What do you do when a client hits on you? If he is in your personal space or tries to attack you do you stay and clean or go? If you are cleaning and he hits on you do you still get paid if you use pepper spray and leave?
We Ask a House Cleaner about the client who hits on you, boundaries, and no dating clients.
Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru says when you mix pleasure with business you change the tone of the job.
Today’s sponsors are HouseCleaning360 (List your maid service and find clients.) Savvy Perks (A bonus program to show your employees you care.) Savvy Cleaner (house cleaner training.) And My Cleaning Connection (The place to find gifts for your favorite house cleaners.)
Listen: What to Do When Your Client Hits on You
Watch: What to Do When Your Client Hits on You
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.
Question: What to Do When Your Client Hits on You
How are we supposed to handle a customer hitting on us? And what do we do if the customer continues to hit on us? And wants to invite us out on a date? How are we supposed to handle that? Also, how do we tell our employees to handle clients hitting on them? Thank you.
Build Rapport and Set Boundaries with Customers
All right. It comes down to boundaries you set with your customers. You set the rules that keep a customer from hitting on you.
When you do your initial walk through with a customer, and you are explaining your rules and your procedures, that’s a good time to explain that.
Your walkthrough is a time to build rapport. During this conversation, you explain your working relationship is professional, not personal. And you let them know when you arrive to clean you will be working, not chatting and hanging out.
During that conversation, if there is any chemistry between you and your customer – you can nip that now.
Build Rapport and Set Boundaries with Employees
The same rules apply to the employees you hire. During your interview, you’ll set boundaries and guidelines about how you run your business. Your employees will take their cues from you about how to behave and respond to customers.
And if you run into challenges with employees playing outside the boundaries – you’ll have to set new rules. But it’s difficult to enforce rules that don’t exist. So, set them early and up front.
What to Do When a Customer Hits on You
Now, while at a customer’s house if they start hitting on you, you can say, try a light-hearted approach. “You know, I don’t mix pleasure with business,” and you can make a joke about it. And they go, “Hey, will you go on a date with me?” “Not going to happen. Can’t mix business with pleasure.”
Usually, they will get the hint.
Most of the time they will get the hint and that is all you need to do.
If they persist you may need to change your tone.
“Hey, listen. This is making me uncomfortable. I’m just here to clean your house. I love the fact that you’re open to having me as a romantic interest, but I’m married.” Or, “I’m not interested.” Or, “I’m seeing someone else,” or, “I don’t mix business with pleasure. It’s inappropriate. So, thank you so much but no.”
Be Polite but Be Firm
Don’t be cruel, and don’t embarrass the other person. And don’t shame them for thinking you’re cool enough to hang out with. You don’t want to lose the client. You just want to get your message across. If you and the customer are not a good fit – you need to say that. But if you can save the working relationship – by all means, do.
I had a guy one time give me a dozen roses, and they were beautiful, but it was inappropriate under the circumstances. (His wife is the woman who hired me.) And I said, “Oh my goodness. Thank you so much. This is lovely. And I appreciate the gesture, but I’m going to leave them here at your house. This way you can enjoy them. And I’m going to enjoy and appreciate for the rest of my life the kindness that you gave these to me.”
It sent a clear message that whatever the intention,” I’m just here to clean.”
What to Do if a Customer Attacks You
All right, the next step of action is pepper spray. Carry some with you in your apron or cargo pockets. And if a customer physically comes on to you – use your words first.
“Hey, back off. Back off. You’re in my personal space. This is not appropriate, ” will usually do the trick. But if not, use the pepper spray.
Use the pepper spray as a deterrent. Use it and then run to safety. Assuming you have your car keys in your apron or cargo pants – you’ll have been able to hop in your car and drive away.
Leave all your cleaning stuff behind.
You Can Replace Stuff – You Can’t Replace You
And I’m counting that on your apron, on your person, or in your cargo pockets, you also have the car key to your car. And we do that for safety reasons as well.
If you find yourself in a bind and your gut instinct will tell you. And if you have to run, leave everything behind and go.
You can replace a vacuum. You can replace cleaning supplies. And you can replace a cleaning caddy and your cloths, but you can’t replace your life. And if someone comes on to you and you feel threatened, or you feel in danger, just get out. Get out and go to safety.
Where Are You Advertising to Attract Customers Who Hit on You?
All right, then the next thing that we have to talk about is where are you advertising? If you are advertising, let’s say on a place like Craigslist you may run into people who misunderstand your offer.
In the past, there have been a variety of services besides house cleaning tagged to the job.
Advertising on Craigslist has in the past attracted a different audience than say a Valpak ad.
So, if you’re advertising on Craigslist (and we have in the past) just be clear. We say “no sexual favors” in our ads to clarify that our house cleaning is just about cleaning.
Make Sure Your Employees Understand the Rules
So, you just have to cover your bases. And as far as your employees go, you need to set the rules up front how they behave with each other and with the customers and with you. This way they know what the rules are as well. That way everybody understands and everyone is playing off the same page.
All righty, that is how you keep customers from hitting on you. Don’t give them any clue that it’s a possibility.
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Resources For This Episode
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