I don’t know about you, but cleaning is my least favorite activity. And as with all least-favorite activities, there is a tendency to procrastinate, with the end result usually being a task that takes you longer to do than it should. Time is a commodity that you can’t renew; you either use it wisely or subtract it from other activities. So, why must we clean in the first place?
Let’s first talk about the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning removes the most common vectors of transmission of contagions—the biological. Biological include hair, dander, dirt, blood, urine and feces. Contagions are bacteria, viruses and spores that have the potential to spread disease. Cleaners do not necessarily disinfect. Disinfecting disables the contagion to prevent cross-contamination, but disinfectants work better on clean surfaces.
My solution was to figure out how to clean in an efficient manner so that I have more time to spend on things I enjoy. Here are four ways I have found that can speed up your salon or mobile cleaning routine:
1. Hire someone specific for the job. This is my personal favorite. People who are good at something do it efficiently, have the right equipment and use the proper products. Sound familiar? Think about all the combs you possess. You know exactly how and when to use each one. Someone who is focused on the task and has a familiar routine will get it done faster as well. You can hire a specific person for this job and set them up for success, or use a cleaning service.
A part-time, end-of-day hire will cost you less than what you pay your groomer, freeing them up to make money for your business. They will also be happier not cleaning up at the end of the day. A professional cleaning service generally costs anywhere between $50 and $100 an hour, depending on what you want done and where you are located.
Anjie Coates in Holden, MA uses a professional commercial cleaning service for her 1,350 sq. ft. grooming facility every other week for a deep cleaning. It costs her $300 per month. In groomer speak, Anjie’s cleaning service costs her three dogs or two shave-downs on a cat.
A regular deep cleaning makes day-to-day cleaning go that much faster as the nooks and crannies are maintained. What a cleaning service or specific hire really does is free up your time. Instead of spending hours cleaning, I could groom far more pets, bringing in more income than what the service costs, or spend time with my family.
2. Prepare checklists specifying what needs to be done. I am the queen of checklists. I have a checklist for everything. They take the decisions out of the equation so there is no wasting time figuring out what needs to be done; it’s written right in front of you. They set up a specific hire for success which speeds up training. They also tell a cleaning service exactly what needs to be done and how you want it done.
The checklists should be detailed to include products and the manner in which they are to be used. There should be a checklist for each category of cleaning. Categories should include: in between pets, end of day, end of week, end of month and quarterly. Checklists can be employee-specific if you decide not to hire an individual for cleaning or use a service.
3. Organize your facility and use equipment that maintains a clean environment. Closed containers and storage cabinets help to keep hair and debris off of products and equipment when not in use. Drying dogs predominately in the tub reduces flying hair and netting (the kind that goes over baby cribs) used around tables for blow-outs also contains hair. That is probably one of the best hacks I’ve run across and I wish I could credit the groomer that came up with it. The netting is easily sourced on Amazon or any place that sells baby equipment. Clipper vacuum systems will suck hair from clipping right into a vacuum system. And full-room UV sanitizers and commercial air cleaners used overnight will aid in keeping your facility sanitized and smelling fresh.
4. Prepare ahead of time. Have cleaning supplies and equipment located in one specific spot along with laminated checklists. Don’t have a laminator? They are about $25-30 on Amazon, and worth every penny. Not having to constantly redo checklists is a timesaver. You can use dry erase markers to check off the tasks as they are done. If you pre-mix cleaning solutions, detail those formulas on another laminated sheet and follow manufacturer’s instructions regarding storage.
Where these steps really paid off for me was in winter when days are much shorter. Personally, for my mental health, I needed to be in my house before dark. Having checklists and my mobile van organized in a way that sped up cleaning, along with someone else doing that longer end-of-week cleaning, I would be in my house within 20 minutes of parking in my driveway. ✂️