There’s a Category 5 hurricane bearing down on South Florida and I’m in Boston…It’s been called the strongest hurricane in the recorded history of the Atlantic Ocean. (Holy F#$%&#$*!) After the hurricane watching the destruction from hurricane Harvey last week, I couldn’t help but think about the destruction heading towards my place in Miami. Yikes.
How am I going to prep my place when I’m 1200 miles away, Airlines are price gouging ($3,000.00 for a ticket that usually costs $260) and there’s a mandatory evacuation order from the county and city mayors? I thought about asking my friends to do it and some of them offered to run by. But most of them were / are in the process of prepping their own places and getting out of dodge (Naturally). One friend offered to do it on Friday because she was getting home today (Thursday), but it seemed likely that 1, she was going to need to scramble to get to safety and 2, she probably wouldn’t be let As the week passed and the 24/7 new cycle keep hammering me with doomsday language, all while repeating images from last weeks mass destruction images from hurricane Harvey, all I could think of was “Thank God I don’t have any guests staying with me right now.” “I hope all of my friends in Miami are safe”, and “Welp, at least I have impact windows and a good insurance policy and I’m not physically there” the thoughts went on and on.
And then today happened. Today was an example of what happens when you treat your employees, support staff and the people around you like gold. When you treat them with respect and value, no matter what the position, it will come back to you 1000000 times over.
In the face of disaster, wide spread destruction and forced evacuations, my cleaning lady went over to my place in Miami beach early this morning and prepped the place as best she could. She called me when she was on site to let me know that she took care of my condo. She even sent me pictures. As it turns out, she taped plastic over the windows, put as much as she could in the closet, unplugged everything, covered the furniture and called me to tell me that it was done. I didn’t even have to ask her to do it. I can’t believe I didn’t first think of here when the “What the hell am I going to do?” thoughts started running through my head. Maybe I just assumed she had already taken off since there’s nobody on the schedule for about a week. She did it on her own. She knew there was nothing I could do from 1200 miles away. How grateful am I???
Then I started thinking. Thinking about the value of having good people that I can constantly rely on without question. People who will care for my place and my guests, as much, if not more than I do. And let me be clear, I love my place, I love every single one of my travelers and I love being a host. When I first started hosting, I remember thinking long and hard about how much I was going to pay for certain things. The first year I hosted, I wasn’t as profitable as I had hoped to be. I started running my numbers and couldn’t believe all of my expenses. I didn’t have the experience I do now, so naturally they were a bit out of control. I’ve since remedied that without sacrificing any bit of quality. It was also one of the biggest points of discussion that I was having with other hosts. Most of them fell on the side of “pay as little as possible for cleaning”. I kept hearing that I should be paying somewhere between $25 and $40 dollars for my 558 square foot Amazing Condo Near The Beach. I pay $75 for cleaning. Whhhhhaaaaaaaat??? $75 dollars??? Yes I do. I have a tiny place on the beach. When I first found Judy, I asked her how much to clean my place and she quoted me $60. I still decided to pay her $75. On holidays, I pay her double, if she runs to the store for me to resupply my condo, she’ll send me a receipt and I’ll pay a bit more to account for her time. I’m not trying to pat myself on the back for being an over spender, in fact, solid business logic would say that I’m totally crazy. But think about it for a second. In the past two years, she’s run to my place after receiving a call from me in at 2am because I had guests who were locked out, She’s interrupted a dinner out with her husband (although she didn’t rush for that one lol), she’s ensured that I always receive 5 star cleaning ratings because she cleans that place so well, I’d eat off of the bathroom floor aaaaaaaaaaaaand without me asking her, she went over to make sure my condo was as secure as she could make it, before fleeing town. For every single one of those efforts, I’ve paid her, paid her well and made sure to go above and beyond to let her know I appreciate her help and service. I pay her when she tells me not to pay her because in her mind, she just did something small.
Far too often I think people aren’t appreciated and undervalued. Your cleaning professional is one of the most valuable parts of your operations. They ensure that every single one of your guests shows up to a clean, tidy and properly setup rental. The quality of their work can set the entire experience of your inbound guest. A poorly cleaned place could not only be the difference between a happy guest (who deserves a world class experience) and a horrible review that often times can be difficult to recover from. The reality is that I charge guests a $95 cleaning fee. Anything less than that is still a profitable job for me. Even on the times I pay a little more than that or pay her extra for additional services, the reality is, I more than make up for it in good will, great reviews, super host status (which allows me to charge more) AND most importantly a professional who feels valued and will give back to me in more ways that I can ever imagine. She makes my remote hosting possible. To cheapen that in any way would not only be immoral, it would probably mean I’d be looking for a new cleaner at least a couple of times per year.
Think about that the next time you’re trying to figure out how much to pay your cleaner. Invest in your people and they’ll invest in you!
All that being said, I hope all of the people of Miami, Florida and the South East Coast of the United States stay stafe and let’s all pray for the victims in the Caribbean.
How valuable is your cleaning professional to your operations? How much do you pay them? What size is your place? How are your cleaning reviews? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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