point in parenting.

Before you start scrubbing every surface in sight, consider that obsessive cleaning with caustic household cleaners has its own drawbacks. Harsh household cleaners can affect a baby’s eyes, airways, skin, and more.

There is good news however. By making simple changes and practising child-safe cleaning, you can keep your home clean without exposing your baby to unnecessary risks. For an exhausted parent, it’s a win-win: a healthier baby without loads of extra housework — yahoo!

What’s the Problem With Household Cleaners?

Household cleaners with harsh ingredients don’t only kill germs and get out tough stains. They can affect your children’s health in a number of ways.

Eczema.

A Child’s skin is sensitive, and studies have found that irritants and allergens in household cleaners and detergents can cause skin irritation.

Airway irritation.

Powerful fumes from household cleaners can irritate your baby’s and older children’s airways, making allergy or asthma symptoms worse. Some cleaning chemicals in schools have been linked with higher rates of asthma.

Eye irritation.

Household cleaner fumes can also irritate your baby’s and older children eyes, causing redness and watering. If splashed directly into the eyes, some cleaners can cause serious damage.

Allergies.

Some researchers believe that having a home that’s too clean can increase the long-term risk of allergies in a child. It’s called the hygiene hypothesis. Without some exposure to germs, a child’s immune system might not develop normally. Instead, it becomes hypersensitive and begins to overreact to harmless allergens, like pollen or dander.

Poisoning.

Every year, more than a million kids under age 5 swallow poisons like household cleaners, sometimes with devastating effects.

Unknown health effects.

Some household cleaners have fragrances that contain chemicals like phthalates.

(Phthalates, or phthalate esters, are esters of phthalic acid and are mainly used as plasticizers (substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity). Phthalates are manufactured by reacting phthalic anhydride with alcohol(s) that range from methanol and ethanol (C1/C2) up to tridecyl alcohol (C13), either as a straight chain or with some branching.)

While we don’t know what their health effects are for sure, some studies have found a possible connection between phthalates and disrupted hormone levels. What’s surprising to so many parents is that we don’t have good safety testing for a lot of the chemicals we use every day, we don’t really know what they might be doing to our children.

Tips for Child-Safe Cleaning

There are lots of good ways to practice child-safe cleaning. Keeping your child in good health and your home clean doesn’t mean you need to go crazy scrubbing every doorknob.

Here are a few tips.

Choose safer household cleaners. Experts say that you should look for household cleaners that are less caustic and friendlier to both the environment and the body. Look for “green” and “nontoxic” cleaners, or products that say, “petroleum-free,” “biodegradable,” “phosphate-free,” “VOC-free,” or “solvent-free.”

Less is more.

Many household cleaners can be diluted with water and clean quite effectively. Diluting a cleaner is an easy way of making it less harsh and better for child-safe cleaning. People often assume that better household cleaners will cost more. Here’s where diluting a cleaner has another benefit. If you’re diluting a cleaning product and using less of it each time, you could really save money.

Skip the antibacterial soap.

Despite the popularity of antibacterial soaps, plain old soap and water will get the germs off just as well. Antibacterial soap not only contains chemicals you don’t need, but in the long term it may increase the risk of creating tougher, resistant bacteria.

Don’t use spray-on carpet cleaners.

According to experts, chemical carpet cleaners contain a lot of ingredients that can become trapped in a carpet. For child-safe cleaning, use a steam cleaner with water and no detergent.

Make your own cleaning agents.

Yes, it might sound a bit Little House on the Prairie, but it’s actually easy to make your own household cleaners. What’s the advantage? You know exactly what’s going in them. You can make a good kitchen cleaner out of baking soda and a little soap. Diluted vinegar is good for cleaning windows.

Make sure others understand your cleaning regimen.

If you have help at home — like a babysitter or a cleaning service — make sure that they understand your approach to child-safe cleaning. Show them the household cleaners you use and how and when you would use them.

Stop dirt from getting in the house.

Make sure that you wipe your feet as you come in the house — it will keep out dirt as well as any contaminants from outside. Better yet, take off your shoes as you come in the house. The floor won’t get as dirty and you can clean less often.

Don’t clean with the kids in the room.

When you’re a harried parent, it’s tempting to multitask — to spray cleaner on the table while your baby is having snack. It’s much better to use household cleaners without your child in the room. Make sure to ventilate it before your kid comes back in.

When you first shift to child-safe cleaning, there’s one thing you might miss: that clean smell. But what needs to be pointed out, is the fact that what you used to smell wasn’t really “clean” anyway.

That smell is just chemically produced, Real clean doesn’t have a scent.

Adopting a child-safe cleaning routine might not keep your house as fresh-smelling as an (artificial) pine forest or lemon grove. It might not keep your bathroom as antiseptic as an operating room.

But it could have real health benefits for your kids, both now and in the future.

 

 

 

Redgum Cleaning Company uses eco-friendly, chemical free cleaning agents that are made from natural ingredients and produced by a local Central Coast company.

If you would like to speak with us regarding cleaning your home or Office, please feel free to contact us on – (02) 8006 1356 or use our contact page and send us a message. You may already know what you want, in this case please go to our Booking page.

Chosen the right Contractor 4
Chosen the right Contractor

Choosing the right cleaning contractor for the job is important in achieving a clean and comfortable work environment offering a safe and pleasant atmosphere for workers and, where relevant, customers and clients. This is also a true statement regarding your Home.

Cleaning services range from basic office cleaning, janitorial cleaning and janitorial services to commercial cleaning and industrial cleaning.

It’s important to research the service capacity of a cleaning contractor before engaging their services. A key consideration is the sustainable practices employed by the cleaning company relating to the quality of their detergents, a detailed explanation of their ‘green’ approach and overall practices including waste disposal. Investigation of the variety of services offered is also important. Business cleaning services should include basic services such as general cleaning, bathroom and kitchen cleaning.

Commercial cleaning companies offer a range of additional services such as whiteboard and blackboard cleaning, cleaning blinds, pest control, sanitary services, carpet steam cleaning and even window cleaning. Ensure each cleaning company defines what is within the parameters of regular cleaning services, and what is not included in this fee.

Choosing the Right Cleaning Contractor

There is much thought that should go into choosing the proper cleaning contractor to clean your commercial premises or home. With the competition as fierce as it is today, pricing often dictates the company/person that is often chosen. But is this the proper way to find the right company/person?

The answer is unquestionably no!

Companies that are often referred as “low ballers” often put no thought into the actual needs of your facility and or the job. Their goal is to get the job and hope that you as the customer will not hold them to the expected level of services you previously had or are desiring to achieve. The right company will ask the proper questions about your facility, as well as staffing and expectations. Cleaning packages come in various sizes which consists of the most basic cleaning to detailed and highly managed programs. The so called “low ballers” often will use undocumented, non-skilled labour and this can be a major problem and concern for all involved.

Since commercial office cleaning often requires overnight cleaning when your office is closed many unexpected problems can occur. Poor cleaning is the least of your headaches when you consider the security of your office or building & business equipment can be at risk.

Knowing who is cleaning your office is a key element. Some basic questions that should be asked are.

  • What has been the contractor’s history and time in this industry?
  • Do they do background checks on their staff?
  • Who will have your keys and what training does he/she do with their staff to address the responsibility that comes along with having them?
  • What accounts do they presently service like your business?
  • What are the limits of insurance and who is the underwriter?
  • Do they have an insurance against theft?
  • What training methods do they employ?

Answering these questions of course still holds no guarantee, but it gives you some insight into who this potential contractor is and what is their history.

Don’t buy by price! Make the right choice by asking the right questions. There are competitive, honest contractors that can do the job at a reasonable price and give you piece of mind. Try to get three quotes and when one stands out as significantly less know there is a reason why it is so.

Don’t make a costly mistake and risk the security, records and cleanliness of your premises. Lastly, ask one of your friends who they currently use to clean and often if they are having success with their contractor you will as well.

Seek out testimonials and references of cleaners under consideration, and ask about flexibility of cleaning arrangements from daily cleaning to an as needed basis.

If you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to make a booking with Mike or another member of our Team. You are always free to call – (02) 8006 1356 anytime to make a booking, or just to ask a question.

Does a Clean Office Improve Productivity? 5
Does a Clean Office Improve Productivity?

Around Australian workplaces, you will find that most Adults spend more time awake (hopefully) at their work than they do at home. Over a life-time, we spend between 35%-50% of our time at work, that’s not considering any time that we may be unemployed. So, for this reason alone it is very important to keep your Office area/Workspace clean.

Most people devote some time out of their busy schedules every week to clean and tidy their home, to ensure it is always kept in tip top condition, so why should your place of work be any different? The average adult spends more time awake in work than at home, so surely you should keep the cleanliness of work at an all-time high!

You could be surprised at how a clean workplace can make a difference, especially when it comes to productivity throughout the day. Hygiene in the office can be a factor in this; look for example; at how a clean and tidy office can impact productivity and help your employees be more time efficient.

Reducing sickness

With the average worker losing around nine days a year at work due to sickness, isn’t it time you acted against this? Office furniture and equipment can often be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria; in fact, the average keyboard can harbor up to 7,500 bacteria at any one time. It is this that can aid the spread of germs and illnesses around the office. Viruses such as the flu can survive on hard surfaces such as your desk for 24 hours. If your office is free of over-spilling bins, messy desks or other such hazards, you can reduce the risk of accident or injury which can also hugely hinder productivity among employees.

Put simply, the less sickness you have floating around the office and infecting your staff, the more staff you will have in, meaning more work can be done!

Boost motivation

With each adult spending so much time at work, a clean and tidy environment can help keep spirits high and boost morale among staff. No one wants to work in a dirty or cluttered space; even if you just take ten minutes out of your week to ensure your desk is orderly, it could make a big difference as it is difficult to keep your focus when you have a chaotic work space. Being disorganised can cost time and money; a messy desk could even result in mistakes being made and it can slow you down when trying to find something you need. You can ensure you’re working efficiently simply by having a well-ordered work environment.

Company culture

The perception of your company starts with your company’s appearance. The office environment is an extension of your product or service and may be one of the first impressions that new clients or staff have of your business. A clean, fresh office immediately creates a professional atmosphere – would you not agree?

Research has suggested that a clean and tidy desk encourages staff to do what is expected of them with a better demeanour as the feel of the environment is suddenly lightened if everywhere is clean.

Reducing stress

A disorderly, unclean office can cause unnecessary stress and even raise tension among colleagues (“I’ve seen this happen personally, it’s not nice to see“). Often it ends up being the same few who empty the bins and clean up, which could cause problems, and usually does. Turning your office into an inviting place to work means staff will arrive with a positive mindset and therefore maybe more eager to work.

For all your cleaning requirements to keep your office in a great condition, contact the Redgum Cleaning Company today. Or Call – (02) 8006 1356.

You might also want to make a booking to see Mike or a member of the Redgum Team