Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about our services.
What types of cleaning products do you use?
Our default is to go “green” and we succeed in doing so 95% of the time. Most of our clients demand it, it’s clearly better for the environment, and more importantly from our perspective, it’s important for our employees who are exposed to cleaning products every day. The cleaning solutions we use are more expensive than their toxic peers, but we use them because the human and environmental health cost is lower. We look for supplies that are non-toxic, bio-degradable and effective. However, today it’s almost universally expected that cleaning companies will tout themselves as “green’, especially in the Bay Area! We’ve reviewed other cleaning company web sites and we intentionally do not splash the word “Green” all over our home page. Why?
When it comes to vinyl, tile, granite, stainless steel, aluminum, painted surfaces, marble, slate and wood floor cleaning solutions we have never found a situation where our “Certified Green” products have proven to be ineffective, and so one might be tempted to ask “…So why not just say you’re “green” 100% of the time?..” The dirty little secret is that when it comes to very dingy or badly stained porcelain, products such as Bon Ami (our default cleanser), baking soda, and mixtures of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and/or lemon juice, while certainly capable of making an improvement, may not take the job to the right level. So at the risk of being politically incorrect, sometimes the only way to get porcelain to a ‘bright white’ state is with a diluted bleach spray, or a bleach based cleaning product, but when it’s needed it is applied sparingly and used only upon customer request. Furthermore, we always double rinse surfaces to eliminate lingering residue and odor, and once the “baseline” has been set, revert back to the green products which, when applied regularly, do a perfectly acceptable job at keeping porcelain bright.
For us, being “green” is not a moral issue, it’s one of responsibility and balance. We strongly believe in being environmentally responsible and we are especially concerned about the welfare of our employees who are exposed to cleaning products all of the time. At the same time we believe that an approach which minimizes the use of bleach, and includes physical precautions for both our clients and employees, represents a responsible balance.
On this issue, we end as we began. The choice is yours. Use 100% green products all the time? You got it. Get to ‘bright white’ and then ‘go green’? Same answer.
What is your method of working?
Efficiently! In addition to the systematic ‘top-down, left-right’ approach we take to the work (there’s more to it than just that of course), we also work in teams of three which means we are in and out swiftly, something our clients love. We bring our own equipment and supplies but of course will accommodate a client’s requests to use their special cleaning products when requested.
What if I am not happy with something that has happened, or not happened?
Cooperative Cleaning has a long history of making clients happy, not making excuses. If at any time we fail to meet your expectations we will offer a correction service at no charge. If for some reason you are still not satisfied, we will also refund the cost of the original service. If we accidentally break something, we fix it or replace it. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does we take responsibility and we ‘make it right’.
Cancellations & Lock-outs
As you might imagine, filling a client’s cancelled time slot at the last minute is difficult if not impossible. This has only a modest impact on the business itself. More importantly it has direct impact on our employees who are compensated based on the actual amount of work we are able to secure for them. For this reason, and with the exception of emergencies or ‘acts of God’ (and certainly illness – colds and flu included – fall into this category), we request cancellation or rescheduling notices three full business days in advance in order to avoid financial penalty. Thank you in advance for your understanding on this issue.
Will the same team always come to my home?
We succeed in sending the same team to the home of Subscription clients approximately 90-95% of the time. This way they will be known to our clients and familiar with their unique needs. Naturally if one or more of your team members is on vacation, PTO or the like we may substitute that individual with another but will do everything we can to make certain that at least one of your regular team members is there to insure consistency. That’s good for you and for us. However, on rare occasions it may necessary to substitute an entirely different team. These one-off situations are mitigated by making sure that the temporary alternate team has detailed written records of your specific preferences and its leader works with your regular team leader prior to the visit to make sure she/he fully understands those needs.
Can I request a specific arrival time?
We are highly consistent in adhering to client requests for either AM or PM arrival window times. We also offer a limited number of “First AM” appointments (i.e., 9 to 9:15 AM). However, we are unable to commit to pinpoint arrival times throughout the rest of the day. You may wonder why, and we don’t blame you.
Scheduling is a challenge for housekeeping companies who treat their workers as W-2 employees, instead of 1099 contractors. Reason? With 1099 contractors you’re not required to pay workers who are idle between jobs. They are only paid when they are working in a home, so hypothetically you can offer a client any arrival time they wish. For example, if a worker must wait 30 minutes or 2 hours between two jobs, it doesn’t matter to the employer with a large pool of part-timers, at least from a payroll perspective. But full-time W-2 employees are paid from the moment they clock in till the moment they clock out, so minimizing travel and downtime is an art to say the least. Frankly, we think we do a pretty good job balancing constant client schedule additions, changes and cancellations, together with employee vacations, PTO and illnesses (etc.), plus juggling the logistical realities of traveling among 200+ clients from northern Richmond to San Leandro, Alameda to Orinda, and still meet our customer’s essential timing needs to boot.
So (excepting for “First AM” customers) arrival times will vary, but to mitigate this uncertainty for clients, we email you the business day before every scheduled service date to give you our estimated time of arrival within a 30-minute window. And as always, when something special pops up, and you need us to arrive before or after a specific time, just let us know, and we will always do our best to accommodate your request!
What vicinities do you serve?
We care for homes the cities of Richmond, El Cerrito, Albany, Kensington, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Alameda, Piedmont, Orinda and Lafayette.