Frequently asked questions
How can I be sure your staff are trustworthy?
Staff recruitment is a key issue in the cleaning industry. We understand the level of trust and confidence that our clients put in us when they allow our people to enter their premises. Thus Hillcrest applies the strictest measures when hiring new employees. Our policy goes like this:
i) In any potential employee we look for experience in professional cleaning and for the right attitude and personality in that individual to fit in with our team and to be trustworthy.
ii) We have a 'family and friends' policy meaning that we aim to recruit as far as possible from within the known circle of our existing staff to encourage a sense of mutual responsibility, inter-dependency and teamwork. This provides our first level of security when taking on new employees.
iii) We also carry out a full background check on all potential new employees including passport or ID card, proof of address, NI number and references from previous employers.
Do your staff speak English?
Yes - and this is not the case for many cleaning contractors who use cheap labour and so cannot necessarily insist upon this very basic ability on the part of their cleaning operatives.
In our experience, at the most fundamental level of service it is a major source of irritation for clients not to be able to communicate directly with cleaners in order to leave a note for something to be done or for the cleaner to be unable to report back some kind of urgent issue directly to the client as soon as possible. Also for administrative convenience and a raft of other reasons including health and safety, we always ensure that our cleaners are able to speak and write in English.
Will my cleaners be experienced and are they trained?
We do not hire 'jobbing' individuals or temps. All our staff are professional career cleaners, experienced area supervisors or managers who are fully qualified to do the job for which they have been employed.
In addition we have an ongoing training strategy to ensure that all operatives are up to date with the latest thinking, methods, products and materials in the cleaning industry, and that all cleaners are fully trained in the basic health and safety principles which pertain to their work, as well as Hillcrest's environmental policy and our fire policy.
Will I get the same cleaners every day?
The answer to that is 'yes'. Of course cleaners do go sick or take a holiday sometimes as in any other work situation and so we always have a cleaner or cleaners available to cover any individual's job while he or she is absent. Our cleaners are organised into teams not just to engender a sense of team spirit and mutual support, but also to have a ready team member to cover in those circumstances.
What happens if my cleaners go sick or go on holiday?
Please see above.
Are your staff legally employed?
Yes. As explained above, we only employ individuals who are entitled to work in the UK and we carry out all necessary checks to ensure that this is the case.
Can I be sure your staff are fairly paid?
Yes, you may rest assured on that front. All our staff receive greater than the legal minimum wage and as we work mainly in London, they actually receive at least the London Living Wage which currently stands at £9.15 per hour.
So am I paying more so that your staff can be paid more?
We believe in rewarding our staff fairly for the work they do and in the end it turns out that this benefits everyone as a fairly paid cleaner will be happier in his or her job also work harder and more effectively. We find that many of our clients for ethical reasons share our philosophy in this area.
Having said the above, our prices are definitely very competitive compared with other professional companies at our positioning in the market and our target level of service provision which, put simply, is the goal of providing an excellent service to clients and receiving the minimum of complaints.
What sort of management and supervision can I expect from Hillcrest?
We operate a three-tier management structure with regard to client services and contract supervision. After the basic level of on-site supervision on multi-cleaner contracts we provide:
i) client-facing area supervisors who are 'out and about' delivering cleaning stores to their contracts and regularly visiting their own list of clients;
ii) office-based operations coordinator;
iii) account directors who are always on call and in touch with clients, handling inter-functional communications, liaising between clients, cleaning operations on their accounts and senior management within Hillcrest.
Can I get references from other clients of yours before I go ahead with you?
Yes, we are always delighted to provide references to any new client who makes that request.
What if your cleaners break something or have an accident - are you insured?
We have full employers and public liability insurance which protects our operatives on your premises should they be injured and covers you in the event of any accidental damage or breakage caused by our operatives. Our insurance certificate is available on request.
Do you supply all cleaning products?
Yes, we prefer to supply all the necessary cleaning products and materials to do the job in hand, that way we can ensure 'quality control' in terms of using only the best products available on the market for any given purpose and also to keep control of the environmental and sustainability issues related to cleaning products.
Can I supply my own cleaning products?
Yes you can if you wish, however we would need to evaluate those products to ensure they comply with our COSHH (control of substances harmful to health) regulations.
Do you supply loo rolls, soap, paper towels etc or do we have to buy those separately?
Yes, we are able to supply very competitively all janitorial supplies that you may need.
What time of day do you clean?
We provide our service at whatever time of day or night suits you and your business, but usually out of normal office hours.
Do we have to give you keys?
Most of our clients naturally provide us with keys since we are normally cleaning outside of office hours. As we are fully insured and our staff are fully security vetted this does not usually present an issue and it also gives our cleaners more flexibility with regard to the time they work, which helps them manage their family commitments.
Having said all of that, if you have particular reasons why you cannot hand out keys and you wish us to clean within your working hours, then we would usually accommodate that request.
What period of time am I contracted to when I sign up with Hillcrest?
Our basic contract asks for 12 weeks notice of termination once we have completed a 4- week trial period.
Do you provide a cleaning schedule or do I have to tell you what I want?
The answer to that question is 'yes' and 'yes'. As a professional and experienced commercial cleaning operation of many years standing we usually work to our schedule which covers all the essential cleaning functions at the required frequency and which would form the basis of our work specification for your account. We would also take a full brief from you at the time of our site visit to your offices and our initial meetings where you would be free to detail any particular niche requirements you may have.
What is Hillcrest's policy on the environment?
We believe that each and every one of us has a responsibility to look after the environment for future generations and so we do our part by always aiming to use sustainable and fully biodegradable products and materials. In our particular industry, however, given the essential need sometimes to employ quite harsh and caustic products in certain situations we always have to ensure they are used and disposed of safely and in an environmentally sound manner.
Our full 'environmental policy' document is available on request.
What is your policy on Health and Safety?
We strive to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all our employees while they are at work and of any others who may be affected by the work we do on clients' premises. Also to comply with all the relevant legislation. Please see the appropriate section of this website for more details. We would also be very pleased to provide you with our full 'health and safety' policy which is a substantial document.
Will you be able to handle all of our cleaning requirements?
Yes. We at Hillcrest have the experience and expertise to professionally tackle all of your commercial cleaning needs. Most of the services we offer are fully clear and explained in some detail here on this website. But if there is any other aspect of cleaning which you require and is not mentioned here then please contact us and we will be delighted to explain our approach and very pleased to quote for the work.