Are you struggling to keep up with your cleaning business and need to hire your first employee? Continue reading to learn what you need to hire employees for your cleaning business.
Hiring your first employee for your cleaning service can be scary and exciting. Usually when hiring your first employee it means your business is growing, you have created a service that clients trust and want.
You may have reached the point where you can no longer take on more clients simply because you don’t have enough hands to clean them all. This is when you know you are ready to hire your first employee for your maid service.
Before you start recruiting, there are some steps you have to take and implement before you can hire employees for your cleaning business.
Hiring employees for your cleaning business comes with risks and legal obligations for your business. This is because, your employees are cleaning and working in your clients homes. You want to make sure you are protecting your business, your clients home, and your employees.
If you take the necessary steps to ensure your cleaning business is ready to hire employees, you will set your business up for success. This blog post goes over those necessary steps to ensure you are ready for day one for your new cleaning employee.
Steps to take to hire employees for your cleaning business
1. File your business name with your State
If you have not yet filed your business name with your state, now the time to do so. This step can be done online by doing a google search on business filings by your states name.
There are several business structures you can file your business as, they include Sole proprietor, LLC, or regular Corporation.
Here is an article that provides further information on each of the business structures. The structure you choose for your business is entirely up to your situation and your goals with your business.
I am not a lawyer and can not advise you on what is best for your circumstances. I can tell you that I filed as an LLC and also filed to be taxed as an S-Corp. This provided the personal financial liability and was the best savings on taxes for my situation.
Everyone’s goals and situations are different. I recommend you either make friends with an accountant or hire one that can help you make the best decision for you.
2. Purchase Proper Insurance
If you did not have insurance before, you are going to need to get it now. Once you bring in an employee you will be assuming a lot more risk than if you were cleaning homes by yourself. Your employee will be acting on your behalf, what they do in a client’s home becomes your responsibility. Insurance protects you and your business from accidentals and unexpected occurrences that can occur.
I have a blog post that goes into more detail about the insurances (Why every cleaning business needs insurance), but here is an overview of what you should have when hiring your first employee.
General Liability Insurance
General Liability insurance will cover the costs if you or your employees damage your client’s property. It will also cover costs if someone were to get hurt. What General liability insurance does not cover is car related damage or injury. It also does not cover employee on the job injuries.
Workers Comp Insurance
Workers compensation insurance financially protects your employee if they get hurt on the job. It protects your business and you personally from having to pay the medical claims and lost wages due to on the job injuries. You can read here to learn more about workers comp insurance.
Commercial Car insurance
This will protect you and your business if your or your employee are in a care accident. If your new employee will be driving your vehicle, or your business name is on your vehicle, you will need commercial car insurance. If you or your employees are in an accident and your personal car insurance company believes you were conducting business in your vehicle, they will not cover the claim.
3. Decide How to Pay Your Employees
Will you pay your new cleaning employee based on commission for each job they clean, or will you pay them hourly?
Paying Employees based on Commission
The pro’s to paying on commission per job is that you know how much of your revenue will go to payroll. Paying by commission provides motivation to your cleaning employees to clean more jobs in a day.
The down side to paying by commission is your employee has incentive to clean as many homes in a day. This can lead to cutting corners and compromising the quality of your service. Additionally, you will have to make sure your employee is at least averaging minimum wage for each hour they are working.
If it takes them 5 hours to clean a home they are only getting paid $30 to clean, then their average hourly rate would be $6.00. This does not meet the minimum hourly rate for any state in the US.
Paying Employees Hourly
The Pro’s to paying your cleaning employees hourly is you can control the quality of the service. Employees will make the same amount of money if they clean 1 home in 5 hours verses cleaning 2 homes in 5 hours.
The Con’s to paying your cleaning employees by the hour is your payroll costs can sky rocket if you are not tracking your employees cleaning times.
If you are paying your cleaning employees hourly, you will have to track how long they are cleaning a home. If they are not cleaning efficiently your payroll costs will be higher than your earnings.
When being paid hourly employees are not as conscious of how long it takes them to clean a home since they will make the same amount of money cleaning 1 home in 4 hours or cleaning 2 homes in 4 hours.
How I paid my employees in my cleaning business
In my cleaning business, I choose to pay my employees by the hour. My cleaning service was based on quality, this is why clients hired me. By paying my employees hourly I was able to control quality.
In the beginning I struggled with getting my employees to clean within my desired cleaning window. I did not earn as much money as I should have because my employees were not cleaning as efficiently as they should have.
To I developed a cleaning process for them to follow, and I became more strict on the cleaning times. I knew if my employees followed my cleaning system they could clean the homes within the allocated time frames I set for them.
I developed my pricing schedule around these cleaning times. These cleaning times were based on how frequently a home was cleaned and what size the home was. My employees knew how long they should be in a home. If there were unforeseen circumstances, they would have to call me.
If you have not already downloaded it, in my free pricing worksheet I provide my standard cleaning times for homes cleaned on a weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly basis. You can get the form here if you sign up for my email list.
To motivate cleaners to follow my cleaning plan and to meet the required cleaning times, I changed my compensation plan. My employees started out with a base introductory hourly rate. Once they meet the standards I put forth, they earned a higher hourly rate.
4. Be Prepared to Process Your Own Payroll or Hire a Company
Before you hire an employee for your cleaning business, you will need to have the capability to pay them. You’ll have 2 choices, either process the payroll yourself, or hire an outside company to do it for you.
Required Payroll Activities
- Calculate and pay wages appropriately
- Deduct and pay Federal income taxes
- Deduct and pay FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare)
- File and pay Federal and State unemployment taxes
- File quarterly 941 tax returns
- Create W-2’s for employees and report wages to Social Security Administration
Processing Payroll on your own
There are a lot of software options out there that make it easy to process your own payroll for your maid service. If you are using an accounting software, you can start there.
QuickBooks is a popular option that many small businesses use. There are other web-based programs out there that can help you process your own payroll. Business.org has reviewed the top 10 payroll software for 2020.
If you have no experience processing payroll and paying payroll taxes yourself highly recommend you higher and outside company to do it for you. The benefits of outsourcing your payroll and the reason I recommend it is keeping in compliance with payroll taxes, laws and regulations.
Prior to hiring my first employee I researched and created an account with Benefit Mall, a payroll processing service provider. They processed payroll for me when I only had only 1 cleaner and as I continued to hire new employees.
I provided the employee hours each week and they would process the payroll and provide the check. They also took care of filing and paying all taxes for me. The cost was not as much as you would think and worth looking into. And if your employees opt for direct deposit, the charge was even less.
5. Create an Employee Handbook for your Cleaning Business
An employee handbook is a document that provides expectations for the employee. It is the guidebook on what is expected for your employee and what behaviors are and are not acceptable in your cleaning business. for a successful manager-employee relationship, it is very important that your expectations are clear to the employee,
It is not fair to discipline an employee if they were not aware of a policy. For example, if you do not want your employee to bring food into a clients home, you need to make sure they are aware that it is unacceptable to eat in a clients home and what the consequences are if they do. This way if it happens, you can support your reaction with the written policy.
Items you should include in the handbook include
- Attendance Policy
- Dress code
- Acceptable behavior in a client’s home
- What is expected each day at the start of the day, end of the day, and while cleaning
- Define required cleaning tasks.
- What to do if the employee gets hurt
- Policy on soliciting your clients for their own business
- Payroll policy (how often will they get paid, how they will report their hours worked, overtime rules
6. Create a Training plan
If you are hiring your first employee, you should have your cleaning system and cleaning checklist down to a science. Write your cleaning system down or record yourself cleaning. This will be the start of your employee training. Make sure to cover etiquette and acceptable behavior inside a clients home.
You will have to communicate your cleaning system and checklist to your new employee. It will be important that your employees provide the same service and you do. Your clients have hired your cleaning business based on the service you provide, you do not want to ruin your reputation.
You will start losing clients fast without an effectively training your new employee. With a solid training program, you can teach your new employee how to clean as well as you.
Basic overview of a successful employee training program for your maid service
Have your new employee read your training manual or watch a training video
Have your employee read through either a training book or watch a training video. This will provide an overview of what is expected and what your cleaning services looks like.
You can use my EBook: A Maid Services Guide to Cleaning Professionally the Ebook walks you through the etiquettes to being in a clients home, the exact steps on how to clean a home and what tools and supplies are needed. It also covers client reminder emails and end of day checklists.
Have the Employee shadow you while you clean
Next, have the employee shadow you while you clean. This way your new employee will see exactly how you clean, what your clean, and what equipment and supplies you use to clean with. While you are cleaning you can review any important equipment and supply notes.
Shadow your employee while they clean
After your new employee has shadowed you, then you should shadow them. It is important to correct your new employee when you see something they are not following your system. It is helpful to talk them through the movements of moving between tasks
Make sure your new employee is following your routine exactly how you would clean, in the same order as you would clean. When they deviate, kindly remind them what was incorrect and what should have been done.
Your new employee should catch on pretty quickly as you begin shadowing them. Once your new employee starts getting into the grove and flow of the cleaning routine, you can move to the next step.
Ideally you would only have to shadow your new employee for a job or two. I used my home as the shadow home when I first started my business. I only had 1 employee, and did not have the time to shadow at a client’s home. But as your business grows and you are no longer cleaning most of the jobs, you can shadow at a client’s home.
Most clients are ok with training in their homes, it provides trust and security knowing your cleaners are trained and do not clean on their own until they pass your training program.
Let the Employee Clean on their own, with a Team
Now that you have shadowed your new employee and they have picked up on your cleaning system, they are now ready to clean on their own as part of a team. You should still be part of the team, but let your new employee clean on their own.
Your new employee should clean as part of a team for the first few months, this way you can do a walk through of what they are cleaning to make sure the quality of the cleaning service is maintained. You can also keep an eye on how they are cleaning, make sure the right supplies and equipment is being used as well as following the steps in your cleaning system.
Now Your Ready to Hire Your First Employee!
Are you excited?!?! When I hired my first employee for my cleaning business I was so excited. I was exhausted from cleaning and running my business all by myself that I was relieved to get some help.
You should be so proud of yourself for getting your business to this point. Once you hire your first employee and get them trained you can start taking on even more clients. And when your ready you can move on to hiring a second employee. Only the sky is your limit!
More Resources for your Cleaning Business
- Scheduling clients efficiently, to clean more houses in a day.
- How to price your cleaning service.
- How to Clean Efficiently.