You are your own boss so theoretically you get to set your own hours. I’ll make it really easy on you though, set a schedule and stick to it and you will never lack for work.
This is such an easy thing to do and this is the Achilles heel where all independent house cleaners fall apart. They think that since they get to determine which hours they want to work, they have all the flexibility in the world. You do and you don’t.
When a client is expecting you and you don’t show, your client loses confidence in you. If you are supposed to show up at 8:00am and they are not comfortable giving you a house key but stay home from work to let you in – and you don’t show up until 9:00 you’ve made them late for work and before you even start cleaning, they are ticked with you.
It helps if you are an amazing house cleaner, but if you just show up when you’re scheduled, every time – you will be so far ahead of all the other house cleaners out there. It’s a no brainer. Set a time to show up — and show up on schedule.
Being punctual is part of your reputation and it is one of the things that will promote your business, or kill it, before you ever get started.
In twenty four years of cleaning houses, the biggest reason for people hiring me is this: “My last house cleaner was unreliable. I never knew when she was coming.”
That’s it? She/he was honest, hardworking, did a great job, reasonable pricing whatever, but didn’t show up on time so they were replaced? Wow. That is a very easy fix.
Your schedule should allow for a few minutes between houses, which gives you time to repack your cleaning caddy in your car, eat a quick bite of lunch or drink a smoothie to keep up your energy between houses, drive to your next house, and then sit in your car for five to six minutes, return calls, check email and review notes about the next client (pets names, kids names, client hot buttons, priorities, special requests etc.) and confirm tomorrow’s house cleaning appointments via text.
Then three minutes before you are expected, pull into the drive, unpack your car and be on their porch, ringing the doorbell exactly at the time they are expecting you.
EVERY SINGLE TIME.
You know what they tell their friends? “You can set your clock by her/him.” And since it is so rare to have a consistent housecleaner, you will get referrals from this alone.
We all have 24 hours in a day. You and your clients. When you show up on time, you are saying: “Hey I respect your time and I value my own.” If you value your own time, your clients will value it as well.
So if you are charging by the hour – you want your hour to begin and end on time. This is as important for you as it is for your client. If you are sloppy with your time, you will waste a lot of it, or give time away free, and time is money. So set a schedule, and stick to the schedule.
Everybody else operates on schedules, the airlines, your doctors, the schools, other jobs you may have – there is a time you are expected to show up, and this industry is the same.
You can even offer an on time guarantee. If you are late, your first hour is free. That will set a fire under you to always be on time.
When you are late your client is unconsciously or consciously thinking: What happened to my house cleaner, they’re late.
- Did they get in an accident?
- Did they forget about me?
- Are they still at someone else’s house?
- Is that client more important than me?
- Don’t they respect my time?
A series of questions goes through their heads that makes them question the decision they made to hire you.
If for some strange reason you are late, text your client. Let them know you’re running 15 minutes late.
And make sure you text them before you are supposed to arrive. Don’t text them after your expected arrival time. Keep them in the loop. Communicate with your clients and you will always have clients.
Texting your clients will remind them that you are in fact reliable – because you cared enough to text – and you are grown up enough to take responsibility for some rare, unforeseen situation that caused you to be late.