Cleaning Caddy Roundup For Professional House Cleaners

Cleaning caddy essentials for house cleaners, housekeepers, and maids. Did you ever think that your house cleaning productivity is linked to the bin or crate you use to carry your supplies? Having the wrong carrier can waste time, or cause detergents to tip and spill. And having the right one can make instant access a breeze.

WorkSmartNotHard spacer Savvy Cleaner

What Are Your Cleaning Caddy Basics? (Your Answers)

3d character with questions and a cleaning caddy

  • Vinegar/water all purpose cleaner in spray bottle
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Razor blades
  • Old Toothbrush
  • Flashlight
  • Glass cleaner
  • Norwex Paste
  • Bar Keepers Cleanser
  • Pumice Stone
  • Alka Seltzer Tablets for toilet bowl rings

Cleaning Caddy 2 Savvy Cleaner

Ask a House Cleaner Cleaning Caddy Roundup

There are so many different cleaning caddy kits on the market. Which one to buy comes down to your personal preference. You may have to try a couple before you settle on one.

Key factors to consider when choosing a cleaning caddy:

  1. Is the side of the caddy tall enough that your cleaning supplies won’t fall out?
  2. Does your cleaning caddy have pouches or separators for an easy organization of cleaning supplies?
  3. Is the empty apparatus light weight before you add all your household cleaning solutions?
  4. Can the cleaning satchel itself be cleaned?
  5. Is it durable enough to withstand constant use?
  6. Are there zippered pouches to keep compact items from falling out?
  7. Does the handle have a good grip, you’ll be grabbing it multiple times a day.
  8. Is it large enough to carry all your supplies?
  9. Is it small enough to fit in the trunk of your car?
  10. When it’s packed, can you take a quick inventory of supplies?

Best Cleaning Caddy Videos We Found on YouTube

Hack of the Week spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Hack of the Week  – Label Your Cleaning Caddy Or Your Containers

Cleaning Caddy Colored Tops for SolutionsAlejandra Costello suggests labeling your cleaning caddy with a label maker. She puts everything back in the labeled spot after each use.  Before she labeled her home organizing kit, she did a weight and balance check. This way when she picks up her cleaning essentials, the toolkit doesn’t tip over.  Cool household hack.

At Savvy Cleaner we’ve always sorted cleaning supplies by the lid and type of container.  If you mix your solutions at home, you can use clear plastic bottles with various colored spray triggers. You train your brain to know that the all purpose cleaner has an orange spray trigger. Glass cleaner has a  blue trigger. Heavy duty cleaner has a red spray trigger. Degreaser has a green top and so on. They don’t always go back in the exact same section of the cleaning caddy.  But no matter which way you turn the cleaning caddy, you always know by color, what you’re reaching for.

 The key is to create a system that works for you.  And then use that system.

Questions spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Professional Cleaning Caddy vs. Household Cleaning Kit

The cleaning caddy you use for your professional cleaning business can be the same gear you use at home. If you’re a professional you’re apt to bring your’s in from the car and tidy up your house. But the general household probably won’t want to spend the money investing in a cleaning pack that is durable and has all the bells and whistles we’ve mentioned.

professional vs. household cleaning caddy

The reasons we suggest you do invest in a quality cleaning caddy if you’re a professional is that you’re going to be using it every day, for years. You want a container that will serve you, and save you time.

Oh, and it’s tax deductible, so save your receipt if you go out and buy a new cleaning caddy.

Angela Brown The House Cleaning Guru spacer Savvy Cleaner

 What’s going on with Angela? I Tried Something New

I was grocery shopping the other day in the produce section when I stumbled on an unmarked box of large orbs. They were in the fruit section near the coconuts but they had a skin more like a potato.

I looked around for a name and pricing but couldn’t find anything relating to the cantaloupe size fruit.

Curious, I sniffed it. Not sure why – I still wasn’t able to guess what it was. Pat who was shopping with me didn’t know what it was either.

What Is It?

I put it in my cart. I couldn’t wait to get home to cut the thing open and see what was inside.

When I went through the self-check out, I typed in the PLU from the sticker, and the machine read it as a Jicama.

I grew up on a farm, and I’ve seen all kinds of vegetables, but they don’t have Jicamas where I’m from. (Jicamas are from South Africa, I’m from Utah.)

I Raced Inside and Cut It Open

When I got home I cut it open and this is what it looks like. I cut some pieces of it and ate it raw. It was a strange mix, starchy like a raw potato. It had a hint of sweetness like a carrot. A hint of bitterness like a raw turnip and the skin was stringy like the skin on a coconut.

It wasn’t pleasant or unpleasant to eat – just strange. I tossed half of it in the blender and mixed it in with my spinach smoothie. I saved the other half until I could research it and find a recipe.

Why Am I Telling You About My Jicama?

Here it is, it’s important to try new things. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and do the things you’ve always done – or in this case, eat the things you’ve always eaten.

But part of life’s adventure is reaching out on the edge and trying something new. Now that I know the health benefits of Jimaca’s, who knows? They may become a regular part of my diet.

Surprising Health Benefits of Jimacas

Jimaca – The Most Exciting Vegetable You’re Not Eating

Savvy Cleaner spacer Savvy Cleaner

Are you listening to “Ask a House Cleaner?” It’s a free daily podcast of tips and strategies to improve your house cleaning and grow your cleaning business. Find it on Itunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher and GooglePlay. Listen to it on any device.
You can watch it on YouTube here.

Burnout: A House Cleaners Survival Guide

Burnout solutions for house cleaners
WorkSmartNotHard spacer Savvy Cleaner

How Do You Deal With House Cleaning Burnout? (Your Answers)


  • House Cleaner facing burnoutMonitor your employees. Look for signs that include doubt, feelings of ineffectiveness, or being tired. Rotating team members usually infuses a new energy and can help reboot the attitudes of your employees.
  • Provide ongoing training for your employees. Training reinforces confidence and boosts morale. Feelings of inadequacy come from lack of knowledge.
  • Job burnout can hit at any age. Make sure that you have a diversity of clients. Usually, it’s just one or two of your clients causing the burnout, let them go and work with alternative clients who keep that spark alive for you.
  • If you hate your job, it might be time to start looking for another job that you are passionate about.
  • If going to work triggers an emotional breakdown – you need to get to the root of it. Find out what is wrong and fix it. If you don’t it will spoil the good clients and employees you have.

 #WorkSmartNotHard Quiz of Next Week & Next Weeks Newsletter Topic:

#WorkSmartNotHard, Client's who Take Advantage ©Savvy Cleaner

Your turn, share your tips in the comment section below. You can also tweet me @SavvyCleaner

Cleaning Caddy spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

What is the difference between burnout and a bad day? Ask a House Cleaner

Did you ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed?  Is it a bad day…or is it PMS? Not sure?  

You’re gonna have a bad day. It’s a biorhythmic thing and it happens to everybody.

In our company and in our home, we allow everybody 3 bad days a month. (And that is overkill.) If you have a bad day where you feel mean and ugly inside, or you want to bite somebody’s head off we have rules for coping. We’ve followed these rules for 20 years both in my house cleaning company and in my home and they work really well. Here are the rules for coping: (more)

Bad Day - House Cleaners with PMS by Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru

social media spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Social Media Marketing Burnout

Social Media burnoutAre you tired of posting every day online to promote your business? Suddenly you reach burnout mode and you’re sick of the social media struggle? It’s okay if you take a short break but not announce it. When you alert everyone “Hey I’m going dark for a few days, taking some time off Facebook.” It looks like you’re having personal problems. Maybe you are. That’s okay. But don’t advertise it. Client’s may lose confidence in you. They may stop recommending you.

Go Away In Silence

If you need time off from social media – take some time off. Chances are no one will miss you or even notice. When things settle, come back. 

Don’t Announce Your Comeback

Just come back and pick up where you left off. Don’t send red flags that no one is looking for and don’t answer questions no one is asking.

Your social media posts will be much healthier for it.

Hack of the Week spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Burnout Hack of the Week – Reprogram Your Mind Through Self-Hypnosis

i don't feel like house cleaning today, Ask a House CleanerSymptoms of Burnout

Are you or your employees reaching burnout mode? How can you tell?

Symptoms include:

  • Cynicism
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Exhaustion
  • Low Morale
  • Lack of Self-Confidence
  • Constant Fatigue
  • Sarcasm
  • Psychological Stress

Symptoms of burnout come in various forms. And if not managed early can wreak havoc with your company. As the business owner, your house cleaners take their cues from you. How you feel about your job, your customers and your company peek through every interaction. If you wake up in the morning and think about house cleaning and you’re like “Not Today!” then it may be time for a little self-hypnosis to reprogram your attitude.

Questions spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Quick Fixes for House Cleaning Burnout

Serving clients, earning money, managing employees and paying bills is the reason you are in business. It’s difficult juggling so many responsibilities to take time for yourself and your well-being. House cleaning is a demanding job and it takes a toll on your physical, mental and emotional health. So it’s important to schedule regular time off and take time for yourself. In the cleaning industry, we call it Mom Syndrome. This is where you take care of everyone else before taking care of your own needs.

travel 2 spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Schedule and Take Regular Vacations to Prevent Burnout

After cleaning houses for 25 years I found I need three weeks vacation each year.  I take a week in January,  a week in July and a week in September. Scattered through the year gives me something to look forward to (and save money for.) And it allows me to work like a mad woman and then just before exhaustion – taking a week to recoup and recharge my batteries.

Mini Vacation Spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Take Mini Vacations During Your Day/Week

I’ve been a fan of mini vacations my entire life. This is where you are in the middle of a hectic schedule with lots of moving parts and then you take an hour off here or there. I’m really quick to reschedule slots where clients have canceled on me. But on a rare occasion that I don’t, I take that time slot as a mini vacation. The catch with a mini vacation is you have to declare it a mini vacation. You have to consciously spend that time having fun. Shopping, or bowling, or getting a pedicure. If you are not aware you are taking a mini vacation, you’ll fritter away the time doing something stupid. And in the end, you won’t have recharged anything. You will just feel bad for wasting time.

Exercise Trampoline Spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Exercise Every Day To Release Endorphins

It’s easy to assume because you’re cleaning all day that you’ve got your exercise in. Not necessarily the case. Yes, you are active and cleaning is a physical job. 

But there are parts of your body that still need a jolt of endorphins to reset your enthusiasm. 

I’m a big fan of the mini trampoline. I can put it in front of the TV and when I get home from working all day, I can bounce for 10-15 minutes. It’s just enough that it gets the blood flowing through my entire body. It’s great for your core, your abs, your quads, your glutes. The aerobic exercise is great for your lymphatic system and the bouncing realigns your spine. This helps with people who have chronic back problems. 

You don’t have to do any crazy exercise, but a few minutes here and there will keep your body in house cleaning shape. 

Healthy Food spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Eat Healthy Foods

Enough can’t be said about keeping your energy levels up. When you are in burnout mode, look at the food you’ve eaten over the last 72 hours. How much of that food was alive? Fresh fruits, vegetables, superfoods with antioxidants will keep your drive and energy in check. 

Sleeping Spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Get Proper Sleep

Everybody needs different amounts of sleep. For some it’s 8 hours a night, others only need six. You’ll have to play around with your sleep until you figure out what your optimal number of hours is.

As a house cleaner, your physical body is your biggest business asset. When you are not at your best, your work suffers.

Think of it like a domino effect. You don’t get the proper sleep you need for your job. That triggers lethargy in your business. Sloppiness causes you to lose customers which affect your stress levels and income. When your income suffers that affects your family and relationships. When your relationships suffer, it affects your mental well-being. Emotions ripple through your life and it upsets your eating. Binge eating brings comfort but messes with your health and sleep. 

All personal success is rooted in your physical balance. Your ability to think, reason, problem solve, function, connects back to you. Sleep is a big part of that. Master it.

bowling spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Do Something You Love

Have a hobby. This is something unrelated to house cleaning. This is an alternative thing you do that makes your heart sing. It revives you. Or gives your life meaning because it ignites passion within you. It could be designing websites or shooting photography. It might be knitting or hiking or playing video games. Maybe it’s teaching your kids to dance. Or learning another language. It doesn’t really matter what it is – but it has to be an outlet for your monotonous routine that is often house cleaning.  If you find you have a few minutes that aren’t claimed – this is where you go for your mini vacations.

Busines Deal Spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Have Renewable Contracts/Agreements

Having a renewable contract is like dating someone you know you will never marry. You agree to work together for a time. In our, company the period is one year. We don’t have contracts clients sign up front it’s just a verbal agreement. And we cover it on our initial walkthrough. And we are both free to go our separate ways at any time for any reason. But at the end of one year no matter what we’re done being their house cleaner. If they want us to stay on as their house cleaner, they have to request it. In other words, they have to fight to keep us, and we have to fight to keep them.

The purpose for this is that long term relationships in my experience tend to mold with age. Something along the way is neglected or not given as much care as in the beginning. House cleaners become complacent and sloppy. Clients expect too much and take advantage. Or they start canceling or forgetting to pay us or whatever. If you know your relationship with each other is coming to an end – you both have to be on your best behavior – all the time.

When you renew your working agreement, this is a good time to do a review or evaluation. Find out how you are doing and what changes you can both make that will enhance the working relationship. It is also a good time to raise your prices if necessary. Or go your ways if you’re sick of each other. Anyway, you look at it, it’s a great way to avoid burnout because you’re not together that long.

Just Say No spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Just Say No To Church Casseroles

Casseroles Lead to BurnoutI’m a people pleaser. If somebody needs help – I go out of my way to help them – even at the expense of my own needs. 

During one of the most stressful times of my life the church called and asked me to bring a casserole to a scout banquet. I agreed. And then I got really stressed out. 

I didn’t have enough money at the time to put food on my own table. Even though I was working 4 separate jobs around the clock. I didn’t have the resources, money or time to make the casserole happen. 

They didn’t even invite me to the scout banquet. I didn’t have a scout going to the banquet. In fact, I had nothing to do with the banquet other than bringing free food. 

I’d never said “NO” before. But I called them back and told them I couldn’t do it. I felt like I was doing the right things for all the wrong reasons and I resented it. 

My Life Was Blessed

I know you’re expecting me to say my life was blessed because I gave free food to the church. But that is not the case. My life was blessed when I learned to say “No to the casserole.” I took back some control over my life. I put me back in charge. It was liberating and removed this big wave of stress.

It was such a relief –  that I started saying “NO” to a lot more volunteer opportunities that had nothing to do with me. I stopped enabling other people to expect something from me for nothing.

It freed me up to help the people I was inspired to help – rather than those who dropped on my doorstep looking for a lazy handout. If you are in a trap of saying yes to everybody who asks favors of you – please stop. You’re not helping anyone including yourself.  People pleasing is a stepping stone to burnout.

Angela Brown The House Cleaning Guru spacer Savvy Cleaner

 What’s going on with Angela? – The Invisible Gift

It’s Valentine’s Day 2017 and I can’t say “I forgot.” Internet ads splashed everywhere keep offering me discounts on flowers and jewelry. I go to the store – any store, and pink and red Valentine gremlin’s jump out to say “Buy me!” 

But here’s the catch. I want to celebrate my love with something unique. Not something valued at $14.99, $29.99 or $49.99. Valentine’s gifts seem to fall into one of these price points.

Our Relationship Is Not in Burnout Mode – but My Valentine Gift Giving Is

ValentinePat is on a diet so candy and sweets are out. He doesn’t wear jewelry. And we don’t support the useless teddy bear industry (due to dust and taking up space issues.) So what on earth am I supposed to give a guy who has everything he needs or wants?

This year I chose “The Invisible Gift”. When you’re fifteen years into a marriage, it’s easy to forget why you fell in love in the first place. And no cheap toy is going to reignite the flame.

Sure, I bought him flowers and a card – big whoop. Happy Valentine’s. And then I sent him a text. I thanked him for fielding the calls from an Autotrader ad for a car we have listed. I appreciate him taking over that small task – so I don’t have to deal with it.

The next day the invisible gift continued. I sent him a text saying I appreciate him picking up the groceries so I could work on a deadline. 

The day after that the text said I appreciate him spending his day off working out in the yard, pulling weeds and getting the yard ready for spring. 

Every day the invisible gift continues with a text of me expressing gratitude for some small thing he’s been a part of. And then BAM!

Shiny Objects Spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Something Weird Happened

I started to realize how much Pat does to help me on the sidelines of my life while I’m focusing on getting my new business off the ground. And something else.  Flower to overcome burnoutI made him paranoid. He asked me the other day: “Why are you being so nice to me?” LOL. I should have always been nice – how did I let things slip?

The other day out of the blue he sent me a text thanking me for packing his vitamins in his lunch box every day.  And then he sent me a text the following day for always keeping the cars so clean. 

And then he picked the first flower that bloomed in our yard this spring and brought it to me in my office.

Then he picked up at Lowes a water filter for the refrigerator without being asked. What an amazing surprise. It was like he peeked at my “to do” list and started crossing things off to help me out. 

My invisible gift boomeranged right back to me in the best possible way.

We are only 13 days into invisible gift giving and I can tell you already – this is one of the best Valentine’s gifts ever. WOOHOO!

Savvy Cleaner spacer Savvy Cleaner

At Savvy Cleaner we have a vault where we store tips , tricks and time-saving hacks for house cleaners. The vault opens once each week and an email of the latest tips are sent to our exclusive VIP Insiders Club. Wanna join?

Ethics for House Cleaners

Ethics for House Cleaners Edition
WorkSmartNotHard spacer Savvy Cleaner

Ethics: How Do You Handle Broken Items While House Cleaning? (Your Answers)

Broken pot with coins - ethics for house cleanersYou can’t ignore it when you break something that doesn’t belong to you. You have to tell the customer and offer to pay for it.

If you carry a general liability insurance policy, and the item is expensive, you’ll be covered if you have to replace it. If the item is not expensive, offer to pay for it out of pocket.

At the least, apologize for breaking the item. NOTE: Apologies in person or via phone are always better than text.

Try to fix the broken item with Super Glue. Then tell the client what happened and offer to replace it. Trying to fix it shows your willingness to make it right.

If my employees break something at a client’s house they are expected to call me at the office and then I call the customer and handle it through the business. Accidents happen.

If I find out an employee broke something and didn’t report it, they get written up and the money to fix or buy a new item comes out of their pay.

 #WorkSmartNotHard Quiz of Next Week & Next Weeks Newsletter Topic:

#WorkSmartNotHard, Employees who Steal From Employers ©Savvy Cleaner

Your turn, share your tips in the comment section below. You can also tweet me @SavvyCleaner

Cleaning Caddy spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Ask a House Cleaner – Code of Ethics for House Cleaners

Hands search www ethics for house cleanersDo you have a code of ethics for house cleaners in your business? It may be a question you’ve never even asked. But did you know when a prospect searches your website they are not just looking for the cleaning services you offer? They are vetting you to see if your ethics meet their expectations.

They want to learn a little about you. About your team and how you operate? A code of ethics for house cleaners in your team will spell out what you believe.  It says “These are our rules. This is how we behave. Here is what you can expect from our cleaning company when you hire us.”

What it tells your prospect is that you’ve thought through the possible scenarios. You are aware of bad things that can happen when you own a cleaning business. And you have systems in place to deal with those unfortunate moments.

When a prospect hires you for house cleaning, they are inviting a perfect stranger into their home. For most people, their home is their most valuable possession. They want to know that they can trust you. 

Saying “Sure, I’m an honest person” isn’t enough. Honesty is subjective. You can rationalize just about anything. And it is usually your word against theirs. 

So having a code of ethics for house cleaners you dispatch builds confidence that you’ve got that area of your business covered. 

social media spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Ethics for House Cleaners on Social Media

Ethics for House Cleaners and Social MediaDoes your code of ethics for house cleaners include social media? When your employee’s pin, post, snap, tweet, chat and go live – they are representing your brand.

Do they know the rules?

Here are some for starters.

  • Keep all social media G-rated and family friendly.
  • No cursing allowed in any social media posts including posts to personal accounts.
  • No bullying, blaming, knocking or judging others in any public format.
  • Avoid emotionally charged debates (religion, politics, prejudice).
  • Refrain from posting, reposting or sharing offensive images. These include memes that are insulting or make fun of others.
  • Avoid public cat fights. This includes someone knocking you, and you being defensive in your response. Take those conversations offline in direct messages, private messages, instant messages etc. Nobody wins from a public dramatic spat.

Hack of the Week spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Ethics for House Cleaners – Time-Saving Training Hack

Woman hits her forehead as in ah shucksHouse cleaners ask me all the time about best training techniques for new hires. Here’s a time-saving hack that will save you a headache up front. 

In your pre-hire interview, address your code of ethics for house cleaners. Offer a troublesome scenario and let the new hire tell you how they would handle this situation. 

Have them read and sign your ethics policy. If a new hire can’t or won’t agree to obedience to your rules and regulations – the time to find that out is before you hire them. 

Keep the signed copy of your ethics policy in the new employee file. If you ever have a problem with them, they can’t come back and say they didn’t know your rules. 

If you have to enforce punishment, you have signed documentation to support your discipline. This is important for legal reasons.

Questions spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Ethics for House Cleaners – What Should You Include?

Core Values Ethics for House Cleaners

One of the best places to start if you don’t know where to start is by looking at other house cleaning companies. 

I’d like to give a shout-out to a handful of companies who have taken the time to list their company core values. Look over these lists for ideas to trigger ideas. Don’t copy their ideas verbatim.  Instead use these as inspiration to create your own code of conduct.

ARCSI  (The Association of Residential Cleaning Services International) – A Division of ISSA

Boardwalk Cleaning

Long Island Maids

Maid in the Mountains – Holistic House Cleaning

Maids By Trade

My Obsession Cleaning

Savvy Cleaner (House Cleaner Training & Certification)

Angela Brown The House Cleaning Guru spacer Savvy Cleaner

 What’s going on with Angela? – Panic Control

Woman chewing on her nails in panicAt Savvy Cleaner, we train house cleaners how to manage and grow their business. This past week there seemed to be a common thread among clients. Panic.

The reasons for the panic varied from client to client but their response to the panic was the same. I asked them each one unusual question. “When was the last time you ate?” 

The answers ranged from 6 to 13 hours. 

Guess what? That’s too long to go without food. Your blood sugar dips and that messes with your brain, your energy, your senses and your ability to solve problems.

Signs of low blood sugar include:

  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Foggy Thinking
  • Sudden Mood Changes
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Shaking
  • Panic
  • Sweating
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Dizziness

So this is a back to basics business reminder that you need to eat regularly. If you are on a marathon clean – take protein smoothies with you and sip on them throughout the day. It’s best if you make your own smoothies to avoid processed sugars.  And please don’t try to make hiring, firing, and quitting cleaning account decisions when you are hungry. Those decisions are not likely to be wise.

Savvy Cleaner spacer Savvy Cleaner

Don’t ever miss a copy of this newsletter.  Have it delivered each week to your inbox.

Toxic Employees as House Cleaners?

Toxic Employees Edition

WorkSmartNotHard spacer Savvy Cleaner

How Do You Deal With Toxic Employees?  (Your Answers)

  1. toxic employees girl with attitudeToxic employees will bring down your whole company. Hire for attitude, train for skill.
  2. Screen for toxic employees. It’s better to find out before you hire them. Dealing with problematic customers is tough enough, you don’t want to also have to deal with difficult employees.
  3. Talk to them in private. Tell them what you expect and hold them accountable. If they need professional help, help them get it. 
  4. Train your employees in the behaviors you expect. Make it part of the job.

 #WorkSmartNotHard Quiz of Next Week & Next Weeks Newsletter Topic:

#WorkSmartNotHard, Best marketing tip ©Savvy Cleaner

Tweet me your best answer @SavvyCleaner

Detour spacer ©Savvy Cleaner

Do You Have Toxic Employees? Here Are The Signs

Big difference between leading and bullying, Angela Brown Oberer ©Savvy Cleaner

  1. They intimidate and belittle other people. This is you, your clients and your other employees
  2. They find creative ways to avoid work.
  3. The work they do is sloppy and they often have a careless attitude about their work performance.
  4. They gossip about family, friends, coworkers, clients, you etc.
  5. Entitlement is a big issue. They feel like everybody owes them something they haven’t earned.
  6. Criticism and judgment are common elements to look for. Nothing is ever good enough for toxic employees.
  7. Micromanagement of the way you run your company or the way other employees work. Unless they are the manager and were assigned this task, it gets on everybody’s nerves.
  8. They are constantly late for work – and usually, have huge dramatic reasons why.

More Signs: Problem Creators or Problem Solvers?

Toxic employees solutions or problems ©Savvy Cleaner9. They complain about their health issues. (Health issues in house cleaning are a big deal because your job depends on your health.) I’m talking here about random weird issues that don’t pertain to the job and can’t be validated with doctors notes. Hypochondriacs that are sick over everything. If it’s valid, it needs to be dealt with, but if its sickness just for the sake of being obnoxious, it’s toxic.

10. Lies. Be careful of lies. Little lies lead to bigger lies. They might start out knocking down another employee to boost themselves, and their untruths often end in embezzlement, theft, and extortion. Watch for a pattern of lies – it’s very toxic.

11. They’re victims of anything and everything. They believe everybody is out to get them. And tolerating this behavior is exhausting and will suck your energy dry.

12. The glass is always half empty rather than half full. When given the opportunity, they choose the negative side of everything. Also exhausting.

13. They don’t know how to budget their money and are always hounding you for an advance.

14. Disorganization is their norm. They show up unprepared to jobs missing equipment and supplies or their equipment is broken and the forgot to report it.

15. They get mad easily and fight with coworkers and clients. 
Cleaning Caddy spacer Savvy Cleaner

Ask a House Cleaner – Don’t Hire Toxic Employees

I run a business not a battlefield, Angela Brown Oberer ©Savvy Cleaner

“I run a business not a battlefield.” This is a talk I give all my new hires. “We don’t tolerate fights, strategizing against others or surprise attacks. If you can show up to work on time, be part of the team, do your job and play nice, you have a job. But we don’t tolerate gossip, sniveling, narcissism, nit-picking, sarcasm and bullying.

We clean houses. That’s what we do. We serve our customers and we deal with their challenges. We do not create our own internal challenges. That is counterproductive.

Our business is a safe, healthy and happy place to work. This means emotionally, physically, and professionally. We all leave our personal troubles at home when we come to work. And we all have personal troubles.

We do not worship one employee over another here – we are all equal here. Nobody gets preferential treatment. 

If you don’t get along with somebody, you need to come to me and tell me why and give me a solution to fix the problem. It ends there. You don’t share that information with any other members of the team. Any problems with other teammates need to be brought to my immediate attention and no one else. 

At this job, you get paid for your work. problem and solution buttons

Your bonuses are based on your attitude and team spirit. What I’m looking for are smiles, high fives, fist bumps, and cheering other teammates. We are all better together than we are alone. Think of the people that work here as your best friends, not your enemies.

I have a zero tolerance policy for toxic employees. And if I have to let somebody go – I will do it to protect the team. I won’t make a big deal of it, and I won’t explain it to the group. If you ask me, I’ll just say “Train Station” that means they got off at the last train station and the train moved on without them.

Do you understand my rules? Do you have any questions about this policy? Is there any reason you can’t follow this policy?

Great, Sign here that you understand the policy and that you agree to follow the rules. 

I’m going to make a copy of this agreement for your employee file. Would you like a copy to take home with you?”

Bam! Now everybody knows the rules. 

social media spacer Savvy Cleaner

Social Media – Toxic Employees Leave Clues 

Social media is a gift for employers. A quick glance through a potential hire’s Facebook feeds you can give you a good idea of the type of person you are about to hire. Red Flags

Do they have positive quotes? Do they have family pictures? Are they supportive of others? Do they have an upbeat personality? Do they have a healthy sense of humor?

Or, are all the pictures selfies? Are they negative or do they bash other people verbally? Do they complain about senseless stuff? Do they have a victim mentality? Did the world do them wrong and they’re out to get even?

Before you hire toxic employees – ask for their social media connections. Look at them all. (Note: Your clients who allow these house cleaners to come clean their homes will be surfing their social media pages too. The information on a potential new hire’s facebook or twitter feed is a reflection of you and your company. No, you can’t control potential employee posts, but you can control who you hire.)

Hack of the Week spacer Savvy Cleaner

Time-Saving Hack of the Week – Choose Joy

Choose Joy - couple high fiving Attitude is contagious. That goes for a positive or negative attitude. So which are you promoting? If you are a great leader, you will transfer whatever mood you are to your team. 

It’s usually an unconscious thing. Your employees pick up the vibe you’re sending and they pass it along to your customers, coworkers and ultimately their family. Then they bring it back to work – and you have to deal with their attitude, compounded with your own. So are you sending a vibe of positivity or negativity? Hint: An attitude that fosters negativity, sickness, problems, and complaints – attracts more of the same. Repairing those problems after the fact is a huge time waster. Prevention saves you time.

When you are sick with a cold or the flu – you feel bad. And you know you are contagious. And you call in sick or keep your distance from people because you don’t want them to catch what you have.

But unless you are aware – you will not recognize a bad attitude as feeling bad.

Yet you’re still contagious. 

Here’s a huge time-saving hack for your business. Every day before you show up for work – reset your attitude. Decide to leave personal problems at home. Leave health problems at home. Isolate problems at work from the rest of the team. This means to confide in a therapist or a mastermind group. Don’t dump your general business problems on your employees. Unless your employee is directly involved in a particular problem, it’s your problem, not theirs.

Tell yourself “Today is Better” and then make today better than yesterday. That is contagious. If you radiate positivity, health, happiness, encouragement and support – guess what you are going to get in return? You guessed it. 

Angela Brown The House Cleaning Guru spacer Savvy Cleaner

 What’s going on with Angela? Vacation Planning

I take three weeks vacation a year. One in January, one in July and one in September. Attitude Reset ©Savvy CleanerThe one in January is a business conference I attend every year with some of the highest level masterminds in the country. We spend a week networking, troubleshooting and spinning ideas. The purpose is to challenge ourselves to excel. This vacation is in two weeks at a five-star resort in Miami. I’m super excited about attending this year.

The second-week vacation in July is with my immediate family. Mom, Dad and all my 19 brothers and sisters and their spouses and all their kids. We usually meet in the mountains of Oregon and camp out in tents under the stars. We sit around the campfire at night singing with guitars. The days we spend tubing down the river or playing frisbee games. The purpose of this trip is to reconnect, to catch up and to take a break from daily life. 

The third vacation is a private trip out of the country with my husband. We go to exotic locations like Lake Como, Paris, Munich, London, and Venice. Then we find quaint little hotels or bed and breakfasts off the beaten path. We both love photography and so we go armed with 10 cameras between the two of us. The purpose of this trip is to chill, to reconnect with each other and to have the time of our lives.

When Is Your Vacation?

It’s easy as a small business owner to get caught up in the daily grind. We wear many hats and we take care of everybody else first. Sometimes we pay ourselves last or not at all. And we rarely take vacations. Let’s change that this year. You are in business for the obvious reasons like making money and providing for your family. But with that comes the freedom to be in charge. So be in charge. This year pay yourself. Schedule and take your vacations. Recharge your batteries and hit the reset button. When you return you will be a better boss. This is your business and your life. Make it count starting today.

Savvy Cleaner spacer Savvy Cleaner

Don’t ever miss a copy of this newsletter.  Have it delivered each Saturday to your inbox.

Sexual Harassment and House Cleaners

Sexual Harassment and House Cleaners Edition

WorkSmartNotHard spacer Savvy Cleaner

Your Best Management Tips for Sexual Harassment – Your Answers Mace


  1. Don’t ignore the signs. Sexual harassment needs to be stopped early. Don’t let it drag on. Report it to your supervisor and if necessary the authorities.
  2. Have a company policy that outlines what to do if you are sexually harassed while house cleaning.
  3. Learn martial arts so you can protect yourself.
  4. Carry mace with you to house cleaning jobs. Keep it in your apron. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

 #WorkSmartNotHard Quiz of Next Week & Next Weeks Newsletter Topic:

#WorkSmartNotHard, Toxic Employees, Savvy Cleaner

Tweet me your best answer @SavvyCleaner
Cleaning Caddy spacer Savvy Cleaner

Ask a House Cleaner – Sexual Harassment and House Cleaners in Uncomfortable Situations

Shocked-emojiI was dusting a living room. And when I looked up the homeowner was standing in front of me, buck naked and playing with herself. I’d never found myself in that type of a situation before. And honestly had never even thought about what to do if something like that happened.

I was clear about one thing: my reaction in the next two to five seconds would be important to the outcome of this story.

Before I tell you how the story ends – let’s consider a couple of things.

  1. If someone who is usually clothed is suddenly naked, that’s huge information.
  2. If this person has never made unwanted advances towards you, and now they are – that’s huge information.
  3. Something triggered the new behavior. This could be an addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, medication, or a medical condition such as Alzheimer’s etc. 
  4. If you ignore this behavior, because it’s uncomfortable and you continue as if nothing is happening, in a sense, you are approving it.

What To Do? 

Look for clues to determine if this person is hitting on you. If they are, you need to make some quick fast decisions about sexual harassment and leaving. Should you stay, a bunch of different things can happen. confused emojiOne of them is that you reject the advances and hurt the feelings of the aggressor and they could become hostile.  If you attempt to push away or touch the aggressor, you could be smacked with a civil suit claiming battery or abuse. If they are hitting on you, leave.

Maybe the aggressor is on medication that is causing the unusual behavior.

It’s also possible that the aggressor is experiencing cognitive issues and is slipping  (as in Alzheimer’s.) If that is the case, they may need further help from a family member or doctor. It’s a good idea to have access to a number for a family member in case of emergency.

Here’s How the Story Ends

safety first computer key caution for sexual harassmentI followed my gut instinct. This was an unusual situation for me, but I didn’t feel I was in any harm or danger. I also sensed that I needed to remove myself from the situation immediately. I said these exact words: “Oops, I’m interrupting. I’m going to go clean the dining room and give you some privacy.” And I went in the other room without another glance.

This was a diplomatic way of saying “I’m not interested in anything except cleaning your house.”  And she understood the message. If she would have made another move in my direction, I would have left the house. And most likely would have ended the contract.

The homeowner stayed in the living room for a few minutes, then she went upstairs. She showered and left to run errands and was never home again when I went to clean. Was it awkward? Yes. And who knows what that was all about? She was about my age, and I didn’t suspect a medical condition or addiction – probably just personal choice. And I wasn’t there to judge. But I wanted to make it clear I was only there to clean house. Nothing more.

Harassment comes in many forms and can happen to anyone at any time. If you are in a client’s home and you are being harassed with unwanted advances – you need to leave the room or the house. As the boss, you have the right to walk away from any situation that makes you uncomfortable. You need to encourage your employees to do the same. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

social media spacer Savvy Cleaner

Social Media & Sexual Harassment

You've been blocked by Savvy Cleaner

Smartphones put a camera in everybody’s hand. Great for capturing those once in a lifetime shots that used to be just memories. But it opened a door for drunken sexual harassment photos and videos that plague my twitter feed. Sometimes it’s my Facebook feed and other social media business sites. I can’t control what others post, but I can monitor those sites for repeat offenders. Delete. Unfriend. Unfollow. Block.

Most of us have social media business pages. Your pages are a reflection of your business, your values, and your offerings. Unwanted suggestive media dilute the message you send to your clients and prospects.

Part of your social media strategy should include setting sexual harassment boundaries. Decide what types of pictures, videos, words, phrases, and comments are not allowed on your timelines, or online business groups you moderate.

Cleaning your social media accounts is a lot like cleaning house. It requires a thorough once through and then constant maintenance.

Hack of the Week spacer Savvy Cleaner

Time-Saving Hack of the Week = Have a Company Policy on Sexual Harassment 

Sexual Harassment Policy for Employee File, Savvy CleanerOnce you hire employees your house cleaning business changes. It’s not just you anymore. You are responsible to and for your employees. Your employees are an extension of you and your brand. So it’s important to have policies in place that protect your company from the bad behavior of employees. You need to create these policies early. Communicate these rules and consequences to your new hires verbally and in writing. Your new hires need to sign off that they understand and agree to the rules. Copies of these agreements go in your employee files. 

What About Same-Sex Harassment?

Equal Opportunity Sexual Harassment, Savvy Cleaner

Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is not limited by gender. The perpetrator can be a man or a woman, and their victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.

Offenders can be anyone in the workplace. This can be the homeowner or the owner or manager of your cleaning company. If you are the owner, it could be your employee. It could also be a coworker or other house cleaner on your team. Harassment is harassment regardless of the culprit. And the victim doesn’t need to be the person harassed. The victim could be another employee affected by the conduct. As the employer, you are legally responsible for harassment that takes place in your company.

Protect your company by having strict rules in place – and enforce your policies. It will save you time and money from possible civil suits later on.

Angela Brown The House Cleaning Guru spacer Savvy Cleaner

 What’s going on with Angela? – It’s All About Me!

Like it or not, I am a reflection of my business. When people see me they make decisions, conscious or unconscious, about my core values and how I operate my business. 

Sure, I’ve had bad hair days like everybody, and I have PMS from time to time. I have grumpy days and days where I prefer sweats over a uniform and no makeup. There are days I feel like crying and days I want to punch somebody. I’m human. But I do have to live with myself twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year, every year for the rest of my life.  I need to become the person I want to be around 100% of the time.

I Am My Companies Biggest Asset

And because I am the boss, I am responsible to my clients, and my employees, my family and myself.  


More important than crunching numbers or customer service, is that I take care of myself. I am my companies biggest asset. It is my responsibility to drag myself out of bed each morning and into running shoes. I am responsible for my mental well being. If my attitude is not in a healthy place, I am the one who needs to meditate or read or listen to a motivational podcast to reset my thinking. 

I am responsible for the food I consume. I’ve noticed over the years of cleaning houses and living on the go – that fast food is convenient. But for the most part, it is uninspiring and unhealthy. If I’m not going to grab a burger, fries and a shake for lunch, I need to have other food available to keep up my energy. That is a conscious choice that requires effort on my part. Nobody pays the price or benefits from that choice except me. 

Over the years I’ve learned that I can outsource lots of things like landscaping, administrative tasks, or car washing. But I can’t outsource my daily exercise, the amount of sleep I get each night, my emotional well being, or my nutrition. Those things I have to do myself. I have to do them for myself. If I don’t take care of myself first, I can’t take care of anyone else. This includes my family, my employees, and my clients. 

As the new year begins, I am setting a new years resolution to celebrate the life I’ve been given and honor it in a way that serves the people I love.

Savvy Cleaner spacer Savvy Cleaner

Don’t ever miss a copy of this newsletter.  Have it delivered each Saturday to your inbox.