Archive for the ‘Money Issues’ Category

Cheap Continues to Sell

By:  Cathy Green


Looks like cheap is still selling. I received a form letter recently from a potential client. I figured out it was a form letter after he forgot that he had sent it to me once, and he sent it a second time.

In the letter he mentioned that he had recently fired his cleaning person due to poor services and said that he would be interested in receiving an estimate. He made it clear in his note that he was on a tight budget and he was going to go with the cheapest estimate.

Below is an edited copy of the letter that I sent back to him. I believe that all potential clients will benefit from it:

If you ever read my blog or the articles I write for the DC Examiner, you will see that I am a person who always is educating the consumer.


Cheap sells but cheap renders awful results, high turnover, and other problems in the long run.

Another issue you are going to run into is that very few cleaning companies are worth their salt. Only about 1% of them train their people or can hold on to employees. They pay minimum wage ($6.55 – $7 per hour) and therefore the employees give abour $7.00 an hour’s worth of labor.

I charge more because I pay my people a real wage. Therefore, they see it as real job, as opposed to a “jump off” that they can leave the second they find something paying them more for their hard labor.


You’d do well to seek out a “mom & pop” establishment where we pay our people more and actually care about what goes on in your home.

You will be able to find a company to clean your 4 b.r., 2 bath home for a low price, but you will probably end up only keeping them for a month or two due to shabby service. You get what you pay for.

I have no idea what he will end up doing. My guess is that he will find another “cheap” company to go in and clean his rather large home for dirt cheap prices. They will do an awful job and he will again find himself in the market for a cleaning company. Most people rarely make the connection between cost and service. Cheap just keeps on selling!

If you are looking for the cheapest house cleaning service in town, you have landed in the wrong spot.  But if you are looking for a thorough, professional company with trained employees who take their jobs seriously, you are in the right place.  Our prices are competitive and our service is “white glove”. Give us a call:  301-322-7112


Employees Work to the Level of Their Pay

By:  Cathy  Green


Every now and then a potential client will share with me how much they paid to their “former” cleaning company and they will ask me if I could bring my price down some more.

My hope is that every potential client reading the FAQS section of my website will read this explanation.

First of all, our prices are comparable (and often less) than the prices charged by local franchises.

Here is the difference.

Most cleaning companies (including “mom & pop” as well as huge franchises) pay their workers between minimum wage, which I believe is about $6.55 in Maryland—and $8.50. But in order to earn $8.50, the workers have to rise to the position of “manager” or “Team Leader”.

Let’s stop there for a moment. You are reading this so my guess is that you probably are college educated. But imagine for a moment that you never attended college and you are just the “Average Joe” out there trying to earn a decent wage so you can live a comfortable life. 

In other words, you need gas for your car.  You need enough money to pay your car and house notes. You need money for other expenses and you need a little extra for enjoyment—-just like everyone else.

Now think about the back-breaking work that goes into cleaning a house well. Would you do all that hard work for $6 – $8? Of course you would if you were desperate and needed money—but not long term.  Here is the thing.

a. Human nature is such that people work in accordance with what they earn. So if you are making $7 an hour, chances are that you are going to do about $7 an hour’s worth of work.

b. Cleaning techs who make that tiny bit of money don’t take the job seriously.  They treat it as a “jump off” until they can get something paying a higher wage. And the second they find another job paying more for less labor, they leave—often without notice.

This is what happens to the consumer:

a. The consumer is now annoyed that a different person or different crew is in his/her home cleaning and the crew seems to change every few weeks.

b. The consumer is agitated that he/she has to explain things to a different crew every few weeks.

c. The consumer is worried—wondering if the present crew is as trustworthy and careful as was the last crew.  After all, the consumer’s HOUSE KEY is being passed around from crew to crew!

Eventually the frustrated consumer starts to search for another cleaning company.

NOW….let’s say you stumble upon UpperCrust Maids, LLC. Either a friend told you about us or you received a postcard in the mail or you saw an advertisment or found us via a Google search.

a. You make contact with us.

b. We come out and complete an in-house estimate.

c. We give you a quote that is $25 – $35 more than the last service that was in your home.

d. You inquire as to the price difference.

OKAY….here goes!

Our employee turnover rate is “zero” at the present time and I will tell you why.

a. We pay our employees well above the minimum wage.  And because they are earning a decent wage, they take the job seriously. And since they take the job seriously, they work harder to perfect their skills. And because they work so hard to continuously perfect their skills, my clients LOVE them! And because clients rave about them, they are inspired to work even harder. And because they work even harder, I shower them with praise. And because I shower them with praise, they blossom and bend over backwards to continue to shine.

It’s a chain reaction.

b. The reason we are able to pay our employees a wage that shows that we respect and appreciate their hard work is because we charge $65 an hour for first time cleanings (which averages about $260). And we charge a competitive but realistic fee for ongoing cleanings.

Several local franchises and “mom & pops” charge $75 an hour, so we are not the highest service out there.  The difference is that franchises charge $75 an hour and pad their own pockets, while paying their people minimum wage. 

Then there are the services that charge $40 – $50 an hour and the only way they are earning a profit for themselves is by paying either below minimum wage or barely minimum wage.

Did you ever hear the old saying that “you get what you pay for”? Guess what? It’s TRUE!

You Get What You Pay For in Hiring Cleaning Companies

By:  Cathy Green

From time to time a client will tell me that my prices are higher than they want to pay. Many of them admit that their former cleaners were “cleaning ladies” who they paid $40 – $50 to every couple of weeks to clean their homes. Those who had actual cleaning companies still were not satisfied.

I won’t even waste time discussing cleaning ladies. They are not a real business and they pay no taxes. So anyone who allows a “cleaning lady” in their home is putting themselves at risk. Enough said.

What I want to discuss for a minute is the legitimate cleaning company that charges very low rates to clean homes and its implications to the consumer.

Let’s say that you have a home that is approximately 2,500 s.f. and includes 3 full bathrooms, 4 bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, dining room, sun room and/or family room and an office. You also have a finished basement that is rarely used but from time to time, you’d like that cleaned also.

I won’t even concern myself at this point with square feet. Regardless of the size of the home, if you have 3 bathrooms, that’s a lot of work. Bathrooms and kitchens require more time than the other rooms in the house (generally) because they get a lot of use.

My company specializes in the “one maid per home” system. However, I obviously will send two maids into a home that requires a great deal of work.

So let’s look at the sample above. If I were to do an estimate of a home that has 3 full bathrooms, 4 bedrooms, kitchen, office, living and dining rooms, family or sun room, and so on, I would probably assign two cleaning techs to the home.

In the sample above, I’d probably charge between $150 and $160 every two weeks. I will admit that not every family can afford to pay that price—which is why we generally target two income homes. These are people who have established cleaning budgets and who have determined that for them, it’s worth it.

There are cleaning companies out there who would clean the same home for $85 – $90. The question is, how on earth are they paying 2 cleaning techs, plus earning a profit while charging that tiny fee?

I’ll tell you how they are doing it. They are paying their cleaning techs either minimum wage or below minimum wage.

Let’s work the numbers:

Minimum wage in Maryland is about $6.55 per hour. Let’s say that the cleaning company is paying the two workers $6.55 each, muliplied by 2.5 hours (many cleaning companies insist that their workers are in and out of a house in 1 – 2 hours because they have about 5 – 6 houses to clean per day!) But I’ll be generous and say 2.5 hours.

$6.55 x 2 = $13.10

$13.10 x 2.5 = $32.75

Subtract $32.75 from $85 and there is a profit margin of $52.25

So the cleaning company has earned a profit of $52.25 while having paid its workers minimum wage.

BUT, here is the clincher. People who work minimum wage are known for doing a horrible job. They also don’t stay on such jobs for long and will search out another job paying more, accounting for the high turnover rates in most cleaning companies. So the family will not be pleased with the shoddy work and eventually will fire the company.

Why does my company retain its workers? Why does my company charge more? I’ll tell you why. We pay our workers a decent wage. In response, they take the job seriously and they do a great job in homes. It’s a chain reaction.

You get what you pay for. Someone making minimum wage to do the back breaking work of house cleaning will not put out any true effort. But a person making well above minimum wage will. It’s truly that simple.