Thank you for your support

Thank you for choosing ProperHands for your home and office cleaning needs.

Unfortunately, we will be shutting down the service soon. While we love our customers, cleaners, and the work we do, we could not meet the internal goals we set for ourselves, and as a result will no longer be able to continue the business.

ProperHands will stop taking new jobs from 1 June 2017 but continue to fulfill existing and paid for jobs until 15 June 2017. Any paid for unfulfilled jobs that fall after 15 June 2017 will be refunded in full to our customers.

We truly appreciate your support and apologise for any inconvenience.

If you have questions, you can get in touch with us at support@properhands.com

Cleaner Interview: Lim Bee Yen

This series of posts focus on ProperHand’s unsung heroes, the cleaners. These interviews allow us to share a little about the lives of the hardworking people who lovingly take care of our homes.

Most Singaporeans aspire to achieve work-life balance to pursue individual hobbies or spend quality time with family. However, this dream seems to drift further away with increasing demands from our workplace. ProperHands turns to Mdm Lim to shed insights on how she juggles both ProperHands’ assignments and her personal interest.

Tell us more about yourself? How is your schedule like?

I’ve been managing a seafood restaurant at Clarke Quay for most parts of my life. It wasn’t until few years ago when we decided to end the business because my children would like to pursue their own career goals. Life back then was extremely busy! We have to procure and prepare the ingredients early in the day and work stretches all the way past midnight. Now, I am taking up regular assignments from ProperHands while joining enrichment courses such as make-up and cooking classes. I also make sure to exercise every morning to keep myself fit and healthy!

Wow! Two enrichment classes on top of daily exercise regime?! How did you manage to fit in all that?

The flexibility of ProperHands assignments help a lot in this. With a quick call or few clicks of the button, both customers and cleaners are able to reschedule cleaning sessions easily. For example, I’ve encountered customers who have to reschedule our regular sessions due to other commitments such as family trips or wedding dinners. Through a phone call to ProperHands or amendments on their ProperHands account, I’ll receive notification for rescheduling and if I am unable to make it, ProperHands will help me to find a replacement for the session. Thanks to this flexibility, I am able to select assignments that does not clash with my existing commitments so I can both work and pursue my interest at
the same time!

That’s great to hear! How do you find the assignments so far then?

I think this platform is a great avenue for making new friends actually. Surprisingly, my relationship with all customers from ProperHands are more like friends rather than typical employer-employee relationship. Every time I went to their apartments for regular cleaning, we will have small talks about our lives and I’m really grateful when some of them offered me beverages and snacks. Through the small talks I am also able to know more about them and their cleaning needs. This will inform me on which areas to prioritize during every session.

A special thanks to Mdm Lim Bee Yen for agreeing to this interview. At ProperHands, we strive to be a simple, affordable, and convenient way to keep your home clean. Through our fuss free rescheduling system, we have saw how Mdm Lim’s customers have benefited from the flexibility to make time for the things that matter to them. If you are someone who values this flexibility greatly, sign up now at www.properhands.com
today!

Getting the Most Out of ProperHands (for New Customers)

Thinking of booking a cleaning session with us? Here are some suggestions and tips based on our experience to help you with your decision-making process as well as getting the most out of your booking!

Keeping an Open Mind

Engaging a new cleaner can be scary. You are basically inviting a stranger into your home for the first time, and literally display all your mess to him/her. Trust us, it can be as terrifying for the cleaner as well. Because of that, both home owners and cleaners tend to be cautious and wary when meeting for the first time. We hope that everyone can be as open-minded as possible and give it some time for the both of you to get used to each other, and for the cleaner to get used to your home. That is how we advise our cleaners as well when they are slightly apprehensive when faced with uncertainty.

Especially if you have hired someone to clean your home previously, please do not expect the same kind of behaviour and personality, or even the same style of cleaning as your previous cleaner as they are entirely different people. If you have certain preferences as to cleaning style and order, do communicate that with the cleaner and I’m sure that all the cleaners will try their best to adapt to you. Of course, we’re not asking you to tolerate behaviour that you’re uncomfortable with. If that does happen, do let us know and we’re speak to the cleaner or find someone else more suitable for you.

Allocating Enough Time for Cleaning Tasks

We understand that time is precious and some of you would like the cleaning to be completed as quickly as possible or you might not be willing to pay for more hours and thus have booked the shortest duration possible for your cleaning session. However, this normally doesn’t give cleaners enough time to complete the cleaning tasks, thus leaving customers with a bitter taste with a half-completed cleaning.

That is the reason why we have recommended hours for homes of a certain size. Typically it takes a cleaner an hour to vacuum and mop a 3-bedroom (4 or 5-rm HDB) home. Bathrooms take around 30-45 min each and the kitchen usually occupies 1 hour. If you’re looking at ironing, a rough average would be around 10 pieces of clothing ironed per hour. We’re not saying that all cleaners will clean at the same exact speed nor this applies to homes with different levels of cleanliness. That is why usually for the first two cleaning sessions, it might take longer than expected to complete all the cleaning tasks.

If you’re clear about the exact tasks and the standard time it needs for cleaning, please feel free to adjust the duration. If you’re not, we would advise you to book with our recommended duration and if there’s a need to, we can always adjust the duration after the first few sessions once you are used to the cleaner and the cleaner is used to your home and preferences.

Using the Right Tools for the Right Jobs

We’ve written about using the right tools for window cleaning to ensure safety for our cleaners. This also directly affects how clean the windows have been cleaned and how fast the task is completed. That is the reason why we also request that home owners provide the right tools for the right jobs. A good example is using a vacuum cleaner vs a broom. It is common knowledge that a vacuum cleaner is a much more comprehensive cleaning tool than a broom, therefore your expectations have to be lowered if you are only providing a broom for the cleaner. Another example is using a mop vs a cloth to wipe the floors. We have encountered families where the floors have always been wiped clean using a cloth, and although that can definitely done, the cleaner would have to spend more time and physical effort to get it cleaned. In the long term, some cleaners might not be willing to use this method for long as it puts extra strains on their backs and legs, thus choosing to quit the job. Providing the right tools and cleaning agents is important to ensure that the cleaner is able to do the cleaning in an efficient and effective way.

Booking for A Service on the ProperHands Website

If you’re still not familiar with our booking process, our website allows you to simply sign up and book for a cleaning in just 3 simple steps when you click the Book a Cleaning button:

  1. Sign up with your contact details and address
  2. Choose your service frequency (one-time or recurring), appointment timing and cleaning duration/tasks.
  3. Make payment by entering your credit card.

All these can be done within 5 minutes. Our system makes it easy and convenient for you to make payment so you don’t have to send cash manually every time a cleaning is done as well as this is handled automatically. We are currently Braintree as a payment gateway since our new website was relaunched in September 2016 and this is the same gateway that companies like Uber uses to store your credit card details. All your credit card information is stored in the Braintree Vault and not with us, therefore we do not have any access to your credit card information. Our new website also allows you to re-schedule or cancel your cleaning sessions without the need to contact us directly. This request will be sent directly to the cleaners for them to respond.

Conclusion

When you engage a cleaner, you are effectively building a new relationship. For a relationship to bloom, it’ll have to be nurtured with care and concern. This is similar with working with cleaners. We hope that the cleaners are given the respect that they deserve as they are human beings like you and me. To make it work, both you and the cleaner have to put in effort to make it work, and that includes proper communication and understanding. This builds trust and is the foundation for a long and lasting relationship. Many of our customer-cleaner relationships has been blossoming due to the right amount of effort being put in and that has definitely created happiness and satisfaction for everyone.

Cleaner Interview: Choo Hoay Si

This series of posts focus on ProperHand’s unsung heroes, the cleaners. These interviews allow us to share a little about the lives of the hardworking people who lovingly take care of our homes.

Tell us a little about yourself.

hoay-si-article-photoMy life and hobbies are quite simple and boring actually (laughs). My current life revolves around accompanying my husband to supervise his food business, doing assignments with Properhands, and handling housework at home. During my free time, I usually watch Korean dramas using my smartphone or do household chores at home. For some reason, I love to do cleaning a lot as I find satisfaction in seeing things at home being sparkling clean!

What made you want to join ProperHands as a cleaner?

I’ve mainly worked in the hospitality industry in the past after obtaining my diploma in hospitality management back home. After I got married, I’ve switch into something less time demanding such as admin to balance both work and family obligations.  In the recent years, I’ve tried something new by starting my own florist business as one of my interest is in floral arrangement. However, due to irregular working hours and due to orders peaking at certain periods of the year, I’ve decided to fold the business to take a break while looking for something new. That is when I saw ProperHands recruitment on some online job portal and decided to go for it!

Cleaning as a hobby? That’s interesting. Could you elaborate more?

Well, my husband is an avid collector of statues so my home is full of those at home, big and small. If I don’t clean them regularly, dust and dirt can easy accumulate on them and no one wants to see that! To prevent this, I clean them almost every day and while I’m on it, I thought I could also do other housework too. Thus, I always see my home in tip top clean condition. Perhaps seeing those statues in perfect condition made me feel a sense of accomplishment which leads to my interest in cleaning. My husband, on the other hand, thinks that I’m cleaning our home too frequently and that disturbs him a little (laughs). Therefore, in order to please him by not cleaning our home so frequently, I’ve joined ProperHands to clean other homes to pursue this hobby instead while also earn some extra cash!

I see. How do you find with working with ProperHands so far?

I find it great! Aside from doing what I love to do, I find the time flexibility aspect of the job a big plus point for me. I’ll get to choose which day I am available for assignments and ProperHands will contact me if there’s any suitable jobs that is convenient for me. This allows me to manage my commitment with family and friends better as I can freely adjust my schedule with ProperHands.  Aside from time flexibility, I find the non-repetitive nature of the job highly attractive. As I get to clean different homes on different days of the week, it feels more interesting compared to my old office jobs.

 

The Window Cleaning Dilemma (Part 2)

Previously we talked about the dangers of high rise window cleaning in Singapore and the steps that MOM has taken to protect the foreign domestic workers when performing this task. We’ve also mentioned that we expect our customers and cleaners to observe the same safety precautions while cleaning the exterior windows.

However, because of safety reasons, not all of our cleaners might be willing to clean the exterior windows. Or you might not have allocated sufficient timing for the cleaners to clean the windows as it’s a very time consuming task and you require him/her to finish up other more important cleaning tasks like ironing. Is there an alternative way to get your windows cleaned?

Because of technology, automatic window robotic cleaners have started appearing in the market a few years ago and have been a welcomed addition to robotic vacuum cleaners. There are several robots available for purchase in Singapore and some function differently than others.

Hobot 188

The Hobot 188 window cleaning robot uses 2 alternating suction pads to traverse the surface of your window pane, with 1 suction pad activated while the robot swivels around to clean the glass using the attached micro fibre cloth and to position the other suction pad in place for the subsequent repeating action to follow. There is also a vacuum which sucks out any dust on the surface. This model comes with the fully automated feature as well as a remote control for you to clean more specific parts of your window.

Evovacs Winbot 950

The Evovacs Winbot 950 is the highest end model in the Winbot range of robotic window cleaners. This is also known for its range of robotic floor vacuum cleaners, the Deebot. The Winbot 950 also utilizes a suction cup to adhere to the glass and moves in a straight line, turning 90 degrees when it hits and detects the window frame or even the edge of a frameless glass. Similar to the Hobot, the Winbot also has a remote control function which allows you to control the movement of the robot cleaner.

MyWindoro

The final robotic window cleaner we’re introducing here is MyWindoro. Using a different method to keep the machine on the glass, MyWindoro uses magnets to keep the 2 parts of the unit together and moves in a zig-zag pattern to clean the glass pane. Now you might think that this is a smart way to clean both sides of the glass at the same time. On the contrary, each part has a different function, one acting as the navigator while the other side does the cleaning, carrying the spinning pads as well as the detergent.

These robots represent a new era in home cleaning and automation. With their invention, it does seem that our lives have become simpler and safer. That being said, there are definitely ways which these robots can improve on such as better battery life, lowering the noise output and also reducing the size of these robots.

To purchase these robots, you can find them and other similar products online at e-commerce sites like Lazada. If you’re looking at a live demonstration of some of these robots, check out the electronics superstores or some of the local DIY stores such as SelfFix DIY.

The Window Cleaning Dilemma (Part 1)

Since we’ve started connecting customers and cleaners back in January 2015, we have received quite a lot of questions pertaining to the task of window cleaning. In Singapore, this issue is especially relevant to us as the majority of residents live in high rise buildings and therefore, there’s always the danger of falling whilst cleaning the exterior window panes.

It was reported in 2012 that there were 10 cases of foreign domestic workers who fell to their death while cleaning windows. This led to action by MOM, implementing a law which requires that all foreign domestic workers to have an adult present to supervise them while they were cleaning the exterior window panes, especially if the window grills are unlocked and open. Because of this move, the number of deaths fell to one in each of the 2 years since then.

At ProperHands, we expect the our cleaners to follow similar safety requirements. We strictly do not allow them to lean out of the windows to clean the exterior window panes. So how then should they do their job? We advise all our customers to have an extendable window wiper available so that the cleaner can simply reach out to clean even with the window grills safely locked.

These window wipers can typically be purchased at many local stores selling housewares and home cleaning tools or at your nearest supermarkets. For those seeking a slightly higher quality and multipurpose wiper, 3M has a 3-in-1 multipurpose wiper which allows you to Foam, Scrub and Wipe all window and glass surfaces. Although it can be slightly more expensive than a normal wiper, it enables you to clean the windows in an enjoyable and effortless manner.

No matter which tool you get, this will definitely ensure that the cleaners are kept safe while they keep your home clean!

Cleaner Interview: Mdm Tay Bung Chu

This series of posts focus on ProperHand’s unsung heroes, the cleaners. These interviews allow us to share a little about the lives of the hardworking people who lovingly take care of our homes.

tay-bung-chu-article-profile

Tell us a little about yourself.

Currently I’m a grandmother of one and also doing freelance cleaning for households.  I’ve always been an avid learner. Earlier this year, I’ve used up government subsidies to take up English lessons to improve my language proficiency. This has helped me to communicate better with my customers during the cleaning sessions so that I can identify their needs.

Back in the days, I’ve always liked to “jio” my sisters for shopping spree or hanging around wet markets together. With the birth of my granddaughter few years back,  however, such activities are a thing of the past (Laughs).  Nowadays, I’ve been occupied with both babysitting my granddaughter and ProperHands assignments.  Occasionally, I do meet up with ex-colleagues and friends to catch up and keep updated on each others lives. I also like traveling a lot! I’ll make it a point of going for an overseas trip at least once a year with my sisters so that we can take the opportunity to catch up.

What made you want to join ProperHands as a cleaner?

After having a few months break because my previous employers ended their operations in Singapore, I’ve gotten bored at home as I only have to take care of my granddaughter in the late afternoons. Furthermore, there’s no one else at home because my husband is still working. In an attempt to find myself something to occupy my time, I’ve tried checking with the local community centre first for culinary or flower arrangement courses but the fees were too expensive! During that period, I saw a ProperHands recruitment advertisement in the newspaper by chance when I was checking the weekly supermarket promotions. As the advertisement stated that ProperHands was looking for flexible timing home cleaners, I thought it would be suitable for me as I still have to take care of my granddaughter.

What do you think about the freelance industry?

Initially I thought ProperHands was just offering a part-time job where I have to commit a fixed amount of hours each day and do assignments for 5-6 days a week. However, during the briefing at ProperHands’ office, the executive explained that it is even more flexible than that! We get to choose the days and the respective timings that we are available and ProperHands will try to match customers whose request falls into our schedule. Additionally, ProperHands also tries to help us find customers close to our homes so transportation is not a big concern.

I feel that this freelance arrangement is very good for housewives like me. For instance, sometimes when I have an impromptu event on a day when I have assignments, I have the flexibility to ask the customer for an alternative job timing. This flexibility is rarely seen in traditional part-time jobs as the manager will usually ask you to take urgent leave on the day when such scenario happens. If alternative arrangements could not be made, ProperHands can also help me by sourcing for a replacement for that session so the customer can still enjoy the cleaning services if I’m unavailable.

We’ve received many great reviews from customers regarding your work, how do you consistently deliver such good results?

For every job I do, I always take the tasks as something I am greatly passionate in.  In the context of home cleaning, I always treat my customers’ home like my own so I set high standards for the cleaning.  To achieve that, I always strive to reach the customer’s home slightly earlier and leave only when all the tasks are done. Although there are times where I’ve stayed longer than required, I feel we (the cleaners) ought to provide our services with the highest standards.

How do you feel about home cleaning assignments now that you’ve been doing it for quite a while?

I feel that one of the perks of the job is definitely interacting with people and improving my conversational skills. In my previous jobs, my social circle was among my ex-colleagues and we were all focused on getting our tasks done with minimal interaction. At ProperHands, we are facing multiple customers from various assignments, there is the opportunity to improve my communication skills as I am exposed to customers from diverse backgrounds.

How to migrate from our old to new site

Here’s a simple to use visual guide for how to migrate from our old site to our new one. If you are a current customer or have signed up with us before, you will need to follow the 3 steps below to get started using our new and improved website.

Step 1

The first step is to login. Visit http://properhands.com/ and click on the red Login button on the top right. A popup window will appear to ask for your mobile number. Login with your mobile number to get a One Time Password. Your old login details are no longer needed here.

step1

Step 2

After logging in, you will need to confirm your booking details. As an existing customer, this page will be automatically pre-filled with details of your existing booking.

step2

Step 3

The last step is to input your credit card details. We no longer use PayPal for payment, this is why we are asking for your credit card again. You can use any credit card you like.

step3

Once you confirm and pay, you’re done!

Important!

Do note that upon migration, only jobs scheduled from 15 October 2016 onward will be displayed. Jobs before 15 October will still be managed in our old site. You can access the old site at http://old.properhands.com.

New and improved ProperHands

properhands_website

Welcome to the new and improved ProperHands! We talked about some of the new features in a blog post earlier this month, and today you can try them out for yourself!

Do visit http://properhands.com and check out some of the new features that are designed to make our services easier, better, and more convenient for you.

Some of our new features include:

  1. No more passwords (real-time OTP)
  2. Self-manage your bookings and changes
  3. No more PayPal, we take credit cards directly!
  4. New wallet system
  5. Track every transaction
  6. Urgent cleaning service

One new feature we didn’t talk about previously is our new Cleaner App. The new mobile app for our cleaners has features such as new job alerts, jobs scheduled, reminders, maps and location assistance, access to historical records and payment. This will make our cleaners more productive and efficient while giving them support they need to do the best job.

screenshot_20160906-171537 screenshot_20160906-171954

Our new website

We are so close to launching our new website and we can’t contain our excitement! In the blog post we want to share with you some of the new features we will be rolling out.

Forget Passwords

Passwords are so yesterday. Most of us register once and make a booking which stays quite consistent until a change needs to be made. And by then a lot of us forget our passwords. So we changed it to a simple system where we send you a One-Time Password to your mobile whenever you need to login. Super simple and stress free.

login

Manage Bookings

When something comes up and you need to change a cleaning session, you can now do it immediately without contacting us.

bookings

No More PayPal

While PayPal was great when we first started, it was a pain especially for those without PayPal accounts. We’ve heard you and so we’ve invested in a system that takes credit cards directly. No PayPal account needed.

credit card

A New Wallet

In order to facilitate easier payments, especially when changes or multiple bookings are made, we’ve implemented a Wallet system where we store credit you have paid for and deduct when needed. This minimizes the amount of transactions you need to approve and we only charge you again when your Wallet has insufficient funds for the upcoming job.

wallet

Full Payment Records

You can now view all transactions in crystal clear detail. Both transactions from your credit card (to fill the wallet) as well as the transactions from the jobs done that draw from the wallet. Everything is as clear as day.

billings

Urgent Cleaning

We now have a new urgent cleaning option. Regular and one-time cleaning needs 5 days lead time for us to find a cleaner, but if you need someone urgently we’ll offer the cleaner more incentive to take on the job within 2 days.

Pricing

New Prices

We’ve adjusted our prices slightly to match the market rate as well as pay the cleaners more for their good work. It’s important to us that we get responsible and experienced cleaners and we’re more than happy to support them with better pay.