Listen: Excuses – House Cleaner Calls Out Again
Watch: Excuses – House Cleaner Calls Out Again
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: How Many Excuses Before I Can Fire?
Today’s question comes from a house cleaner business owner who has employees. And she’s asking me this question. She says “I have one particular employee who is very responsible and comes to work and does an amazing job about half of the time.
The other half of the time she’s flaky and inconsistent and she may show up or she may not show up. And she has a lot of excuses. Because she’s so good half the time, I have a tendency to want to keep her because good help is hard to find. On the other hand, she’s lousy at the other times when she doesn’t even show up. So, should I fire her, should I keep her, or what should I do?”
Answer: Too Many Excuses Will Wreak Havoc On Your Business
Okay, so employees like this will wreak havoc on your business. Because if you’re expecting that you’re going to be able to do five houses in a day and you have two cleaners on those five houses, it’s not possible for one person to do those five houses.
And so, if you don’t have the two cleaners for that job, you need to find a reliable replacement for that woman so that you can cover the bases for your customers.
So, I don’t like the question, I don’t like the employee, I don’t like the tricks that she’s playing but you need to pay attention right up front.
Have Clear Rules – Even If You Only Have 1 Employee
When you hire someone, you need to set very clear expectations. These surround vacation time, how far in advance you need notification. Calling out sick policy, family emergency policy. etc.
And you need to create a backup plan. What happens if your employee doesn’t show up to work today? How will you cover the shift? Accidents happen, family emergencies happen. So, it’s not anything new, but you need to factor that into the cost of your business.
Do you have extra people that can help fill in for each other? Are you one of those people where if someone calls in sick as a house cleaning business owner, you jump in and you go out on a job and you do it yourself?
I mean there are a variety of different options that you can do.
But if you’re loosey goosey with your employee expectations, your employees will respond to you in a loosey-goosey kind of way.
And that will just create chaos.
You Can’t Expect Employees To Follow Rules That Don’t Exist
You can’t run a business on chaos.
One time I had an employee and she was an amazing house cleaner but very creative. And she fired herself by a variety of weird excuses. But every day she had a new, interesting excuse.
And at the time, I was able to fill in on days that she couldn’t be there, and I quickly hired someone else to replace her. And I didn’t officially fire her because, this is going to sound cruel, (laughing) cruel and unkind.) But she was so creative, and I had never heard these excuses before that I was documenting her excuses.
And not just for her employee file, so that if I fired her officially, I would have it documented, but so that I could create a training manual around these particular excuses.
Because I had never heard them before.
And she had fourteen original excuses I had never heard before.
And I kept thinking “Man, she’s brilliant. She’s got some really fascinating excuses.”
Learn From Your Mistakes – Excuses Are Opportunities to Grow
And so, then I created rules, if this happens, here’s what we do. If this happens, here’s what we do. If this happens, here’s what we do.
And so, I was able to improve my house cleaning business as a result of this one house cleaner who just flat out didn’t want to clean houses.
She was probably better suited for a different job.
Anyway, she fired herself by just exhausting her excuse pool or whatever.
Anyway, if you have an employee that works really well for you, you need to reward that behavior.
And if they are not working well, and they have lousy excuses and whatever, you need to punish that behavior.
Whether it’s a write-up, whether they are points. I don’t know what kind of a system that you use for your business.
But there needs to be some actual ramification for those actions.
Because if you let those actions go untamed, it can get out of control really quickly. And then you’re not the boss anymore. They are the boss. They’ve taken over your company. And they’ve hijacked your power. Now they are running amuck with their excuses and their unreliability.
End the Excuses. Take Back Control of Your Company
You have a business to run. You have clients and customers that are counting on you. You have bills to pay. You have payroll to meet, you still have to pay for workman’s comp, you’ve got to pay for company cars, you’ve got to pay for cleaning supplies. You’ve got to pay for a whole bunch of stuff.
Companies don’t run on employees that have gone crazy.
Right? And I don’t mean crazy-crazy, I mean they’ve taken control of your business and they’re pulling hijinks.
That’s what I mean.
So, you have to really get a reign on that and the easiest way in this particular type of situation might be to set some ground rules with this employee.
And go “Whoa. Something really surprising just happened to me, but I’m no longer in control of this situation. So, starting today there are new rules. Do you understand these new rules? I need you to sign off on these new rules.”
Those rules go inside her company file.
If you have to fire her now she’s signed saying that she understands those rules.
You can change your rules at any time as long as you make sure that they’ve been communicated to the employee verbally and in writing.
They have signed off on those and there is a copy in the employee file.
Guide With Leadership and Coaching
Now that you have changed your rules, now there’s a testing period.
“Okay, we’re going to try this for thirty days. And we’re going to make sure that this works for thirty days. At the end of thirty days, if this does not work, we will go back to the drawing board. And we will re-evaluate the rules and regulations we have just re-created. Is that fair?”
“Great, sign right here.”
At the end of thirty days if you re-evaluate the situation and she’s still causing all kinds of chaos, time to let her go.
But make sure that your ducks are in a row because you don’t want this to go and on indefinitely. It will hurt your business and might even destroy it.
And it is not fair to your other employees who show up every day who are then going to get left stranded with five houses and no one to help them do the extra work.
So that’s not fair to them either.
And you’re going to lose those people as well.
What is Your Solution for Employee Excuses?
Okay, that’s my tip for today. Tell me in the review section below, how do you handle employees with lots of excuses? Are you the king of patience? Or do you have a low tolerance policy?
Anyway, until I see you again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.
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