“Can a customer suspend house cleaning service for no reason? I’m trying to grow my cleaning company. But I’ve gotten a few calls “I want to suspend house cleaning service until further notice.” What does it mean when a customer says I want to suspend house cleaning service? Can they break a cleaning contract like that?”
Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru says anybody can cancel service at any time. And people cancel house cleaning for different reasons. But if you have lots of clients who terminate service it might be you.
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Listen: Can They Suspend House Cleaning Service?
Watch: Can They Suspend House Cleaning Service?
Hey 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, and I get to help you find an answer.
Question: Can They Suspend House Cleaning Service?
Hi, Angela. My name is Christie. I am from the Des Moines, Iowa. I have a question as in, I have my own personal house cleaning business. Just from October to January, I’ve had quite a few clients come up with, “Can I suspend house cleaning service until further notice?”
Is this something common during these months of the year? And do you do contracts with customers to make sure that the work is there? Would that be a recommendation you would make?”
Can Customers Suspend House Cleaning Service?
All right, can they suspend house cleaning service? Oh, yes, technically and customers will. Now, here’s what you need to know.
October through December are typically the busiest months of the house cleaning industry. Families gather for Thanksgiving and the holidays.
People invite guests in from out of town. And they host holiday parties. During this time, they want to make sure that their homes are in a delightful state of mind for their guests. And they need their guest rooms ready. Most people have a holiday cleaning checklist.
You Don’t Suspend House Cleaning Service When You Need Help
Also, during the holidays, there are going to be lots of things upturned. People go into their attics. They pull out decorations. Or they get things out of the house. They take stuff back up to the attic. They’re wrapping gifts. They’re making room in the closet for new gifts that they’re going to be giving their kids and what have you. There’s a lot of turnover in a house, and so there’s a lot of reason to have a house cleaner come.
Also, a lot of people will have holiday parties. And so, on the spur of the moment, you’ll get a phone call that says, “Hey, can you come over and clean my house?”
For somebody to suspend their service during the busiest months of the year, that’s a huge red flag.
December through March Are the Slowest Times
December through March are the slowest times of the year. People have just come off the holidays and they’re really stressed out. They’ve been overwhelmed by all these parties and get-togethers and socials and gift and family.
“Let’s Suspend House Cleaning Service” is Code for You’re Fired
“Just don’t come to clean my house right now. Let me put all the decorations away. Let me get everything back to normal. Let’s get back to our normal schedule. Let’s get the kids back from spring break and then we’ll go ahead and we will reconnect our service.” What they mean is “we’re not happy with your service and we’re moving on.”
What they’re don’t realize is that during the time that you’re “on hold” you still have bills to pay. One of the things that we recommend is that we spread out the jobs throughout the whole year.
Sell the Slow Times and “On Hold” Times
In my business, we’ve always sold the drag and drop spring cleanings for January, February, and March because those are the slowest months of the year.
We want to make sure that our regular customers get their regular service. If there are people that go into suspension mode for a couple of months – we fill in those gaps with people from our waitlist.
Offer Spring Cleaning to Your Waitlist
This is also a great time to be cleaning our garages and attics. And you want to defrost freezers and anything else you can think of. Create attractive cleaning packages so that your business does not stop. Because you still have bills to pay and you still need the money coming in.
Maybe It’s You
Now, if customers suspend house cleaning service, and it sounds like there’s more than one. But if you have many customers that are want to suspend house cleaning service, it might be you. Maybe it’s a level of trust. Or maybe it’s a level of cleaning. Maybe it’s a personality conflict. I don’t know what it is but people sometimes will suspend their services and they never return.
It’s their nice way of saying, “We don’t want you to work for us anymore.”
They don’t like confrontation or they don’t know how to just come right out and say that you’re fired.
They want to let you down easy.
Suspend House Cleaning Service Doesn’t Mean “Hold My Slot for Me.”
Now, you’re holding a slot for this person that you hope will reconnect their service at some point. I would rather hear a “you’re fired.” Great, now I can turn around and sell that spot to someone else.
You asked about contracts. Should you have people on a contract? You can have a contract. There’s nothing wrong with having a contract but that’s not going to lock somebody into hiring you on a regular basis. They can fire you at any time.
A Contract Doesn’t Mean Anything Anymore
Anyone can break a contract. One of the biggest contracts we have in our lives is a marriage contract and it’s broken all the time. People get divorced all the time and they’re like, “Eh, forget about the till death do us part. I’m not doing this anymore.”
It’s the same with house cleaning. People break their contracts all the time. A contract does not guarantee you business.
And so, I wouldn’t do a contract because you don’t want to be locked into holding a spot if they’re taking a two-month sabbatical.
Two months is eight cleanings or four cleanings that you’re not getting paid for. You need to be able to resell those slots to someone else.
Why Are People Putting Their Cleaning on Hold?
Anyway, so, I’m sorry that this is happening to you. I would do a deep dive into the way that you’re servicing your customers. Take an honest look at what it is you’re providing.
How are your conversations? It might be that you need to reconnect with a customer that you haven’t seen in a long time. Sometimes customers forget why they like you and why they hired you.
And a quick conversation may be all you need to remind them of your goodness and the quality you provide. Or maybe they will tell you why they fired you or give you pointers on what to fix.
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Resources For This Episode
Cleaning Up in a Dirty Business: Make Money Fast by Starting a Janitorial Company – https://amzn.to/2IrjTeA
You Can Make It, But Can You Keep It? – https://amzn.to/2wGM5s8
The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, And Stand Out From The Crowd- https://amzn.to/2IH44n7
Small Business Survival Guide: Starting, Protecting, And Securing Your Business for Long-Term Success – https://amzn.to/2wSIwzx
Small Business Survival Guide – https://amzn.to/2IqQxwC
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