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Prepare your Workspace for Coronavirus Disease 2019

March 10th, 2020   •   No Comments   

coronavirusBy now we are all in tune with the news and the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  Because this new strain of Coronavirus was only first identified in December of 2019, we do not yet have a vaccine in place to help prevent the spread, so the best way to prevent spread is to prevent exposure, which might mean not attending or canceling large-scale events or limiting travel. We are all experiencing the downfall of that with events like our beloved SXSW being canceled here in Austin, Texas.

Over the last week, we have received multiple requests for what companies can do to better prepare their facility or work spaces and as with any respiratory virus, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is the best asset in terms of how we can keep our workplaces safe. Here are a few of their recommendations:

  • Practice Good Hygiene, which would include things like:
    • Thorough and frequent hand-washing and disinfecting stations at entryways
    • Avoid touching your face and shaking hands with others
    • Cover your mouth & nose when you sneeze or cough
    • Disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, desks, tables and handrails regularly
    • Adjust ventilation like opening windows or adjusting the AC
  • Be Careful with Meetings & Travel
    • Use videoconferencing for meetings when available
    • Assess the risk of business travel
  • Handle Food Carefully
    • Limit Food Sharing
    • Strengthen health screening and hygiene for cafeteria staff
  • Encourage employees to Stay Home if:
    • They are feeling sick
    • Have sick family members

And if you need help, we are here for you. Certain hospital-grade disinfectants work better to kill the virus and we are already using those in many of our office spaces. While the virus can live on surfaces for several hours up to a few days, it’s incredibly important that your space is being thoroughly cleaned, wiped down and disinfected more regularly.

Many of our clients have already reached out and the two items we can be most helpful in are the following:

  1. We can provide additional and/or more frequent services temporarily to do things like disinfect surface areas more frequently – if this is something you are interested in, email us at operations@austincleaning.net
  2. We can help you install disinfecting stations at entryways to further promote good hygiene within the workplace (assuming availability at time of request)

We are here to help where we can so please reach out if you have questions or concerns that we can address.

Janitorial Franchise vs Local/Privately Owned Commercial Cleaning Company

February 25th, 2020   •   No Comments   

Women at workplace, professional female cleaner washing floor inMany business owners, especially small business owners, are looking for both the best in class services AND the most competitive pricing on commercial cleaning services. We get it, price is important to you as you need to keep operating expenses down. In talking to our clients and potential clients we find they often don’t understand the differences between a Janitorial Franchise vs a Local or Privately Owned Commercial Cleaning Company. Our team has this discussion frequently with potential clients that are going out for bids during our facility walk-through. It’s one we find clients are interested in understanding, specifically if they have had a poor experience with a Janitorial Franchise.

One question we ask, tell me about the other companies you are receiving bids from? Are any of them franchises?  I find that many business owners don’t know if the pricing they’re receiving is from a franchise or not. That’s totally normal because franchises don’t always market themselves as that. But here’s the thing, if our prices are being compared to a franchise, we will RARELY be the cheapest and we want to tell you why:

1. Customer Service – Our customer service is our best asset and we know it – we are a professional team and we care about our clients – they are our lifeblood. You will feel that energy from the moment you interact with us.

2. Sick Days Happen – Have a Plan – Someone calls in sick? We’ve got it covered. That’s not how it works for the franchise business. Since the cleaners are the individual contractors, and often they are very small teams (1-4 people), not a big cleaning company, they most likely will not have the staff to clean your building if they are sick. Which means, your business could suffer a no show.

3. Fair Pay – We pay our staff fairly and on time EVERY SINGLE TIME. When you talk to cleaners that work with franchises, you will find that they very often are not paid on time and it’s incredibly frustrating and unpredictable. Franchisees also get paid up to 60 days after they start cleaning a new account, which makes it hard for them to invest in the proper chemicals and equipment necessary to get started (see #4)

4. Chemicals and Equipment Provided – Franchises don’t provide the cleaning chemicals and equipment. It’s the independent contractors responsibility to buy this on their own dime, which means there’s little consistency on the products and equipment being used. We provide chemicals and equipment to our staff. We also service equipment as needed.

5. Request to Change Cleaning Crew – The franchise profits when you ask them to change the cleaning crew – here’s why, their cleaning crews are independent contractors, so every time the cleaning crew is changed out, the franchise has the independent contractor buy the account times 3 months – this amount varies depending on the franchise but this is pretty standard in that industry. So it’s VERY profitable for the franchise to change out the cleaning crew as often as possible. Do you see where I’m going here? It’s profitable for the franchise if you have to request to continuously change out the cleaning crew. Our cleaning crew does not buy accounts from us.

6. Proper Insurance – Franchises make their independent contractors pay for their own workers compensation, which means, often the people cleaning your building don’t carry it. This is bad for business but it’s especially bad for you.

7. Cleaning Staff Turnover – We have very low turnover of cleaning staff. We are a team and we operate that way and we are in constant communication with the individuals that work with us. We care about our cleaning crew and don’t miss an opportunity to let them know how valuable they are to our business.

8. Mid-Size Local Company – We are a local, privately owned mid-sized company. We carry all of the necessary insurances and have plenty of staff to support our business throughout the city of Austin and all surrounding areas.

Franchises are definitely not all bad, but it’s important to be informed as a business owner that not all cleaning companies operate the same, even though it may appear that way on the surface. Ask the right questions, be prepared and hopefully these tips will give you a place to start.

Hiring a Janitorial Cleaning Company Guide

February 11th, 2020   •   No Comments   

Office-Cleaning-Janitor-300x198Is this your first time hiring a janitorial cleaning company? Here are the questions you should be asking the companies when going out for bids:

  1. Franchise vs Local – Is the company a franchise company or a local company? Here’s why this is important, franchises have VERY different business practices and incentives for themselves. Be aware of what those are and that they are often more beneficial to the franchise than to your facility or the independent contractor providing the services. To learn a little more about this check out our post on Janitorial Franchise vs Local/Privately Owned Commercial Cleaning Company.
  2. Liability Insurance – Does the company have the proper liability insurance? What if your facility is flooded? These scenarios actually do play out so not only should you ask about it but ask for proof of insurance as well. Ask for at least $1 million in coverage plus $2 million aggregate.
  3. Bond Insurance – What if there is suspected theft? Does the company have the proper insurance to cover that?
  4. Workers Compensation – What if the cleaner falls, is that your responsibility or the cleaning companies?
  5. Termination – What happens if you need to terminate the contract due to inconsistent service? Do you get billed for this? Look at that termination clause in the contract and ask appropriate questions.
  6. Additional Services – Does the company offer other services like carpet cleaning, floor services, window washing, pressure washing, etc?  It’s much easier to do business with the same company rather than hire a new vendor for each of these services. Make it easier on yourself and hire a full service janitorial company.
  7. Backup Plan – What’s the backup plan if the cleaner calls in sick? Do they have one? Is it solid? This scenario happens all the time so make sure the company has a backup plan in place vs a no show – you don’t have time to be stuck cleaning the office yourself with no notice.
  8. Customer Service – While this one is hard to measure initially, it’s important to ask what the process is like when a complaint is received. Also, to some extent, you need to go with your gut on this one. How quickly does the service provider respond to email and phone calls? How quickly are they able to generate a service agreement after the initial walk-through? Additionally, read reviews about the company to see what clients have to say on Google or Yelp.
  9. Walk-through – Make sure the company walks your facility as this will ensure accurate pricing and it will help when preparing the work scope items in the service agreement.

I intentionally left out price and while I understand it’s a factor, it absolutely should not be the only one. A company that has all the proper insurances, backup plan and staffing in place will likely not be the lowest bidder. And when you are comparing pricing and companies, it’s important to understand this. Do your research and ask the right questions.

Happy Holidays from Austin Professional Cleaning

December 3rd, 2019   •   No Comments   

austinholidaypartycleaningHappy Holidays from Austin Professional Cleaning!  As we approach the end of this year we would like to take a moment to thank all of our clients for your partnership. We are beyond thankful that you entrust us and our cleaning crew with your commercial/office cleaning needs on a regular schedule and we are constantly striving to teach our cleaning crew to provide the quality of service that we stand behind. As we move into the new year, we are committed to continuing to offer excellent cleaning services and the best in Austin customer service.

We do want to remind you that while most of your staff is out of office this holiday season, this is indeed the best time to schedule additional cleaning services. With the flu and other pesky viruses so rampant right now, do your staff the good favor of having your space deep cleaned or having those carpets shampooed.

Now’s the time to reach out to us to get a quote for these additional services so we can be sure to have you scheduled for the holidays. Here’s a list of the most common additional services we offer:

Deep Cleaning Services
Floor Care Services (Strip & Wax, Floor Buffing, etc)
Carpet Shampoo Services
High Dusting Services
Window Cleaning  – Interior & Exterior
Post Construction Services
Holiday Event Clean Up and Porter Services
Day Porter Services

When it comes to janitorial services and facility management, we’ve got you covered. Email Us at scheduling@austincleaning.net or quote@austincleaning.net

Wishing you all the best this Holiday Season and New Year!

Prepare your Facility for the Flu Season

September 26th, 2019   •   No Comments   

Pretty black woman blowing her nose with a tissue outdoor in winter. Young african woman getting sick with flu in a winter day. Woman with a cold rubs nose with handkerchief.

While at the doctor this week, I was reminded that once again it’s flu season. The flu season usually starts in October and doesn’t tend to wind down until as late as May. Yikes – these are prime months for the outbreak and we all know how quickly it can spread. While my doctor’s office discussed the importance of the flu vaccination, I was reminded how important it is to also ensure our facilities stay clean and germ free as well. Cleaning professionals are often on the frontlines when it comes to battling virus outbreaks and can decrease the impact of an outbreak within your facility.

Here are some tips as to how you can help prepare your facility for the flu season:

  1. Invest in more regular deep cleanings and carpet cleanings – Many dust particles are comprised of dead skin cells that can still transmit illnesses. To reduce the risk of infection, a deep cleaning is necessary
  2. Have disinfectant readily available and easily accessible. Having it available near doorways or entry ways that experience heavy traffic is ideal. If you don’t have these already installed, your cleaning company can often do this for you
  3. Remove trash daily and wash trash containers regularly – your cleaning company should be able to do this for you
  4. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water – again, your cleaning company can ensure the dispensers are in place and they are being refilled regularly
  5. Encourage sick employees to stay home – managers and leaders should set the example here and do the same

The key to preventing the spread of the flu virus is to stop it from the start. Those in the cleaning profession play an essential role here as they are the frontline specialists charged with cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting areas where infectious diseases may be present. Be diligent in ensuring your cleaning team is being aggressive on this front and you can help protect your staff and yourself.

Summer Coming to an End – Busy Back-To-School Approaching

July 31st, 2019   •   No Comments   

residencialcleaningAs summer is wrapping up and we’re all planning for new school schedules and routines, life starts to feel busy quickly. Am I right?  Raise your hand if you’re feeling overwhelmed just thinking about Back-to- School schedules – after school activities, sports, super early wake-up times, school lunches, early bedtime routines, orientations, and the list goes on and on. It takes all of us a few weeks, or dare I say months, to settle into our new routines. In the meantime, while things are a bit hectic, Austin Professional Cleaning Services does have one solution we’re excited to tell you about.

Did you know we now have a sister company that is solely focused on residential cleaning?  While we have been offering this service as needed for all of the years we’ve been in business, we are now putting more focus into this business and we are beyond excited to tell you about it. We’ve made it so EASY too and would love for you to check it out and give us your real honest feedback. You can literally get an instant quote(s), book your service and pay all at once within our secure site. For those of us with too much to do already, this is as SIMPLE as it gets. And as if that weren’t enough, we will send you reminders by both text and email so there is no forgetting that these cleaning fairies will be showing up at your house.

So while Back-to-School can indeed be stressful, take one item off your plate, even if just for a short time, while you settle into the new routine. Having your home sparkling clean can only leave room for more time doing what YOU want to do. That’s why we stand by our motto: You Book. We Clean. You Go Live Your Life.

So go check us out at www.TheRealHousekeepers.com and take advantage of this initial 15% off coupon initial offer: Housekeepers15. And also, please share this goodness with your friends. We all need something to get excited about!

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