Biggest Mistakes Made by House Cleaners, Angela Brown, Savvy Cleaner

Biggest Mistakes Made by House Cleaners Pt 1

What are the biggest mistakes made by house cleaners? Check out these lessons learned by professional house cleaners from all over the globe.

Don’t waste your time reinventing the wheel or learning by trial and error. These house cleaners and maids have made all the mistakes so you don’t have to. 

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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 a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.

The Biggest Mistakes Made By House Cleaners

Biggest Mistakes Made By House Cleaners, Frustrated Woman on ComputerBiggest mistakes made by house cleaners. Can you prevent them if you know what they are so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel? Some house cleaners have written in to tell us about their experiences in house cleaning.

The first one comes from a house cleaner who wrote into the show. She said the biggest mistake that they made was that they did not have their policies and procedures in place.  That is important, and here’s why it was a mistake.

Mistake 1: Not Having Policies and Procedures in Place

Biggest Mistakes House Cleaners Made, Policies and ProceduresWithout policies and procedures in place, you don’t know how your business operates every day when you get up. You’re winging it, which is exhausting. You get up every day and you’re like, “Oh, I have to go in and go to work”.

But without a routine and without knowing what your standard operating procedures are then every single day, when something happens, you have to stop and you have to decide, well, how does my company do that? 

If there’s no standard operating procedure and you don’t have any policies about calling the office for an up-sell and there’s going to be an extra charge and all that stuff. Then you have to stop in the moment and decide, if you are going to have an extra half hour of time today to do that? Or are you going to be able to do it right now? Do you have the equipment or the supplies you need with you to do that? What if you run late and  have another customer? It’s exhausting to try to make these decisions on a whim.

You Need Operating Procedures in Place

Biggest Mistakes Made By House Cleaners, Homeowner and Man with ClipboardIt’s ideal if you have all your operating procedures in place, then you can say this is what we do, this is what we don’t do, this is how we do this. And it’s all set in stone. That way, when a customer says, can you do this? You say, nope, I can’t do it for him for this reason, or yes, I can do it, but here’s the process I follow to make that happen.

That way it’s super easy, and then everyone knows all the rules, but if no one knows the rules, including you, it can be exhausting when every day you have to reinvent the wheel.

Here’s where it gets bad. When you start to grow your business and you don’t understand how your business operates, or neither do your employees. Then you will have mad chaos and you will have your employees scrambling making decisions that are not theirs to make, trying to make the business go. You get frustrated and overwhelmed because you could have prevented it with some simple strategies in place.

Mistake 2: Allowing Customers to Book for Every Three Weeks

Biggest Mistakes Made by House Cleaners, Biweekly Cleaning ScheduleThe next biggest mistake made by house cleaners, is allowing customers to book their cleaning every three weeks.  Now, as any house cleaner who’s had this request, you’re probably thinking that’s not such a bad thing.

Here’s the reason why it’s a problem. Because the weeks go bi-weekly for most house cleaning companies. Every other week on Thursday at 4:00 PM, you can sell that time slot to a regular customer. Every other week you’re going to have the same customer, and every other week, you would have a different customer in the same time slot.

But if you have a customer that’s every three weeks, what happens is you can’t book a weekly and you can’t book a bi-weekly customer in that spot. Basically, you’re holding an entire month calendar open for that one random client who wanted a random moving or roving clean.

Use One-Offs to Keep From Making Scheduling Mistakes

Biggest Mistakes House Cleaners Made, House Cleaner ThinkingWhat is the answer? You have somebody that doesn’t want bi-weekly. They want more cleans than once a month, but they don’t want it every week. What’s the answer? The answer is Savvy Cleaner, which is my company, we always said, we will put you as a one-off.

A one-off is we will call you whenever there’s a cancellation, and we will fit your once cleaning, your random cleaning, into our schedule, not yours. We’re not going to save you a spot on the calendar because we can’t book anything around it. But we will leave you on our wait list, and then in the event that we are in your neighborhood and we have an opening, we will call you.

They get squirrely, and they’re like, “well, what if it’s six weeks? What if you don’t have a cancellation for six weeks?” “Then, we’ll call you in six weeks.” And then they’re like, “well, I need my house cleaned more than that.”

“Well, how often do you need it? Like every couple of weeks. Well, then let’s move you to a bi-weekly schedule”. It’s easy to move them to a monthly or a bi-weekly schedule and they’re going to have to make a decision. Otherwise, they go on that wait list and they have to be pushed to whenever you have the convenience. That’s totally understandable. It’s a tough one because you want to accept the business because you want to do right by the customer and because you need the money.  It’s easy to see how people get in the trap, but it’s just a tough trap to get out of.

Mistake 3: Not Agreeing to the Outcome of a Finished Job

Biggest Mistakes House Cleaners Made, Woman on PhoneBiggest mistake number three, is not agreeing to the outcome of a finished job. This is huge.  Let’s say that you get to a customer’s house. You have in your mind your own idea of how things are going to go, and they have in their mind their idea of how things are going to go.

You start cleaning and you’re almost done when the customer pops their head in, and then they say, “Oh, before you leave, would you mind doing this? Would you mind doing that? Don’t forget to do this as well.”

They start adding on things to your task because you didn’t clarify and they didn’t agree to what the finished project looks like.

Agreeing With the Customer on the Walk-through is Important

Biggest Mistakes Made By House Cleaners, Homeowner ThinkingThis is important to do on the walk-through.  You will want to make sure that the client understands this is the scope of the job. It’s one of the reasons why we use worksheets at Savvy Cleaner because everything we are agreeing to is on the worksheet. And when they sign that or they initial that at the end of the walk-through, so this is what we’re agreeing to.

When we do the walk-through, if there are any extras, we’re going to put that on right now. And we’re going to explain that you have to call the office and you have to add in any extra projects that are not on the worksheet.

That’s extra time and it’s extra money. If you call in, there’s something extra, that’s not on the worksheet that’s not part of the scope of the project.

Keep the Customer From Adding Things to the Job

Biggest Mistakes House Cleaners Made, House Cleaner Wiping FloorThe goal behind that is to keep the customer from keep adding things on when you are on a very tight time schedule. You want to use the time that you have to do a stellar job and you don’t want to be rushing just so that you can get everything done.

It’s a pet peeve of most house cleaners, but it’s a huge mistake if you never agree and get that agreement upfront with the customer. You have to be on the same page because if you think you’re doing one job and they think you’re doing a different job, they may call you back and say “Well, you didn’t finish the job.”

Because there was never an agreement of what the finished end result looked like.000 Savvy Cleaner Spacer Bar 2020Resources

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