Maria has been using the Helpling platform since April 2015. She originally came from Argentina, where she worked as a teacher and trained to be a chef. But when the late night shifts and endless work hours became too tiring, she decided she needed a change of scenery and came to Australia. Maria has a self-confessed cleaning OCD – so working as a cleaner through Helpling seemed to be the perfect occupational solution, when she first discovered the platform.
So Maria – what made you use Helpling?
I was looking for something where I had the freedom to manage my own time. I heard about Helpling and thought that it could be exactly the type of work to suit my desired level of flexibility. Anyway, I told my husband that I was going for it because he knows I have a serious cleaning OCD so why shouldn’t I earn money from it! He asked me if I would enjoy it and I told him, ‘Absolutely, I can be my own boss.’
I started slowly, with only one house, and I remember being very proud with my first paycheck of $500 and was overjoyed to contribute to the bills again! Of course, I remember my first client very well, she trusted me enough to give me a key after just the first day and I cleaned for her from then on.
Today, my schedule is firmly in place. In the beginning, I would accept a lot of one-off bookings but this actually allowed me to find the now 90% regular customers I have. At the start, I’d sometimes get lost too, which was funny, but know I can go from A to B very fast!
What would you recommend for those cleaners new to the Helpling platform?
I highly recommend, to anyone who wants to use the Helpling platform, to accept regular bookings and build on those relationships, you become like a family member! If you get your whole schedule filled with recurring customers, you create consistency in your work, which allows you to then build on your client relationships.
Although it can sometimes be hard the first time you are at a new customer’s house, your confidence comes from knowing you’ve done a good job – which of course leads the customer to book you for all future appointments.
Try to be very communicative, you have your client’s phone number from the moment you accept a job, so, if for example, you’re going to be a few minutes late or you can make a scheduled appointment, just call them up and let them know – it makes the relationship much better when you trust each other.
Your reviews say you like to go the extra mile – what do they mean by this?
I try my hardest in many aspects of the job, but one example would be that I bought clients some chocolate for Christmas & a toy for their pets! One of my clients also gave me chocolates and send me a picture of their dog with the toy. The dog looked so happy and the toy was bigger than him! It was very rewarding.
How do you provide your customers with the best service you can
I don’t give special treatment to an individual customer but I do care for every house as if it was my own. If I don’t have the OCD I mentioned earlier, I am at least very meticulous and detailed and if I find something that isn’t clean, the client will be able to see it too. So it’s attention to detail that really helps out.
For those new to the platform (or anyone for that matter), listen to customers, learn from what they want you to do or use and if it works, apply the same techniques/products with other customers. Be patient and treat every house like it’s your own.
Whenever I’m at work, I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not. The main thing is that if you don’t love what you are doing, cleaning in this case, should you be doing it? Do something else. Be whatever you want to be. So if cleaning toilets isn’t your thing, then don’t do it.
You mentioned the products that work best – can you give us a few trade secrets?
I use eco-friendly products, mostly earth choice, cause it smells really nice and does a great job. For the kitchen I use fairly strong products, to make sure I can clean away all the grease. Avoid bleach if possible, as it can stain very badly, especially fabrics – Domestos mixed with water works just as well, in bathrooms. Generally, I use my own product to clean clients houses, but on the occasion, the client will request that I use theirs, so you get to test a lot and easily find out soon what works best where.
What’s your funniest story since you use the Helpling platform?
I have a regular customer who is around 70 years old and whose house I have been cleaning since May 2015. If I have a cleaning OCD, then he has it even worse! One time he jumped out of the shower and came running up to me, wrapped only in a towel, to tell me something he just remembered. Admittedly that was a bit uncomfortable but it was also very funny.
One other customer always wants things a certain way – in this case, it was me as his cleaner. He wanted to pay me upfront for a year to make sure I would be the only one coming to clean for him! If you do things right, you are getting this kind of feedback from your clients, and it feels great.
And what about difficult customers, how do you deal with them?
After a certain time working in cleaning you know how to read certain types of customers and know how to handle them. But some customers will never be happy even if you give your absolute best.
I have a very good relationship with the Helpling team and I really believe they look after me. I once had a customer who rated me with 1 star (of 5), perhaps a little unfairly, as their expectations were far too high. Helpling called me but instead of getting angry we discussed the situation and agreed that I couldn’t have done anything else.
How do you use your Helpling profile?
I usually have my profile open on my mobile phone. So, when I’m on a bus or waiting somewhere, I always can have a look for last minute or spontaneous appointments. Also, I check appointments details and recent from my clients’ reviews on the go.
We thank Maria for her great work at making so many homes clean and happy. And who knows, maybe yours will be the next on her list! If you want to find out about joining the Helpling platform as a cleaner, go to our cleaning jobs page.