+Who we are - (Transcript)
As most of you know, the home cleaning and maintenance industry has been considered for decades a service exclusively for the wealthy, the elderly or the disabled. In many cases those who are forced to use the services of a cleaning company do so only because they can no longer clean their own homes. The great majority of the population, however, considers maid services to be a luxury. Many clean their own homes due to the fact that the cost of many maid services is higher than what they themselves earn in one day. It is among this large portion of the population that the potential exists to create hundreds of jobs for maids whose prices are reasonable.
Statistically, cleaning companies target only those who can afford the high prices of the service because it represents a profit for them. Although most businesses would not be willing to give up that large profit, our research shows that most companies could drop their prices considerably and still make money.
There also exists a large amount of independent maids and other skilled workers who can charge a reasonable fee because they are self-employed. Often times however they don’t have the capital to launch an advertising campaign and they usually don’t speak English fluently, which limits their opportunities. They rely solely on referrals, which can be unreliable, and often takes years to consolidate.
So this is the situation which allowed this project to get started. We have a large demographic group willing to hire someone to clean their homes if the prices are reasonable, and we also have the service providers who are willing to work at a low rate as long as they are hired continuously. The only thing missing from this equation was someone who could organize and bring them together. If companies are not interested because there is not enough profit; then maybe it is a job for a government agency or a non-profit organization that is willing to help; this is where the Union of Real Estate Professionals (UREP) becomes the missing piece of the puzzle.
The UREP started as a non-profit organization created to help real estate professionals survive the housing crisis. The main objective of the Union is to design strategies aimed at the creation of employment in the real estate industry. Maids, landscapers, carpet cleaners, window cleaners, and others fall under the title of maintenance professionals, and were all affected by the crisis.
In order to help these professionals, the Union developed a very unique strategy that began by creating a legal platform for many unemployed independent maids. We organized them and united them under a single name and license. We established a uniform set of cleaning standards and a set of rules and regulations for them to follow. At the same time, the strategy also consisted of organizing the residents from different communities so they could collectively hire a group of maids. This would guarantee the workers the volume and continuity they need in exchange for a considerable price reduction. This made the service affordable for everyone and created employment for many professionals.
Considering the fact that this is not really a business but more of a conglomerate of organizations, things will operate slightly differently from a cleaning company. Every participating community will be independent from each other and named accordingly to the geographical area it was created for. The organization is often named after a residential subdivision so the residents can easily identify which organization they belong to. It also could be named after a landmark or a well-known street from the area. Every organization of residents has to be independent from any homeowners associations.
Once the initial organization has been completed, each community will be assigned a group of maids, landscapers, and coordinators that would exclusively service those residents. All participating residents will take turns and hire a team of maids at least once a month in order to keep the prices down. Residents will be able to schedule services on weekly, biweekly or monthly basis from Monday to Saturday without the need of a contract.
As participating residents you will have a choice to be Members or Clients. Members maintain the services of the maids at least once a month without cancellations. For this you will receive landscaping services for free, special discounts, and other promotions. Clients, on the other hand, are those residents who wish to hire the services in an inconsistent manner and will therefore not qualify for promotions or discounts.
+Our personnel - (Transcript)
The personnel working for our organization are carefully selected based on their experience, efficiency, and customer service skills. They all have to pass a background check and the results are posted on our website. For you as clients, it is very important that you constantly keep us informed of the worker´s performance, particularly during the first cleaning sessions, as their continued employment with our organizations is somewhat dependent on the feedback we get back. If we notice that there is a pattern of bad feedback from multiple residents, then we immediately remove the maids and we replace them with a new team. Although all the maids are trained to work with the same cleaning standards; every maid has different techniques and could be better suited for your needs.
Our maids work in teams of two, the main maid and her assistant. This allows them to work quickly and efficiently. The landscapers, window cleaners and carpet cleaners, will either work by themselves or in small teams depending on the project.
Once you enroll in the program and start services, a specific team of maids will be assigned to your property. By keeping specific teams working at the same locations, the service becomes more efficient and allows you to feel more comfortable with them as well. Only on rare occasions will a supplementary team be asked to clean.
The language barrier is a very common problem in the cleaning industry. About 98% of our personnel is Hispanic and only 50% understand English. We consider it a priority to have at least one of the two maids working with you to have a basic understanding of English. In the event that is not enough, we also have bilingual phone operators available during working hours who will gladly help you translate your instructions for the maids.
+Description of Maid Service - (transcript)
The maids will work exclusively inside a house. The job is divided into two types of cleaning: basic and detailed. Both are included in the service. Basic cleaning targets the high traffic areas of your house and surfaces that must be cleaned each time, such as:
Also included in basic cleaning is the making of beds, changing linens upon request, sweeping, mopping floors, vacuuming carpets, and removal of trash.
Detailed cleaning involves cleaning things or surfaces which are not so heavily used on a daily basis, such as:
Detailed cleaning is very time consuming and therefore every aspect will not be covered on every visit. These duties will rotate one section of the house at a time. For example, one day they will do the basics in the house plus detailed cleaning only in the first floor, another day they will do all the basics in all the house, plus detailed cleaning in the second floor; and so on. Sometimes the maids will also pick one type of fixture at a time, they may do all the basics plus baseboards in all the house one day, and another detailed cleaning on the next visit. In this way your house will stay clean all year long at a reasonable rate, while being time efficient for the maids.
Detailed cleaning on properties scheduled on a weekly or biweekly basis works best. In these cases basic cleaning will be quick, leaving enough time for the maids to do the detailed cleaning. If you chose, you can help increase the time available for detailed cleaning just by doing some simple tasks before the maids arrive. Picking up objects from the floor and not allowing dirty dishes to accumulate will allow more time for deep cleaning.
Residents always have the ability to let the maids know what they think needs their immediate attention so they can focus on that. For example, if you consider that cabinets are a priority, you can tell the maids that once they are done with the basic cleaning, you would like to have the inside of the cabinets cleaned rather than something else they may have had scheduled.
Maids will always bring their own cleaning products, tools and equipment. If you prefer to have them clean with your products, you will be required to provide them with the necessary tools. If you’re not going to be at home at the time of service, you can leave the products on the kitchen counter and the maids will use them. This includes personal vacuum cleaners if you so desire.
+Description of Landscaping Services - (transcript)
Our landscaping services are very basic and are designed to help you comply with HOA regulations. They include the following services:
Special requests like trimming trees higher than 8 ft., repairs to the irrigation system, removing dead plants and planting new ones, and fertilizing, will be charged separately. The landscaper usually sets special rates for these services, so if you want an estimate you may talk to them directly or call our office and we’ll setup an appointment for you.
If the landscaper finds your yard on the first service to be in bad shape, like bushes that have not been trimmed in months, weed infestation, excessive dead leaves, or the like, then they may charge an initial cleanup fee to cover the labor and the cost of dumping the trash that is going to be removed from your yard. Once the front and backyard have been cleaned, the following services will be included in your normal payment. If your lawn needs this initial intense cleanup and you don’t wish to pay the initial cleanup fee, then the landscaper could also clean your yard in stages. They will clean one section of your yard during each session which would extend the initial cleanup over 3 to 4 sessions. This process is most efficient if you have scheduled this service on weekly basis rather than a monthly schedule.
If you have dogs, please make sure there is no dog waste in the yard, especially where grass is present. The lawnmowers might splatter the dog waste all over the yard or harm the landscaper's equipment. The landscaper won’t cut the grass if there is dog waste in the lawn, but will could pick it up for an additional fee that is often paid in a form of a tip.
+Duration of Services - (transcript)
After many trials, we are estimated that a team of two maids can clean a 1000 sq ft of property in about 40 to 60 minutes. Factors that may alter this timeframe would be the amount of people are living in the house, the number of children, number and type of pets, type of flooring, and how often is the house being cleaned.
To calculate how long the maids will stay at your home, please locate the square footage of your house in the following chart.
|Square footage of your home||Estimated time (2 maids)|
|Under 2,000 sq ft||1:30 - 2:00 hours|
|2,001 - 2,500 sq ft||1:45 - 2:30 hours|
|2,501 - 3,000 sq ft||2:15 - 3:00 hours|
|3,001 - 3,500 sq ft||2:30 - 3:30 hours|
|3,501 - 4,000 sq ft||2:45 - 4:00 hours|
|4,001 - 4,500 sq ft||3:00 - 4:30 hours|
|4,501 - 5,000 sq ft||3:30 - 5:00 hours|
It is important for us that the maids clean the property within their allotted time-frame because they are paid per home, not per hour. Please keep in mind that the first day of service will always take a bit longer. In these cases we suggest compensating the maids in the form of a tip for their extra work as we proudly do not charging more on the first day of cleaning, as many businesses would do. If a house is consistently dirty due to long waiting times between visits, or you as a member or client have many special requests, it will most likely take the maids longer than the allotted time to help you out. If either of these cases become common place the coordinator may call to arrange a change in price for the cleaning service.
On rare occasions the maids may try to work faster in order to go home earlier. This is allowed by the organization only if each house has been completely cleaned and is only possible if they are working on properties scheduled on weekly or biweekly basis, and where there are no children nor pets
If you as a resident would like to request special cleaning such as doing laundry, or cleaning after parties, or the strenuous moving day cleaning, please call the office to schedule the service and get a price quote at least 24 hours prior to the date of service. They can try to either arrange an extension after regular duties or a special service just for this occasion. Quotes are also available on the website under the Services and Rates.
The average time it takes a landscaper to service a home is 20 to 45 minutes depending on the type of landscaping you have, the recurrence of the services, the condition of your yard, the size of the yard and the season of the year.
+Pricing - (transcript)
As an organization we always try to find a balance between the lowest price possible and paying our personnel a fair price for their work. Factors that are taken into place when creating a quote are:
and of course, the size of your property.
The rates increase in increments of 500 sq. ft., starting with the smallest category, which are homes under 2000 sq ft. If you prefer that only a portion of your home to be cleaned, you may be eligible for a price reduction. Please keep in mind that this still works on a scale of 500 sq ft. however. Therefore, if your property is 2,400 sq ft. you would have to remove more than 400 sq ft (approximately 4 rooms) to get a reduction. But if your house is 2,100 sq ft then by removing one room you could receive a reduction. The number of bathrooms will also be taken into consideration when factoring in a price reduction due to the fact that they take much longer to clean than other rooms in the house.
Garages, patios, porches and guest houses are not considered part of the living space by the County, and consequently are not considered in the price. If you want to include the any of the following parts of your home in the service, the price would have to be increased according to the square footage.
The landscaping service is a free service that is included for Members. For clients the price will be slightly higher due to the fact that yard work accumulates quickly if not taken care of on a regular basis. If you do not require this service just let us know and we will not send anyone to your home. Prices will stay the same for members however as this landscaping service is free.
+Scheduling Services - (transcript)
There are two ways to request services, by setting up a recurring schedule or call for specific cleaning necessities. Members may set up services once a week, every other week, or once a month. A wonderful benefit of the recurring schedule is that you will most likely be able to secure the same team of maids and the same shift each time. If you can’t be on a repeated schedule you may call each time you need service. We will do our best to work with you on timing and any request of team, however nothing can be promised. Please schedule services at least 24 hours in advance and give a 2-3 hour time frame for the team to come to your home.
Once your appointment has been set up, the coordinators will send you a reminder a day before the actual service, via text, email, or phone call. That reminder will state the exact time the maids are expected to arrive. You must reply confirming the appointment within 4 hours of receiving the notification, otherwise the coordinators could schedule another property in that time slot. If you cannot confirm within 4 hours and you lose your spot, you still can be scheduled at any available shift as long as you call before 5 pm. The coordinators won’t send the maids if they don’t have a confirmation.
If you need to cancel a service after it was confirmed, make sure you call or text before 5 pm a day before the actual service. Cancellations during non-office hours or on the same day are subject to a small penalty fee. Residents who don’t call to cancel and reject the maids on site, will pay a higher penalty fee to compensate the maids for the time lost, gasoline, and other scheduling expenses. In addition those clients may l be asked to not participate with the organization if cancellations become common practice.
Due to the nature of a cleaning service, it is possible that maids will get ahead or behind schedule from time to time. We ask for your patience in this matter and will always notify you if timing changes drastically as the day goes on.
In addition, the landscaper and the maids have very different schedules and probably won’t arrive at your home at the same time, but they will be there on the same day. If you are not going to be home, we ask that you leave the gate to the backyard unlocked so they can service the backyard as well. In the event that there is bad weather on your day of service, the landscapers will stop services and they will return when the conditions have improved
+Payment & Tipping - (transcript)
For the payment of maid service you will be required to pay directly at the end of each service. They will accept cash or check. If it is more convenient for you, you may also setup a recurring credit card payment and we will charge your credit card every time your house gets cleaned. If you are not going to be home at the time of service, or if you need to leave your home during the service, please make sure you leave the payment on the kitchen counter.
For members, you are only required to pay the maids because the landscaping is free. If you only want landscaping services, then you must pay the landscaper directly at the time of service with cash, check, or the credit card service mentioned above.
Although tipping a maid is not as common as tipping a waiter, we estimate that 60% of residents do leave a tip. Is very important that you understand that by hiring the services of a maid you are creating a source of employment for them, and that is the most important objective. On the other hand, you also have to consider the fact that the maids only get a percentage of what you pay, the rest is used to cover other operating expenses. If you have special requests, or your house needs more work than usual, we encourage you to compensate the maids with a tip for the extra work. Feel free to do it in cash or you may include it in the check.
+Security and Property Access - (transcript)
The organization is licensed, bonded, and insured to protect ourselves from the unexpected. All the information can be found in the License and Insurance section of this website. Although all our personnel have to pass a training process and background check; we’re always looking for ways to improve our security measures and quality standards. We have included an optional free service that consists of recording the activities of our personnel. Residents can request a team of maids equipped with a small portable camera that records their every move during the cleaning service. All video recordings are stored in a secure encrypted cloud and are only available to residents upon request. All files are automatically deleted after 90 days.
We have set up a security fund for emergencies also has been created to cover the cost of repairs or replacement of any accidentally damaged fixtures or broken objects that could occur during a cleaning session. The maids have been instructed to immediately notify the administration and the homeowner in the event of an object getting broken. We ask for everyone’s understanding and tolerance since every claim represents a burden for the organization. In the event of an accident, please make sure you claim only important objects or fixtures. Residents who abuse the system by exaggerating or making false claims, will be asked to leave the organization.
If you are not going to be at home at the time of service, there are three different ways you can grant access to your maids. You may give them a copy of the key so they can have access the property. The maids will bring the key to the coordinators for registration; the key will be tagged with a code and placed in a secure location. We never write the property address on the key tag as a precaution, just in case the key gets lost. You also could leave a key hidden somewhere on the property. Although we don’t recommend it, many people prefer to leave a key in a secure hiding place. The maids will go to your home as usual, clean the property and once they are done, they will secure the property and place the key back in the same location. If this is your preferred method to grant access to our personnel, we strongly suggest you purchase a combination lockbox in any hardware store and place it somewhere in the exterior of your property, like the gas meter; that way you reduce the risk of the key ending in the wrong hands. If these options do not work for you, you could also provide us with an access code. If you chose this option, the information will be kept in a secure encrypted cloud and retrieved only on the day of service. Please be sure to keep the coordinator informed of any changes in codes.
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