Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Today my partner and I got trapped in a bathroom. No, I'm not kidding. The client was home when we arrived but left her large dog when she left, unbeknownst to us. At first we didn't even realize she had left it (it's some kind of German Shepherd mix, very big), but it eventually made itself known and started growling at Katy, my partner. We couldn't get to an exit so we ended up closing the door to the master bedroom and waiting for the client to return.

The client was actually angry at us for making her leave work too. Incredibly rude. We really couldn't of done anything else, the dog was larger than both of us. I'm sure our new employer, Check Maid, loved that one. She asked us to leave and we went to eat before the next job.

I've never had anything like this happen before... hopefully it's the last. I love dogs, although I have a cat, but when they want to be scary they are REALLY scary. Especially German Shepherds. Damn Germans and their scary inventions!

I hope everyone is doing well. Winter is coming!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A small rant about Yelp

This is something I forgot to add to my last post. A lot of business owners, some of them my clients, believe that when Yelp calls for advertising and you say no, they filter your positive reviews.

Personally, I've never had this happen. I've been called a few times. But it does seem a little weird when you start to look at evidence of it. Yelp basically has a filter system that their website automatically puts reviews it thinks are fake into. You can view the filtered reviews, but only by going to the bottom of the page and clicking a small gray link that's very hidden if you didn't otherwise know.

Luckily, I don't actually have any filtered reviews. What I have experienced though is clients threatening to leave me a bad reviews if I don't do a free cleaning. This kind of behavior is outrageous, and I can't understand why Yelp lets it occur - I've reported these individuals and their emails they sent to me but despite that Yelp lets them post lies on my page and doesn't even bother to reply to the evidence I submitted. I'm going to strongly consider posting the emails here because if nothing else, it's funny (or at least it's funny after you sleep the anger off). I'm going to pass for now as I don't know if it's legal to do so..

So advertising scams or not, they definitely don't take care of non-paying businesses very well. By far most clients are a joy to work with and I love every one of my regulars, but we all know how some people are, and it would seem Yelp has given some of the crazies a ground to romp free on businesses that won't do as they demand, which is a shame. But life isn't always fair, and you just have to roll along with it. Most of us learned that long before Yelp though.

In the Hotels I worked for we constantly had to take classes on not only how to clean rooms perfectly, but how to treat clients respectfully no matter what, and why that matters and how it affects the business, etc. I've taken a lot of this so-called customer service experience with me, and I think it's worked to my benefit with Yelp, despite their filter system and ignoring of emails. There's probably a point in there somewhere.

If you have your own Yelp stories please do share them with me, I'd love to hear. Maybe I can prepare better or learn something about the site I don't know!

Until next time.


Getting work as a home cleaner, part 2

This is a follow-up to my first post about getting work. I'm going to list two websites most everyone has heard about, and then finish up with some final thoughts and what I'm currently learning about and hope to share next!


This one is tricky. Unlike Twitter, anyone with a Facebook account typically has personal information on it and even though they can make their accounts private, it's just weird to ask people to "Like" your page. I did get some initial work through friends and a couple of clients that had big followings (one a musician that I had known of, actually!) but ever since I just haven't had much luck with it. I see other big cleaning companies with pages, but I question if they know something I don't or if they just have it to have it.

Anyone reading who could chime in will be added to my monthly free cleaning lottery, to which you'll be the first and only with a ticket!


This is probably my favorite. I didn't actually think of email originally, for some reason, but through reading different blogs I caught on quick. Much like Twitter, it's very easy to get clients to allow me their email so I can update them with when I'm available or if I'm running any deals. What's extra great about is that you can be sure they at least saw the email from you-- you can't ever be too sure with Twitter as things happen fast or people just don't check it very often. If I have a cancellation or a deal running or whatever, I can shoot a quick email out and I always get good results from it (and a couple complaints in the beginning for over-doing it, I'll admit).

Additionally, at the bottom of the email I always link to my tweet that's made right before I send out the emails so those who'd like to re-tweet and help me out can. And they do! A lot actually. So in addition to getting my clientele to see it, at least a few of them always re-tweet and all their friends see too.

Final thoughts

There are many ways to advertise your cleaning services and these are really only a few of many. Philadelphia itself is a GIGANTIC city and has thousands of ways to advertise outside of the internet. I've had a lot of small business owners with shops call and ask if I'd like to put up fliers (some for free just to get a nice promotion in their store). I imagine if I put a significant amount of time into this type of non-internet advertising, it would also overwhelm me with work.

Facebook must have a lot of potential, but I'm still unable to take advantage of it. My offer of a clean house stands true to anyone who can offer a few words of advice, but if not hopefully I can figure it out and shed some light on the topic.

Angie's List and AdWords are the two other big ones that I'm not yet familiar with. Angie's List is like Yelp in that it's about people reviewing businesses. The difference is I don't really understand how to get reviews there. I've never once had a client ask about it while many have asked about Yelp. I do have a page, but it sits at 0 reviews. It's a little bit frustrating because I do see huge companies using it and they can't be doing that for no reason... maybe it just takes a lot of money to get into. Another thing I wish I could find advice for, and that hopefully I can figure out.

AdWords is just damn complex! It's Google's advertising service (the yellow ads you see when you search for things, that's AdWords ads). I don't actually have time to learn this on my own, and I can't deal with the current work coming in, but if I ever need to use it in the future this may be the one thing I hire someone to take care of. I'd need a website to go along with it so I'd definitely have to pay someone to set all that up.

OK that's all for now!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Getting work as a home cleaner, part 1

I think there's probably too much to cover in a single post, so I'll be cutting this into two. (Read part 2 here!) One of the first things I want to talk about is Craigslist, because at least initially almost all of my work came through that website, but it's something a lot of people shy away from.


For whatever reason, this website is seen as being dirty or the underbelly of getting work. I've never fully understood the reasoning so I'll save you much on that, but believe me when I tell you it's an excellent place to find your first clients.

Back when I decided to go at this alone, Craigslist was actually the reason I was able to make it. I didn't know about using Twitter or Facebook or Yelp or Google AdWords back then. I just knew that my family had used Craigslist to find workers for various things, and that I should go there.

Posting is as simple as it could be. Sign up, add your phone number, and make a post. Within minutes sometimes you'll have emails or calls rolling in. My first month's worth of jobs all came in within the same 4 days of my first couple of posts in fact. I had started out simply posting some text, but later I had a graphic designer make a pretty banner that had my phone and email on it. That seemed to improve calls and emails, which makes perfect sense as others typically have very unprofessional posts, so if yours looks decent, you end up looking the most legitimate.

Over the years Craigslist has changed a little. Big companies post much more than I could. Some will create a new post every 5 minutes, essentially "spamming" out your ads. I've been told they used automated programs to do this, but I no longer rely on Craigslist so much. I would simply suggest you post as much as you can without getting in trouble for doing it too much. That used to be a couple of posts a day.


I love tweeting. In fact I get more work through Twitter than any of other website. Every client I've met, I've always asked if they have a twitter and if they'd like to follow each other. Although most don't have accounts, many do, and a lot sign up and start using it just from the initial request. I now have a few hundred real followers that re-tweet many of my posts when I'm looking for new work to their friends to help me out.

Twitter was always fun anyways to use for friends, but as a business tool it's a godsend. There's not a more convenient way of letting your clientele help advertise your services. That sounds a little devious when I think about it, but all advertising does at first I've learned. Happy clients love to do it for you, is the important thing I've always kept in mind.


I've used Yelp for years now. Mostly I would use it for restaurants... any kind of restaurant. Hell, I'd check different fast food places first. One of my clients who owned a similar business actually suggested I use it for the home cleaning, and was my first review (Yelp is all about people reviewing business). The more good reviews you get, the more people start to see your business page on their website.

I'll admit that it hasn't been as helpful as Craigslist or Twitter. While I currently have over 20 reviews (mostly good), it feels like it will be impossible to get enough reviews to beat the giant companies. There is one cleaning company with over 300 reviews. Hard to compete with that. They have called me a few times to try advertising, but it's very expensive and without a website, I'm not entirely sure it's the best route to take.

All said and done, it does bring in new clients. More importantly, I've had clients find me on Craigslist and ask if I have a Yelp page. So I guess as I always checked restaurants with it, people depend on it for home cleaning and pretty much everything else these days. Good to have even if it's not your first (or second or third) way of getting work.

I'll share some of my other favorite methods in the next post, one of which actually goes hand-in-hand with Twitter.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The post before all others!

I decided I'd write this at the request of a friend and family member. I've been working as a home cleaning professional (or maid) for about three years now. Over those three years, my salary has risen from minimum wage working for Maid Brigade, a large franchise, to making upwards of $70,000 working as a sole proprietor. Although I'm not terribly open about what I do, that figure is always shocking and most people don't believe it.

Because there's an endless amount of houses and apartments to be cleaned, and certainly not enough cleaners for the task, I'll be sharing my day to day (or week to week) journey in this career path. Hopefully I'll be able to offer some help as far as using the internet to get new clients. With Twitter, Facebook, Google, Angie's List, Yelp, and so many other websites, there really is an endless amount of opportunity to be found. It would seem most people either don't know about this line of work or they're embarrassed to take such a job! Money is money though. And it's good exercise. :)

For what it's worth, the term maid is seen as derogatory in many places. In the United States, and Philadelphia specifically, it's a completely normal word that just means a home cleaner. I think because our hotels have used the word for so long in a positive way (making your room clean and fresh) any derogatory connotation has long since passed.

Speaking of hotels, I used to work for one! I started out working for the Marriott and eventually the Four Seasons. I wasn't only a cleaner though of course, but that's how I got started. I eventually got bored of it and wanted to take my skills elsewhere, which is, of course, how I got into cleaning others' homes for a living.

Oddly, home cleaning is probably one of the best jobs you could have at this pay grade. Not only do I work for myself and set my own hours, but the work itself is very satisfying. Almost everyone can relate to cleaning their own home and feeling great about it when finished. That same feeling applies to cleaning others' homes too. Over time you become friends with your clients as well and that's just icing on the cake. (Tips go up too!) I'm fairly certain I make more than some of my clients, which makes me laugh to think about.

The best part of cleaning though? The exercise! No one understands how hard cleaning 3 homes a day is until they try it. The first time I went out with my friend working for the franchise, I was whipped after the first couple of bathrooms in the FIRST HOUSE muchless three entire homes. But now I'm in amazing shape, I leave every job with a smile on my face and real money in my pocket, and my freedom is mine.

4 years ago, I'd never imagine I'd be lucky enough to find a job like this. It's never going anywhere, and there's plenty of room for others, so if you somehow randomly stumble across this post, take a chance and give it a shot! God knows there's enough demand, I turn down almost all new work being offered to me these days or pass it on to a friend. My regulars take up all my time.

I want to get around to posting a little about the best ways to get started next, and if I get a little break this next week I'll start putting together something for all ya'all!