My House Cleaner Talks Too Much @SavvyCleaner

“The house cleaning lady talks too much when cleaning my home.” Clients #AskaHouseCleaner if there are rules about chatting in the cleaning training manual. “I paid the maid service to come clean the house, not yabber.” The House Cleaning Guru, Angela Brown shares proven tips for homeowners, and housekeepers.

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Hey 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: My House Cleaner Talks Too Much

Today’s question comes from a woman who is going to hire a house cleaner and she says “Listen, I have a problem with most house cleaners. Here’s the problem I have. When my house cleaner comes to clean my house, I work out of my house. They chat the whole time that I’m there. They just talk and talk, and talk. And I go in the other room, then they come in the other room to clean and they just keep chatting. And it keeps me from working while they’re at my house. So, how do stop my house cleaner from chit chat?”

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Answer: Housekeeper Talks Too Much

Okay, so that’s a great question because house cleaners and maids, on the other hand, feel a lot the same way.

When you go to someone’s house, if they’re chatting with you, you feel an obligation to chat back. But if you, as the homeowner set the boundaries, and you say “Listen, I would love to chat, but I work out of my house. So, I’m going to say hi when you arrive. Then I’m going to go into my office and close the door. Knock on the door when you’re ready to clean my office and I’ll leave. But that way, you can get your work done, and I can get my work done.”

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Create Boundaries From The Start

boundaries, shoes on lineSo, by creating those boundaries right up front, as a homeowner who works out of your house, and a lot of people do work out of their houses now, that way you can still get your work done and your house cleaner can get her work done. Because guess what?  Your housekeeper is also on the clock, this is their job. And so, they shouldn’t be chatting either.

Now as the owner of a house cleaning company, and having had lots of employees, I have a particular rule in my cleaning company. My rule is this: You have 60 seconds when you arrive at the customer’s house to chit chat. No time for long talks.

60 seconds. So, you’re going to get there, you’re going to walk in the door. “Hey, how’s everything going? You’re going to put on your gloves, you’re going to put on your shoe covers and then your 60 seconds is over.

stop watch in mans handFollow the 60 Second Rule

In that 60 seconds, that’s when you pet the dog and you say hi to the dog.

You say hi to the people, “How is your mother?” Quick chit chat, and then you say “Oh, look, I’m on the clock, I’ve got to hurry and get my work done, so, unless you have any other questions, I’m going to go ahead and get started. Do you want me to start upstairs or downstairs?” And then very quickly, you move from the niceties to getting your job done.

Build Rapport On The Initial Walkthrough speak less, listen more

Now, on the initial walkthrough, that’s when you’re going to build rapport with your customer. The walkthrough is going to take a little bit longer. Usually, the walkthrough will take about twenty minutes. And so, as you do a walkthrough, that’s when you are building rapport. You’re getting to know the customer. The customer is getting to like you, they’re starting to build trust and all those things.

When you come to the house and the customer is there, sometimes they are not there. But if the customer is there, you’ve got sixty seconds, to get in, say hello and then get to work.

Exception To The Rule

The exception to this rule is this: If you have an elderly couple, and I’m going to use the term elderly loosely. This is about seventy years and above.

So, older than seventy years, there are a lot of people that are elderly. And the reason that they’re hiring house cleaners is because, number one, they are not physically able to clean their own houses. They actually need help. The second thing is, they’re lonely. They don’t get out much as younger people. And so, when a house cleaner comes to their house they look forward to this all week. And they do want to chit chat.

And it’s okay if they follow you from room to room because most likely, they’re going to be there all during the day while you’re cleaning. They don’t have anywhere else to go. They don’t have a job, they are retired.

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Not Just a House Cleaning Lady  – A Detective

And so, when you get to their house, instead of just chit chatting, I say stretch that sixty seconds out to about three minutes. And find out, kind of play detective, and find out how they are doing.

Is their health so bad that they’re not actually able to live on their own anymore? Are there things that you need to know? Like, do they have groceries in their kitchen? Do they need a ride to the store?

Is this customer still able to drive by themselves? These are not things that are any of your business. But because you’re the person that is coming into their house, if they don’t have family around, you might be their only connection to society.

And I’ve seen this on numerous occasions.

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Call A Family, Church Member, or Friend

Lady talks on phoneI went to a lady’s house and she had bruises all over her. Okay, that’s a huge concern to me, because she never had bruises before.

Is there a person who is caring for her that is losing their patience, and they’re being abusive with her? I need to know that. I need to know that just out of human kindness.

Do I need to call a family member and get some extra help in here? Do we need to switch out the caregiver that’s coming to look after this lady? And she had a husband that lived there at the house. Is the husband abusing her? What’s going on? This lady should not be covered in bruises.

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Be Discreet – Respect Privacy

DiscreetSo, her husband goes out to walk the dog. And I stopped my cleaning. I ran over and said “Listen, it’s none of my business, but I noticed that you’re covered in bruises. Are you okay? Is there something you need to tell me? Do I need to call help for you?”

And she said “no, it’s really embarrassing, I have balance issues. And I keep falling and tripping, and I get all these bruises. I bruise really easily. But don’t say anything to my husband, because he gets really upset because he can’t protect me anymore from myself. I keep falling.”

She was having issues falling coming down the stairs. Okay, first of all, they shouldn’t have had stairs, because she was too elderly to be climbing the stairs. Second, of all, there was no stair rail on the stairs coming down. Which should have been against some kind of a house code or something. Certainly, elderly people should not be hiking stairs where there is no stair rail.

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Ask Permission To Involve Others

PermissionSo, with her permission, I was able to call her son and let her son know that “Hey, your mom, I’m the house cleaner, your mom is covered in bruises. she’s embarrassed because she keeps tripping and falling when she’s coming down the stairs, and there’s no stair rail in the stairwell of her house.”

He’s like “Oh my gosh, I had no idea.” And he lived like four hours away. So that weekend he came down and went to the Home Depot and he bought a stair rail and installed it on the side of the stairs.

So, there are things like that, that you can do to help, that have absolutely nothing to do with your job. But everything to do with communication.

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Housekeeper & Homeowner Can Set Boundaries

But going back to chit-chat. No.  Unless there’s a special set of circumstances, you do not visit when you’re there to clean the house. And if you are the customer, do not allow aimless yacking.

Don’t follow the house cleaner from room to room, and if they talk, give them yes and no answers. “That’s fine, thank you.” And get back to your work.

Create that illusion of “Hey, I’m super busy, I can’t be interrupted.” They’ll get the hint really quickly and will stop talking. Because if you are in fact, on the clock, and this is your job, you need to do your job, and you need to let your cleaning technician do their job.

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Okay, so that’s it for today. If you like this tip, please pass it on. Tweet it, pin it. Post it, share it. And until I see you 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