Setting Expectations and Ensuring Subcontractors Meet Brand Standards
Contracting out your cleaning can be a daunting task. An individual or company is essentially handing over their brand to a third party. The third party is responsible for how the property looks when the cleaning is completed. The amount of trust placed in contract cleaners is immense! They have the company brand in their hands.
To ensure the subcontractors are performing to the company’s standards, there are specific documents that must be in place for the contractors to succeed and for the business relationship to flourish. The documents are an agreement or contract articulating standard property appearance and service standards.
Agreement or Contract
The agreement or contract outlines how the two companies will interact. The agreement should include the following information:
- When invoices are due
- When payments can be expected
- What happens if there is a cleaning deficiency
- If applicable, what the workers’ compensation insurance minimums are
- That the cleaners are responsible for providing their own equipment
- Reference to Standard Property Appearance
- Reference to Service Standards
Standard Property Appearance
This document shows and articulates how the property will be left when the cleaning is completed. Here is a short list of what the document includes:
- Pictures of where the remote controls go
- How and where the guest amenities are placed
- How the towels are hung
- How the beds are made
This document is all about the details. The more pictures with explanations, the better. This document sets the standards the cleaners are held to. Without accountability, they will do what they feel is best—and that is not always best.
This document outlines the different services performed by the contractor. There is a difference between a deep clean, mini deep clean, and a departure clean. Service Standards outlines these differences.With these documents in hand, the next step is to help the contract cleaner know and understand your standards. The best way to accomplish this is by meeting with them at a property.
Stage a Property or Properties
Stage a property or properties exactly the way you want them when the contract cleaner has finished their cleaning assignment. Include a mix of properties, such as an older property, a middle-aged property, and a brand new property.
Meeting at the Staged Properties
Meet the contract cleaner owner or designee at each staged property. Provide a copy of the Standard Property Appearance if they didn’t bring it. Then, go from room to room and talk about how the room should look. Point out trouble areas and encourage the contract cleaner to make notes on the Standard Property Appearance and to take additional pictures to train their staff.
When working with contract cleaners, it is important that the contract cleaner is never, ever, construed as an employee. This means the contract cleaner never wears the property manager’s uniform, the property manager never dictates what cleaning products to use, and the property manager never dictates how the property will be cleaned. The only thing the property manager can do is say how the property should look when the contractor finishes cleaning.
Working with contract cleaners can be the best of times and the worst of times. Following the recommendations outlined above will move you toward the best of times.