How to Make Scheduling Easier in your Cleaning Business
Scheduling in a domestic cleaning business can feel like a constant juggling act between what clients want: last minute cancellations, changes when clients are on holiday, clients wanting to change days, etc. And your team: sickness absence, last minute hospital appointments, two team members can’t work together so you have to change the schedule, someone’s car has broken down. Then factor in that you have to get the timings right and take into account where the team are travelling to in terms of geography and it can feel like an endless exercise in sorting everyone else out and you and the business feel like the last in the line!
What makes the scheduling complicated and difficult? Yes, it’s the last minute things, but there is a lot more that goes into scheduling than just last minute changes.
We have clients needs to consider: time of visit, preference for team members, tasks to be carried out. Then we have team needs to consider: school drop offs and pick ups, travel between clients, who they do or don’t want to work with, they want the hours but want an early finish, holiday dates, etc etc
And then there are the business needs: meeting minimum contracted hours, geography, and of course the profitability of every single client that goes into your schedule.
When you are creating the actual schedule, and when you are taking bookings, you should always consider the 3 stakeholders in the process: clients, team and the business, so you don’t risk putting the needs of just 1 or 2 stakeholders over the others. It’s always a balancing act, but it is crucial to get good at this as it will help so much as your business grows. It’s like a jigsaw that you fit together and it must meet everyone’s needs.
Top tips for easier scheduling:
1) Look at each client and ask, does their place in the schedule work for them, does it work for your team AND does it also work for the business?
2) If the schedule doesn’t work for all 3, then don’t be afraid to CHANGE it! Clients might move days to make the geography or timings better, or maybe you just can’t service them anymore.
3) Create SYSTEMS so it’s not all in your head. If you keep all the information relevant to the schedule in your head, you will never be able to train someone else to do it and you’ll also inevitably forget things at some point as you can’t remember everything as your business grows.
4) Use one of the great scheduling SOFTWARE options out there. DCBN members get discounts on two of the gold standard scheduling systems, Jobber and Zenmaid.
5) Avoid OVERLOADING the schedule. Ensure when you take bookings that there is some leeway to cover for the inevitable last minute changes. A completely full schedule might seem great profitability wise, but it can cause havoc and affect your reliability and reputation when things go wrong.
5) Set clear boundaries WHEN you will deal with things. Checking your messages on a Friday night leading to worrying about the schedule at the weekend is a choice. Make a better choice and get some work life balance back. Most rescheduling can be done easily in 30 minutes first thing in the morning.
6) Be a problem solver and ACCEPT that is your job as a business owner. Realising and accepting this is great for taking the emotion and stress out of scheduling issues
7) Create a decision PROCESS for all the things that might affect your schedule. Make a list of all the reasons a schedule changes, whether it’s last minute or planning ahead. Then create a list of ways you will deal with each scenario when it happens. Having a decision process makes it easier to train someone else to manage the schedule for you, but it also means you have a plan A, B, C and beyond for most eventualities, which makes for a less stressed business owner!
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