The Problem with Full-Time, Single Coverage Cleaning Accounts

Ask yourself this question: What customers should I not do business with? As our cleaning company has grown over the years, we have become more selective in the types of accounts we target. There was a time when any customer would be accepted, but eventually we placed minimum revenue limits on new customers. Additionally, we added geographic and industry parameters. However, in recent years we have uncovered another type of cleaning account this is very undesirable – the full-time, single coverage account.

Single coverage accounts are those that have only one cleaner on any given shift. Here are a couple of examples:

  • An account that has one full-time cleaner on 2nd shift
  • An account that has one full-time cleaner on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd shifts

The challenge with single-coverage accounts, specifically those with full-time employees, is the inability to cover shifts when a cleaner is absent. For instance, if a cleaner calls in sick two hours before the shift starts, it is very difficult to find a replacement for that 8-hour shift. If it were just a 4-hour shift, you’d likely have a larger pool of employees from which to find a replacement. But VERY few people are willing to cover an 8-hour shift on short notice. The problem is compounded when a cleaner quits and you must find a temporary replacement.

When we have absences on these single-coverage accounts, our managers and supervisors often end up cleaning. This has a doubly harmful effect. First, the managers get overworked and exhausted with the extra work. Second, customers and other employees are neglected due to the urgent need of filling a shift.

So should you accept full-time, single coverage accounts? Well, I guess that depends on your backup plans. If you can formulate an adequate strategy to handle the inevitable absences, then maybe it will work. However, no viable backup plan can be established, consider asking the customer to allows two workers in place of one, each working four hours. If neither of these options work, just remember to count the cost before accepting the account.


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