Cleaning Apartment Turnovers? Here are some tips I would like to share with you.

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by Tom Watson on November 19, 2017

As someone who cleaned my fair share of apartment turnovers, I know how hard it can be to manage the process.

You may have multiple managers calling you at the last-minute to clean a bunch of units you didn’t know have to be cleaned.

This creates issues that can reverberate throughout your entire company. Do you pull staff from one job to do another? Do you hire some temps? Do you jump in your vehicle and start doing them yourself? Ah… what a mess it can create. I’ve been there and it isn’t any fun!

For any beginners out there, cleaning apartment turnovers is one way to increase your monthly cash flow. In a nutshell it involves cleaning the units that become vacant in a complex so that new tenants can move into them.

Most apartment complexes I cleaned in my career had anywhere from just a few turnovers per month, to up to about 12 per month. To be blunt, it’s not really the easiest way in the world to make money. With that said it’s a great way for beginners to get their feet wet and have some money coming in the door.

And if you do things just right, you can make a killing doing so. But it takes a good approach and a little practice. So with all that said, I have some tips for beginners who want to get the most out of this segment of the cleaning industry.

These are really just general guidelines for you to keep in mind, but knowing them in advance is a good idea. Sadly I had to learn most of this the hard way, which made me want to pull my hair out on a daily basis. If you are lucky, you won’t have that problem.

Cleaning Apartment Turnovers Tip # 1

Build a relationship with the manager: Having a solid working relationship with the person is charge is a goal to shoot for. It may not always be possible, but that is the goal. Things may not always go smoothly and when mistakes occur it’s easier to pick up the pieces when they know you are doing your best despite the occasional mishap.

BONUS TIP: I would extend this relationship building to other key players that you must deal with. Sometimes the manager has a right hand man/woman who you will be forced to deal with. This may be an assistant or a maintenance person. These people can be very influential in whether or not you stay or get fired over the long haul. Work hard at making them happy!

Cleaning Apartment Turnovers Tip # 2

Manage the workflow: Don’t put too many units on any one day. This may seem pretty basic, but many times the person in charge at the complex wants to put a bunch of units on the schedule to get them off their plate. Be mindful of that tactic!

Bonus Tip: Only one or two units can be cleaned by a two person crew per day in most cases. At the end of the day putting too many on the schedule for a given day will only result in sub-par work, which leads to complaints down the road.

Cleaning Apartment Turnovers Tip # 3

Make it easy for your staff to do it right:  What’s that mean you ask? Make sure your cleaners have the right tools. There is nothing more frustrating from an employee’s point of view than being sent to a job site with empty cleaning bottles, missing cleaning utensils, not enough paper towels, no oven cleaner, a broken high duster or dirty rags.

It’s your job to put people in a position to perform at a high level, and giving them the proper tools is part of that equation. Investing in tools that make their job easier is encouraged. For instance a steam cleaner that makes it easier to clean stove tops would be a huge time-saver and make your staff happy (not to mention the customer).

Bonus Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask the staff for their input on what they need to get done faster, as their suggestions could save you a ton of money over the long haul. It may be a tool, or an idea. In either case… LISTEN TO THEM!

Cleaning Apartment Turnovers Tip # 4

Inspect the units when complete: I know you can’t be everywhere at once, but inspections serve multiple purposes. They not only keep the staff honest by discouraging them from taking shortcuts, they also catch the small problems before they become a big deal when the customer notices something isn’t getting done properly.

Bonus Tip: If you have a trusted staff member who has a high standard of cleaning skills TRAIN THEM to be your eyes on some apartment turnover inspections. This will free up time for you to do other things (like get more business) AND empower them to grow within your business.

Cleaning Apartment Turnovers Tip # 5

Keep good records on each unit cleaned: You can’t properly invoice for the jobs you complete unless you keep good records. The fact is sometimes the manager of a property may dispute whether or not a until was cleaned. This doesn’t happen often, but it will with certain managers.

Bonus Tip: Make sure you keep track of the date you were notified that the unit is available for cleaning, who told you, and what day the cleaning was done. I even used to track what time we entered and when we left, along with who the crew members were just in case a dispute arose. The more info you have, the less the other party can dispute what you know happened!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laila November 22, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Thank you very useful

2 Jason Woodruff December 3, 2017 at 7:08 am

This is awesome advice. I wish I had found this site a year ago when my crews were cleaning out apartment units. We had a deal with a property owner who owned several large apartment buildings. Many of the units were run down and we learned the trade -so to speak- in cleaning them. I got the client as one of my employees rented from him. How were you able to market and reach out to apartment managers? Is there a template you can share?

3 Tom Watson December 3, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Hi Jason! I have a letter I sent out to apartment complexes here…

4 Tom Watson December 3, 2017 at 4:10 pm


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