Safe? Don’t Feel Safe – Should House Cleaners & Maids Follow Their Gut?

Safe? Don’t feel safe? Should house cleaners and maids follow their gut? It’s a concern for new house cleaners entering a client’s home. Today on Ask a House Cleaner we discuss common sense solutions for dealing with fear. What is intuition and how does it work? What do you do when the fight or flight response kicks in? Do you stay or do you go? 

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask at housecleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.Ask a House Cleaner DIY Question Spacer Savvy Cleaner

Question: What Do I Do When I Don’t Feel Safe?

grungy neighborhood, don't feel safeNow, today’s question comes from a girl who was going to bid a job at a customer’s house. And when she got to the customer’s house, she drove into the neighborhood.
As she looked around the neighborhood there were a lot of unsettling things that caught her attention. There were people hanging out in the streets that she felt should either be in school or should be at work or whatever. But they seem to be living on the street.

There was trash and broken bottles. And there was graffiti on the walls. There were broken windows in some of the vehicles that were parked along the sides of the street.
And she didn’t feel safe about leaving her car on that street while she was inside cleaning for three and four hours at a time.

She felt a little bit unsafe about working in this neighborhood and so she turned around and she left she never bid the job.
Now, her question to me is; “The woman called me back and she wants me to come back and bid the job. Do I just keep rescheduling with her and then standing her up and hopefully she goes and finds another housecleaner?”

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Answer: What To Do When You Don’t Feel Safe?

Please don’t do that okay? That right there is what gives house cleaners everywhere a really bad name. That’s bad. Please do not do that. follow your instincts road sign, don't feel safe

Now if you go into a neighborhood and you don’t feel safe you have to respect your gut instinct, which you did that correctly, so yay for that.

The instinct part is something that you’re going to have to deal with as you go to different houses throughout the course of your career for whatever reason. And our unconscious minds don’t always know why we feel unsafe, but when something triggers it and it’s all a fight or flight response, you have to respect that and get out. Just get out quickly don’t ask questions. If that kicks in and you don’t feel safe you need to leave.
Because there’s no amount of money that a house cleaning job will be worth your safety if you get mugged, or you get beaten, or you get killed. Okay? It’s not worth the price of that house.

Use Common Sense and Respect When Dealing With The Customer

house cleaner stands up homeowner, don't feel safeNow the next thing that I have to mention is the woman who lives in this house (I don’t know why she lives there) but maybe she feels safe.
Okay, that is her choice of where she lives. This is her home and so, although you may not feel safe, she does.
I don’t know if somebody gave her that house as an inheritance. Maybe that’s the only kind of house she could afford. Maybe she grew up in that house. We don’t know what the reasons are that she lives there, but she feels safe.

So, it’s not nice to call her up on the phone and say “Well, you live in a bad neighborhood I’m not coming to clean in your neighborhood.”
Because she has social media just like you. She can jump on Facebook and jump on Twitter and say “Hey, listen, don’t hire this girl she’s mean.”
Right? She can do that. And now you have damage control for somebody you never even cleaned their house.

The next thing that you need to think about is if you keep rescheduling with her and you keep not showing up. you set a really bad name for your business. And then again, you have damage control. She can say “Don’t hire this girl she’s completely unreliable. She said five appointments with me and never showed up to a single one of them.”

That is that is really bad PR that you just did to yourself. Please do not do that.

Note The Neighborhoods That Make You Feel Unsafe

Alright so if you decide that you get to a neighborhood and you are not safe, then make a note to yourself. “I don’t work in this neighborhood.”blacklist of bad neighborhood qualities, don't feel safe

And if someone then calls in the future you can quickly do a search for that area or that zip code and say “I don’t service that area.”
So, right up front, you haven’t wasted their time by keeping them home from work so they can be there when you go to bid the job.

They’re not wasting your time from having you drive across town to bid the job and then discover that “oh yeah it’s this neighborhood, I don’t work in this neighborhood.”
There are streets that are just known not to be safe streets. So, don’t work on those streets. Right?

This is your business you get to choose where you want to work.

Carry Pepper Spray With You If You Don’t Feel Safe

Yes to pepper spray, no to handgun, don't feel safeNow, my recommendation would be, because a lot of times you are going to be out working alone. And there’s nothing wrong with working alone. There’s no reason to be afraid or to be scared most of the people that are going to hire you are just nice people.
And they have money, and they’re going to pay for a particular service. And so, you have to go into it with that attitude.

With that attitude though you still have to be cautious, and so if you’re really nervous and you’re not sure, carry pepper spray with you.
I do not recommend that you carry a loaded weapon there are so many things that can malfunction if you have a loaded weapon.
And if it’s in your cleaning caddy and a kid gets a hold of it while you’re not looking and your back is turned, that’s on you. Okay? So, do not carry a loaded gun.

I’ve had people ask me this question on numerous occasions do not carry a loaded gun with you into someone else’s home. Do not do that.
But you can carry pepper spray.

Pepper spray is small. It fits right in your apron so it’s on your person. If someone gets close to you and you feel threatened, you can pull it out and squirt them. Boom.
Problem solved and then run. Run to safety.
So it is an easy fix whether it’s a pit bull or whether it’s a person or whatever you can still protect yourself.

Text a Friend You’re Whereabouts If You Don’t Feel Safe

Text a Friend when you don't feel safe. Let them know where you areThe next thing that I might recommend is if (and this is any house not just houses where you feel unsafe, but any house) let someone else know where you’re going to be.
We have texting now. You can text your mother, you can text a friend. Say “Listen, I’m going to clean a house here is the address.
I will be done at a certain time. I will send you a thumbs-up emoji when the project is done and I’m safe. If I don’t check back in with you in 3 hours call the police.” Right? So, you can have someone keep tabs on you in the event that something malfunctions.

I’ve never known a situation where housecleaner has gone missing on the job.
It just normally doesn’t happen. It’s a very unusual situation.

I’m not saying it can’t, I’m just saying I don’t know of a particular situation where that has happened.
So, let someone else know where you are like I said it’s a super easy thing you get the address from the customer you forward it to a friend.
So get an accountability partner because that way they know you’re safe and you know you’re safe.

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Alright, that’s it for today. And until we 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