Ask a House Cleaner Should I charge a late fee for slow pays? Angela Brown – the house cleaning guru, shares what to do when cleaning clients are slow to pay their house cleaners. How to set your business boundaries early, and how to collect your money up front.
Listen: Should I Charge a Late Fee for Slow Pays?
Watch: Should I Charge a Late Fee for Slow Pays?
Today’s Question – Should I Charge a Late Fee for Slow Pays?
The question that we are going to talk about today is a woman who wants to know “How do I collect my money from my house cleaning clients and if they’re late on their payments should I charge a late fee?”
Today’s Answer about Slow Pays
Oh, okay so we got a backup a couple of steps. In house cleaning, everything revolves around you getting paid. You can’t pay your employees until you get paid.
You can’t pay your bills until you get paid, you can’t buy new cleaning supplies until you get paid.
So Back to Basics 101 you must get paid for every job.
Every Day You’re Going to Collect Money
And because of the nature of the job you’re going to be collecting a lot of money.
Collecting money is part of what you do for your job. Whether you bring the checks in, or your employees bring the checks in. Money must be collected every single day.
Okay? Now on your initial walkthrough when you’re walking through with the customer, you need to set the boundaries and the rules for how you collect money.
Now for me personally, I just tell him upfront; “I clean houses I’m not a bill collector.” “I don’t go chasing after money, so when I show up to clean the house, I expect that there will be a check on the kitchen counter waiting for me.”
If they don’t leave a check, some people don’t write checks anymore. They need to have a credit card on file so that you can charge the amount of that day’s cleaning.
Okay? So it’s really super easy if you set the boundaries from day one. Now, something that I got to clarify with you is how much are you charging?
So if the price that you’re charging changes every time you come, you make a really difficult for the customer to know how much they’re supposed to pay you.
If they’re going to leave you a check, but the price is going to change today while you’re there cleaning, they have no idea how much money there’s supposed to pay you.
And that’s one of the problems that a lot of house cleaners get in, they don’t have a set fee that they charge.
So every time they come; “Well I did something extra, so it’s going to cost more money.” or “I did a little bit less, so it’s going to cost less money.” Or whatever it is and the price keeps changing.
End Slow Pays By Charging a Flat Rate
So when you go to clean a house, either use a piece of software online that specifies up front this is the amount that’s going to be charged for today’s cleaning. If in fact, that changes every time, or charge a flat rate. “Here’s how much it’s going to cost for your house.”
I prefer the flat rate whether it’s being by the job or by the hour.
That way the customer knows every time Angela comes to my house is going to be $220. Or whatever the price is.
They know up front how much it’s going to cost every single time and they can build that into their budget.
The other thing that’s interesting about that is if they have a special project that they want to add on because you charge a flat fee. They can’t just toss in the extra project because extra projects cost extra money.
Get Your Customers to Call In Advance
So they must call me in advance let’s say a week, or 3 days or 24 hours, or whatever your rules are, in advance, to add on the extra projects.
At that time, that’s when you add on the extra money. So instead of $220 now it’s going to be $250. And you tell them that up front. Then when you get to their house, on the kitchen counter is a check waiting for you for the $250 dollars. See how that works?
So you have to get the money up front by telling the customer exactly how much it’s going to be.
Don’t say; “Well, your house is dirtier this time, so it took me 30 minutes longer to clean. Therefore it’s going to be x amount of dollars more.” You need to figure that out upfront.
Slow Pays Come From Lack Of Boundaries
If you’re working on a particular project and you say this house is going to take me 4 hours to clean, all you have allotted in your schedule is four hours.
At the end of the four hours, you need to get out of there. If their house is super extra dirty than it normally is, guess what? That’s not on you.
You gave a flat fee for a certain amount of time; “I can stay up to four hours.” At the end of the for hours you need to leave.
Eliminate Slow Pays By Taking Credit Cards
So if you’re following the rules that you set, It’s going to be super easy for you to know how much you are charging.
It’s going to be super easy for your customer to know how much they’re paying.
And then when you get to their house there’s money waiting for you. Or you can swipe their credit card. Now having said swipe the credit card,
squareup.com or PayPal. There are a whole bunch of different options that allow you to take credit cards right from your smartphone.
So you get to the customers’ house, and the customer is waiting for you. You put in the little tiny card reader into your phone. You swipe their credit card and BOOM the money goes right into your bank account.
Keep a Customer Credit Card on File
If the customer is not present, you can have their credit card on file.
When you get home you send him a quick text. “Hey Evelyn, I just wanted to let you know today’s cleaning was $220 dollars as we agreed on. I’m charging your credit card now. Here is the confirmation number.”
And then you leave a note in the credit card notes “House Cleaning by Angela Brown.” So that when it hits their credit card statement they’re like; “oh yeah, yeah, yeah that’s my housecleaning lady.”And they know what that charge syncs up to. So that it’s not just some weird random charge on their credit card that keeps changing every month and they can’t remember what it is they’re paying for.
So the rules that we’re here to discuss today are this: Set your rules set them up front. Make them super easy to understand. Make them super clear for the customer to follow.
Don’t Renege On Your Rules for Slow Pays
Whatever you do, don’t go chasing money. You are not a bill collector. You are not a collection agency. That is not the business that you’re in. But collecting money every single day is a part of your job.
So make sure that it’s super easy for everyone and you won’t have those problems.
That’s it for today if you found this tip helpful, please pass it along to a friend. Share it. Tweet it. Pin it. Post it. However you guys do social media, and whatever you do, don’t forget to subscribe.
I’ll see you next time, and until I do. leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.
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