Looking after your pets during the current crisis

As Coronavirus or COVID-19 – grinds the world to a halt, many are left wondering what they can and cannot do with their pets during this pandemic.  

Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that pets can be carriers of Coronavirus, nor become poorly from it; however, your pets may be impacted if you or any members of your family test positive and find yourselves self-isolating.  

Many dog owners are quite rightly querying how they will walk their dogs now we have been advised to social distance ourselves, and what happens if they need to self-isolate. 

I’m choosing to social distance, what should I do with my pets?  

If you haven’t tested positive or been asked to self-isolate then you can continue your role as a pet owner as normal. However, it is a good idea to adopt good hygiene practices such as washing your hands before and after touching them, as well as handling their toys and food.  

Whilst you are able to still go outdoors, it might be a good idea to stock up on enough food and bedding for your pets, just in case you do suddenly find yourselves unable to go outdoors and having to stay home.  

If you are well in yourself and haven’t been told to stay at home, then you can still take your dog for a walk, however, under current Government guidance, you should keep two metres away from others. It might be wise to avoid busy periods at the park.  

There is currently no restriction on exercising larger animals such as horses, however, all competitions have been suspended until further notice.  

What if I’m poorly – how do I meet my pet’s needs? 

If you’re unable to walk your dog, it’s a good idea to ensure that they still have plenty of time in the back garden. Regular toilet breaks are still an important factor in your dog’s daily routine and this will need to replace their walking for a while.  

You can use toys to keep them entertained or stimulated whilst you need to rest. Encourage them to play with their toys or use a Kong to keep them mentally stimulated and busy.  

When you’re feeling up to it you can still play with your pets, but it’s important to keep washing your hands. Small animals will still need access to clean bedding regularly and large animals such as horses and cows will still need feeding and their bedding cleaned daily.  

Whilst you’re unable to go outside and tend to larger animals such as horses, it’s important to have a care plan in place and a designated person that is able to look after them and tend to their needs for you. If you are on a yard, your yard owner might be able to assist with this.  

If you feel that you are going to struggle to look after any pet during this difficult time and whilst you’re stuck at home then it may be worth asking a friend to have your pet for a couple of weeks. If this isn’t an option, you could contact your local kennels or pet boarding facility to see if they can help 

 

Please remember that all this is a precautionary measure and there is currently no evidence that pets can become unwell.

This article is for information and guidance only and we are not experts. If you are worried about your pets at any time, phone your Veterinarian for assistance, but do explain your situation so they can ensure your pet receives the right care whilst isolating yourself.

Cleaning myths busted

We’re bombarded with cleaning advice from the internet, magazines and more recently, social media, some of these are myths that aren’t necessarily always the best way to clean your home and sometimes, they can do far more harm than good.  

We’re here to uncover some of these cleaning myths so you don’t have to! 

myth, myths

Myth #1 – Using vinegar tclean anything 

This natural cleaning solution is said to be the answer to lots of cleaning problems, but sometimes it can actually do more harm than good.  

Although it can be useful to clean certain items, you should always carry out a spot test on an inconspicuous area first to check that it doesn’t damage the item you’re trying to clean. 

Vinegar can damage the finish on natural stone, such as tiles and marbles and it can damage your iron if you use it to clean it.

Myth #2 – Using window cleaner on screens 

You would assume that it’s okay to use a window cleaning spray to clean your computer screen or television, but the chemicals can damage your electricals.  

Instead, use a clean microfiber cloth or specialist cleaning wipe to wipe over your screen. If you need to, add a small amount of alcohol, such as vodka, to the cloth before wiping and buff away any dirt or grime. 

Myth #3 – Wetting  carpet stain 

It’s easy to panic if you spill a glass of red wine on your cream carpet or sofa, but don’t be tempted to apply a lot of water to the mark. This can damage the carpet fibres and the excess moisture can cause the wine to penetrate further, leaving a stain behind.  

Instead, use the effective ‘blot’ method to remove stains. Instead of drenching your carpet in water, lightly sprinkle it with a little water and blot again with a clean paper towel or cloth.  

If you can’t remove the stain, we recommend giving  ServiceMaster Clean a call! 

Myth #4 – Be cautious with nail polish remover 

It is said that nail polish remover can be used to remove sticky spots, such as marks left on surfaces from stickers.  

Unfortunately, this could leave a mark on the surface, especially if it is on a finished wooden surface. Instead, try using a sponge dampened in warm water to gently loosen the mark, allowing you to wipe it away.  

If the stain is too stubborn for water, we recommend contacting  Furniture Medic. 

Myth #5 – Using bleach to remove rusty stains 

Pouring bleach on to rusty marks can make the problem worse, so avoid this at all costs! It’s best leaving this to the experts!

To book your next clean give your local Merry Maids a call today to find out more.

Keep an eye on our page for regular blogs and news, feel free to share this and any of our other blogs on your social media. 

10 Positive things to do from home

We’ve put together a few ideas to keep your spirits up when you’re at home during the current virus outbreak:  

1. Plan or Re-decorate

Plan something for the future- create a mood board to re-decorate your home or research a trip for later in the year.

2. Get Cooking

Cook something delicious – there are some great apps out there to help you use what you have, rather than heading to the shops. Plus, subscription companies like Gousto and Hello Fresh are still delivering fresh food to your door.

3. Clean Your Home

Spring Clean – Whether it’s the whole house or the utensils drawer – being clutter-free and organised is a great feeling.

4. Phone or Video Chat

Call or video chat with someone who you haven’t spoken to in a while, maybe your uncle and/or auntie, or maybe an old friend.

5. Sort Out Your Finances

Get your finances in order – save money by switching utility providers or shopping around for a better credit card rate.

6. Have a Sort Out

Clear out your wardrobe– separate clothes into a throw-out pile, a charity pile and a keep pile.

7. Research Your Family Tree

Research your family tree – most ancestry websites offer free trials too.

8. Keep On Exercising

Exercise – join a yoga streaming group or dust off that exercise bike lurking in the shed. Joe Wicks, The Body Coach is doing daily videos for children and adults during the week – https://www.youtube.com/user/thebodycoach1.


9. Get a Book Out

Read – or if you prefer, listen to an audio book.

10. Learn a New Skill

Access to webinars/online resources is greater than ever. From languages courses to DIY, there’s something for everyone.

These are just a few ideas to keep yourself positive during the current situation, what ideas can you think of? Let us know what you’ll be doing.

Where to find useful information about COVID-19

There is information everywhere you look about the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, sometimes it is difficult working out fact from fiction so we have collated a variety of reputable links that will be kept up to date with reliable information.

Health Information & Advice:

Advice for the public from the World Health Organisation

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

Health advise from the NHS

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Government Advice for Employees, & employers (Dept for Business Energy and Ind Strategy)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-covid-19

NHS online self-assessment

https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 if you think you have symptoms.

COVID 19 Official Infection Rate Stats England Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland

COVID-19 Cases Update (Public Health England)
https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/f94c3c90da5b4e9f9a0b19484dd4bb14

Information about Financial Support:

Government Guidance for employees (Dept for Business Energy and Ind Strategy & Public Health England)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees

Government support for businesses affected by Covid 19

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Banking Group Solutions for businesses affected by COVID19

Lloyds
https://www.thebfa.org/expert-advice/lloyds-banking-group-ready-to-support-uk-small-businesses-impacted-by-covid-19/
HSBC
https://www.thebfa.org/expert-advice/hsbc-uk-announces-package-of-support-for-customers-affected-by-covid-19/

Stay up to date using a reliable source to keep yourself, loved ones, customers and everyone else safe.

Keeping positive

In these unprecedented times, you, like many others around the world may be feeling a little low in spirits. Things may seem a little gloomy but there are rays of positivity shining through.  

I’ve put together a little blog on some of the lovely things which I’ve seen in the last few days in the hope of sharing a little happiness.  

Rainbows Pictures Springing up in Windows 

The trend started online, following the closure of UK schools on Friday 20th March.  

With the view of “spreading hope” the rainbows also provide a lovely bit of positivity for when you are out and about during your daily exercise. If you’re out for a walk / run / cycle, see how many are around in your area.  

Balcony Singing, Italy

You’ve more than likely seen some of the balcony singing taking place throughout Italy recently.  

Here’s one of the best video’s I’ve seen of music bringing people together, boosting morale and staying positive.  

Fortunately for my neighbours, I won’t be recreating this anytime soon! 

 

Connecting More  

 Last week I downloaded the “House Party” app. It’s essentially a video call app with function for multiple participants. It’s less formal than other video calling platforms such as Microsoft Teams and really simple to use. My family all enjoyed a drink and a catch up together on Mother’s Day via the app with extended family from further away too. Something which we most likely wouldn’t have done without the social distancing measures in place. Somehow, I think we all feel the need to connect even more with people at the moment.  

Support for our NHS workers 

On Thursday 26th March, Lincoln Cathedral will glow blue as a mark of support to our amazing NHS workers: 

This will be followed by the Nationwide “Clap for our Carers” campaign at 8pmWhereby, people across the UK can clap from their gardens, front doors and balconies to show their support and give thanks to doctors, nurses, carers, GPs, pharmacists and other NHS staff, working tirelessly to help those affected by the coronavirus. 

Supermarkets are already showing their gratitude to NHS workers such as in this clip from Tesco in Swansea, where staff applauded and gave flowers during designated NHS staff shopping hour. 

 

And finally, a brilliant video of staff at Basildon NHS keeping themselves motivated in these challenging times…

How to maintain a clean home

Whilst many people are at home, now is the perfect time to give your home some TLC. Below are some hints and tips to make sure your home is clean and looking its best for you and your family. 

Decluttering

It’s quite amazing how much stuff we can collect over time and it’s equally amazing how reluctant we can be to give it up. We like to go by the one year rule… if you haven’t used, worn or looked at it for a year, it needs to go. We know there are some items that you simply can’t get rid of so why not look to put them into storage for safekeeping? 

Grab yourself a box or a bag and start loading your old and unwanted items into it. 

Dusting 

Next, take a microfibre cloth and work your way around the room, top to bottom, picking up as much dirt and dust as you can. Your microfibre cloth should do the hard work for you, even better when it’s a little damp, so move quickly and wipe over all your surfaces. 

Vacuuming 

When you’ve finished with the microfibre cloth, pick up your vacuum and work your way around the room again. If you couldn’t reach an area with your cloth, your vacuum should have a better reach. Use all the extra tools at your disposal to pick up the hidden and hard to reach dirt. 

Sofa Cleaning

Regular vacuuming of your sofas should make this job even easier but with the vacuum cleaner on full power, run the crevice tool all over your suite and remove the cushions and get right down into the hard to reach areas. 

With some help, lift the sofas up and run the vacuum cleaner or a microfibre cloth underneath to pick up the hidden dirt. It’s only a very quick job but cleaning underneath sofas really does help to make the room feel cleaner. 

Kitchen Cleaning

If you have a dishwasher, utilise its power and place everything you can inside to give them a really good clean. If you can’t wash certain items in the dishwasher, place into hot, soapy water whilst you tackle other jobs.  

To tackle the fridge and any nasty stains or odours that have collated in there, grab an old toothbrush and toothpaste and get scrubbing. The chemicals in toothpaste are great for cleaning stains and marks leftover time and the toothbrush allows you to reach those tricky areas. Rinse the fridge well and if odours remain, chop a lemon in half and place one half at the top and one at the bottom – they’ll soon clear up any nasty smells. 

Bathroom Cleaning

Tough limescale in the bathroom may take time to clean but with pre-planning, you can clean your bathroom overnight, whilst you sleep! For showerheads and taps that are turning green, fill a bag with white vinegar and tie it tightly around the showerhead or tap and leave it overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and take a toothbrush to the stain and it should just wipe off. 

These hits and tip will make sure your home is looking its best and smelling beautiful.

How to stay motivated when working from home

Working from home can be tough if you’re not used to it, so we thought we’d put together a few tips to help you through each day.

Tip #1 – Create An Office

You may be tempted to sit on the sofa or lie in bed whilst working from home, this is a mistake as it will demotivate you.

Dedicate a room specifically as your office, away from any distractions, like Television or other family members/housemates.

Make sure your office is tidy and try and keep it as similar to your work desk as you can, this way you’ll get into your work mindset.

Tip #2 – Wake Up On Time

You may be tempted to lie in if you’re working from home, thinking;

“It’s alright, the boss will never know”.

Don’t be tempted! Wake up at the normal time you would if you were going to work, have your breakfast and morning coffee as you normal and start work at the time you usually do.

This will create in your mind the normal workday ethic and you’ll become used to it in no time at all.

Tip #3 – Stay On Schedule

Try not to change your normal working schedule and keep it as similar as you can.

If you have an online calendar, create personal events and reminders that tell you when to shift gears and start on new tasks.

Check your emails at the same times you would if you were at work and add in new tasks where you can.

Tip #4 – Stay Off Social Media

We’re always tempted with our personal mobiles when we’re at home, but you wouldn’t be allowed them at work, so why should you be using them when working from home?

A quick tip to help stay off social media is to log out of every account.

You might even consider working primarily in a private or if using Chrome, an “Incognito” browser window.

This is all of course if don’t work with social media on a work-related basis, and then you really don’t want to avoid going on it!

Tip #5 – Stay Connected

You need to make sure you stay connected to your team and other teams within your business.

Instant messaging and video conferencing tools can make it easy to check in with co-workers and remind you how your work is contributing to the big picture.

Here are few instant messaging and video conferencing tools you can use:

  • Microsoft Teams – If your business uses Office 365, Microsoft Teams has instant messaging and video conferencing options to keep you connected
  • WhatsApp – Of course WhatsApp is in the list, it’s the most popular instant messaging tool in the world and can easily keep you connected to your teams
  • Slack – A great collaboration tool that can keep your team on track to completing tasks, also has an instant messaging section to help stay connected
  • Zoom – A video conferencing tool to keep you connected, the free version limits meetings for over 3 people to 40 minutes at a time
  • Skype – Another well-known platform that can be used for video conferencing and instant messaging

These are only a few options that are out there, you may want to do a bit of homework and find the right tools for your business.

Tip #5 – Take Regular Breaks

Make sure you’re taking regular breaks, like grabbing yourself a drink or walking around the house to keep you as active as possible.

Rather than just opening your phone and checking social media or watching YouTube videos, use your breaks to get away from your desk:

  • Go for a walk around your house or garden
  • Spend time with others who might also be in the house
  • Give your pet a bit of attention
  • Make yourself some lunch

One other main point about taking regular breaks is to have your lunch at the same time every day. This way your body will get used to eating at specific times and you will be less likely to snack.

 

Feel free to share the below image on social –

What’s the difference between social distancing, isolation and quarantine?

With all that’s going on in the world now, everyone needs to understand what the differences between Social Distancing, Isolation and Quarantine are.

There is a difference between each of these terms and we’ll explain the difference below.

What is Social Distancing?

Social distancing should be practised by everyone, whether or not they are exposed to the virus.

Social Distancing includes avoiding handshakes, crowds and staying at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from people.

Working from home/Remote Working has been recommended by the government when possible and if showing any symptoms, you should be self-isolating.

What is Isolation?

Isolation is for those who have been either diagnosed with COVID-19 or showing symptoms of the virus.

Isolation serves as a deterrent to keep the infected away from the healthy in order to stop the spread of the virus. This applies to anyone living with someone showing symptoms, anyone with an underlying health condition or anyone over the age of 70.

What is Quarantine?

Quarantine is the restriction on the movement of people, which is intended to prevent the spread of disease. Preventing the movement of those who may have been exposed to a COVID-19, but do not have a confirmed case.

This is the current situation in countries like Italy & Spain to which they have issued a nationwide quarantine and restricted everyone from leaving their homes as much as they can.

Here are a few small graphics that we’ll be sharing on social media as well that you can share if you like:

Social Distancing Isolation Quarantine

5 Ways To Upgrade Your Cleaning Routine

Now that the holidays are over and the New Year is upon us, it’s the perfect time to start upgrading your daily cleaning routine!

Whether you’re a queen or king of cleaning checklists or just looking to get more organised in 2020, our cleaning experts at Merry Maids can help you stay on track with your goals, by providing regular cleaning services to supplement your everyday efforts.

Here are 5 great ways you can upgrade your home cleaning habits for 2020 ­– and beyond!

#1: Introduce one simple daily cleaning habit

Nowadays the majority of us are always on-the-go, it can be hard to find time even for a 15-minute daily cleaning ritual, let alone a rigorous cleaning schedule. When you’re not sure where to begin, we would recommend starting small and master a single daily cleaning habit that will make a difference to you.

To get started, make a list of all your cleaning pet peeves – in other words, those tasks that drive you crazy when you can’t complete them.

Whether on your own or with a partner, pick out the top chore and complete it daily until it becomes a habit, which typically takes 21 days to form as a habit. From there, you can introduce new habits as and when needed!

#2: Create a defined house cleaning schedule

Again, the key here is to start small, build on your existing efforts and hold yourself accountable to whatever tasks you add onto the schedule.

Here are a few methods you might like:

  • Theme up your cleaning – If you hate repetition more than anything else, try giving each day a cleaning theme. Maybe Monday can be your washing day and Tuesdays can be for cleared for kitchen clean-up. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s something you can and will follow!
  • Set a specific time aside for your top 10 tasks – Instead of taking it one day at a time, create a list of the top 10 small cleaning chores that you would like to accomplish by the end of each night. Then give yourself a consistent time to accomplish them, whether in the morning or the evening.
  • Pick one day to be your cleaning day. Prefer to take care of everything all at once? Select a day to designate as your “cleaning day” and take care of key high-traffic areas at the same time. Give yourself at least 2-3 hours to complete the task!

#3: Make an organisation checklist

No matter what cleaning schedule you prefer, it’s a good idea to build out an organisation checklist, which should include every cleaning and organising task that you’ll ever need to do. Keep this list somewhere handy, for example, stuck on the fridge and check it often to make sure you’re covering everything.

Just follow these simple steps to create your own checklist:

  1. Walk around your house and list all areas that need to be cleaned (usually everywhere, unfortunately!)
  2. Within each area, write down all the cleaning and organisational tasks that need to be completed during the year
  3. Assign each task to a sub-list, depending on whether the chore should be done daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonally
  4. Create an easy system to check these items off your list

#4: Find creative ways to remind yourself about cleaning tasks

Even when you have a clear direction for your daily cleaning rituals, you’ll need lots of reminders to stay focused on each task. By finding a creative and colourful way to remind yourself, you’ll be more likely to get everything done!

Here are a few ideas:

  • Make a DIY corkboard and tack up notes about your daily and weekly tasks, you could even add how many calories you’ll burn off for each task!
  • Keep an extra calendar on the wall just for your cleaning checklist

#5: Get the whole family involved

As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one or three or four, depending on how many are in your household! Enlisting your spouse, your kids, or other live-at-home family members will make your life easier and give you more time to chill out and watch your favourite Netflix series. A chore chart is a time-honoured tradition for a reason – it allows everyone to participate in maintaining their own space.

Next Steps: Call in a Professional

Of course, the best way to elevate your cleaning routine this year is to bring in professionals, on whatever basis will work best for your needs. We offer weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly cleans, so you can choose the schedule that makes sense for you! Find your nearest Merry Maids here.

Planning a Stress-Free Christmas Dinner Party

Whether you’re hosting a large group of friends and family at your house or cooking up a feast for your immediate family, it can be stressful to plan for a holiday dinner party – especially if you’re acting as head-chef, sous-chef and server throughout the event. After all, these meals most probably involve multiple courses, your best silverware and china you only get out for Christmas, and a whole lot of decorations: It’s enough to make anyone go mad!

Christmas Dinner Party

With the right planning, however, you’ll be well on your way to a more stress-free and satisfying Christmas. In some cases, your planning process may even include delegating out the cleaning chores and kitchen tasks to the rest of the family or housemates, so that you can focus on being the perfect party host for your guests.

Below, we’ve put together a few Christmas party ideas to make your planning and Christmas dinner easier.

Define your menu

Christmas dinners are always based around one thing – you guessed it – lots and lots of delicious food, it’s important to start here before you plan anything else, and see if you can cut back in any area.

If you’re cooking all the food yourself, you should first consider enlisting a few elves to help, or if you can’t find any elves, friends or family to help in the kitchen.

While it can be fun to go all out for this kind of event, make sure that your menu doesn’t put too much stress on your own plate and is simple enough to produce.

After you put together a holiday dinner menu, ask yourself these questions:

  • How many guests will I have, and what are their dietary needs and restrictions?
  • What recipes do I plan to use?
  • What’s the timescale to make this meal from beginning to end?
  • Can I make any dishes ahead of time?
  • Am I comfortable using these recipes?
  • Do I want it to be a potluck dinner and have guests bring unique side dishes? – This can give you more time for you to be the perfect host, as you won’t be in the kitchen as much.
  • Will there be young children there, and if so, will they have a separate menu?

Once you have the answers to these questions, go back to the drawing board and eliminate anything that will add unnecessary time to your meal preparations. Pretty soon, you’ll find that your menu accurately reflects the needs of your group and plays to your individual strengths as a cook, making it easier to get ready.

It’s also a good idea to create your ingredient shopping list early on, so you won’t be running to the shops to grab anything later.

Put down the cocktail shaker

For a lot of us, a seasonal cocktail is just as important as the Christmas dinner itself. However, you don’t have to practice your bartending skills all year round and play bartender to give your guests an amazing time. It’s much easier to make cocktail batches in advance, which you can include on a decorated bar cart with ice, napkins, garnishes, and other essentials. Don’t drink? There’s always some alcohol-free punches that taste heavenly as well!

Some of the best holiday cocktail recipes to make in a batch include:

  • A delicious apple mocktail, like a Caramel Apple Mocktail
  • One for the bah humbugs to get them in the Christmas mood, a Grinch Punch
  • Classic hot drinks, like Martha Stewart’s mulled wine
  • One for all the lovers out there, a Mistletoe Margarita
  • A festive winter sangria, like this one from Joyful Healthy Eats

Whatever you make, be sure you and your guests drink responsibly.

Pre dinner party cleaning

Whether you’re picking up the duster yourself or delegating the cleaning to someone else, it’s critical to include pre-party cleaning time in your schedule. Unless guests will be wandering throughout the house, focus on high-traffic areas like the kitchen, living room, and dining room. In general, the cleaning should be completed no more than two days before the guests arrive.

Get the right ambience

You don’t need to go mad with decorations to make your home feel cosy and welcoming. After all, a dinner party is primarily about one thing: food!

As long as your house is clean and your tables are ready to go, you’ll be well on your way to holiday bliss.

That being said, we’ve got a few easy tricks you can use to boost the ambience in your space:

  • Set the mood with the right holiday playlist. Just use Alexa or Google Home to put on some Christmas favourites and your home will instantly feel Christmas party-ready.
  • Make space for shoes and coats. Don’t have a coat or shoe rack? No problem: Pick out a designated closet and be sure there are enough hangers for coats. Then lay down a mat or a rug for guests to place their shoes. Alternatively, if no one is staying in the spare room, put the coats neatly labelled on the bed.
  • Open the windows before your guests show up. It may be a bit chilly outside, but it’s a good idea to give your dining area a blast of fresh air right before guests arrive. You’ll eliminate any lingering odours from all of the festive cooking, and the room will warm up again in no time.
  • Light up a few scented candles. Candles are a great way to communicate warmth and comfort to your guests. They may even think you’ve been baking for hours if you choose the right one!

Need a Helping Hand This Year?

At Merry Maids, we provide top-notch cleaning services so that you can rest a little easier before your dinner party. By delivering a detailed clean we can guarantee, our cleaning experts will let your home’s natural beauty shine through. From entryways to bathrooms to staircases, your guests will be wowed by your home!

We’re wishing you a very happy and stress-free holiday season! Find your nearest Merry Maids to get your home sparkling for your dinner party.

Merry Maids Kingston Win Franchisee of The Year Award

A Kingston based cleaning company is celebrating after collecting one of the most prestigious business awards in franchising.

 

Merry Maids of Kingston are left celebrating after scooping one of the most prestigious awards, the Dallen Peterson – Franchisee of the year award at ServiceMaster Ltd.’s annual business awards ceremony.

Merry Maids of Kingston, is a franchise of ServiceMaster, owned and managed by Gary Rolfe and has been successfully cleaning homes in the area since 2017.

 

Gary commented “I am still in shock that I won in all honesty! I am overwhelmed to have received this award, particularly so early on in my business. However, winning has given me enormous confidence that I can smash my targets for the next 12 months.

 

“Things have changed quite considerably over the last 12 months for both my business and within the network. I no longer say no to any job, whatever that is. I think in the early days of my business I was scared to tackle something different or awkward whereas now I just jump in with both feet and give it a whirl! We have tackled some extreme cleans and 8-bedroom houses – my moto is, if you don’t try, you will never know if you can do it!” Said Gary

 

The Franchisee of the Year 2018 is the most prestigious award and a pinnacle achievement within the ServiceMaster Franchisee network. It is awarded to one franchisee who has displayed the highest achievement in the pursuit of excellence and professional management in the ServiceMaster tradition.

 

When asked what Gary felt added to him winning Franchisee of the Year he said:

 

“I think having a great team of staff, alongside organisation is a key asset to have in any business and its one I definitely didn’t have in the early stages of my business. I remember back to when I first started and I began visiting other business owners, it dawned on me how unorganised I was – whereas now my office and storage units are completely different – I always try to think ‘Clear Clutter, make space for you!’

 

“I also have a very positive relationship with my clients. I truly believe building lasting relationships really ensures you have a lasting and sustainable business to work with.” Added Gary

 

Winning Franchisee of the Year is and outstanding achievement and one not to be taken lightly – it requires hard work and dedication from business owners. Winners also get the opportunity to visit the ServiceMaster conference held in the US each year.

 

Managing Director of ServiceMaster, Alan Lewin said: “It was great to see so many of our franchise community and suppliers gathered together to engage in the Summer Summit event. I am always appreciative of the commitment that our franchisees and suppliers make in taking a day out of their business to invest time with peers, colleagues & the franchise support team at ServiceMaster.

 

“We recognise achievements in the categories of Growth, People, Customer and Invest, these headings form part of our organisational “North Star” which we use as is a simple guide to cultural performance and strategic execution for all stakeholders across our community.

 

“We recognise the big obvious stuff like customer service accolades, established franchisees that have grown their revenues by in excess of £1m+, and new franchisees that have got great results from their start up, and beaten their financial projections” Finished Alan

 

Recognising some of the less obvious, but nonetheless culturally vital parts of franchising is imperative to ServiceMaster and the Summer Summit conference allowed this to happen.

 

Awards were given for not only growth, but also to those that have given back to their community, or employees of franchisees that have demonstrated their commitment to the brand attributes engaging in initiatives and actions with colleagues and customers well beyond their job description, very often in their own time at their own expense.

“I have had many notable highs in the last year and this is the icing on the cake. Early in January I had set myself monthly targets which helped me enormously. We smashed these targets but twelve months ago, these targets seemed impossible. I would like to thank my staff, for all their hard work and commitment to helping us achieve these numbers but also all the members of the IRC who have given me great encouragement and support, and also everyone at Head Office.” Finished Gary

“As the Brand Manager for Merry Maids it is one of the great privileges of my role to reward businesses that have achieved great things in the past year.

 

“Life is tough in business these days and most business owners, have their head down and get on with the job in hand, so when they can see the rewards for their efforts, it not only keeps them motivated to continue on that trajectory, it also inspires and motivates other owners to aspire to the same level. Gary is a prime example of sheer hard work and determination to

 

“I would like to say huge congratulations to all the award winners, they are all well deserved.” Finished Merry Maids brand manager, Steve Morris

How to remove mould in your home

The build-up of mould in your home is a certainty, but you can get rid of it with the right products and a little bit of elbow grease.

mould

The main two areas you’ll find mould are on the grout in between tiles, in your bathroom and kitchen and on your window sills.

Why you get mould in your home

According to experts, mould has existed for millions of years, meaning it has had the opportunity to evolve and affect new areas in different ways.

Our teams across the UK see mould in bathrooms, kitchens, basements and other rooms on a regular basis.

Mould is essentially a type of fungus, and it accumulates in damp and poorly ventilated buildings or generally moist and warm areas.

Why you need to remove mould

Prolonged exposure to mould within your home can cause inflammation of your airways and nasal congestion. These symptoms are caused by the inhalation of air bound spores from the mould.

Removing mould safely and efficiently is important for your health and those in your household, so we have accumulated some tips to help you get rid of mould altogether.

How to remove mould in your home

First things first, make sure the cleaning products you’re using won’t cause any damage to the area. (You may need to use different products on different areas).

  • Make sure the room you’re working in is well ventilated, by opening a window or leaving a door ajar.
  • Wear non-porous gloves to stop irritation.
  • Protect your eyes with safety goggles from any kind of splash back.
  • Put on a mask to avoid inhalation of certain cleaning products and mould spores.

Fortunately for all of us, there are several cleaning products you can use to remove it in your home.

Bleach 

Bleach works well to remove mould from areas, such as white grout, tiles and window sills.

  • Mix one part bleach with 3 parts warm water
  • Scrub the affected area with a non-abrasive brush that has been dipped in the bleach mixture
  • Repeat the previous step until a sufficient amount of mould has been removed
  • Use a clean rag to wipe away the loosened mould

Distilled white vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is best to use for the areas that bleach would affect, such as coloured areas.

  • Ideally, use a spray bottle to saturate the area with white vinegar
  • Allow the vinegar to do its magic and let it sit for 30 minutes
  • Scrub with a soft bristled brush/non-abrasive brush
  • Spray affected area again and let it sit for another 30 minutes
  • Rinse with warm water and a clean cloth
  • Repeat the above steps, if necessary

Baking soda paste

Baking soda paste is usually ok to use on most areas, however, still, check beforehand just in case.

  • Stir ½ cup of baking soda and two or three teaspoons of water, adjust the mixture until you have a spreadable consistency
  • Spread the affected area with the baking soda paste
  • Allow to sit for 10 minutes
  • Scrub the area with a soft bristled brush/non-abrasive brush
  • Rinse with warm water and a clean cloth
  • Repeat the above steps, if necessary

 

Some mould problems cannot be tackled with homemade remedies or commercial cleaning products that can be found in your local supermarket. If you’re having trouble, you can always contact your local Merry Maids here.

Local business looking after local charities

A local Merry Maids business has granted his own Christmas wish to two charities in a vow to help the local community and give back.

Gary Rolfe, owner of Merry Maids of Kingston decided he wanted to do something good for the local community and give two members of the public a Christmas and New Year they wouldn’t forget in a hurry!

Late in 2018, Gary contacted the director of Stay Well Services, also based in Kingston, to show his initial interest in helping two members of the community by providing them with a free house clean.

Stay Well then worked with Gary to help select the two lucky candidates.

“I just wanted to give something back to the local community, which is why I initially contacted Stay Well. A lot of people might take a clean house for granted, but for some it’s not as simple as that and I wanted to help make it possible.” Commented Gary

Two properties were selected in the Kingston area; one that belonged to an elderly gentleman who struggled to clean, and another belonging to a young mother who suffers with ME, and finds everyday tasks like cleaning difficult.

Both customers were absolutely delighted with their cleans and were extremely impressed with the Merry Maids Team for helping them have a lovely clean house for Christmas.

For more information about Merry Maids of Kingston, visit www.merrymaids.co.uk/Kingston or contact: 020 8287 1481

Kingston Merry Maids Celebrating Award

Kingston Merry Maids are celebrating after picking up a prestigious award for their staff members.

Merry Maids of Kingston owner, Gary Rolfe picked up the two awards at the national conference for ServiceMaster limited held in June of this year.

Merry Maids Kingston Award

Merry Maids of Kingston covers Kingston Upton Thames, Richmond, Wimbledon, Putney, Wandsworth, Kew, Coombe, Ham and East Sheen and has been operating since 2017.

Along with picking up the award for Rookie of the year, which celebrates outstanding new franchisee’s, the business has also had notable steady growth throughout the previous 12 months.

Picking up these awards are no easy task, and ServiceMaster do all they can to recognise the hard work and dedication of each franchisee. The aim of the awards is not only to recognise the work that goes into franchising, but also recognise when a business has done something truly outstanding.

The conference was held in Leicester and consisted of networking events, presentations and talks, with the awards finishing the day off.

Managing Director of ServiceMaster, Alan Lewin said: “It was great to see so many of our franchise community and suppliers gathered together to engage in the Summer Summit event. I am always appreciative of the commitment that our franchisees and suppliers make in taking a day out of their business to invest time with peers, colleagues & the franchise support team at ServiceMaster.”

Recognising some of the less obvious, but nonetheless culturally vital parts of franchising is imperative to ServiceMaster and the Summer Summit conference allowed this to happen.

Awards were given for not only growth, but also to those that have given back to their community, or employees of franchisees that have demonstrated their commitment to the brand attributes engaging in initiatives and actions with colleagues and customers well beyond their job description, very often in their own time at their own expense.

“I’ve made a conscious effort to continuously hit targets throughout the last 12-months. It’s something that I find motivating and this month I hit £10k 3 months earlier than anticipated so I’m thrilled with that.

“Obviously it’s a great achievement to pick up the ‘Best Newbie’ award this year, and the next year will now be spent building on that.” Added Gary

ServiceMaster has over 300 franchisees operating in close to 700 licensed areas under its brands, including Merry Maids, ServiceMaster Clean, Furniture Medic, TruGreen Professional LawnCare and Rosemary Bookkeeping. TruGreen has been recognised as a leading franchise opportunity in the Elite Franchise Top 100 franchises in the United Kingdom.

 

 

Merry Maids of South Yorkshire Celebrate 25 Years in Business and Growth Award

Merry Maids of South Yorkshire Celebrate 25 Years in Business and Prestigious Merry Maids Growth Award

Mike and Carol Fargher of Merry Maids South Yorkshire are celebrating after receiving their 25 year Service Pin as a ServiceMaster franchise and a North Star Growth Award for the growth of their business in 2017.

All ServiceMaster franchisees are recognised for their loyalty and commitment to their respective brands by the way of a ServiceMaster Service Pin. Our franchisees wear their Service Pin’s with pride as they add reassurance and credibility to their business offering when meeting prospective customers.

As a franchise, we are grateful to those franchisees who have grown established businesses over the years, as their industry knowledge and expertise are extremely valuable to the Merry Maids franchise network.

Twenty-five years is a huge length of time to give to a business and both Mike and Carol’s efforts have not gone unrewarded, thus scooping the prestigious North Star Growth Award for the growth of their business in 2017.

It is a huge achievement to grow a business in the current economic uncertainty, especially for a luxury service such as domestic cleaning. However, Mike & Carol have worked hard to secure more customers and grow their work force in the Sheffield area adding to the local economy and helping to reduce unemployment rates.

Carol said;

The Merry Maids name is a trusted national brand that has helped our business grow ‘year on year’ in the Sheffield region. 

Our ongoing success has created employment in the local area and our child friendly working hours always attract many applicants whenever we are looking to expand our workforce. 

Over the last 25 years our teams of Merry Maids have helped build the excellent reputation that Merry Maids  of South Yorkshire enjoys today for providing reliability and service. 
We look forward to carrying on growing our ‘Merry Maids’ business in the future.

Our Franchise Recruitment Marketing Manager, Emma Nicholson took great pleasure in visiting her most local Merry Maids franchisee to present the Service Pin and Growth Award.

Emma said;

Nothing makes me prouder than being able to present not only a Service Pin for 25 years, but also an award for Growth. It’s such a milestone to reach and an achievement to receive and I’m honoured to be able to present them.

Merry Maids has been established in the UK for almost 40 years and provides domestic cleaning services to homes through individually owned and operated franchised businesses.

For a FREE, no obligation quotation for home cleaning services in South Yorkshire, visit their website www.merrymaids.co.uk/south-yorkshire or call 0114 272 2655 today!

A Croydon based cleaning company is celebrating after collecting one of the most prestigious business awards.

Merry Maids of Croydon scooped the North Star Growth award, and more prestigiously, the Dallen Peterson, Franchisee of the year award.

Merry Maids of Croydon, is a franchise of ServiceMaster, owned and managed by Debbie Walker and has been successfully cleaning homes in the area since 2003.

Debbie commented “I am delighted to have won the award and very proud of my team who work very hard to offer our clients the best service we can. I am looking forward to going to America to see how a Merry Maids business operate there “

The Franchisee of the Year 2017 is the most prestigious award and a pinnacle achievement within the ServiceMaster Franchisee network. It is awarded to one franchisee who has displayed the highest achievement in the pursuit of excellence and professional management in the ServiceMaster tradition.

 

“The last 12 months have just been great. We’ve celebrated 2 members of staff working for Merry Maids of Croydon for 10 years, which in this day and age is fantastic. We have also increased our work force by 15%. Additionally, we have continued our work as Dementia Friends and are proud to be able to continue this. It is very important to our business that we understand the needs of the families we work with.  I would say we are definitely a community orientated business that take pride in working within the community and helping families.” Added Debbie

Picking up one award is an achievement, but to go on and win Franchisee of the Year is and outstanding achievement. Winners also get the opportunity to visit the ServiceMaster conference held in the US each year.

 

Managing Director of ServiceMaster, Alan Lewin said: “It was great to see so many of our franchise community and suppliers gathered together to engage in the Summer Summit event. I am always appreciative of the commitment that our franchisees and suppliers make in taking a day out of their business to invest time with peers, colleagues & the franchise support team at ServiceMaster.

“We recognise achievements in the categories of Growth, People, Customer and Invest, these headings form part of our organisational “North Star” which we use as is a simple guide to cultural performance and strategic execution for all stakeholders across our community.

“We recognise the big obvious stuff like customer service accolades, established franchisees that have grown their revenues by in excess of £1m+, and new franchisees that have got great results from their start up, and beaten their financial projections” Finished Alan

Recognising some of the less obvious, but nonetheless culturally vital parts of franchising is imperative to ServiceMaster and the Summer Summit conference allowed this to happen.

Awards were given for not only growth, but also to those that have given back to their community, or employees of franchisees that have demonstrated their commitment to the brand attributes engaging in initiatives and actions with colleagues and customers well beyond their job description, very often in their own time at their own expense.

“As a family business working for families, we are thrilled to have won, but it simply wouldn’t be possible without our staff .I feel they all need a special thank you. Merry Maids of Croydon constantly strives hard to offer great customer service and a community friendly approach.

 

“Of course, our goals over the next 12 months are to grow but also to continue to offer an excellent service to our clients especially continuing to develop in certain sectors – working with clients with dementia and  the elderly that wish to stay living at home  .” Finished Debbie

“As the Brand Manager for Merry Maids it is one of the great privileges of my role to reward businesses that have achieved great things in the past year.

“Life is tough in business these days and most business owners, have their head down and get on with the job in hand, so when they can see the rewards for their efforts, it not only keeps them motivated to continue on that trajectory, it also inspires and motivates other owners to aspire to the same level. Debbie is a prime example of sheer hard work and determination to

“I would like to say huge congratulations to all the award winners, they are all well deserved.” Finished Merry Maids brand manager, Catriona Berry

A Sutton Coldfield based cleaning company is celebrating after picking up a prestigious award for their staff members.

Merry Maids of Sutton Coldfield employee, Mandy Edwards picked up the Highly Commended for Employee of the Year Award at the national conference for ServiceMaster limited held in June of this year.

Merry Maids of Sutton Coldfield offers premier domestic cleaning services throughout Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield, Tamworth and Walsall and has been operating since 1999.

The company, owned by Helen Bielbyand Becky Hewitt, is a franchise of ServiceMaster Limited and has been in Helens family since 1999. In 2011 Helen’s parents retired and she took over, along with colleague Becky.

Along with picking up the award for Highly Commended for Employee of the Year, the business has also had notable steady growth throughout the previous 12 months.

When asked why Mandy deserved to win the award, Helen said: “Mandy has been working with us for just over 5 years. During this time, she has progressed from Maid to Captain and now into her current position. The unique way that we run our business means the majority of day to day work falls to her. “

“Mandy works tirelessly to promote our business. She manages the teams’ activities and consistently hits her targets for winning new jobs. This has significantly contributed to the growth of the business in the past year, which has been the most challenging period in the 8 years since Becky and I took over the business. Continued Helen

“She is truly mine and Becky’s ‘right hand man’ and the business, staff and ourselves would struggle without her. “Finished Helen

Picking up these awards are no easy task, and ServiceMaster do all they can to recognise the hard work and dedication of each franchisee. The aim of the awards is not only to recognise the work that goes into franchising, but also recognise when a business has done something truly outstanding.

The conference was held in Leicester and consisted of networking events, presentations and talks, with the awards finishing the day off.

 

Managing Director of ServiceMaster, Alan Lewin said: “It was great to see so many of our franchise community and suppliers gathered together to engage in the Summer Summit event. I am always appreciative of the commitment that our franchisees and suppliers make in taking a day out of their business to invest time with peers, colleagues & the franchise support team at ServiceMaster.”

Recognising some of the less obvious, but nonetheless culturally vital parts of franchising is imperative to ServiceMaster and the Summer Summit conference allowed this to happen.

Awards were given for not only growth, but also to those that have given back to their community, or employees of franchisees that have demonstrated their commitment to the brand attributes engaging in initiatives and actions with colleagues and customers well beyond their job description, very often in their own time at their own expense.

“Running a domestic cleaning business has many aspects, dealing with customers wants and needs, employee issues (specifically recruiting suitable people), marketing in a new digital world and everything in-between! It’s a 24-hour job but rewarding providing you put the resource and effort in. Said Helen

“Over the next 12 months we would like to increase our growth by increasing our customer base and continue to be a great place to work. We are also continuing our charity work, which we like to put back into the community.

Our chosen charity is Pathway in Lichfield which supports victims of domestic abuse. We have already donated a Premier Clean service to be auctioned in September to raise money for such a worthwhile cause.” Finished Helen

A Fylde & Preston based cleaning company is celebrating after collecting two prestigious business awards.

Merry Maids of Fylde, Blackpool & Preston scooped the North Star Growth Award, as well as office manager, Jane Lord, picking up Employee of the Year 2018 at the national conference for ServiceMaster limited held in June of this year.

Merry Maids of Fylde, Blackpool & Preston have been successfully cleaning homes in the area since 2002.  The business is owned and managed by husband and wife team, Steve & Nicky Morris.  The company currently employs a total of 29 people.

Nicky commented: “We are delighted that Jane’s valuable contribution to our business has been recognised across the Merry Maid network in the UK by the Employee of the Year award. Jane has been our Office Manager for over 6 years and is the first point of contact for new customers as well as existing customers. She is calm, professional and friendly which gives the right impression of our business.  Jane is also totally reliable and we can trust her to run things in our absence.  This is vital for small business owners to have someone they can rely on to take responsibility when required.”

Having traded for over 16 years now, the business has high aspirations for the next 12-months and hopes to increase their growth rate again. Earlier this year they expanded by purchasing and moving into their new unit on the Enterprise Zone at Blackpool Airport.

Nicky added “We would like to take this opportunity to thank our hardworking and conscientious staff for their help in growing the business.”

Picking up these awards is no easy task, and ServiceMaster do all they can to recognise the hard work and dedication of each franchisee. The aim of the awards is not only to recognise the work that goes into franchising, but also to recognise when a business has done something truly outstanding.

The conference was held in Leicester and consisted of networking events, presentations and talks, with the awards finishing the day off.

Managing Director of ServiceMaster, Alan Lewin said: “It was great to see so many of our franchise community and suppliers gathered together to engage in the Summer Summit event. I am always appreciative of the commitment that our franchisees and suppliers make in taking a day out of their business to invest time with peers, colleagues & the franchise support team at ServiceMaster.”

Fresh start for Merry Maids of Wakefield & South Leeds

A former banker has entered the world of domestic cleaning in Wakefield and South Leeds and has vowed to exceed customer expectations in her new venture.

Gina Glendinning of Wakefield, is the new owner of Merry Maids of Wakefield and South Leeds, which is a franchise of ServiceMaster, after leaving a 30-year corporate banking career with HSBC. Merry Maids has been trading across Wakefield and South Leeds for nearly 20 years but was founded in the US in 1979.

Mrs Glendinning, director, Merry Maids of Wakefield and South Leeds said: “I knew that when I left the world of corporate banking I wanted to run my own business and the Merry Maids opportunity looked too good to be true. There is already a fantastic business with some incredibly hard-working staff and I’m all about the customer service, which is where I plan to add some real value.

“The Merry Maids brand name already holds a fantastic reputation both locally and nationally and I am hoping my small business will soon become a big business and a fantastic place to work.”

There are currently around 70 local Merry Maids businesses in the UK and over 600 across the US, Canada and Japan.

Merry Maids brand operations manager, Catriona Berry added: “Gina’s experience and desire to succeed will stand her in great stead to build a fantastic business. We’re excited to witness the expected growth of Merry Maids of Wakefield and South Leeds in the near future.”

Merry Maids offers weekly, bi-weekly, four-weekly or one-off spring cleans to residents. For job opportunities with Merry Maids of Stratford, visit merrymaids.co.uk/wakefield 

New jobs in Guildford as cleaning company launches

An entrepreneur has relocated from Greece to Guildford to launch a domestic cleaning franchise and is recruiting for staff to join the new business.

Efi Mandaliou, left her management career in Greece to start Merry Maids of Guildford, one of the UK’s leading franchised cleaning companies. The business is already cleaning for 32 regular customers and is already advertising for new staff within the town.

Efi said: “My aim is to grow a local, sustainable business for my family’s future and at the same time, recruit local staff to serve local people. I’m excited about this opportunity and building a reputation in the town for reliable, quality cleaning services.”

Merry Maids is a franchise of ServiceMaster Ltd, which has been operating in the UK for nearly 60 years. There are currently around 70 local Merry Maids businesses in the UK and over 600 across the US, Canada and Japan.

Merry Maids brand operations manager, Catriona Berry added: “Efi has made a fantastic start to her business journey and there are some really exciting things to come for Guildford. We wish her all the best.”

Merry Maids offers weekly, bi-weekly, four-weekly or one-off spring cleans to residents. For job opportunities with Merry Maids of Stratford, visit merrymaids.co.uk/guildford