\Just wait until you hear what the biggest mistakes house cleaners made are! Listen to these stories and learn from the biggest mistakes professional house cleaners made.
Avoid these dumb moves that waste the time and energy of cleaning business owners everywhere!
Listen: Biggest Mistakes House Cleaners Made
Watch: Biggest Mistakes House Cleaners Made
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.
Biggest Mistakes Made By House Cleaners
Biggest mistakes made by house cleaners, and can you prevent from making them yourself?
We are moving through 25 of the biggest mistakes house cleaners have made. So that you can learn from them and not make the same mistakes, not repeat the same errors that they made.
Mistake 12: Keeping Emotionally Abusive Customers
Number 12, keeping emotionally abusive customers that you wanted to let go because they had given you referrals to family and friends. So, this happens a lot. And there is a customer, who might be a high maintenance customer, that then recommends you.
And all those people are good customers. Then you end up putting up with a bad customer because you’re afraid, “If I say goodbye to this customer, I’m going to lose all the other customers that they recommended.”
So, this has to be something that happens on the walk-through from day one. So, when you arrive at a customer’s house, and they say, “Oh, I have a friend that’s looking for...” Here’s how that works. And you very clearly, upfront, have to create the rules and regulations that go along with the referrals. Anytime, anyone, anywhere gives me a referral, it has to be based on this.
Have a Conversation About Referrals with Customers
You can say, “The referral is because you like my work and because you want to refer me, and then whatever happens between me and that person is between me and that person. Even though you recommended me to that person, I will never have a conversation with you about that person, out of respect for that person. And I will never have a conversation with that person about you, because I have respect for you.”
Then you say, “So upfront, I wanted to let you know that even though this person is your friend and you have a lot of conversations with them. Even if I may be a common denominator that I clean both of your homes, I will never have a conversation with either one of you about the other one. So please don’t bring them up to me again after the referral.”
“That said, if anything malfunctions with the other person, that is between me and them, and it will never come back on you. So, I want to let you know, if your weird friend goes rogue on you and they become mean and nasty and whatever, I will never bring it back to you. It will never ricochet back on you.” And its good to say it that way because, by the same token, you don’t want it to come back on me. And you will be very clear in the very beginning about the expectations of that relationship for this reason.
House Cleaners Work a Lot off of Referrals
House cleaners work a lot off of referrals. And a lot of what they do is people recommending them because they liked something about what they did. But because confidentiality is so important, they will never breach that contract.
And by the same token, if something malfunctions, and a lot of times it does. There’s this weird stuff and there are weird people. There’s crazy stuff, people going through weird things in their lives that make them act differently than normal.
And so, during those times, you might have to let this customer go while you’re trying to hang onto the other customers.
A lot of House Cleaners Will Lie About Leaving Customers
A lot of house cleaners will try to lie, and they will try to say, “Well, I am canceling my business.” Or, “I’m going back to school,” or whatever, “and I’m not taking on any new clients.” And so, they cut the one customer off while they’re trying to keep the other customers separate. That never works.
The person’s going to see you advertising on Facebook. They’re going to see you out in the neighborhood cleaning the neighbors’ homes. Something’s going to happen. It always backfires. You got to come clean and say, “You know that conversation we had about if something doesn’t work out? Well, something didn’t work out. I feel bad about it, but I’m going to go ahead and tell you to go get a different house cleaning service. Because I’m no longer a good fit for you.”
And leave it at that. Don’t talk about the referrals. Don’t talk about everyone else. If the customer gave you a referral, and you gave them some kind of a bonus or a bird dog fee, they got out of whatever it was they were hoping to get from that referral. The deal is done. So, that is a huge mistake made by a lot of house cleaners.
Mistake 13: Not Learning While Cleaning
Next biggest mistake is number 13. There’s a house cleaner that wrote in and she said, “I wasted 20 years of cleaning all day, every day when I could have been listening to podcasts or audible books.” Well, the good news is you had time to think through a lot of things. But cleaning is a perfect time for you to be listening to audible books or podcasts or things like that. Things that will help you learn and grow and develop your skills.
And so, a lot of house cleaning companies allow one earbud in. That allows you then to pay attention to everything around you for situational awareness, and also if a customer or a client is speaking to you. And it prevents you, then, from being on the telephone or other things that are distracting while you’re working.
And so, if you can work and you can listen to something running in the background that brightens your mood, makes you a little bit smarter, then do it.
Mistake 14: Believing Everything You See in FaceBook Groups
Number 14, biggest mistakes house cleaners make. This one comes from somebody who said, “I believed everything that I read in a cleaning Facebook group.”
I run 5 Facebook groups, and so does my team. And so, we are in the thicket of Facebook groups every day. And every day, some of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard in my entire life come out from house cleaners in that group.
Now, I don’t know if they’re trying to spook you or if they’re trying to trick you or if they’re trying to, “You’re my competition. And I know that you live nearby. So, I’m going to give you some bad advice so that you can ruin somebody’s counter top,” or whatever.
Some of the Worst Advice Ever is in FaceBook Groups
Some of the worst advice I’ve ever seen is inside the groups that I belong to. Now, the reason I say that is because Facebook groups are a public forum, and people are allowed to come in. And we welcome people’s opinions, because as soon as somebody says something stupid, they usually get smashed by about 2,800 people. They’re like, “Oh, you’re wrong.”
Now you’ll check your facts before you actually come in and spout stuff like that in a Facebook group. And there are times I’ve jumped in myself and said “Please, please, please, I know you’re joking, because this is the absolute, most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life. And if you did this, you would be fired in an instant” And I kind of crack the whip.
So, if you’re going to go to a public forum like Facebook, or it could be Reddit or whatever, buyer beware. This is not certified training. This is not reputable training. These are your peers. Some of them are not actually in the business at all.
There Isn’t a Great Way to Vet People in Facebook Groups
There’s not a good way to vet all the people that lie and say that they are house cleaners. We ask several questions. We check out their Facebook pages, all that stuff. You do as much as you possibly can. Some people actually lie. Some people try to trick you.
And then you have people that are like, “Well, I’m an expert. I’ve been doing this for three whole weeks. What do you know?” Wow! However they have no formal education, and maybe they are not a chemist, and maybe they don’t really have any information to back up what they’re saying. So, buyer beware. That said, there are some business owners that have tried things, that have been in the trenches, that have excellent information.
So, do not take at face value the things that you hear in any Facebook group until you get your own facts. Because in the end, none of the people in the Facebook group are going to pay for your insurance if you screw something up. They’re not going to be there to reconcile whatever happened with your customer. And oftentimes, some of the advice that you get, people are making it up on the spot, and they’ve never actually gone through those scenarios themselves.
Mistake 15: Giving Away Too Much for Free
Number 15, biggest mistakes house cleaners make. Giving away too much for free. Every house cleaner at some point has done this. And this is a lesson learned.
As a House cleaners, you are people-pleasers. You want to help people. And then you see somebody that needs your help and they can’t afford it so you say, “Well, I’ll throw in an extra hour of cleaning. Well, I’ll just take them to the doctor’s appointment. I will just run their grocery errands for them. I will just babysit their kids. I’ll just walk their dogs.”
The stories are endless. You end up giving away two or three, four hours extra that is not on the pay book. The reason this is a problem is that every time that happens, what you’re doing is stepping a little bit closer into this complacency situation.
Don’t Cross a Barrier with Customers
And so, when you cross that barrier, what happens now is they treat you like the family instead of treating you like the professional that you are. And it’s not scalable. So, if you have a team of people, and the person that’s given the extra goes away, now they don’t want anyone else. They only want that house cleaner.
And so what happens is if that house cleaner is not available and you send in another person, they’re going to complain about the new person. Because the new person didn’t do all the extras, even though the new person is doing everything on the checklist.
The other person went rogue. Now they want the other person that went rogue. And this is where customers buy from the employee. They kick you out and they only want this person to come to clean their house. It’s because this person gave them so many extras for free. But it’s not scalable and it’s not sustainable. You want to help. And there is a place for charity in every business. But on a routine cleaning, in a very systematic approach, that is not the place for it. And that is a huge mistake that house cleaners make because they want to give. Do not fall into that trap.Resources
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