PRO TIP: “Cross-Train” your employees so they can clean other accounts…

Post image for PRO TIP: “Cross-Train” your employees so they can clean other accounts…

by Tom Watson on August 10, 2014

Once you get a few accounts – and the employees to clean them – you will want to start thinking about cross-training a few members of your staff.

The idea is to have “coverage” in case people unexpectedly quit or need time off. Though employees have the best of intentions, situations will occur where the person you hired CAN’T clean for one reason or another. This can be a headache if you don’t plan for it.

Once you start hiring you’ll find out that employees get sick, have family emergencies and experience car trouble that requires them to need a day off. Just like you, your employees have lives that are busy, and things don’t always go right! “Life gets in the way” as they say.

While you may have adequate lead time to make other arrangements from time to time, inevitably these situations occur at the LAST MINUTE. If you are not prepared this could leave you SCRAMBLING to find a way to get everything done.

These things tend to occur at the worst possible time in many cases. I can’t tell you how many times I had a nice dinner planned, an evening with friends on the schedule or tickets to a baseball game torpedoed by someone calling out.

In the beginning stages of my business I had to cancel my plans and do the work myself, but then I got SMART. I decided to pick one or two crews and train them on different jobs JUST IN CASE an issue popped up. This tends to work because generally you’ll have a few “hungry” staff members, those that are looking for more hours.

I was lucky in that I had a very dependable two person crew that would almost always scoop up everything that I offered them. They were actually happy to get the extra hours. I was fortunate that this crew worked for me for over a decade. That didn’t stop me from cross training some other staff members as well, as you can’t have too many options for when people call out.

The only advice I can offer as to WHO to cross-train is this… make sure you are training a person or crew that is dependable themselves! Ideally this is someone who has worked for you at least several months – if not more –  and not only does a good job, but would welcome the added work load.

This process may take some time but the benefits far outweigh the effort it takes. Sure you may have to spend a little more of your time and money training people to do multiple tasks, but the up-side is off the charts. Especially when you have tickets to your favorite baseball team!

Like this post? Then subscribe to my RSS feed. Looking for a step by step blueprint showing you how to start your own cleaning business? Check out my Cleaning Business Training Courses. Looking for more cleaning contracts and revenue? Check out my Cleaning Flyers Value Pack. Want to learn how to make money Stripping & Waxing VCT Floors? Check out my VCT Training Course. Need a great website? Take a look at my Cleaning Business Website Packages.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 chris August 10, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Tom hi, that is good advise. Tom I m having a hard time get jobs. I was asked two months a go to submit a proposal, and met the person and he said that he had to check on the new requirements , so anyway after a week I followed up like I was told, and still I just getting the run around, I’ve made several call and follow-up with a letter. What should I do? just leave it alone and try to get another contract? I need your help. I have put out money for insurance, bond and no contracts.

2 Tom Watson August 10, 2014 at 11:15 pm

Hi Chris!

Leave it alone for now. Check back every month or so. Nothing else you can do, as you can’t force them to hire you. Just mail a flyer to stay in front of them every now and again. Also… never sit idle waiting for one person to get back to you. Just keep your foot on the gas! KEEP MARKETING. What happened to you is normal, you just need to keep moving ahead.

3 Elena Garcia August 10, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Good evening Mr. Watson,

I would like to know the difference between Insurance and Works Comp.
and which would you recommend for the start up in the business.

Thank you,

4 ruthie galles August 11, 2014 at 12:26 am

hi tom love reading up on your news letters . I haven’t yet got stared on anything yet id like to know where some groups are to join thinking about getting the friend together and we go over all ive decided to do does that sound good for a start ruthie

5 Raymon Samuel August 11, 2014 at 1:15 am

I have had the same thing happened to me more than once, but mine is different, when some clients see me on my certificates and job history,they want to talk. However, when they see me, things change. I was once told that they didn’t think that I was the right person for the job. I know that there is nothing that can done about it, it is what it is

6 Beryl Duvenhage August 11, 2014 at 9:29 am

Hi Tom,

Thanks for the input you are giving us. I want to ask you, by emails, can one get more business in or must one just go out and see people for business?

7 Tom Watson August 11, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Hi Beryl! Direct mailing, networking, handing out flyers among other techniques work best. Emails are not on my list. Too many people get turned off by those that abuse that approach in my opinion. Maybe for the right price it would be worth a shot, but I would not bet the farm on it.

8 Ron August 11, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Hi Tom, Thats great advice, to have someone on stand by who you can depend on. I had one account that I had been doing for over a year and half. I hired this one person to do the account and they seem like they really wanted to work from my talking and training them. Well they did not even show up or call me! I got the call from the account and they where very upset! So I had to go out there early in the morning to save the account because they wanted to cancell it! They keep me on because of the good job of cleaning I did over the year but that was a close call. I said to myself NEVER again will I trust someone on the first night without calling them or even stop by the account to see if there doing the place.
Thanks again Tom for your great advice in the cleaning business.

9 Tom Watson August 11, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Hi Raymond! It’s hard to determine what someone else is thinking when they say things. So I don’t know what to say to that. I do know this. I’ve met a ton of people in my life, some don’t think much of me while others love me. That’s life. You can’t make everyone happy. I do my best and let the chips fall where they may.

10 Tom Watson August 11, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Hi Ron! I’ve learned the same lesson. It can be frustrating when you go through the trouble of running an ad, training them and letting them go on their own only to realize it was all a waste. I make people call in and out via cell phone for a while until I feel ok with them (I also spot check). Thanks for the comment!

11 Tom Watson August 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Hi Elena! You will probably need both depending upon circumstances.

General Liability – In a nutshell this is insurance coverage for the business that can protect you from a collection of different claims. Stuff like bodily injury, property damage and personal injury.

Workman’s Comp – This provides coverage for an employee who has suffered an injury / illness resulting from job-related duties.

12 Tom Watson August 11, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Hi Ruthie! THANKS for the kind words. To your question… Just type in “Networking Groups” or “Business Associations” into Google along with your zip code. That should give you something to go on.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: