Cleaning Industry

Choosing a Cleaning Service?

Posted on January 21, 2016. Filed under: Atlanta House Cleaning, Cleaning Industry | Tags: , , , |

Cleaning Concept

Cleaning services are a dime a dozen. There are more than 600 listed in the Atlanta online yellow pages. How do you pick one? Here’s a list of important considerations:

Choose a cleaning company that:

  • Has been in business a relatively long time.
  • Screens and trains every employee.
  • Has loyal and long-term employees who speak English.
  • Learns your preferences quickly.
  • Complies with federal, state and local labor and tax laws and carries sufficient insurance.
  • Brings its own cleaning equipment and supplies.
  • Charges reasonable, as opposed to cheap prices. Reasonable prices are necessary in order to attract and keep quality employees.
  • Uses non-toxic, safe, but effective eco-friendly cleaning products.
  • Makes customer satisfaction a priority.

Engaging a reliable, well-managed cleaning service will truly enhance your life.  Choose the right one and you’ll never regret it.

What our Customers Say

Awesome company

These people know their stuff. They perform their work well. timely, great job, live up to the standards and surpass.

Affordable and reliable service

We found Sponge & Sparkle on Kudzu.com while looking for a replacement for our previous and unreliable cleaners. I liked dealing with a privately owned company and found their service prompt, affordable and very satisfactory. Their web site provided a $10 coupon which was nice too. They were very thorough and I appreciated dealing directly with the owner and their detailed follow up on their visit. We will be using them again.

Best in town

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

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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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Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2015 – Free Cleanings for Women Battling Cancer

Posted on October 23, 2015. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta House Cleaning, Cleaning Industry | Tags: |

by Raina Raflo, Founder, Sponge & Sparkle – Atlanta House Cleaning Experts since 1981

One in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. This year alone, an estimated 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 60,290 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S. (Source) Cleaning for women with cancer

Battling cancer is tough. When a woman is sick and can’t take care of her home the way she would like to, it adds to her stress.

This is why we are privileged to be a member of  the Cleaning for a Reason foundation, a national organization which puts women undergoing cancer treatment in touch with member cleaning companies that want to donate their services. Sponge & Sparkle has been part of the Cleaning for a Reason network since 2007.

The Cleaning for a Reason foundation has 1,100 companies in its network throughout the United States. In order to be approved for the network, a  professional residential maid service must be insured or bonded and perform background checks on their employees. These professional cleaning companies have provided more than 15,000 cleanings to cancer patients, valued at more than $4,000,000.

How it Works

Once a patient calls the Cleaning for a Reason foundation, they will verify her eligibility and put her in touch with a professional house cleaning service provider in her area.

The number of cleanings varies by provider; we typically give each recipient 4 cleanings of 2 hours each with 2 people.

If you know of a woman fighting cancer who could benefit, please tell her about the C4R website.

 We love to clean and we want to help.

 

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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 Cleaning Service – What Price is Right?

Posted on September 24, 2015. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle, Cleaning Industry | Tags: |

by Raina Raflo, Founder, Sponge & Sparkle – Atlanta House Cleaning Experts since 1981

Price Value Scale Concept

There are several hundred cleaning services in the Metro-Atlanta area, all claiming to be the best.

As Atlanta’s oldest independently owned home cleaning service, I know our rates are not the cheapest. Do your own research and you’ll find that we fall somewhere in the middle of the price range.

There are many good reasons to consider the quality of the service you contract for, rather than just price. You are, after all, allowing “strangers” into your home  – where you and your family sleep, and where you keep your valuables.

Sponge & Sparkle is a well-respected company with well trained, loyal employees.  While the industry average turnover is 3 to 4 months, our employees stay with us for 5 years. Quite a few of our employees have been with us for over 10 years.

We carry liability and workers’ compensation insurance and pay our fair share of required taxes and fees.

We thoroughly screen our employees­—people you are allowing into your private space. They must pass our background checks and drug tests, and complete our comprehensive training program. After they successfully complete our training program, we compensate them fairly and provide benefits.

Our pricing structure enables us to function as a successful, stable business with a loyal customer base. This way, if one of our employees has an injury in your home, breaks a valuable, or files for unemployment, we’re able to handle it.

Interestingly enough, the people who never complain about our prices are our current customers. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

What our Customers Say

Need help? Find it Here.

Sponge and Sparkle are doing a great job and helping me live in a much cleaner home. I think the rate is reasonable and I leave a 20% tip. A few cleaners came out and did not do a great job; however, the manager’s gave me a free cleaning and were nice about it. They sent someone who did a very good job so now I have a sweet, friendly cleaner that is always scheduled with me now. I have the place totally neat so they can clean. I like coming home to a freshly made bed and garbage taken out.

Consistent, Reliable, Well Managed

They’ve been doing my house for several years. The teams change up, but they are all provide good service. They are always on time, never miss an appointment, and are friendly. I could probably have an individual (instead of a commercial group) for less, but I feel like this is so well-run and reliable that it is worth it. Also, I get the sense that they treat their employees well, which matters a lot to me.

Excellent Company and Service

We have used Sparkle many times over the last several years and they always exceed our expectations. Great customer service and very reasonable prices.

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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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6 Ways to Maximize the Value of Professional Cleaning

Posted on August 20, 2015. Filed under: Cleaning Industry | Tags: , |

people, housework and housekeeping concept - close up of woman in rubber gloves with cloth and detergent spray cleaning carpet at home

This article was written by our colleague, Yusuf Mehmetoglu,  of Maid Bright in the Reston, VA area. This article was published last year in Angie’s List Magazine, and is published with permission.

When you hire a professional company to clean your home, you not only save the time and hassle of cleaning your home, but will rest assured knowing that the professionals will take care of your home. In order to get the most out of your cleaning service, there is a small amount of preparation you can make before their arrival.

  1.  Most professional cleaning services recommend consumers try to be home if it is their initial cleaning visit with the service provider. This would enable them to check the cleaning job and provide any feedback for future cleanings. 
  2. You can always request to get the same cleaning crew at your convenience. Your cleaning service may be able to send the same crew if you are willing to switch days or rotation. You may need to be prepared to have a different cleaning crew if you have requested the cleaning on an odd schedule such as every three weeks etc. 
  3. Always remember to update your contact information with your service provider if you are using a cleaning service on a regular basis. They will keep you informed with the confirmations. You may also get a follow-up call or e-mail to ensure your expectations have been met. 
  4. Cleaning companies would like to focus on your cleaning, it will be very helpful if you put away your personal belongings and de-clutter any surfaces the day before the cleaning to get the best possible result from your service. They may not be able to clean partially or entire areas due to liability issues. 
  5. Your cleaning company will review any instructions given from you on the day of the service; therefore, you can always send an e-mail or call ahead of time if you have any last minute instructions. Remember to provide any feedback as needed to your service provider so that they can keep track of their crews’ performance. Some cleaning companies may give incentives to their employees to keep them motivated. 
  6. You can always ask your service provider to use your own cleaning equipment or supplies if you have any preferences to avoid any inconveniences. Some households prefers environmentally safe cleaning while other home owners prefer old fashioned cleaning supplies.

Author: Yusuf Mehmetoglu, Maid Bright

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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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Free Cleanings for Women Battling Cancer

Posted on October 2, 2014. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta House Cleaning, Cleaning Industry | Tags: |

by Raina Raflo, Founder, Sponge & Sparkle – Atlanta House Cleaning Experts since 1981

According to the American Cancer Society, there will be 805,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed in women in 2014. Cleaning for women with cancer

Battling cancer is tough. When a woman is sick and can’t take care of her home the way she would like to, it adds to her stress.

This is why we are privileged to be a member of  the Cleaning for a Reason foundation, a national organization which puts women undergoing cancer treatment in touch with member cleaning companies that want to donate their services. Sponge & Sparkle has been part of the Cleaning for a Reason network since 2007.

The Cleaning for a Reason foundation has 1,100 companies in its network throughout the United States. In order to be approved for the network, a  professional residential maid service must be insured or bonded and perform background checks on their employees. These professional cleaning companies have provided more than 15,000 cleanings to cancer patients, valued at more than $4,000,000.

How it Works

Once a patient calls the Cleaning for a Reason foundation, they will verify her eligibility and put her in touch with a professional house cleaning service provider in her area.

The number of cleanings varies by provider; we typically give each recipient 4 cleanings of 2 hours each with 2 people.

If you know of a woman fighting cancer who could benefit, please tell her about the C4R website.

 We love to clean and we want to help.

 

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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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How to Select the Right Atlanta House Cleaning Service (Video)

Posted on August 14, 2014. Filed under: Atlanta House Cleaning, Cleaning Industry |

by Raina Raflo, Founder, Sponge & Sparkle – Atlanta House Cleaning Experts since 1981

For some, hiring a maid service seems like a pretty straightforward task – make a few calls and hire the one with the cheapest bid.

Making the wrong decision, however, can be costly.  The wrong decision can land you in trouble with trial attorneys, or even worse, the Internal Revenue Service.

Our latest video has a few tips to help you select the right house cleaning service.

 

 

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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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You Pay for What You Get When Hiring an Atlanta House Cleaning Service

Posted on August 29, 2012. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle, Cleaning Industry, Customer Care | Tags: |

picture of moneyOccasionally, I will have a potential customer who will tell me we are too expensive.  I feel like saying “Really?  Because we aren’t!!!”

We are Atlanta’s oldest and most experienced maid service, and I know that we aren’t the cheapest company, but neither are we the most expensive.

We are in the middle range with our rates, compared to other similar companies.

Comparing Apples to Oranges?

Please don’t compare our rates to your neighbor who uses Suzy who

(1) isn’t a company

(2) pockets all the fee for herself

(3) doesn’t pay taxes

(4) has no liability insurance

(5) has no workman’s comp insurance, and

(6) has no  unemployment insurance.

Are You Hiring a Cleaning Company or Gaining an Employee?

In the eyes of the IRS when you use an individual,YOU become their employer.

Be ready –  if they have an injury in your home, or they break a valuable, or they file for unemployment when you fire them, or they file for social security benefits.

Y0u will most probably wish you had paid more for a reputable service.

Why Pay a Little More for Professional Cleaning

Professional maid services are priced higher for a reason.  They pay to perform background tests, drug testing, for ongoing training, for proper insurance and taxes, high-end professional products – all for your benefit and protection, and for their staff to have a good and fair wage.  After ALL of those costs, there isn’t a huge profit margin left .

How Unlicensed Cleaning Services Hurt the Economy

When compliant  businesses are sideswiped by persons unfairly undercutting their prices, it just hurts not only legitimate businesses trying to do their best and fulfill all their legal requirements, but it hurts the country too.

Non-compliant competitors do not contribute to the economy by providing jobs or paying their fair share of taxes.  At least compare apples with apples, as they say.

Interestingly enough, one group of  people who never complain about our prices are our current customers.

Customer Reviews of Our Cleaning Services


Best in town:
 
Sponge and Sparkle is the best cleaning service in Atlanta. I’ve tried others and none are as professional or clean. 
Full review.

Excellent company and service:

We have used Sparkle many times over the last several years and they always exceed our expectations. Great customer service and very reasonable prices
.

Spectacular:

Sponge and Sparkle came through beautifully… For me it was the best cleaning job I have ever had and I have used housekeepers for 15 years!… They’re an asset now I would never let them go! Full ReviewAtlanta Maid Service - Facebook Atlanta House Cleaning - Twitter Atlanta House Cleaning Service - Blog RSS


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 a “Trunk Slammer” To Clean Your Home May Lead to Legal Trouble

Posted on July 15, 2012. Filed under: Cleaning Industry | Tags: |

ARCSI Seal of Excellence for Sponge & Sparkle. A sobering article from Dave Crichton, Co-Founder, Global Cleaners Association about the dangers of hiring a “Trunk Slammer” to clean your home.  As Dave writes, is that $20/$30 difference in rates really worth the  risk(s)?

Dave explains the differences between an established legal, cleaning company like Sponge & Sparkle and the independent workers  – known in our industry as trunk slammers … and, more importantly, what it means to you.

Raina Raflo

What the heck is a Trunk Slammer? A Few Truths About Hiring the Cheap & Unlicensed Cleaning Company

Author: D. Crichton
Co-Founder, Global Cleaners Association

In years past, you would often overhear conversations in places like  beauty salons, community clubhouses, cocktail parties and fancy restaurants  that would start something like this…
“Wow, I just found the best house cleaner and…they are really  cheap!”

This conversation was usually one of the ladies (or gentlemen) boasting about  the cleaning person they had just hired to clean their home and this home was  usually located in a high-income neighborhood because, after all, years ago  only the wealthy could afford hired helpers in the home.

Well…times have changed…kind of…
The days of only the wealthy using hired help inside the home are gone! It’s  not that the wealthier don’t use house cleaners any longer, it’s the fact that  today’s average homeowners (especially the two income earner households) are  seeking outside help with home maintenance because of time constraints, lack of  energy to clean after putting in a 40+ hour workweek, etc. The market for  independent cleaning contractors has skyrocketed over the past 10-15 years!

Along with this “boom” in demand has come the “boom” in  independent contractors who are working without occupational licenses,  insurances and may well lack the experience needed to “safely” clean  the many varied surfaces that exist in today’s homes.

The industry refers to them as…Trunk Slammers.
When a homeowner (especially those homes where both parents are working full  time just to cover expenses) goes looking for help with home maintenance,  “price” is always a huge part of the decision on just who will be  hired and…there’s nothing wrong with that…provided the potential consumer  “knows what they are paying for” and…”the possible liabilities  they are exposing themselves to” when selecting a cleaning service  provider based solely on price.

What liabilities?

When hiring a worker who is working for “under the table” wages that  are not going to be reported to the IRS as income, you (technically) become  that worker’s employer and (technically) you become responsible for income,  Medicare, social security and unemployment taxes at the Federal level and,  depending on the state you live in, may be responsible (technically) for some  of the above…again…at the state level.

When hiring a worker who is working for “under the table” wages that  are not going to be reported to the IRS as income, you (most certainly) will be  paying for that worker’s retirement also. Not today but when they retire and  realize that they have little or nothing in their Social Security retirement  account to live on , they will go on any one of a number of public assistance  programs that your hard earned tax dollars (remember them…there the one’s you  worked for and paid taxes on years ago…) will be paying for.

When hiring an uninsured worker, you become responsible (technically) for any  medical expenses for “your employee” should “your employee”  become injured while working in your home. In most states, you “should  be” paying workman’s compensation insurance for “your employee”.

When hiring an uninsured worker, you will assume all liabilities for damage,  breakage or theft of anything in your home. This may not sound like much of a  liability on your part but…remember we mentioned, “experienced”  earlier? Inexperienced people can, and do literally thousands of dollars worth  of damage to the many new surfaces in today’s homes. Things like marble,  granite, hardwood flooring, fiberglass tubs…. and the list goes on and on and  on.

Oh, one other thingyou are breaking the law by hiring these individuals.  Unwittingly (or maybe knowingly) you have become “complicit” in tax  evasion, operating (in most municipalities/states) an unlicensed business and,  in some states, operating a business without adequate liability insurance or  workman’s compensation insurance. Claiming ignorance of your cleaner’s business  status will not help. You as the purchaser of services are responsible to  investigate the legal status of “any” outside contractor who performs  “any” services on your home and you should never be afraid to ask for  documentation from those service providers. (Remember the old  “Caveat-emptor” phrase…its true!)

“Yeah”…you’re saying…”I know all this stuff already and  anyway, no one ever gets caught for this kind of stuff!”

I say…”Oh Yeah”…a little research on the subject (your  Due-Diligence) will quickly reveal that people, often unsuspecting people, are  being caught and fined everyday of the week on just these circumstances. Check  with the IRS if you don’t believe me.

The whole matter becomes an especially “different” kettle of fish if  your worker/employee is also an undocumented alien but…that’s for another  letter.

Makes you wonder…is that $20/$30 difference in rates really worth the  risk(s)?

Your money…your decision.

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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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The Professionalism of Our Industry

Posted on November 19, 2011. Filed under: Cleaning Industry | Tags: , |

Raina Raflo - Atlanta Cleaning Service Sponge & Sparkle, wins ARSCI 2011 Newsletter Award

Raina accepting ARCSI 2011 Newsletter Award

Having just got back from the Association of Residential Cleaning Services  2011 conference  in Las Vegas, I have so many new ideas and plans to implement.  Being a member of this organization  helps any maid service become better, stronger and more professional.  Even though we have been in business for 30 years, I am always learning something new.

OSHA guidelines and  government regulations change, cleaning products  are perfected, new technologies need to be learned.  Education is an absolute must in this business just to keep up with all the new developments in  running our businesses and in dealing with our clients and employees.

One of our speakers was Tom Peters, the author of the classic,  In Search of Excellence.  He has a new book out which I am looking forward to reading titled  Retail Superstars.  One of the things that resonated with me was when he said that for your staff to give good service, you have to give good service to your staff.

Since our company creed is the Golden Rule , we have always tried to be cognizant of treating everyone kindly, fairly, and respectfully.  We have had some success with this,  I believe, since employee turnover has not ever been a big problem for our company. In an industry where the average turnover is 300%, this is no small feat!

Looking forward to our next conference in Orlando!  Oh – and our newsletter was awarded the 2011 Professional Image Award , as a bonus!

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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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