Cleaning Schedules … Not as Easy as You May Think

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Today’s post is short and sweet, however sweet might not be the right word …  

The majority of our guests at Vacation Rentals of the Desert are monthly.  This is because we host many of the “snow birds” that are escaping their cold northern climates for our gorgeous winter season.  So the first day of each month, November through April, are typically busy guest arrival days.  We actually have about sixty booked arrivals coming in the February 1st!  So to say that life has been busy these last few days, is an understatement.

Some guests will be arriving to properties that have been recently occupied, some have not been occupied since last April and some are what we call “back to backs.”  A back to back is a property where tenants are departing at 10 a.m. and new tenants are arriving at 3 p.m. on the same day.  For the properties that have been recently occupied; they are clean but have set for a period of time so they will need a touch up with dusting, mopping and patios cleaned.  We schedule these for a “pre-clean.”  For the properties that have not been occupied, we contact owners and arrange to do a deep clean with windows and screens.  Depending on the size of the property, this clean can take up to two days.  Then the properties that are back to backs will need to be cleaned in a five hour period of time … spotless before guests arrive.  Sometimes this takes a bit of magic … especially if there is a lot of laundry.  Three people can clean a property in no time flat … but laundry refuses to be rushed.

Needless to say, scheduling consists of a lot of phone calls and coordination.  The office staff contacts outgoing guests to see if they enjoyed their stay and whether they would like to return next year.  At the same time we will give them key return information and find out what time they plan to depart.  If they are departing a day or even hours early, we contact our cleaning service so they can schedule cleaners to arrive earlier than they would for a back to back cleaning.  We then contact all the arriving guests to wish them a good trip, give key receipt information and find out what time they plan to arrive.   Cleaners can then be delayed for late arriving guests.

Ideally cleaning is schedule just prior to guest arrivals, but even with several cleaning teams, it is all a matter or coordination and working around rain (which we had on Friday), repairs, carpet cleaning and then, wet carpets, etc.  Once the cleaning schedule is set into motion, one small hick-up can launch the entire schedule into oblivion.  I know I’m being a bit dramatic, but in the moment …. aaaawwww!

So here is what happened …. Cleaners were scheduled two days prior to guest arrival to do a full clean after owner’s departed.  A carpet cleaning service was schedule immediately after.   The cleaners show up at the property only to find that the owners are still there and have decided to stay an additional night … they are having such a good time.  I love, love, love these owners, and it is there home after all, but OMG, this started a chain reaction!  This one little change affected six cleaning teams that needed to be adjusted, about twelve property cleans needed to be rescheduled and me getting on my knees to the carpet cleaning service to beg them to squeeze us into their own busy schedule.  In addition the owners reported a few last minute repairs had to be fitted in and we had to contact the arriving guests to advise them that the carpets would be spotless … but may still be damp when they arrive.

The point of this post is not to whine and complain.  If you are a property owner with a vacation rental company, please know that your management company understands that you are the owner and that you have every right to occupy your property.  But also understand that coordinating cleaning and extended services will sometimes take some lead time.  Most vacation rental companies do not employ their cleaners hourly, or even exclusively.  It is of great importance to let your company know of any change or possible delays in your arrivals or departures as quickly as possible.  This is sometimes a difficult subject for companies to discuss with an owner … but it is extremely important.  Because of the last minute change of departure mentioned above, I will always be a bit skeptical when scheduling this owner’s departure cleans.  In the future I will probably check, double check and call them before sending cleaners.

I owe a big THANK YOU to Lesley Boniface, the owner of Crown Concierge of the Desert, for getting us through this past week’s cleans and one tiny little hick-up that launched her schedule into oblivion.  Crown is our cleaning contractor and handles 100% of our cleaning as well as providing our guests with excellent concierge services.  Without Crown we could not do what we do!  Hey Lesley … another February 1st is history!  Is it time for a glass of wine yet?

Have a wonderful Sunday and hope ya’ll are enjoying the Super Bowl.

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