Cleaners in high demand in COVID-19 pandemic

By Daneka Hill

THREE different cleaning services have given three very different answers when asked about their experiences during the COVID-19 crisis.

A1 Cleaning, GV Platinum Cleaning, and Kelly’s Cleaning Service all operate in the Echuca and greater Goulburn Valley area.

GV Platinum Cleaning reported having to increase staff hours to meet new demand while A1 Cleaning said there had been no noticeable jump in business.

By far Kelly’s Cleaning Service has experienced the biggest change in workload — to the point where the business is crying out for new staff.

Kelly’s Cleaning Service manager Jacqui Becker said government offices and schools were behind the work increase after their cleaning schedules were ramped up to twice a day.

“There definitely has been a boom, and it’s not stopping,” Ms Becker said.

“We are getting steady work. Normally we’d get three inquiries a week but now we’re averaging seven.”

Kelly’s Cleaning Service is a commercial cleaning specialist and also performs medical cleaning, but Ms Becker said the rates of medical cleaning had not increased in the same way.

Kelly’s Cleaning Service is normally staffed by a team of 28, but that number has risen to 34.

Ms Becker said it was getting harder and harder to employ workers with previous cleaning experience who are willing to work casual and part-time schedules.

“The main problem getting staff is that people are doing better out of JobSeeker. They’ve actually said that,” she said.

“We go through an employment agency and one agency guy said he’s got 1200 people just sitting there not wanting to give up JobSeeker.

“JobSeeker definitely is a big problem for us, as is the unknown nature of COVID-19, because we don’t know how long this is going to go on for.”

Based in Shepparton, GV Platinum Cleaning's owner Rabi Sambasivam said his business hadn’t been “that much affected” by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It has been on and off because offices and businesses have shut down and closed up while others need more cleaning,” Mr Sambasivam said.

“Some of my staff needed increased hours anyway so we haven’t had to hire any more staff.”

A1 Cleaning attributed its lack of similar demand to the fact it has a set number of clients.

A1 Cleaning is also more focused on Echuca whereas Kelly’s Cleaning Service includes large regional centres like Wangaratta, Shepparton and Bendigo.