Not A Good Fit – House Cleaner vs. Customer

“We’re not a good fit for each other. Should I jack up the price and hope the prospect hires another house cleaner?” We’ve all been there. During the interview process when bidding a job, we get that feeling that this is a high maintenance customer. Or we just don’t like the customer for some reason we can’t put a finger on. And we wonder should we turn down the job because we’re a bad fit? The House Cleaning Guru, Angela Brown weighs in on this touchy subject of house cleaner vs. customer. Listen to this before you close that sale – or get taken to small claims court.

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Hi there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is the show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.

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Today’s Question: Not A Good Fit – House Cleaner vs. Customer

So, today’s question comes from a woman went to bid a customer’s house and when she got there, the customer for whatever reason was not the kind of customer that this house cleaner wanted to work for.

There was something about the job interview or the walk-through process, that just malfunctioned. And the house cleaner just didn’t feel like it would be a good fit.

“So, does she raise the price, and just hope that the woman finds someone else?” Or, does she go ahead and just tell the woman outright that they’re not a good fit?”

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Answer: Not A Good Fit – House Cleaner vs. Customer

That’s a really good question and I have a very personal and specific take on that. And it might vary from how you feel about that particular question.

So, if you have a different answer than the one that I have, I would love for you to leave a message in the notes below and share with me why you feel different than what I’m about to share with you.

What I’m about to share with you comes down to two things.

The first one is that when you go to a customer’s house, they have a specific need. It turns out they called you because they believe you have the solution to their problem.

In our business all the marketing, all the advertising that we do, we hope to draw people in so that we can serve the need that they have. That is our job.

Don’t Cop An Attitude If You’re Not A Good FitManners Cost Nothing

There are times when you get to a customer’s house, when you will just for whatever reason, discover that client is not a good fit for your business.

So, for my two suggestions; number one, is to be diplomatic and polite. You don’t have to cop an attitude and you don’t have to say “Well, you know I’m not cleaning for you.”

Don’t do that. Okay? These people can jump on social media and within a matter of minutes, they can send some message viral about you that can totally destroy your reputation.

Leave Without Incident – You Don’t Want This To Go Viral

Not Good Fit Going ViralThen instead of you losing a potential client, now you’ve got a bunch of damage control to do.

So, first of all, be very kind. Be kind, be compassionate and be diplomatic. That’s rule number one.

Rule number two is, to be honest.

I think jacking up the price is an option. But if you do jack the price up and they’ve heard about you, and they like you, and you came highly referred from their friends, that they know, like and trust. Then you’re either going to get stuck doing the job at a higher price and absolutely hating every minute of it, or you’re going to have to lie to them and come up with another set of excuses why you can’t take them on as a client.

So, my second point would be, after being kind, compassionate and caring, it would be, to be honest.

You Don’t Have To Be Specific Street Signs, Honesty, Respect, Ethics, Integrity

But you need, to be honest.

I am thinking of a particular scenario when I went through a woman’s house and every stop along the way. She told me “Well, I had to fire the landscaper. And I took him to small claims court because he did this, that and the other.”

Then we go out to her magnificent swimming pool and she says “Well, I had to sue the pool guy too because he did this, that and the other.”

Then there’s an electrician she had to sue because he misfired some wiring or something.

And as we walked from room to room in her house, she sued a whole bunch of independent contractors that had come to service her home.

And I’m sitting here thinking, “Hmm. We’re not a good fit for each other.”

Patterns Repeat Themselves

small claims courtBecause as a small business, she’s going to sue me. This is her pattern. This is what she does.

She looks for things that don’t meet her expectations or creates things. And she sues the independent contractors, which I would be. If I take her on as a client, at some point I will have to take time out of my business and go fight her in small claims court.

This is not a good way to start a relationship.

So, at the very end, she’s like; “Okay, so how much will you charge to come clean my house?”

Alright, let’s be kind, compassionate, diplomatic and honest.

And I said: “Hey, you know what? As I was walking through your house, and you’ve got a beautiful home, I’ve just discovered over a variety of you know, little things I’ve taken in, that we’re just not a good fit for each other. My business is not a good fit for you. And so here’s what I would recommend…”

And this takes you to the next part of what you can, (if you can) do.

Can You Recommend Someone Else? Cinderella Shoe, Not a Good Fit

“I’m not a good fit for your business, but can I recommend somebody that I think might be a better fit?”

And because we house cleaners know each other, and we know who is working in our area. And we know that there are other people that are in that market, that you could recommend them to.

There might be somebody that’s just a way, way better fit than you.

It might be that you’re a female and you’re at gentleman’s house, and he’s a single gentleman. And you feel weird or queasy about him specifically, guess what buddy? “We’re not a good fit.”

And don’t give any specific reasons why.

Don’t say, “Well, I don’t want you to sue me.” “I don’t want to be the next person on your hit list.”

Don’t’ go into any of that.

Right? We’re going to be diplomatic and polite.

But you can be honest, and just say “Sheesh, not a good fit.”

And if you do it with a smile on your face, it’s really disarming.

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There’s Not Much They Can Say That Can Harm You Now

They can’t force you into being a good fit.

They can’t force you into taking them on as a client.

What are they going to say; “You came to my house and you bid the job, and you were polite, and then you left. But you didn’t take me on as a client?”

If that hits social media, that doesn’t hurt you in any way.

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Beware of Misery Hunters

Red finger pointing at man, not good fitThen the last thing I need you to be aware of is there are people who choose misery. I don’t know why. But they choose misery. And they specifically look for things that wrong with every house cleaner, maid, janitor, housekeeper – anybody who comes to their house.

They are going to find fault. I don’t know why. But they do.

And if this is that kind of person, and you start listening to it after a while, you start hearing those people that just nit-pick over everything. If this is one of those people, save yourself the trouble right up front.

Just say “Hey, you know what? You’ve got a lot of expectations. And I’m a small company, and I don’t think I can meet your expectations. So, I love the fact that you considered me. I’m honored you invited me over here. You’ve got a beautiful home, and you deserve someone that pay the kind of attention to detail that you expect. And that is not me, and my company right now. So, thank you so much for having me over here. If I think of someone I will let you know.” 

And then leave.

Don’t Reward Misery Hunters With A Recommendation or Referral

Get Away If You're not a good fitIn this particular case, don’t recommend anyone.

Don’t put another house cleaner on that account. Because you don’t want to do that to your worst enemy. If there is somebody that is just miserable, bolt.

Leave. Leave right now, while the getting is good.

If you’re an independent house cleaner, and you’re just one person, let’s say you clean two houses a day. Two houses a day, five days a week, that’s ten houses. If the next week you do another ten houses, you’re going to have a total of what? Twenty clients?

If you have rotating customers, and you do one, once a month or whatever, you might work weekends or you do special projects. You’re going to have a total of what? Thirty customers?

Choose To Work for Nice People

So, there are millions of houses out there. And you’re only looking for thirty, or twenty. That’s it. Don’t go out and find the five or six miserable people that are going to take you to court.

So, if the customer is not the good fit for you, don’t just jack up your price, because you don’t want to work there. Even if it’s a big price.

There is no amount of money that woman could give me that’s worth the future lawsuit. If that is the light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t want that.

So, If you’re looking for twenty or thirty customers, pick twenty or thirty nice people. And then build a business that you enjoy working for every day. That’s my answer.

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And so that’s it for today. If you like this tip, please share it with a friend.

Of if you disagree with me, that’s fine as well. Leave your message and your reason why in the messages below. And until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it. 

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About @SavvyCleaner // Angela Brown

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru // Founder of SAVVY CLEANER // Author of the book: How to Start Your Own House Cleaning Company