Archive for January, 2013

Atlanta Maid Service Blog: What Customers Say About Our Sparklers

Posted on January 24, 2013. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle, Customer Care | Tags: |

The decision to use hire a maid service can be daunting – after all, you are letting someone you don’t know into your space.

Atlanta House Cleaning Service Staff

The Sponge & Sparkle Team – 2012

Even though I make the effort to personally stay in touch with all of our customers, I know that our employees (Sparklers) have the most contact. This is why Sponge & Sparkle carefully hires, screens and trains all employees. We also strive to treat our Sparklers using the Golden Rule.

Although the maid and house cleaning industry has a high turnover rate, our employees stay with Sponge & Sparkle more than 10 times the industry average.

We are grateful for the loyalty and incredible work ethic of all of our employees.

Here are some of our clients’ gracious comments about our Sparklers.

 Detailed Work & Pleasant Demeanor

 Sponge and Sparkle has exceeded our expectations with the cleaning service they provide. Sheila’s detailed work and pleasant demeanor are greatly appreciated. We are happy to have found a company to trust with the care of our home.

 Excellence for 15 Years

 Sponge & Sparkle has been cleaning my office and home for over fifteen years and always does an excellent job. I can recommend them without reservation.

 I Love Coming Home after My Cleaning

 I always love to come home after they’ve been here cleaning. They use natural products that smell good and get the job done.

 Fast, Thorough, Always on Time

We’re really happy we went with Sponge and Sparkle. The cleaners Mabia and Jared are fast but very thorough, and are always on time. We have a converted loft that gets dingy and dusty very easily, and it always looks and feels brand new after they’ve cleaned. Highly recommended.

 A Pet Owner Says: “The best cleaning job I have ever had”

 Sponge and Sparkle was recommended to me by my Sister in law. She loves them and I see why! I have a home that I am trying to sell. I needed above and beyond the average type of cleaning. Sponge and Sparkle came through beautifully. They cleaned everything everywhere! I have 3 kids, 2 large dogs, and a long-haired cat. It was not an easy job! For me it was the best cleaning job I have ever had and I have used housekeepers for 15 years! I am going to continue to use them as my house remains on the market. They’re an asset now I would never let them go! I would recommend them to anyone!

 Tried Others: None as Clean

Sponge & Sparkle is the best cleaning service in Atlanta. I’ve tried others and none are as professional or clean.

 Extremely Professional and a Delight to Work With

Karen cleaned our home for the first time last week and she did an incredible job! The cleaning was very thorough, she took her time and made my home “sparkle”! She was a delight to have in the house and she was very accommodating to my “work from home” needs. I look forward to having her back. A+!

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

 

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4 Solutions to a Chronically Messy Home

Posted on January 17, 2013. Filed under: Cleaning Bedroom, Clearing Clutter, Household Tips, Time Management |

Life happens, and an occasionally messy or cluttered home is to be expected. A home that is always untidy, however, is a source of stress and embarrassment to everyone who lives in it.

Picture of messy bedroom via CC License

You can conquer clutter and mess.

Here are 4 tips to get you started.

Messy Home Solution # 1 – Use Containers.

Using containers creates a uniform look that is peaceful and pleasing to the eye.

I’m using the term containers to refer to anything you use to keep like items together – magazine files, baskets, filing cabinets, etc. You can use containers for container lids, cleaning supplies, paper, and much more.

Here are a couple of rules for using containers:

  1. Make sure your containers are uniform. Use the same color, same style, or same materials.
  2. Measure the area before going container shopping. It is so frustrating to come home with a stack of containers only to find out they aren’t the right size for the area or the items you want to keep organized.

Messy Home Solution #2 – Label Everything.

Using labels takes away the guesswork of having to remember what goes where. If your kids aren’t able to read, use pictures to label their areas. Label your shelves. Label your file cabinets. Label your laundry baskets.

Get in the habit of labeling, even if you live alone. This is a one-time task that pays huge dividends. Although labeling may seem extreme, those seconds and minutes you save will add up.

Messy Home Solution #3 – Get the Kids Involved.

If you blame most of the messiness on “the kids,” you are not alone. Children are, however, a wonderful resource known as free labor! Even the tiniest tyke can be trained to pick up.

Messy Home Solution # 4 – Invest in Regular, Professional Maid Service.

What is your peace of mind worth? Investing a little bit in a professional maid service to clean once or twice a month provides a clean, clutter-free slate without any of the hassle.

Setting up a regular, ongoing appointment with a maid service (ex., the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of every month) will not only translate into lower fees, it will also mean one less item on your to-do list!

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

 

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Hiring an Atlanta Maid Service? Ask These 7 Questions.

Posted on January 9, 2013. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle | Tags: |

i dreamed my whole house was cleanHiring a maid or house cleaning service seems to be a simple decision. Many people think it involves calling companies and selecting the one with the lowest price. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Failure to do due diligence in hiring a maid or house cleaning service will lead to some costly consequences.

Here are few questions to ask when you are selecting a maid and housecleaning service for your Atlanta home

Question 1 – Is Your Maid Service Licensed?

Hiring an unlicensed maid or house cleaner could cost you thousands of dollars.

  • Depending on the amount you pay a cleaner during the year, YOU are considered by the government to be their employer.  If they fail to pay proper taxes on the money that you pay them – and they usually do – you could end up being liable!
  • If they file for disability or social security you will also be liable for any taxes not paid, and you know that the Internal Revenue Service always gets their man (or woman).
  • If an individual or an unlicensed company worker is hurt in your home, there is a good chance you will be sued if the cleaner is facing loss of income and/or high medical bills.  Even though she may be a nice person, she probably will have no other recourse.

Question 2 – Do You Have Liability Insurance?

I am willing to bet that you have some very nice items in your home. If  anything is broken, or something is damaged (like your wood floor or your granite counter-tops) a cheap house cleaner will not be able to afford liability insurance to cover damages –  and suddenly the cheap cleaner is not so cheap.

Question 3 – How Do You Screen Your Employees?

A professional maid service will conduct criminal background checks and provide ongoing training for their employees. With the turbulent economy  and rise in burglaries and identity theft in Atlanta, you want to be sure that the person in your home handling your belongings has been thoroughly screened. That kind of peace of mind is worth its weight in gold.

Question 4 – How Long Has Your House Cleaning Company Been In Business?

A cleaning business is easy to start and sadly, many shady characters and would be criminals gravitate to this industry because it IS easy and cheap in the beginning. It takes far more to run a legitimate, professional maid service in the long haul. 50% of new businesses fail in the first year and 90% fail after the 5. The longer a company has been in business the more stable and well run the company will be and the more long-term trustworthy employees it will have, which means more peace of mind for you. Sponge & Sparkle has been in business since 1981.

Question 5 – What Is Your Employee Turnover?

The average turnover for the cleaning industry is 5 months.Long-term employees is another sign that the business is managed properly.

Question 6 – Who Provides The Cleaning Equipment And Supplies? 

Look for a company that provides all their own supplies and equipment.  Employees are less likely to misuse products they are familiar with and trained to use. Additionally,providing supplies for your cleaner can easily add hundreds of dollars a year to your total cleaning bill.

Question 7 – How Can You Prove It?

Unfortunately, some maid and house cleaning services will not tell the truth. Be sure to ask for customer reviews, proof of liability insurance and workmen’s compensation, a copy of the business license and anything else you need to put your mind at ease. A reputable cleaning service will furnish this information without delay.

Hiring someone to clean your Atlanta home is a very big decision and I hope this information has been helpful to you.

About Sponge & Sparkle, Inc.

Sponge & Sparkle, Inc. is an independently owned Atlanta maid and house cleaning service.

  • Sponge & Sparkle has been in the cleaning business since 1981.
  • All of our cleaning staff are employees – that means we withhold payroll taxes.
  • Employee Retention – Our employees stay with us 10 times longer than the industry average.
  • All of our employees undergo background checks.
  • Our company holds liability insurance.

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

 

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Small Business Leadership: 3 Myths Guaranteed to Thwart Your Delegation Attempts

Posted on January 3, 2013. Filed under: Time Management | Tags: |

delegate your house cleaning

Get Off the Treadmill – Delegate!

This is the perfect time to consider changes we can implement to make this year much better than the last.

If you intend to create more time to grow your business and enjoy your life, you are not alone. Owning an Atlanta-based house cleaning service for over 30 years has given me ample opportunity to practice delegating tasks and become intimately familiar with the joys and pitfalls of delegation.

As a business owner, most of your time should be invested in the following 3 areas:

  1. Doing work that uses your unique genius – the factor that only you bring to the business.
  2. Investing in your growth.
    Examples include upgrading your skills in a key area or staying abreast of industry changes so that you can better serve your customers.
  3. Generating Income.
    Brian Tracy, in his keynote “Performing at your Best,” talks about the Law of 3 – there are 3 activities that contribute to 90% of your business’ income. To maximize your income, identify your 3 activities and spend most of your time on them.

Delegation is a conundrum. Trying to do it all will suffocate your business, yet letting go is difficult. What increases the difficulty of delegation are the myths, or excuses we make to ourselves that get in our way.

Here are top 3 myths that will hinder your delegation attempts and keep you stuck on the “do it all myself” treadmill.

Myth #1 – No one can do it as well.

Myth #1 is the “perfection” myth, which states: “I am the only person who can do this job perfectly.”

Here are three ways to free yourself from this myth.

  1. Be honest.
    Are you really as good at this task as you think? Is there really no one else who can complete it as well as you?
  2. Be clear about your expectations.
    The way to get someone to complete the task to your standards is communication. Document the task and explain exactly how the person completing it will be “graded.”
  3. Give up on perfection.

Myth # 2 – I should only delegate tasks that cost less than my hourly rate.

This myth is based on advice given by a lot of well-meaning people. It says that if your hourly rate is $50, for example, you should outsource tasks that pay less. While this is true, there are situations where it benefits you to delegate tasks that pay more than your hourly rate.

  1. When you are delegating to an expert who can get the job done faster, and better.
    Here’s an example. You need to organize your office, and a professional office organizer charges $75 per hour. Sure, you can make an attempt at organization, but will you get it done anywhere near as efficiently as she will? Probably not.
  2. When the task is one you dread.
    Think of the 3 tasks you dread the most. You know what happens when you dread a task – you are more likely to procrastinate and expend precious psychic energy fretting about it. Isn’t it worth your peace of mind and energy to invest in hiring someone else take to that loathsome task off your plate?

Myth # 3 – I should only delegate the tasks I do not know how to do.

This myth is another trap to keep you stuck on the “do it all myself” treadmill. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Focus your energy on those tasks that are within your unique genius.

Let’s say you have the ability to design websites very well, but you are truly brilliant at Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Your smart choice would be to delegate web design to someone else.

Another task you would be smart to delegate is house cleaning. Studies show we spend 685 hours, or 28 days each year on house cleaning chores. Sure, you could do it yourself, but every hour you spend cleaning is an hour away from working on tasks that move your business forward.

Make this year in business your best ever. If you would like to join the hundreds of Atlanta households who have made the smart choice to delegate their house cleaning to us, call me at (404) 633-9652 or visit Sponge & Sparkle, Inc. on the web.

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

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