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Got a job cleaning hotel rooms. Said I had references and experience. I don't. Help.
November 10, 2012 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Got a job cleaning hotel rooms. Said I had references and experience. I have neither. Help.

I've never lied to get a job before, but finances have deteriorated such that I need cash, now. I'm expected to show up Tuesday, knowing how to clean hotel rooms and with references in hand. Help me not lose this job before I start it.

If you've been a housekeeper, what kind of things are common knowledge? Am I expected to bring my own supplies? How long is cleaning a room supposed to take/what needs to be done?

I don't want my friends or my day job to know things are this desperate, so what do I do about references? I expect they just want to know I'll show up on time and won't steal shit, and I obviously won't. Now what?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I cleaned rooms in a hotel one holiday. I did not need references. I was not expected to bring my own supplies. I already knew how to make a bed and clean a bathroom. I did not know how to do hospital corners. I was taught, once, how to clean a room their way. It was not hard. I was expected to clean rooms pretty quickly. You will be too. It is, however, not rocket surgery.

Re references: find whoever you can who is credible and can vouch for your character. I can't believe they need references to check your experience. You just need a credible, real, live person Or two - preferably at their business address, who the hotel can call.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:46 PM on November 10, 2012


If they don't offer to teach you to clean the rooms their way, just ask. Say, "I want to make sure I'm doing this consistently, the way each one of the other cleaners does it. Would it be alright to observe someone or have someone teach me before I do my own?"
posted by cooker girl at 12:56 PM on November 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


I have a lot of experience working as a hotel housekeeper, so these are my experiences. However, I guess this kind of stuff can vary from hotel to hotel.


Am I expected to bring my own supplies?

No, at least I've never heard of this happening

How long is cleaning a room supposed to take/what needs to be done?

Hotels that I've worked in will normally show you THEIR way of cleaning,as they will probably have specific standards and ways of folding towels etc. You might be working as a pair too, so I guess if you are unsure you can just ask your partner.


If guests have checked out, my routine was this: (Takes around 20-30 minutes)

Put toilet cleaner in toilet bowl, spray bath/shower/sink/shower screen with cleaning product, scrub, then rinse. Dry everything with a cloth so it's shiny. Spray window cleaner on mirrors and taps (faucet), and buff. Put out little shower gels/shampoos etc. Clean floor. Make sure trashcan is clean.

Take out all trash, take off dirty sheets, take away dirty towels. Make bed (they will probably show you this). Clean surfaces (desks, phone, lampshades etc), hoover, clean windows, spray air freshener.

Things supervisors will pick up on - Hairs in bathtub/sink. Taps not shined. Underneath bed not hoovered. Trash hidden in drawers/closets. Streaks on mirrors/windows.

If room is occupied, it should take around 15 minutes. Make bed, change towels, replenish shampoo/soap, hoover if needed, clean bathroom, take out trash. Make sure it looks nice and tidy. If bed was covered in a guest's stuff, I wasn't expected to touch their stuff,so didn't have to make bed.

I think the biggest qualities to have in the job are 1. being really fast, and 2. being kind of OCD about cleanliness. You also need to be quite fit.


I can't really give any advice on references. Hope that was helpful anyway, you can message me for any more questions you might have.
posted by iamsuper at 1:05 PM on November 10, 2012 [21 favorites]


For references, you need to find one or two friends or former colleagues that you can let in on this. If I had a friend from an old job, one where I didn't have too many current connections, I might call them up and say, "Hey, I'm about to start working for some extra cash at X Hotel. It's not at all glamorous but I really need the extra money. Can I list you as a reference, someone who can attest to my congeniality and ability to get things done? I would really appreciate it. And, you know, keep this to yourself." I would do that for any ex-colleague of mine.
posted by amanda at 2:17 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actually some good links like this result from Googling "how to clean hotel rooms." Note: Safe Search is a little challenged by it, but use your judgment.
posted by Miko at 2:53 PM on November 10, 2012


I can't speak for your friends, but I've asked my friends for references for jobs that fall into the "I'm not too proud to do this" category, and I'd do the same for them without hesitation. Times are tough. I like amanda's idea of phrasing it as "extra cash" so as to sound less desperate.

Be sure to do some stretches and such when you get a chance so you don't totally wreck yourself doing this. It's pretty physical work. Good luck!
posted by asperity at 4:09 PM on November 10, 2012


Feel free to email me..i have an idea about your references.
posted by orangemacky at 4:21 PM on November 10, 2012


I have no problem lying about you having cleaned my office and done a fucking fabulous job. Memail me if necessary.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:09 PM on November 10, 2012 [20 favorites]


You've got three days - practice!

One of the main things that differentiates a complete amateur from an experienced person, is muscle memory and the speed with which an experienced person will pick up a new way of doing things. So pick a method of cleaning your house, and do it as many times as you possibly can, getting faster and faster. Their way will probably be different, but at least you'll look like a pro with the vacuum cleaner:)
posted by kjs4 at 6:21 PM on November 10, 2012


Seconding nathancaswell!
I know you wouldn't let me down!

Seriously, the best thing to do in any job is ask a few questions first. Is there a checklist for cleaning? (They should have one!) What are the procedures for reporting damages or theft? Where do you pick up supplies, turn in dirty sheets, etc? Play it by ear, and SMILE. Being agreeable makes all the difference. Don't be afraid to apologize or ask if there's something you've missed or that they do 'differently' from other places. Most likely they'll pair you with someone for at least a half day, but if they don't, ask to speak to one of the most experienced people for some of her 'tips' prior to starting.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:26 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I spent a summer working for a cleaning service, mostly cleaning houses. Got the job because a friend worked there, and I had no experience other than helping my mother clean the house. They told me what they expected, as with any new job, put me with people who had been there for a while, and I picked it up pretty fast.

I'm agreeing with everyone else that they will tell you what they expect, both for cleaning and for things like how to fold towels, and how to arrange the pillows on the bed, and if they want you to do things like fold the end of the toilet paper into a point. They may well have a formal written checklist, and it's helpful if they do, but you can also make your own till you get it down pat. They will provide the supplies, and for a big hotel you will have a cart (find out where the supplies are located to restock). You will need to work fast but also make sure things look clean, particularly the bathroom. This advice is spot on: Things supervisors will pick up on - Hairs in bathtub/sink. Taps not shined. Underneath bed not hoovered. Trash hidden in drawers/closets. Streaks on mirrors/windows.

Don't forget when cleaning after someone has checked out, to check for things like burned out lightbulbs, anything missing (tv remote, for example), anything broken or needing repair (and you should ask who and how to report that to), and also ask who to turn things in to if you find something in the room that a guest has accidentally left behind.

Window cleaner/windex is your friend. Give everything the once over after you are done cleaning, and if something in the bathroom (faucets, sink bowl, or whatever) looks cloudy, streaky, or does not look shiny enough, spritz it with windex and wipe off/shine it up.

iamsuper has given you the template for how to clean a room. Remember that most hotel rooms are not super big, nor is there a lot actually to clean. It does not hurt to know how to do hospital corners, but you only need to do that for the top sheet, since the bottom will be a fitted sheet anyway.

This is also good advice: Be sure to do some stretches and such when you get a chance so you don't totally wreck yourself doing this. Be careful of your knees if you have to kneel, and watch your hands with the cleaning chemicals. I wore rubber gloves but my hands would sweat in them and that also irritated my hands almost as much as the cleaning products did. Wearing a pair of thin cotton gloves inside the rubber ones helped a lot with that.
posted by gudrun at 8:51 PM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


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