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Too Comfortable? Cleaning Customer is Taking Advantage of Me

Too Comfortable? When house cleaning clients have known you for a long time, it’s easy for them to push boundaries and expect too much. This leads to them taking advantage of you. As a house cleaner or maid, you still have a finite amount of time to clean their house.

Today on Ask a House Cleaner we look at setting boundaries to keep your customers’ expectations and your customer service in check.

It’s great to be friendly with your clients. But when they become too friendly, or too comfortable, it becomes unprofitable.

BONUS: The House Cleaning Guru, Angela Brown shares her secret on renewable contracts. (This is part of her paid house cleaner training.)

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Hey, guys, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is the show where you get ask your house cleaning questions, and I get to help you find an answer. If I don’t have an answer, I’m probably connected to somebody who does. I’m connected to the best and the brightest minds in the house cleaning industry.

I’ve been a professional house cleaner for 25 years, and everything I learned, I learned by trial and error. I’ve made all the mistakes so you don’t have to.

You can ask a question simply by going to Click on the little blue button over in the right-hand corner. A little microphone will pop up and you can ask your question. It will send it to me directly to me here at the show.

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Dog searches hamper, cleaning clients too comfortableQuestion: What Should I Do? My House Cleaning Clients Are Too Comfortable With Me?

        Now on today’s show, we’re going to cover this question. This question just came in not from a microphone but through an email.
My client wanted to know.

“What happens when I’ve been a house cleaner for a period of time, I’ve been coming back to somebody’s house, and every time I come back they get a little bit more comfortable with me coming.
And they leave more dishes in the sink, and more laundry and the beds are unmade and they’re taking advantage of me because they’re more comfortable with my service. How do I deal with that, what do I do?”

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Answer: If Customers Are Too Comfortable – They Need to Be Re-Trained Set house cleaning rules or clients will get too comfortable

 Alright, so here’s my answer for you.
The very first thing that you have to do is you have to set ground rules when you show up the very first time to do an initial walk-through at your customer’s house.

This is the time where you get to show them. “I am the boss of my company. I am in control. I am providing a service that you need.”
And so when you walk around the house through your initial walkthrough, it’s super important that you make your rules clear. So that your clients and your prospects that are going to hire you, they know what to expect from you. Right?

Because If You Don’t Clarify, They Don’t Know Where the Boundaries Are

3d character holds a sign of choresSo as you get to the kitchen sink I want you to stop. There are probably no dishes in the kitchen sink.
And so ask them “Hey is this typical of when I arrive? There are no dishes in your kitchen sink right now. Are there going to be no dishes when I arrive?
And if there are one or two, do you want me to do that as part of the housecleaning or are you going to do the daily chores?”

“There are daily chores, there are weekly chores, there are bi-weekly chores, and there are monthly chores. “Of those chores, which is it that you are hiring me to do?”

You want to clarify that right up front because if you think that you’re doing their weekly chores and they think that you’re doing daily chores there’s going to be a huge disconnect.

Clarification Allows For Proper Planning empty stainless steel sink new client

Okay, so here’s the reason why we have to be so specific. If they say “Yes I want you to do the dishes.” Then plan in your schedule for time to do the dishes every time you come.” And if they say “No, I’ll take care of the dishes.” Then you don’t have to plan for that time.
sink stainless full of dishes, client too comfortableBut if you show up today to bid a job, and there are no dishes in the sink, that’s awesome. Right?
Then when you come back there two dishes. And you hurry and wash those dishes because it’s only two dishes. It’s not a big deal.

Then when you come back two weeks later, there are ten dishes. Now ten dishes take a little bit longer than two dishes, but it’s still not very long.

Every time you do those dishes you’re I’m enabling that customer to take advantage of you. They say “Ah well, Angela did my dishes last time, I guess she’ll do them again.” Right?

Every Time You Budge a Boundary You Enable Clients to Take Advantage Of You 3d character setting rules before customer gets too comfortable

So, you’ve planned for a certain amount of time to do your chores when you get to this person’s house. Then you get there one day and all these dishes are in the sink from last night’s dinner they’ve got spaghetti in the pot still, there’s spaghetti sauce all over the kitchen. You have garlic bread and crumbs strewn all over, but because you set the precedent of doing the dishes every single time, now they expect that from you. And they’re not paying you any more money. They just expect you to do that.

So, if you clarify from the very beginning what your expectations are, there’s a less of a chance that people are going to get “too comfortable”  and push you around or expect too much.

 3d characters renewable agreements before customer gets too comfortableRenewable Agreements Prevent Customers From Getting Too Comfortable

Now in my particular company, we have what we call renewable agreements.
Now a renewable agreement is not a contract. We don’t make anybody sign a contract to have housecleaning service with us. We’re both free to come and go as we want. If you want to get rid of us or we’re not a good fit, that’s fine no hard feelings.

If we decide that the customer is not a good fit for us, we would like to be able to say goodbye and there are no repercussions. But a renewable agreement is this, we can come clean your house. We will be your house cleaner if everything goes swimmingly for one year.

At the end of the year, our agreement with you stops. It’s over. And so at the end of the year if you still want us to be your housecleaner(s) you have to fight for our business.
Because if we find somebody that’s willing to pay more money or somebody that we get along with better, we are going to switch and go with someone else.

We’re only guaranteeing that we will be your house cleaner for one year.

We Strive To Keep The Contract Going Client got too comfortable and wants you back - gremlin begging

And at the end of the year if the client is ready to part ways, then we will go our separate ways. If they decide they want us to stay on, we have to renegotiate our contract.
“Is that fair?” We set this up from day one. And so what happens is they’re like; “yeah, yeah, yeah that’s fine.” It’s a year down the road so sure that seems like a fair deal.

What happens in the back of their mind is there always thinking “Oh no, this is like I’m dating someone I know I will never marry. This is not a permanent relationship. It could go kaput at any moment.”

So every single time we go to clean, they are fighting to keep us on as maids. They don’t want us to leave at the end of the year. And we have to fight for their business. We don’t want them to fire us at the end of the year.

So what happens at the end of the year when you renew those contracts its kind of like when you work in Corporate America.

 Client got too comfortable now they have to vote you back in, 3d man hitting vote buttonThe Renewable Agreement Encourages an Evaluation and a Raise

And you have an annual review at the end of every year. They go through and they evaluate what you’re doing right. And they tell you where you can improve, and maybe they give you a raise.

No one in house cleaning is ever going to come and say “Oh it’s time for you to have a raise. I’d like to give you more money.” That’s not how that works.

You have to ask for your own raise. And if your contract is renewable at the end of every year that gives you an opportunity to say; “Hey. You still want me on as your housecleaner, I still want to clean for you, and I must charge you more money if we’re going to move forward.”

So it’s a really great segway into “yes, we still want this relationship to work. But here is how we have to renegotiate it a little bit…” And they know it’s coming. They know it’s coming because we set it up last year when we bid the job.
So, how do you get customers to not take advantage of you? You as the boss, you set it up from day one. And I encourage you to think about that before you go out on your next initial walk-through with a new prospect.

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That’s it for today and until I see you again leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

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