How one cleaning business gained clarity into staff's productivity — and saved money doing it
At a glance
- Saved 10 hours a week after switching to Deputy
- Save £400 a month just on payroll
- Reduced admin time on payroll from 2 days to half a day
Sarah Aoki set up [Perfect Cleaning Solutions](https://pcslivingston.co.uk/) with her business partner Alan Konopka in 2011 while she was still at university. “We thought about what business has a low entry barrier. We came up with cleaning! We’ll just buy a hoover,” she jokes. Since 2016, both Sarah and Alan have been working at PCS full-time, and their business has been growing steadily in a competitive market, mainly through word of mouth recommendations. But with big ambitions and multiple managers and staff working in several sites across Edinburgh and the West Lothian area, making sure everyone knows where they’re meant to be and when they’re meant to be there can be a challenge. Early on in the life of the business, Sarah decided to invest in systems that allowed her to have a hands-off management style. “We wanted to be able to remove ourselves and have the business run itself,” she explains.
Improving their employee's financial wellbeing was also a top priority.
“We’re always thinking about how to make life better for our employees and to create a better workplace for our cleaning staff.”
"What business has a low entry barrier? Cleaning! We’ll just buy a hoover."
When Sarah and Alan started PCS, they used paper diaries to schedule cleanings. “But then we started hiring,” explains Sarah. “Once we reached five employees, paper didn’t work anymore.” As they started to grow, PCS moved to Excel, but that didn’t work well either. In fact, Sarah used to spend hours creating schedules in Excel and sending them round to all her staff. “It was hard to amend any mistakes in the schedules, it took a long time, and there was a big delay in letting staff know about any changes.” That’s when Sarah started seriously looking for a better solution. In 2017, PCS made the move to Deputy — and they haven’t looked back since.
"If we made any mistakes in the schedules, they were hard to amend."
Moving to Deputy has saved Sarah 10 hours a week, allowing her to focus on growing the business. Previously, she would have to manually check payroll and physically ensure that staff are on site at their cleaning appointments. “We used to take around two full days to sort all the hours for payroll and to calculate hours,” says Sarah. “Now it takes only half a day to approve shifts, export it, and send it to the payroll department. That’s a quarter of the time!” Now, much of the day-to-day running of the business — from scheduling to holiday management to approving timesheets— is done directly from the Deputy app. And Sarah’s staff also use the Deputy app. Through that app, they can clock in and out, which gives Sarah clarity on where her staff is at any time.
“Before Deputy, I didn’t know if people were on site. I had no way of proving to our clients that we had been there,” says Sarah. “But now, I don’t need to micromanage everybody. I know whether people are there or not just by opening up the Deputy app. It shows me the exact location they clocked in and out at.” The added bonus is that Deputy keeps her staff happy. “We’re in an industry that naturally has high staff turnovers,” says Sarah. “However, since we started using Deputy, we probably have increased our retention rate to around 40%.”
And now that Sarah is spending less time and stress managing her people, she can focus on growing the business. She’s been using this extra time to put her design and marketing skills to good work, building her brand to make sure that PCS stands out against its competitors.
Improving Employee Wellbeing
In 2022, Sarah realised that her staff were increasingly concerned about their finances, and coming to her for help.
Once again, Sarah was able to rely on Deputy to provide the answer. Deputy offers a fully integrated solution with Wagestream, the financial wellbeing app. With Wagestream, employees can track their wages in real-time, access their pay as they earn it, and take advantage of various financial support tools, including a benefits checker.
“I’m in a privileged position to be able to provide my staff with things that will improve their lives, and adopting Wagestream was a huge part of this. Everyone loves it in the company.”
Sarah has been relieved by the support, and takes comfort in the fact that her employees now have the tools to help them navigate a challenging financial environment
"I don’t need to micromanage everybody. I know whether people are there or not just by opening up the Deputy app. It shows me the exact location they clocked in and out at."