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Tag : housekeeping

TotalCare expands its online presence with Checkatrade.com

Now Found on CheckaTrade 

 

Did you know that:

 

  • There are 44 million active social media users in the UK?
  • Finding out about goods and services online is the second most popular internet activity after sending email, with 77% of UK adults using the internet for this purpose?
  • And research suggests that three out of four users routinely consult reviews before booking a service?

 

In 2019, it’s never been more important for a business to create and manage its online presence. Social media and online accreditation companies represent a valuable opportunity to attract new customers, maintain great relationships with existing ones, and improve a business’ reach and reputation.

 

At TotalCare Hygiene Services, we’ve been working hard to improve our online services: revamping our website, building a Facebook community, and, as of next month, becoming a registered service provider with Checkatrade.com. Checkatrade.com hosts over four million reviews for more than 30 000 businesses, gives each business its own web profile, and represents a mark of quality trusted by its extensive user base.

 

We’re excited for the wider reach Checkatrade.com will bring to our business, and continue to commit to the highest standards of service for every customer, new or returning.

 

Until we’re live in a few weeks, you can still find us on our website or Facebook page – and you’re very welcome to leave us a review on Facebook, or contact us directly if you have any feedback.

 

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It’s Time We Said No to our Cold-Weather Invaders: How Daily Hygiene Protects Your Family At Home

 

It’s autumn at last – and we’ve got woolly jumpers, hot drinks, falling leaves and roaring fires firmly back on our agenda. Unfortunately, something much less pleasant arrives alongside school terms and chilly weather: a virtual army of bugs, viruses and other nasties, ready to attack our bodies.

 

If you have children, chances are they’ve already spent a couple of days at home with a start-of-term bug. Children are especially prone to picking up cold-weather viruses, both because their immune systems are less robust than an adult’s, and because they often forget the simple hygienic practises that reduce the spread of infection.

 

But are they the only ones?

 

According to the microbiologist Professor Sally Bloomfield (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)[1], the person you’re most likely to get infected by is yourself; after that, the other people in your home. Sneezing and coughing, using the toilet or handling a pet without washing your hands afterwards – particularly if you then handle food – are easy ways for germs to spread within families. A 2007 survey by the Hygiene Council found that up to two-thirds of Britons don’t always follow basic hygiene: an astonishing and worrying proportion, especially with the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs in homes and hospitals. It’s also estimated that 40% of reported food-related outbreaks of infection in Europe occur in our own kitchens.

 

How do the microorganisms spread?

 

Partly by physical contact – but more often, by one person leaving bacteria on a surface, which is then touched by another. 40% of rhinoviruses (a common cold-causing virus) are infectious on hands for up to an hour…but viruses on non-porous surfaces, such as door handles and worktops, can last at least six hours, and sometimes more than a day[2]. In 2014[3], a team from the University of Arizona placed a Norovirus substitute on a single office door handle, and found it had spread to light switches, table tops, coffee pot handles, taps, phones and computer equipment throughout the entire building, between two and eight hours later.

 

So what can we do to stay healthy this season?

 

As the NHS LiveWell website reminds us: ‘Healthcare workers now realise the home has a critical role in the fight against infectious diseases’. Personal hygiene is vital, of course, but so is the cleanliness of our home. Clean and hygienic surroundings will protect ourselves and our families, particularly those most vulnerable to infection.

 

However, between work, school and other commitments, we know that cleaning often gets pushed to the bottom of the list. That’s why our domestic cleaning serviceis one of our favourites: we feel it’s something that can really benefit ordinary families, in tangible and important ways.

 

Just think about it: we’ll take our usual thorough approach and deep-clean all those hard-to-reach areas you never get round to. Our trained Hygienists use only professional equipment, and are carefully assessed every time to make sure we’ve done the best possible job. You’ll be able to come home from a long day and not worry about how the house looks; instead, more time for family, commitments, and hobbies, while we maintain a consistent cleanliness that will make your life easier, healthier and more enjoyable.

 

You might think that you don’t deserve a cleaner – or perhaps that you can’t afford one. We believe that everyone deserves to live in a home they enjoy, regardless of their circumstances. And we offer cost savings to regular customers, so it’s always worth dropping us an email to see what we can do.

Let us help you stay virus-free this season– after all, who wants to spend autumn sniffling in bed, when there’s so much else to enjoy?

[1]http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/homehygiene/Pages/how-clean-is-your-home.aspx

[2]http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/how-long-do-bacteria-and-viruses-live-outside-the-body.aspx

[3]http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/a-virus-can-spread-around-an-entire-building-within-just-hours-of-contaminating-one-surface-9720988.html

Expecting a silent night this Christmas? Not if you work in a hotel…

 

If you’re employed anywhere in the hospitality industry, you’ll know that Christmas means big business. Hotels of all sizes expect to be fully booked with Christmas parties, dinners and dances throughout the festive season. Smaller businesses might request conference rooms and bars for their end-of-year parties, and larger businesses often book out multiple function rooms as well as negotiating reduced room rates for their guests.

Hotels themselves get into the spirit of things, too: themed evenings, tribute bands and DJ sets might be scheduled and opened to the general public, and New Year’s Eve parties are especially popular.

This season might be profitable (and, given the depressed economy, the festive financial boost is often essential), but it’s not easy to manage. Catering for almost 300 people – eating, drinking, and dancing till late – often means hiring extra staff, creating health and safety contingencies and submitting detailed logistics plans. The repeated late closures and extra preparations can put a great deal of pressure on serving staff, cleaning staff and management alike.

It’s the hygiene side of things that interests us most (not surprisingly). In our experience, when hotels work at capacity, night after night, throughout November and December, it’s the cleanliness that tends to suffer the most. When an event room is full, staff have less space to serve, increasing the possibility of accidents and damage. Parties mean spillages, carpet wear, and stains on soft furnishings both in conference rooms and bedrooms.

What are the most common dirt contaminates on carpets during holiday season? We’re glad you asked – though you might not really want to know:

  • Alcohol, especially red wine
  • Makeup
  • Foodstuffs
  • Chewing gum
  • Vomit
  • Fake tan spray (yes, really!)
  • Dirt and dust tracked in on shoes
  • Pest Control

With so little time between one function and the next, it’s often difficult for the furnishings to be completely cleaned in time, since traditional carpet cleaning methods take time to apply and dry afterwards.

And dirty rooms mean more customer complaints – and loss of revenue – particularly when conferences are scheduled for early January, when carpets and furnishings have not yet recovered.

What’s our solution?

Well, hiring extra staff over Christmas doesn’t just mean service workers. Your regular cleaning team will struggle to finish each room to a high standard under festive time pressure. We’re ready and able to step in: our teams can work the post-party shift to ensure that your carpets are cleaned and disinfected, and as an added bonus completely dry as fastas 30 minutes.

Since a full carpet clean isn’t possible between every event, we recommend a bonneting method, which should get the carpet through the festive season and prepare it for a thorough deep clean in early January.

Most importantly, TotalCare is committed to upholding your hotel’s reputation for excellence. We’ll work with your constraints and to your schedule. Cleaner surroundings mean more satisfied customers, fewer complaints and more secure Christmas revenues. We think that’s something worth scrubbing for!

When Cleaning Marriages Go Wrong: Common Cleaner Complaints, and Our Solutions

 

‘About us’ Flyer

 

Whether Office, Domestic or Industrial cleaning serves, these basic rules apply to across the board. We live by these. Read on to find out more…and then call us for a quote:

Does everyone deserve a cleaner, if they want one? We think so. It can be hard for a businesses and families to hire a cleaning service, despite the high level of available service providers. Some might have the feeling like it’s an unnecessary luxury, or somehow a poor reflection on them. But the simple truth is that our lives are busy and often stressful, with increasing number of daily tasks to accomplish  within the working day and with many other demands to consider. If we can make a customer’s day easier, improve general hygiene standards and freeing up time to allow our customers to focus without added stress, then this is a marriage made in heaven. We feel this is what we bring to the relationship.

That’s why we hate to hear of cleaning stories gone wrong. If a customer has put in time and expense to find a cleaning service, it’s a real shame when that relationship sours. When we began TotalCare Hygiene Services, we spent some time researching common complaints and turned these into strengths – this could explain our 5 star reviews.

Here’s what we found.

First – and this goes without saying, really – cleaning is a personal service. A customer’s home, workspace and social areas are safe spaces: it reflects who they are and what’s important to them. Letting a stranger in can be stressful! Customers, more than anything, want to feel that you understand and respect their needs and can carry out their wishes.

When things go wrong, it’s usually because this basic premise has been undermined.

Time management and ‘getting your money’s worth’

Some customers report finding their cleaner on the phone, talking to friends, or scoring in the janitors cupboard, during designated cleaning hours.

Other workers do not stay for the whole allotted time, but appear to ‘rush through’ the job as quickly as possible, in order to leave early.

Sometimes the customer feels like important tasks have been ‘skimmed over’, with more time spent on less important areas.

Safety and communication

Sometimes a cleaner has invited others to help with the cleaning, without notifying the client, whether or not these people are authenticated or professionally monitored. This feels unsafe and inappropriate to a client who has opened their home – It is true that some circumstances may occur where cleaners are unavailable, due to sickness or other issues, however and open and honest approach goes a long way.

Customers report that workers do not notify them about changes in schedule – whether in personnel, date and time changes, or even which cleaning tasks can be covered on which day. From the cleaner’s perspective, these changes are often out of their control and cannot be prevented – but poor communication has made the situation worse.

Many problems arise when the customer and the worker have not fully communicated their expectations. Some workers feel they are creating a strong customer relationship when they stop to chat, or play with the family pet – whereas the customer may see this as wasting valuable time. Other miscommunications may include the customer not understanding how long a task will take or how much it should cost, a worker not prioritising the customer’s most important requests, or expected standards of cleanliness not being met.

Professionalism and quality control

A common complaint is that, after a while, cleaning standards drop. The employee is no longer motivated, poorly remunerated, or given inadequate feedback.

Just because someone cleans their own home well, doesn’t qualify them to uphold the standards of a professional service. We employ Hygienists, because we train them in all aspects regarding the prices they offer, from the method to the theoretical.

Cleaners often appear to have a short shelf life: cleaning companies sometimes have a high turnover or send a different cleaner every week, meaning there is no opportunity for consistency and long-term relationships.

So what have we learned?

Here are our three key priorities:

Communication. Right from the beginning, it’s vital that expectations are communicated and understood on both sides. The customer needs to understand what they can expect for the price they are willing to pay, and the hygienist needs to know what the customer’s priorities are, and how best to meet them.

Consistency. Whenever possible, the same hygienist should be sent to the same customer. Any necessary changes should be communicated promptly and transparently. Long-term relationships of trust can be established, and expectations met.

Investment. Our hygienists are not temporary, under-valued or left to their own devices. For the sake of their motivation and the customer’s satisfaction, we invest in them and their future. Training and mentoring programmes, incentive schemes, continual feedback and quality control: it all helps to keep our standards high and our employees – and customers – happy.

It’s what we’re here for, after all, isn’t it?

Want to find out more about TotalCare’s domestic cleaning services? Contact us here.

 

TotalCare: A Big Solution for A Hotel’s Biggest Problem

 

Hotels are big business here in the UK: 36 million overseas visitors came to the country during last year alone[1]. It’s safe to say the economy would not function without the revenue the hospitality industry provides.

From a hotel manager’s perspective, return customers are everything: it costs five to eight times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one[2]. Give the customer an experience that is comfortable, easy and enjoyable – whether they’re a couple celebrating a special occasion, a tourist exploring the local area, or a business employee looking for a stress-free stay – and they’re much more likely to come back. Which means steadier revenues and a better reputation – vital in today’s era of internet reviews and viral complaints.

So let’s talk logistics for a second, because the organisation involved in keeping any hotel running smoothly can be staggering. Hotels aim for 80% room occupancy over the year: around 10% of occupancies are lost to no-shows, and staff generally over-book to compensate for these. Since the final unoccupied 10% represents only a loss in revenue, it’s vital that room turnover is as efficient as possible.

Where does that leave the cleaning schedule?Rooms are prepared for new customers after every departure, of course, but deep-cleans and refurbishments take time – and most hotels aim for a minimum of one deep-clean per room, per year. Imagine a hotel with 178 rooms: around 15 rooms will need to be cleaned per month, if every room is to be cleaned at least once within the year. It’s the hotel manager’s task to schedule the cleaning of those 15 rooms at times when occupancy is lowest, and revenues will be affected least.

The average three-star London hotel charges £128 per day[3]. So putting 15 rooms out of use for a full day means a loss of £1920 over a month, and therefore £23, 040 over the course of the year. If the type of deep-clean requires two days to fully dry and air, as some do, then that loss of revenue is doubled, to nearly £50 000.

 What do these figures tell us, here at TotalCare?That the method used to deep-clean a hotel room is far more crucial than it appears. Most carpet cleaning systems use high volumes of pressurised water and cleaning agents to penetrate the carpet, and the dirt is then lifted out using a specialised vacuum. Depending on the environment, the carpets treated this way may take anywhere from four hours to two days to completely dry. The room, at least, will need to remain unoccupied for at least a day. For older hotels, carpeted floors without underlays may trap moisture from the cleaning, resulting in condensate stains that will also need to be cleaned. More time, and more expense – and if a customer is accidentally placed in a room with a still-damp carpet, there will be complaints, possible health and safety implications and a loss of reputation and revenues via refunds or a free nights stay.

So we decided we could do things a little differently, and developed a method that will allow for same-day turnaroundfor deep-cleaned rooms. Our aim is to complete our pre-scheduled rooms (between 15-20 at a time) between the hours of 6am and 12pm. If check-in starts at 2pm, it’s possible for a room to be completely refreshed without losing any occupancy at all.

 

What are the benefits?Well, we hope the general manager’s schedule will be considerably less complicated as a result, as well as the schedules of housekeeping staff and sales teams. A hotel cleaned with our method can maximise bookings and revenues, minimise unoccupied rooms, and increase customer satisfaction. So more of those gold-standard returning customers, and fewer wet carpets. We think we can all get behind that.

 

You can read a real-life, recent case study about this method in action here.

 

[1]http://www.bha.org.uk/2609_bha_lobby_day_briefings_uk/

[2]http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles/11472/10-tips-for-retaining-loyal-guests

[3]http://gb.hotels.com/hotel-price-index/7-average-room-prices-by-star-rating.html

 

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