Dear readers, today I'm offering a Girl-Talk that isn't just for girls. I bet a lot of guys will be interested in this post. I had the lucky opportunity to interview the spokesperson for THE Maids®, an international cleaning group. Amy Olson was cheerful and upbeat, and ready to share tons of great information with me. She gave away some great tips and tricks...so make sure you read all the way to the end.
I have to reveal that THE Maids® might be considered a bit upscale, most of their clients (or customers) are college graduates - many with grad school behind them, with nice incomes. But, I don't think that matters. I think that even those of us who don't live in Donald Trump houses, could use the help of a maid, now and then. And, I think we should splurge on it. Or, get our kids to pay for it - for Mother's Day! [this post is being updated with some corrections - posted in red; I apologize for not writing fast enough during the actual interview - maybe it's time to record these. Hmmmm....]
Read on and see what you think...
Yvonne: Introduce my readers to THE Maids. Give us the 3-minute elevator speech.
Amy: THE Maids use a 22-step Healthy Touch cleaning system which actually maps out the steps our 4-person cleaning teams follow to make sure each house is cleaned thoroughly. We use vacuums with HEPA filtration and pay a lot of attention to health issues, cleaning for specifics like allergies or pet dander. And we use environmentally safe cleaning products.
Yvonne: We ALL want maids...don't we? Do you ever come across women who deny wanting to hire a maid?
Amy:It isn’t that women don’t ‘want’ a maid – it’s that women tend to think they have to do everything themselves. They often say they don’t want anyone cleaning their house, but themselves, but…to make my point, we recently had a client who said she thought she would never hire a maid service. Then, she saw our van in a neighbor’s driveway and thought, "I’m going to call them." She called, we cleaned, and she says she’s very happy now.
Yvonne: I've always wondered - what kind of women hire maids? Obviously, your business exists to clean homes, on a repeat basis (do you do one-time projects?), so... what's the typical maids customer like?
Amy: Yes, we do one-time projects. Often, we’ll get hired to do spring cleaning, or clean up before or after a move. Since we don’t have a contract for people to sign, it’s very easy to hire us. We’re totally customer-service oriented. Women who hire us are just busy ladies – who still like to have a clean house. Of course, we also offer gift certificates.
Yvonne: Do your maids ever cook? Run errands? Walk the dog? (laughing)
Amy: No, we don’t cook or run errands. Not dog walking, either. But, we do do windows, and refrigerators and ovens, special projects and garage cleaning. We’ve been hired to help out new Moms, too, as a shower gift.
Yvonne: Tell us about the sweepstakes...include all the relevant links.
Amy: Your readers can enter the sweepstakes from March 1, 2006 through May 31, 2006. Just follow the sweepstakes link on the homepage. Five grand prize winners will receive a year’s free housecleaning from The Maids. Twenty-five first place winners will earn a free one-time clean by The Maids. Tell your readers they can enter daily during the promotional period.
Yvonne: Can you give an overview of your demographics? Are your main customers baby boomers? Or Gen Xers?
Amy: Most of our customers are women, like you, and many of your readers. At the same time, we don’t discriminate against men. We hire and get hired by men, all the time. Our demographic, if that’s what you’re looking for, is women 35-64, with busy lives – and little time to clean on their own. When we surveyed our customers recently, we learned that the things they like the most about THE Maids is that we do a thorough clean, in a short time, and that we're reliable and dependable. Because we send in teams of 4, we’re in and out in half the time of some other cleaning groups.
Yvonne: What do you look for when hiring your staff? Do you ever hire men?
Amy: We look for people who want to do a good job. There is extensive training. And yes, we’re happy to hire men. We have several excellent men who work for us.
Yvonne: With spring right around the corner, do you have any tips or suggestions?
Amy: I’m glad you asked, Yvonne. Here are some interesting tidbits:
Clean Up & Trim Down
The Maids® offers tips that shed calories and dirt
With spring in the air, the need for a thoroughly clean house courses through our veins and calls us to gear up for the cleaning battle. As an added benefit, cleaning crusaders can toss out their exercise equipment, plug in their vacuum and "feel the burn" while tackling those "neglected-until-spring-cleaning" areas with these tips from THE MAIDS Home Services:
- (-85 calories*) Vacuum upholstered furniture, under seat cushions, window sills, baseboards and tops of door and window frames with the vacuum’s brush attachment tool.
- (-80 calories*) Dust and polish furniture, wood floors and countertops throughout the house. By alternating levels of the house while dusting, you add a few stair climbs (-306 calories*).
- (-85 calories*) Sweep the front porch and patio.
- (-189 calories*) Scrub hard floors on hands and knees for a thorough clean.
- (-72 calories*) Scrub waste baskets using soap, water and a clean, stiff brush. Rinse with a mild disinfectant. Put a fabric softener sheet in the bottom of the container for a fresh smell.
- (-153 calories*) Wash windows and mirrors.
- (-77 calories*) Wash floor and wall vent covers by hand with warm soapy water and dry thoroughly. Use a toothbrush or small paint brush to get in between the slats.
- (-77 calories*) Wash Fireplaces with a 50/50 ratio of water and vinegar to remove the blackened soot on glass front doors. If the doors have a spring-loaded clip, remove it, then take out the doors. Lay them flat on newspapers, spray with the vinegar/water solution and soak. Wipe it off with newspaper.
*Resource used to convert calories click on resource. Conversions were made at the activity rate of 30 minutes at an average weight of 150 lbs.
I’d also say, make sure you do a thorough clean – move the refrigerator and other appliances, and scrub the garbage can.
Yvonne: What, exactly, won’t your maids do? Oh, what if someone reading has a neat, revolutionary cleaning product – how do they get it in front of your CEO?
Amy: Well, our maids won’t handle anything dangerous – no bodily fluids and nothing that could put the maids in danger. As for getting great products in front of our team, we have contact information on our website. Our products go through rigorous product development and testing. We have specific test sites to make sure products are environmentally safe, and won’t harm our workers. These things take time, too. It can be 6 months or more before we’re ready to make a decision on a new product.
Yvonne: Leave us with a parting thought - what would you like the readers to take away with them?
Amy: First, I’d like your readers to know that "Nobody OutCleans The Maids!" I say that in all seriousness. We live by that motto. Also, readers might like to know that even the executives train in the 22-step process. It’s important that everyone here experience our commitment to the health and welfare of our customers. Even I spent several weeks cleaning houses, before becoming a spokesperson.
But, I'd really like to leave you with more tips and tricks…
Seven Ways to Clean Away Your Stress
THE MAIDS® offers cleaning tips to reduce stress
Cleaning up your living space can be a productive, easily accessible way to relieve day-to-day stress. According to research from The Soap and Detergent Association’s national cleaning survey, a clean house makes people feel happy, satisfied, comfortable and healthy. When life becomes hectic, cleaning your home environment can provide a sense of control and order. If you are feeling frazzled, try these seven tips from THE MAIDS Home Services to help clean away your stress.
- While you clean, listen to music you enjoy. It will put you in a more vibrant mood.
- Beat the dirt and dust out of your throw rugs with a tennis racket. Remember to spot clean any stains before hanging them over a railing to air out.
- Use cleaning products with pleasing scents as enjoyable aromas ease tension.
- If your freezer is coated with ice, use a heavy, dull object, such as a rubber mallet wrapped in a cloth, and gently hit it against the ice until it breaks off. When returning items, make sure to put the oldest items in the front so they are used first.
- Scrub away stress while cleaning the floors the old fashioned way – on hands and knees. Use a folded towel to cushion your knees and slide around the room.
- Repetitive actions are proven to be relaxing. Try dusting, washing windows or sweeping to reap the benefits of repetition.
- After cleaning the inside of the windows, open them up to breathe in the fresh air. This will help calm your nerves.
I know I like all this great advice. And, I want a week of cleaning...for Mother's Day, or my birthday, or...the rest of my life! Say, maybe I'll put a tip jar on the blog...