Updated: Dec 7, 2022
The article below is the original.
Unless we are buying a present for ourselves or our loved ones, we tend to scrimp on things we think we can do without, or wait until it is really necessary before we spend. Take the case of hiring professional services. There are people who rationalize” “why hire when I can do it myself?
The mistake some prospects make is thinking that they can do what a professional can. Professional proficiency at cleaning, for example, has a direct correlation to the time the customer would spend doing the same chores. This is the beauty of the division in labor that has caused advanced economies to raise the standard of living for all. In simple terms, it would take the average homeowner three times the time it takes an organized, prepared, and experienced professional to perform the same quality of work.
To accurately compare the true value of hiring a cleaning service the homeowner should do the math. Here is an example of how it is done: Take the consumer’s own gross wage, (excluding benefits), multiply by 1.3 for employment taxes (that all employers must pay) then multiply again by three. A cleaning customer doesn’t have to pay worker's employment taxes; however, they do potentially benefit from those costs and the comparison overall will become clear in a moment. Additional value is that the professional cleaners’ hourly price point covers not only the direct costs of delivering the service but also the hidden fixed costs of administration and overhead.
But you might be wondering what all of this really means to the person who is considering the worth of hiring out to do their cleaning. Let's say the consumer is a nurse and she earns $28 per hour gross. Her employer pays 28 times 1.3 = $36.4 per hour. (Excluding benefits) for every hour she clocks on the job. Now the fact is that an experienced professional cleaner can perform about three times the work, in the same hour that the homeowner would spend on the same job. This translates to the cleaner’s real value to the overall economy at $109.2 per hour! In other words, a nurse as one example makes considerably more money doing a few extra hours at her own job than she can realize in financial savings by cleaning. We have all heard the phrase “penny wise and dollar poor”. The division of labor is a dollar-wise economic advantage that we all share when we utilize the resources availed to us.
Although the concept might seem counter-intuitive to the financially unaware, time is very much a universal currency. Therefore, in economic terms the nurse is further ahead value-wise, purchasing professional help than she would be by cleaning her own home. Think about it, even if overtime is not available with her employer which is unlikely to be the case, certainly there are ample opportunities to freelance elsewhere given the skill set as a clinical nurse.
So, if the nurse really feels the need to work more than she already does, rather than spending an entire Saturday cleaning her home, it would pay her much better to spend that additional time doing what she is most proficient at doing. Just as an aside, it might be more advantageous to hire a cleaner to come in during the week and to have a nice clean home to enjoy free time with the family on the weekend. We all must set our priorities and work-life balance is not the primary focus of this essay. Here we are looking purely at the financial aspect of hiring professionals.
The benefit of hiring a professional is even greater in purely economic terms for an executive, a master plumbing contractor, or a surgeon who earns more than a nurse on a per-hour basis. The value of wealth is not really about money per se, but rather real wealth is defined by what goods and services we are able to procure with our discretionary income!
Therefore, a fisherman in Maine can sell the lobster he catches to an apple farmer in Michigan and both people end up ahead and with a better quality of life despite or rather because of the costs involved! Imagine trying to fish for lobster yourself, how efficient do you think you would be? Similarly, it takes years of attention and care before a tree produces one apple. Think about it. To clean an entire home the way a professional (who is trained and does those tasks repeatedly all day every day) can, proficiently, in just a few hours take the amateur or “weekend warrior” all day long. The evidence is clear, it pays in purely economic terms to hire professionals!
Update: In November 2019 when this article was originally published I was finishing up a refresher biology course at CLI. I followed up on my continuing education with the Columbia Medical School 2020 "Viruses that make you sick" an advanced Virology Course, with Professor Vincent Racaniello. In each lecture, (the professor who manually sequenced the polio virus) updated us with weekly reports about SARS-COVID-19. I have been a certified Microbial Remediation Technician since 2005 and was an AIDS Educator in the 1990s. I also teach an infectious disease course for cleaners at ACIDMITIGATION.com. My background includes studying environmental science with a specialty in Water reclamation. Having done my fair share of wet chemistry in the laboratory. and being an avid reader I have in my personal library many great books covering just about every infectious disease that has been recorded in human history.
All of this above is to say that no one should be surprised that I was wearing a mask at the grocery store and social distancing back in early March 2020, educating my staff to do the same. Infectious Disease has always been a big part of why we clean, it is just with this current virus that the topic is now on everyone's mind. That said, there really is no such thing as "routine cleaning" with a respiratory virus as virulent as SARS-COVID-19 burning through the globe. What is more, Indoor air filtration is more important than ever.
So we revised our Happy Cleaning Operating Plan for this year pivoting to what is now our "Pandemic Operating Plan" a few months before official guidelines were even in place. In fact, I was on the phone with the Governor's office early on sharing my thoughts about public health in the new world.
Cleaning simply is not "business as usual" anymore. I have seen many so-called professional cleaners doing things incorrectly from their posts in the forums. For example, no one should be dry-dusting in this environment! Organic soils must be removed before applying a disinfectant. In layman's terms, what is put down on a surface meets what is used up (Organic Demand). It is actually the Residual that must have the required contact time (residual can be calculated using the dose and the "pounds formulas" arriving at parts per million or more precisely (particles in a milliliter). Dwell time and the correct dilution of approved disinfectant is essential to touchpoint cleaning.
This isn't rocket science, biology and environmental contamination thresholds are a bit more nuanced than rocket science. The dose used for disinfection is different than measuring CT thresholds of viral particles but the two are directly proportional metrics. In the spirit of transparency, it isn't necessary to perform such calculations and the related laboratory procedures to find biological oxygen demand and suspended solids in cleaning applications. Still, a professional understanding of the dynamics, i.e., how these things work is important so that the client can have a piece of mind that the methodology being used to clean and disinfect is scientifically sound and effective for the risks involved.
All the above is to say that you need to be working with professionals. We are not after anyone's job. If your current cleaning company is not doing things correctly have them connect with me for additional training. We are willing to work with your current staff. God forbid someone in your organization tests positive for COVID-19, You are going to need a third party to verify that your cleaning has been done according to established standards. You need to keep your operations running and you need to give your employees assurance that they are safe in their working environment.
This includes distancing workspaces and a change of habits in the workplace. Restrooms and break rooms are especially vulnerable areas that really require protocols specific to those spaces. End of Update.