How to Hire Your First Cleaning Employee

Steve Hanson
 


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You may have started your cleaning company part-time and thought that as the business grew you could quit your “day job" and put more time into the business. But as your cleaning business grows you may find you can no longer manage all the tasks you need to handle, no matter how much time you devote to it. If you do not have time to market your business or to keep in contact with your clients regularly, it may be time to think of adding an employee. Hiring help not only allows you to keep your cleaning business growing, but also allows you to take some much needed and hard earned time off.

Start your hiring process by making a list of the tasks needed in your cleaning business and then decide on those you want (or need) someone else to do. Your first employee should be more than just someone who takes the extra work off your shoulders. This individual should be able to help with the overall growth of your cleaning business by helping not only with cleaning responsibilities, but by making sure they provide great customer service.

As you start the hiring process, decide on the job title and prepare a comprehensive job description. This will help you to focus on the responsibilities you want your employees to have, and then when you hire your first employee, he or she will know what his or her duties are.

As well as a job description, you will need a way to evaluate job performance. You should give a written evaluation regularly. During the first year of employment you may want to do evaluations at 3 months, 6 months, and then at the end of the year. After the first year, job performance evaluations are usually given annually on the employee’s employment anniversary date. Also be prepared to offer constructive feedback as needed. If an employee is doing a task wrong, you need to take steps to immediately correct the situation.

Hiring the right individual can take time. Set realistic goals for when you want that first person on board. It may take longer than a week or two to advertise, interview and get the right person on board. As you interview potential candidates, look for individuals who have an eager and willing attitude. You will be able to train most of the specific skills an individual will need. If you find someone who has the right attitude don't overlook them if they have never run a buffer, carpet steamer or backpack vacuum.

You may be eager to get someone on board once you have a job description prepared. But before you advertise for help, make sure you have the following addressed:

Is your employee covered by your insurance? Check with your insurance agent to make sure your policy covers employees. As an employer, you’ll also need to provide workers compensation insurance. Your agent should be able to help you get the right insurance.

Do you have an employee manual and is it up-to-date? Your employee manual will cover the orientation, evaluations, time off procedures, equipment policies, and the overall working responsibilities that your employees will have. It may also include safety information - or the safety manual may be a separate document. All of your policies should be in writing before your employee's first day of work.

Your cleaning employees will most likely be working in buildings after hours, so you will need to conduct background checks. Your clients may not require background checks of cleaning employees. However it is an added selling point for your services to let any potential clients know that all of your employees go through a background check before they start working for your cleaning company.

Have a training program in place. This can be a detailed manual or guidelines for one-on-one training. The training program should include how to perform all tasks that you expect your new hire to complete. In addition, as your cleaning employees will be working with chemicals and equipment, they need to have specific training to address safety issues to comply with OSHA standards.

If you are a one-person operation you may not have obtained a federal employment identification number. This number is required once you hire employees. To get the necessary form to obtain a federal ID number, go to the IRS website at www.irs. gov.

Register with your state's employment department. All states have a system set up for unemployment compensation. Employers are required to pay into this fund through unemployment compensation taxes.

Set up a payroll system for withholding taxes and making payroll tax payments to the IRS. Check with your accountant to make sure you file the necessary paperwork.

There are specific labor notices the government requires you to post at the worksite. The Department of Labor's website at www.dol. gov has a listing of the federal posters you need to post. Check with your state's department of labor to see if they have added requirements.

Hiring your first employee is big step towards the growth of your cleaning business. Making sure you have all of your i's dotted and t's crossed before you bring someone on board will help with the transition of moving your cleaning business from a one-person shop to the next level. Your cleaning business can grow exponentially with the right employees and it all starts by getting that first employee on board!

Copyright 2006 The Janitorial Store

Steve Hanson is co-founder of TheJanitorialStore.com, an online community for owners of cleaning companies. Sign up for Trash Talk:Tip of the Week at http://www.TheJanitorialStore.com . Read success stories at http://www.cleaning-success.com .

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