Should Maids, House Cleaners and Housekeepers Help Clients Move?

 Ask a house cleaner if you should accept a job helping a cleaning client move. The House Cleaning Guru,  Angela Brown,  gives some pointers on what to expect, things to know, and what supplies you will need, to get the most from the job and serve your client best.

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Hi 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; I get to help you find an answer.

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Today’s Question: Should Maids and House Cleaners Help Clients Move?

So, today’s answer is for Gina. Gina has been cleaning houses for a while for a family, and that family is moving. They’ve asked Gina if she would help them move. So Gina says; “What do I do? I’ve never done a move before. What am I supposed to know? What am I supposed to bring or  What do I need?”

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Today’s Question: Should Maids and House Cleaners Help Clients Move?

Move out with a couple carrying boxes Savvy CleanerOkay, so my suggestion to you Gina is yes. Yes. Say yes to the project and do it.
Because you will be asked to help people move on numerous occasions, here are the reasons why.

  1.  They know you. They know you, and they trust you.
  2. You know them. You know their parents, you know their children, and you know their pets. So everyone feels safe around you already.
  3. You’re licensed, and you’re bonded, and you’re insured. So if anything drops, chips, cracks, or whatever in the move they expect that you’re going to replace it.
  4. You know how they operate, and you know what’s important to them. You know where their heirlooms are, and you know where all of the things are in their house. So if they say “Hey go in and pack up the kitchen, you know where the kitchen is. You know where the spice cupboards are; you know where all that stuff is. Right?

So they can help you, but you already know a whole lot about their house. If they say “Can you run up to Eric’s bedroom?” You know which one Eric’s bedroom is because you clean it every week.

So as a house cleaner you are going to be asked this question a lot; “can you help us move?”
And yes, it’s great money.

Charge More For  a Move In – Move out or a Moving Clean

Okay, having said that, you need to know you’re not going to charge your regular cleaning rates for a move.
This is not a three hour or four-hour project. This is probably going to take all weekend.
So you have to charge either a fixed price, or you have to charge by the hour. But it’s going to take a whole lot longer.

And now that I said that, let me just say there will be surprises. They might think they have it all wrapped up, and they know exactly how long it’s going to take, they don’t.
They don’t. Nobody knows how long it’s going to take, and there will always be surprises. Here’s why:

People Don’t Move Every Day

handicapped ramp for easy move out Savvy CleanerThey move every eight or ten years.
And so they don’t know how long it’s going to take, and they don’t know what they’re going to run into that’s going to need extra time and attention.
There may be aggravations, tears, and hurriedness to meet a moving deadline etc.

Realize too that people move for different reasons – some of which you may, or may not know. They could be getting divorced, just found out they are pregnant and need more space, are downsizing due to aging or ailments, moving for a new job, or moving because of school problems with their kids. Maybe they can’t afford their current location. They may have an elder parent moving in with them and need ground floor accommodations, they may be moving to be closer to their kids, and a host of other possibilities.

Take Control & Stay Emotionally Un-Involved

If you are actually helping with the move, you may be working right alongside the client as they pack boxes. Take control and keep the project moving along. Do things that need to be done that don’t require micro-managing like emptying the food from the pantry and packing it up, emptying the fridge and freezer into coolers. Packing up china cabinets or toy boxes, coat closets, broom closets etc. Pack up supplies under the bathroom sinks and books and DVD’s from the shelves. There are lots of things you can do that won’t require the client to give you step-by-step directions. This will also free the client to make the more emotional decisions without involving you.

Bring Your Own Move Out Supplies

Your clients will think they have all the supplies they need they don’t.
In all the years I’ve done this, I brought my own supplies every time. And I’ve used all of my supplies every time. Okay, here the supplies you need to bring with you: Recycling dumpster used for moving Savvy Cleaner

Bring a big stack of flattened boxes. Now if you don’t have any extra boxes lying around your house, you probably don’t, you can go on an app like https://nextdoor.com and do a little ISO (in search of) moving boxes.
There are a whole bunch of people that when they move, they’ll put the boxes on the neighborhood app and they will give those away free to whoever is going to move and wants to recycle those boxes.
If you don’t have anyone on the neighborhood app that has recycling boxes, there are recycling bins around town.
And if you go online and you will find the recycling bins, a quick phone call can say “Hey I’m moving, and I would like to recycle some of your recycle boxes.
Can I come down and pick up a couple of boxes?” And often they’ll say “Sure. Come get whatever you want.”

Empty Cardboard boxes used for move Savvy CleanerBring Boxes

They are in the business of recycling. They want you to recycle boxes. We’ve gone to dumpsters where people put in hundreds of flat boxes, and we just open the lid and take them all out. We had permission from the recycling company to do that – but they’re great boxes. They are clean cardboard boxes that have been used once.
And so we just put packing tape on them, and we use them for moving, so there you go.

Tape gun used for moving requests Savvy CleanerBring Packing Tape 

Okay, so the next thing that you want to bring is your packing tape. The packing tape is for the boxes. I can’t tell you how many times people forget that if you’re going to box something up, you got to have packing tape.
So you can pick these up. This is my personal tape gun, and I take it on all of my moving jobs.
As a business owner, you may just want to invest in one. They’re like, oh, I don’t know, $16, $18 bucks or something at Home Depot you can buy them at the UPS stores. You can buy them at Lowe’s. It’s just a really nice thing to have for days where you do move out cleans.

Make the Move Easy on the Client and on You

Magic marker for moving boxes Savvy CleanerSometimes the client is just moving down the street and you may still be their house cleaner when they move. If this is the case, pack stuff so it can easily be found and put away. Mark the boxes so anybody carrying stuff in knows where it goes. i.e. “Kayla’s Bathroom, under sink”, “Ronnie’s toy room, toy closet”

Who knows, you may be the one unpacking the boxes as well and putting stuff away.

Bring a Roll of Garbage Bags

So another thing that you want to take with you is a roll of garbage bags. Roll of garbage bags used for moving Savvy Cleaner
And the garbage bags, they may have some, but you’re going to go through all of theirs. And you’re going to go through all of yours. So bring a big roll of garbage bags, and you can build these into the price of what you’re bidding for the job if money is an issue.
Bring a roll of garbage bags, and it’s for things that are not even garbage.

Let’s say that you’re taking clothes out of a closet.
Instead of just bringing a whole bunch of loose clothes, and trying to put them somewhere in a car, or the moving truck or whatever.
Tie five or six of the coat hangers together. Put a garbage bag over the top and tie a knot in the bottom of the garbage bag.

That way you have all the hanging clothes, and they’re all contained. So even if they slip off the hangers or whatever they’re still inside that garbage bag, which keeps them dust free during the move. Then when they get to the new place, they simply open a closet, put those coat hangers back in the closet. Rip off the garbage bags, and everything is already hanging there nicely as it was when you took it out of the closet in the old house.
So bring garbage bags because you never know what you’re going to use them for.

Bring a Chamois

Automotive Chamois, Move, Savvy Cleaner Another thing to bring with you is a chamois. The chamois (shammy) I use for attic cleans. I use it for garage cleans, I use it for moving days, or if, (believe it or not) you’re going to get requests to do yard sales.

Here’s the Chamois. It’s like a towel, and it absorbs water. So when you getting ready to do the move go ahead and wet it. Roll it up. Put it in the refrigerator, and it will stay cold. Then when you get to the move go ahead and just twist it. And then wrap it around your neck, and I take a hair tie, and I just lock it in place.

That way it keeps my neck cool the entire time that I’m cleaning. If my neck stays cool, that regulates the body temperature so that I don’t overheat while I’m moving and I’m rushing about, and I’m doing extra projects. So don’t forget your chamois. You can buy these in the automotive department, at Walmart or Target. You can also buy them on Amazon

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Bring Your Own Lunch

Another thing that you’re going to need is you’re going to need your own personal fuel. For me, on a move, I drink carrot juice. Carrot juice is a moving, drink for me for this reason; it’s great for beta-carotene. It’s great for antioxidants, it’s great for the natural carbs that are in here, so it’s going to keep up my energy, but it’s light weight.
What I mean by that is it’s not a heavy meal. It’s not like eating chicken and potatoes or something, where I’m going to get lethargic, and I’m going to get bogged down or whatever. This is going to keep my energy up so that I can keep moving through the whole day, and it’s all the fuel I need.

So go light, on the days where you’re moving because you need all of your fuel, but you also need all of your energy. You can’t afford to get lethargic and go into a food coma because you over ate the wrong kinds of foods on moving day.

Angela Brown’s Favorite Energy Smoothie Recipes

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Do You Need a Moving / Rental Van?

Move, Moving, Uhaul sprinter van, Savvy CleanerAnother thing that you might consider is; Are you moving the stuff or are they bringing a moving truck? I’ve done a lot of moves where they’re moving from one house to another house 6 miles away.

And so I might say “Hey, would you like me to pick up a rental van at the U-Haul?” Now they may have a rental van, I pick up a rental van, and of course, I build that into the price, but they’re like $20 bucks for the day plus mileage.

So if you’re helping someone move and they have a moving van, you have a moving van, you can load all kinds of stuff in there. Whether they are plants, whether they’re statues, there’s a whole lot of stuff that moving companies won’t take because it’s breakable stuff and they don’t want to be liable for it.
So believe it or not there’s a bunch of stuff whether it’s planters, they won’t take anything with dirt in it. Lamps with lampshades, a lot of moving companies won’t take those because they’ll break.
There are some companies that will not take antiques because the Antiques will break.

So you have to decide are you going to bring a truck. And if you are, then make sure that you make the reservation in advance, so they have a truck reserved for the day that you’re coming.
Alright, so those are just a couple of pointers.

Bring Your Own Cleaning Supplies and Step Ladder to a Move Gas-blower-used-for-final-cleanup-after-move-Savvy-Cleaner

Cleaning Caddy for cleanup after a move Savvy CleanerI always bring all of my cleaning supplies to a move. My mop bucket, my mop, vacuum, step ladder, cleaning caddy and an outdoor gas blower to blow out debris from the garage and porch as we finish the job.

Step-Ladder-used-in-move-Savvy-CleanerI never know what I am going to need, but I have my own supplies just in case. The client may have a step ladder, but if you both need one at the same time, and you didn’t bring one, somebody will have to wait.

 

Help with Heavy Lifting

Moving Truck with family helping Savvy CleanerIf you have agreed to carry boxes out, make sure you use proper lifting techniques. You don’t want to injure your back by lifting stuff that is too heavy. It’s a good idea to stretch before lifting boxes, so you don’t pull any muscles, and when you lift, squat using your leg power and keep your back straight. Turn with your legs and feet rather than twisting at the waist. Working too fast can also add to injury.

Be safe and be careful.

If boxes are too heavy to lift by yourself, ask for assistance. Two people carrying a heavy item is easier than one.

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Clean The Obvious

If a client is moving out, there are obvious things that need to be done. When the client is going through the last of the packing, you can start defrosting the freezer, clean out the fridge, oven, burners on the stove, clean the bathrooms and dust the blinds and wash the insides of the windows. The baseboards will all need to be dusted along with any crown molding. Remove any cobwebs and then vacuum your way out of every room. Bathrooms and kitchen, entryways and laundry rooms will need to be sanitized, and floors need to be mopped. You can finish up about the same time the client finishes the packing.

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Tough Decisions 

There may be tough decisions that need to be made about junk that is left behind. Example, during one move, a woman had three big boxes of empty shampoo bottles that all had a pinch of shampoo left in them. Keeping these bottles suggests she was afraid of running out, and thus would never allow herself to fully run out, toss the bottle and get a new bottle. She just got a new bottle and saved the old bottle for a rainy day.

She obviously was never going to use these again, and keeping them was not an option as they wouldn’t fit on the moving truck. Every time during the day I asked for guidance on what to do with the “junk,” she would get emotionally upset. Getting rid of stuff was a problem for her. She had hired me to do a job which was to help her move as seamlessly as possible. When she wasn’t looking, the boxes were tossed in a community dumpster. And no one was the wiser.

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40+ Years of Junk 

An elderly man who was downsizing had a garage full of tool magazines dating back to the 60’s. Garden equipment and lawn mower magazines, with items no longer for sale, and at prices we’ll never see again. The magazines had been warped due to heat, humidity, spills, and weather, and many of them had been chewed apart by mice. The pages were stuck together, and nobody was ever going to (or ever could) read them again. They too disappeared in an *authorized dumpster when no one was looking.

Make Sure You Have Permission To Use Public Dumpsters 

* An authorized dumpster is one that is designated for the trash on that property for homeowners to use or ones that have been rented by a moving/cleaning crew. Old Shed that needs cleaning Savvy CleanerPlease don’t throw trash in an unauthorized dumpster. It is illegal, and somebody is paying to rent it. If you are not paying for its use, either through your homeowners or landscaping dues, you don’t have permission to use it. If you are not sure, ask the homeowner if they are granted access before you toss in moving trash.

Take care when tossing someone else’s stuff that it is just junk – that it can be replaced if necessary. (Worst case scenario, I buy the woman a new bottle of shampoo to replace all of the next to empty jugs tossed out, and I subscribe to a new Harbor Freight Tools Magazine with recent pricing for the older gent.) Toss stuff that will never be thought of again after the move, and stuff that won’t be missed.

Stuff You Can’t Gid Rid Of Without Permission

Stuff you can’t get rid of without permission: Books, dishes, clothing, trinkets – they all have sentimental value. The homeowner will have to make those decisions.

One of the reasons I encourage you to stick with homes that are new to 15 years old, is that if somebody moved 15 years ago, it is unlikely they’ve got crap dating back 40-50 years. Every move encourages a purging if you will, and newer homes have less of this type of stuff to sort through and pack.

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Free Moving Checklist

Download this detailed Free Moving Checklist, (Compliments of UPack) so you don’t forget anything while helping your client’s move and as an added service to your house cleaning client – give them a copy as well. It’s broken down by weeks (i.e. here’s what you do eight weeks before you move, seven weeks before you move, six weeks, etc.)

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Wear Last Year’s Uniform on Move In-Move Out Jobs

Another thing that I would recommend is in your regular uniforms that you wear every day for cleaning –  if you have an old uniform, maybe it’s got a stain on it or a spot on it, or you spilled some food on it or something, those are great moving clothes.
And so every year when I rotate my uniforms, I take a last year’s uniforms, and those become the uniforms that I now wear when I do attic projects or garages, or move outs or whatever. Because you are going to get dusty, and you’re going to get dirty. Something might spill on you. It could be a can of paint, gasoline; it can be grease, you have no idea.
But you don’t want it ruining one of your regular everyday cleaning uniforms. 

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Have the Customer Sign Off On Your Work

Because you’re not going through the checklist of all the normal things that you do, you won’t use regular worksheets. But make sure that as you leave, that you leave the customer or the client with a written statement; “Here’s everything that we did. Did it meet your expectations? Did meet your satisfaction?”
Get them to sign it because that way you have a testimonial.
But you also have what you were paid for that day in writing, so they can’t come back later and say; “Well, we agreed to this, and you didn’t do this.”

Before you leave before you get paid, make sure that you have in writing what you’ve done and that you’ve matched their expectations.

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Okay, that’s it for today. If you have any questions head on over to https://AskaHouseCleaner.com/show ask your questions and we will be back to you tomorrow with another answer. Until then, leave the world a cleaner place than 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