How to Train Your Virtual Office Staff

We all keep hearing of “virtual offices” and how they are slowly transforming the way we perceive organizations but what exactly is the fuss all about?

For one, the concept of a virtual office is in the name – there’s no need for your workforce to have close physical proximity. Advanced applications and the availability of high-speed internet has made working remotely incredibly easy. The employers get to cut down on costs associated with having physical offices, whereas the employees get to enjoy flexibility and more time with their loved ones.

It’s a classic win-win situation! However, having a virtual office isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

Effective training is crucial for the long-term performance of any organization. You need to constantly keep your employees up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry. But what happens when those employees are not physically present right in front of you? The training strategy changes altogether.

Here are some tips form my own experience with virtual office staff.

·Give Your Virtual Staff Homework

As an employer, give your employees homework to improve their skills and knowledge. Think of it as self-learning – all you have to do is provide learning material to your remote workers.  It can be in the form of e-books, manuals or videos lessons. Make it clear that it is imperative for everyone to do the said ‘homework.’ You can even assess your virtual employees with online tests and reward them for their performance.

·Create a Virtual Learning Environment

In a virtual office, you can’t expect to have coffee chats or water-cooler meetings. So you need to create an environment that comes close to the real thing and allows for interaction between your staff members. We use Slack but there are many other options as well. The point is to gather all of your remote workers on a single platform where everyone can openly ask questions, seek assistance from their fellow peers and supervisors, and help others. This would prove to be extremely beneficial to your training and development efforts.

·Track Daily Progress

Just like with traditional in office employees, you need to track the progress of the training and work progress. By determining whether or not your training is making a difference, you can point out holes or shortcomings in the overall program and then make appropriate changes to counter the problem. Having each employee/staff send end of day daily report has proven to work out very well for us at BA House Cleaning.

Remember, the key to effectively training your virtual office staff is to constantly stay in touch. Follow up on their performance and take appropriate measures to keep them up to date and highly motivated.

How to Efficiently Manage the Virtual Office Staff for Your Cleaning Business

How to Efficiently Manage the Virtual Office Staff for Your Cleaning Business

From time to time, its important to just sit back and be thankful for being born in the age of technology. Thanks to the ever-growing communication technologies and advanced software, we are able to access limitless information and even run multi-million dollar businesses from the palms of our hands.

Employers are taking advantage of modern technology to grow their businesses and manage their staff without even having a physical office. Cleaning business is no different! Besides BA House Cleaning many other cleaning businesses are also stepping forward and embracing the culture of virtual offices.

Like any other business, running a cleaning company is no cake walk. From training to scheduling, there are numerous aspects which you need to oversee to ensure that things run smoothly. While going virtual sounds a bit challenging at first, it can actually work wonders for you by helping you cut down costs and boost the productivity of your team. In this blog post, we will discuss some useful tips and tricks on managing your cleaning business’ virtual office staff efficiently. Let’s get cleaning!

Build and Maintain a Platform/Network
The first thing you need to do is to ensure that you have a platform (any software or intranet that allows your team to stay connected) for seamless communication. Since you won’t always be able to have face-to-face meetings, you must keep your virtual staff on the same page at all times to discuss crucial work-related matters and communicate your directives. At BA House Cleaning we use Slack and love it!

Create a Compelling Website & Build a Strong Presence on Social Media for your Cleaning business
Apart from your employees, you also need a platform or two to interact with your clients and close sales. Build a compelling website to give a professional impression. Add a chat-bot which would answer the queries of visitors instantly. Moreover, take help from social media to keep your audience engaged. This is an area where virtual employees can help wonders!

Don’t Miss Out on Training
The biggest challenge of having a virtual cleaning business is providing training to your staff. Many entrepreneurs in the cleaning business make the mistake of not investing time and money in training and counseling their staff. It is important to realize that you need to keep your remote staff up-to-date at all times, just like you would with traditional in office employees. For training and screen sharing we use Zoom.

Use a Scheduling Software
Another important aspect of running a virtual office for your cleaning business is to keep track of the activities and schedules and dividing duties among your team. A good scheduling software can help you out a lot – opt for the best one to never miss any work deadlines and keep your clients satisfied.

Stay Focused on Marketing
Never stop marketing your cleaning services, regardless of whether you are managing a virtual or non-virtual business. Keep your marketing endeavors simple yet effective. Using the power of email could also help you a lot in the long run.

To Conclude…
In every sense, running a virtual office for your cleaning business could benefit you a lot. Use modern technology to your advantage – reduce costs, boost the productivity and motivation of your employees, and take your cleaning business to amazing new heights! My cleaning company has had a great experience with hiring remote assistants.

Is It Time to Hire Your First Employee?

Is It Time to Hire Your First Employee?

The second you formulated your business plan, you started to dread “the moment.” Every entrepreneur, just like yourself, has to face this difficult question sooner or later: “Is it time to hire my first employee?” Instead of enduring sleepless nights stressing over the thought, try looking at things from a positive perspective. This simply means that your cleaning business has finally lifted off and that you are ready to venture towards new horizons with an actual team by your side!

Let the Hiring Process Commence!
While it’s tempting to be a one-man army and keep the revenue all to yourself, hiring an employee can really help you take things up a notch and open doors to other lucrative opportunities for your cleaning business. It might be time to hire your first employee, if (and these apply to all businesses:

You are turning away new clients.

Turning away new clients can be the single, worst mistake that you can ever make as an entrepreneur. This is usually done because of the unmanageable workload, which you could easily have handled with an extra hand to help you out. So, if you’ve recently turned away a client or two for the same reason, it might be time to look for your first employee.

You are missing out on new business opportunities.

Chances are that you have identified new, lucrative opportunities to expand your business. But, it’s next to impossible to open those doors alone, because of other responsibilities that need your constant attention. If that’s the case, then think about all of the revenue which you are missing out on and whether getting a new employee would help change things.

Your clients are not satisfied.

If your clients have been complaining a lot lately about your inadequate efficiency and standards, then it might be because you are unable to manage everything on your own. Start looking for the right person to fit the role and work on those two factors.

Before hiring, ask yourself these questions!
In business, the answers aren’t usually straightforward. So, before jumping to a solid conclusion, there are a lot of things that you need to consider. Since this is your first time hiring someone, it’s completely normal for scary thoughts like “what if I hire the wrong person?” and “what if I’m unable to manage the new employee?” to run through your head. But, before anything else, you need to calm your mind, take some deep breaths, and ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. Am I just looking for someone to ease a TEMPORARY stressful time?
  2. Am I unsure about what exactly the new employee will do?
  3. Am I hiring just for the sake of having someone to ‘control?’

If you said YES to these questions, then it might not be the perfect time to hire! As mentioned above, you need to consider a lot of factors before taking a decision. If the storm is only temporary and you just need someone to embrace, then you’re better off alone. Avoid going through the trouble of hiring a new employee if you are just going to sack them later on when the storm has passed and you no longer need them. So, take your time to think about what you are going to do next and utilize your potential effectively.

How much should I charge for cleaning

How much should I charge for cleaning

This is a question that almost every new cleaning business owner asks and it is not an easy one to answer.

The true answer is it depends. It depends on many different factors but mainly your geographic location. A cleaning company in San Francisco will be charging much more than a cleaning company in Memphis, TN, due to cost of living differences.

But besides the geographical location there are some other factors that have an effect on pricing. If you’re trying to own a business with employees, then you’ve gotta think about how much would a cleaning employee cost you? (don’t forget to include taxes, insurance, etc and of course your profit margin too). Then estimate how much time it will take to clean a home.  Break it down by areas, such as bathroom 1, bathroom 2, living room, kittchen, etc.

My suggestion would be if you’re just starting out and don’t have any employees and are new to the cleaning business, start of by charging hourly until you’re more confident estimating time it takes to clean homes.

Heck I’ve owned BA House Cleaning for many years but till this day I still use hourly blocks of times in situations I don’t feel comfortable giving flat rates to. You can read more about flat rates vs hourly rates for cleaning here.

Besides the information I’ve given above, here are a few things a new cleaning business should always do prior to giving out prices; especially flat rate prices!

Call your competitors

At BA House Cleaning we get competitor calls all the time. I can tell that its a competitor price shopping because I do the same thing. When I ask for details such as address, they pause and have to think for a bit. But we all do it.
When you call, ask if they offer hourly rates, ask them what those rates are.
I recommend calling at least 4-5 of your competitors, find out about both their flat rates and hourly rates.

Cleaning Time Study

No home is the same so a cleaning time can range greatly. Thats exactly why I recommended starting off with hourly above. You just can’t go wrong with going by the hour. Plus you’ll be able to learn a lot and be able to give flat rates comfortably and more confidently.

Start giving estimates

When you are comfortable with giving flat prices, you may do so but keep an eye out on your hourly rates. Continue to monitor how much time you spend on each job, how much would it cost you if you didn’t do the work your self and if you had an employee working for you. If your plan is to grow your cleaning business, you can’t do it solo and in order for it to be profitable, you must charge enough to cover all employee expenses AND make money too.

Eventually you may decide that charging by square footage is the way to go or maybe by number of bedrooms and bathrooms. At BA, we charge by the sqft but also don’t disregard the quantity of those bathrooms. Wet rooms (bathrooms specifically) are usually the most time consuming and if a home is only 1500 sqft but has 3.5 baths, we typically bump up the price a bit because we know that those bathrooms take time to clean.

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