Heather’s Home Works earns second national certification in state

Date Published: 
January 24, 2014

For its employees, Heather’s Home Works is more than just cleaning. But they still aim to improve themselves and the company, most recently by earning the House Cleaning Technician certification.

Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Logan Bouges, Heather Bouges and Lisa Griffith pose for a photograph with their new national certifications.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Logan Bouges, Heather Bouges and Lisa Griffith pose for a photograph with their new national certifications.Heather Bouges, Logan Bouges and Lisa Griffith earned the national certification in November of 2013, making them only the second Delaware company to boast such an accomplishment, after a Wilmington businesses.

While a Las Vegas convention might seem like a dream training destination for the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International, “We were like running from class to class, trying to catch everything we wanted,” Heather Bouges said.

When she first opened Heather’s Home Works in 2003, Bouges used cleaning methods learned from her own mother, then improved upon them by trial and error.

“It’s our 10-year anniversary. We should be a certified company and take it to the next step,” Bouges said of the decision to pursue the certification. “It’s a serious job, taking care of a house.” That’s especially true, she said, when people move to multi-million-dollar beach homes with Brazilian cherry hardwood floors.

“We want to show people we are serious. We won’t go in and destroy the granite countertop you paid thousands for,” Griffith said.

Bouges said even the installers sometimes don’t know the best way to keep up home fixtures. Heather’s Home Works comes to the rescue from Lewes to Fenwick, Millsboro to Selbyville and everywhere in between.

If the cleaning teams see a problem, they’ll speak up, often educating clients on the best way to clean granite (hint: it’s not dish detergent) or the importance of rugs over new carpet.

The crew learned good business skills, such as employee motivation and insurance, in addition to tricks of the trade (a high-quality microfiber towel can be just as effective as traditional chemicals).

They all scored 94 percent or higher on the final test, which contained an estimated 160 questions, including the chemistry and acidity of cleaning produces.

The women will share this new knowledge with their Delaware coworkers. Heather’s Home Works staff meets biweekly for training, so everyone stays engaged and challenged.

“It helps them be critical-thinkers,” Bouges said. “Without us, they can make informed decisions in the field.”

That helps the employees (10 year-round, plus eight more in summer) work as a team and bond.

“I feel like we’ve created an environment where people want to stay,” Bouges said.

All the work is done by employees based out of the Dagsboro office, not subcontractors.

“I like who I work with. I like coming to work,” said Griffith. “I like cleaning. It’s instant gratification. ‘Look how beautiful I made this room.’”

“I really like the clients,” Bouges said. That can mean chatting with them about vacations or grandchildren. When summer clients return, she said, “It’s like old home week.”

“It’s not just about cleaning. It’s about getting to know [people],” agreed Griffith, who also does quality assurance checks at houses.

Recently named office manager, Logan Bouges added, “I can build a future in this company, not just clean houses the rest of my life.”

Primarily serving residential customers, Heather’s Home Works grew its commercial clientele by two-thirds last year, with community clubhouses, professional offices and similar spaces.

Working toward their goal of “Growing through Service,” the business aims to provide even better quality while supporting the community themselves. They do programs such as Adopt-A-Family and shoeboxes for seniors (at Christmas) or Cleaning for a Reason, in which they provide free service to women with breast cancer.

And Heather’s Home Works is always taking new clients.

“A lot of people never had a cleaner before and don’t know what to expect. We’re friendly, well-spoken, happy to come out and see if it’s a good fit,” said Heather Bouges. “You don’t have to get locked into anything.”

Some people just need a few hours of help, or maybe they have bad knees and just need help with the floors or bathroom.

More information on Heather’s Home Works is available at www.heathershomeworks.com and by calling (302) 249-7660.