A recent discussion on the CM/Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online™ Bulletin Board concerned finding the ideal way to keep track of hours worked by employees. Excerpts from that discussion follow below.
I am the operations manager for a small cleaning company, primarily contract cleaning in offices.
We are about to add three new accounts. How do we account for travel and track hours?
We currently are fortunate enough to have time clocks at some of our accounts or the accounts are close enough to our offices that we can collect timecards that we leave on-site.
These new accounts will incur increased travel time, as they are 10 to 15 miles apart.
We are looking for a system — paper or otherwise — that will free us from traveling to every account to exchange timecards on a weekly basis.
One of my contractors uses a system that they call in on the phone when they get at the site and call when they are done.
We have our people call from the office phone they are at when they get to their first jobsite, then they call from the office phone at their last jobsite.
We got permission to do this from the companies we clean for.
This is a good method if you have trustworthy people.
You don''t want them going and sitting in McDonald''s for a half-hour or driving around forever to add time to their paycheck — yes, I caught people doing that.
Now, we are starting to just pay a percentage of the job.
I don''t pay hourly unless it is someone I am working with or they are on my direct walk-through route.
This actually works out well: No timecards and nobody trying to squeak in an extra 15 minutes.
Time adds up and I don''t want to pay people to stand around and smoke cigarettes and drink coffee.
Cleaners clock in/out from cleaning site: No time cards to worry about.
We have caller identification (ID) on office phones to verify that they called in/out from the building.
Unfortunately, we have staff abusing this by using their cell phone and "padding" their time.
So, now we have added an addendum in our handbook that states if you do not clock in/out from the building''s phone, you will not be paid.
For the most part our, staff are honest; it''s just a few that spoil it for everyone else.
Previously, we only had "if you do not call in/out for your building, you can not get paid," as staff were "forgetting" to call in/out.
I''ve used the honor system, the telephone call-in system and said goodbye to both.
I''ve been using www.ExpressTime.net for a number of years.
My employees call in to their computer when they start and when they finish a building.
If working more than one location, I program it to add travel time.
I can look online at any time and see who is where and it notifies me if someone doesn''t show up for work by a certain time.
At the end of the week, I print a report showing everyone''s hours by building; there are numerous other reports that can be viewed or printed.
I can use it to see if someone is taking too much time or too little time in a building.
Caller ID verifies they are calling from the job, and cell phones or home phones can be blocked from calling.
You can buy the software for use on your computer or use their hosted version.
I use the hosted version because I don''t want to be bothered with computer problems.
With the hosted version, you are billed a small monthly amount plus a few cents per call.
We use the same system as Ed, but we have the software loaded on our server because it costs less overall.
We were using timecards in some accounts prior to going with ExpressTime and found that employees routinely punched each other''s cards.
If you are not planning to be on site at least weekly, I bet that you will have the same thing going on in addition to much idle time while they are working by the hour.
Regular, random supervisor visits are needed regardless of how employees are paid, and customers need to be willing to pay us for proper management.
Do you pay for travel by the mile or a flat number?
I know we are responsible for the employee regardless, but doesn''t it make sense to pay for mileage as opposed to paying them to be on the clock?
Paying for miles would work, but we pay for driving time.
Time is based upon an average, so if an employee stops for dinner or gas, he or she doesn''t get more.
Paying for time is easier because, with ExpressTime, you can add in minutes automatically when the employee clocks in.
Miles would have to be converted and figured separately.
A recent discussion on the CM/Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online™ Bulletin Board dealt with grout cleaning. Elements of that discussion follow below.
I just completed a grout cleaning job tonight and it did not turn out well.
The tile is in a restroom; it is black tile and dark grout.
The room has a white residue line around the sides of the room.
I take that it is from the cleaning service mopping the floor.
I sprayed the grout cleaner down and brushed the grout and tile and then turbojet cleaned the tile.
Now, instead of the white being 2 inches around the edges, it is 5 inches around the room.
There are now lines and circles where the turbojet cleaner moved.
I have the vacuum turned way down.
I redid the room, let the cleaner set for about 5 minutes, then cleaned again with the same results.
Has anyone ran across this problem or have a suggestion on how to clean it?
I am going to hazard a guess that this is some type of chemical reaction, maybe with a residue left over from the janitorial staff.
Have you tried a neutralizer — just plain vinegar and water solution, let sit and then vacuum it up?
I''m wondering whether the white is actually a residue on the surface of the tile or an etching or scratching of the tile from the grout cleaner or the brush.
Get down close and see which is the case: Residue on the surface or erosion of the surface.
Is your grout cleaner a strong acid?
Is the tile glazed or unglazed?
We had something similar happen to us a few months back.
We drenched the floor with a neutral cleaner and scrubbed it using a swing machine and a red pad, mopped it a couple of times and, when it dried, there were patches and circles on top of the tile that looked like scuff and scratch marks.
We mopped again and they remained.
Once my pulse rate returned, we got down on our hands and knees and used a light abrasive.
The marks scrubbed off.
I later read that when you''re scrubbing, the grout itself gets a little dispersed and dries on top of the tile, creating the residue.
We are going back tonight to try something else.
I will try everything all three of you said.
Mike, on your suggestion about the residue from the tile, that is what the customer thinks it is.
It is great to have people like you guys.