The biggest mistakes house cleaners learn from are easier to make than you’d think. It’s not too late for you, you can still avoid these deadly mistakes in your house cleaning business.
These house cleaners learned the hard way, so you don’t have to make the same bad decisions.
Listen: Biggest Mistakes House Cleaners Learn From
Watch: Biggest Mistakes House Cleaners Learn From
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.
Big Mistakes House Cleaners Make
The biggest mistakes that house cleaners learned from. Can there be that many mistakes? The answer is yes, there can. here is how you can stop making the same ones.
Mistake 22: Treating Your Customers Like Family
Number 22, somebody says, “I treated my customers like my family, and they treated me like hired help.” This is a lesson every house cleaner needs to hear. It is a mistake lots of house cleaners make.
And as they go into the house cleaning field they think, “I’m inside these people’s homes. I’m around their stuff.” It starts to feel warm and cozy, and they start to insert themselves in these family’s lives. And they go out of their way to help and to be a part of the family’s life. But the reality is these people are not your family. And these people are the customers, the clients, they are not your family. You are hired to help. You are a paid person that’s come to help them. They are expecting service from you.
This all comes back to boundaries because when you start a relationship with a client, here are the conversations that will happen. “I’m giving you a service. This is what I’m providing. This is what it looks like when it’s done. And this is how much you’re going to pay me.” If you are a family, and this always breaks down at a familial level, it’s comfort. “Well, I can’t pay you this week. Can you hold the check for a week? And then, you know I’m good for it and whatever.”
You Need a Professional Relationship With Your Clients
So, when you have a family, they pull all kinds of shenanigans that don’t happen when you have a professional relationship. It’s something as simple as, “Hey, can I make you a sandwich while you’re on the job?” “Oh, you’ve worked too hard. Sit down and have a cup of tea and a sandwich.”
And you’re like, “Oh, I’m part of their family. Okay, cool.” Next thing you know, 45 minutes have passed and you’re sitting there on the clock and now they’re going to be upset with you because you didn’t finish the cleaning job. Yet you ate a sandwich and you had tea and you chit chatted.
So, you have to be very clear. What is the relationship and what is happening? And if they offer you a sandwich, “I’m still on the clock. Did you want me to take the time you’re paying me to stop and have a sandwich?” And they may say, “No, I’ll pack it up for you. You can eat it on your way to the next house.” Bring it back to, “I’m on the clock. You’re my boss. You’re inviting me for a sandwich. What does that mean for the rest of my job?” So, the rules have to be clear.
You Can Be Friendly But Not Family
You can be friendly to them and you can be their friends, but you are not family. It sucks, but you will never be their family. You are hired to help. And so, the day comes and you have to realize every single job the day might be today. They’re going to let me go and they’re going to hire someone else.
If you’ve inserted yourself into their family and they hire someone else and they no longer need you, that’s emotional at a serious level. So, from the very beginning, you gotta keep your emotions out of it. You have to be clear about that because these are people paying you for a service. And at the end of the day, you are completely replaceable. It will hurt, but the sooner you realize that, and the sooner you implement that into your procedures, the faster you’ll get ahead. Lots of house cleaners make this mistake.
Mistake 23: Not Investing in Yourself Enough
Number 23, “I did not invest enough in myself and my education with either coach, consultants, or training to grow my business. Now, 13 years into my business, I’m still repeating the same errors over and over again and I’m stuck struggling, trying to make ends meet every month.”
There are a lot of house cleaners that because they started the business on their own, they think they can go to the next level on their own. But there are steps in our lives, all along the way you need new teachers, new mentors, new coaches, new education. You don’t be born and you’re an infant and then suddenly like, wow, you’re an adult, You have to go through school all along the way.
Once you have new skills that you’re applying, now you have new teachers and new mentors and new skills. And so, it’s progress. You can’t start and stay in one space and think, “Oh, I got it all figured out because I started a business. I’m a business owner.”
Progress is Mandatory
Yeah, you’re a business owner. But guess what? You’re repeating the same small window over and over and over and over again. And if you were a tiny child and you only ever repeated that same window, you would still be a child. So, progress is mandatory.
You could think about this point: There’s lots of free stuff that’s out there. Go as far as you can, as free as you can, as long as you can. But the day will come to grow your business, you have to invest in something.
You shouldn’t care if it’s booked, if it’s audible books, or training programs. What you should care about is that you go through the steps of progress because right now, when you are a business owner, there’s a whole lot to take in.
You Can’t Learn Everything in a Day
And nobody expects you to learn it in a day, but if you are 13 years in your business, you are still struggling to pay your bills, you have a lot more problems than being stuck in year one. And so, maybe you should stop whatever it is you’re doing and take a step back and figure out what the lost and missed opportunity costs are.
How much money could you be earning if you’d paid for the education, if you’d paid for the coach, or if you’d paid for the training? Because once you learn what those opportunities missed costs are, you might be losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
So, start looking at it differently. It’s a huge mistake lots of house cleaners make, but because you got in the business easy, it doesn’t mean that’s where you need to stay.
Mistake 24: Assuming Employees Have Common Sense
Number 24, “Assuming people I hired had common sense.” Many people have made this error thinking that people they hired had common sense. And the reality is this, the people that you put out in the field, (employees) are human and they get tired.
Some of them actually show up to work having spent all night last night drinking, so their mind is still somewhat inebriated. And some of them are totally doped out on sugar. They get hyper-energetic and then all a sudden it tanks.
And then they’re like cleaning like a zombie. And you expect they have common sense. You expect they know how to regulate their diet and they know how to regulate their sleep. And they know how to regulate their weekend drinking and all these things. There are people that you expect have common sense, and yet they don’t.
You Need Standard Operating Procedures in Place
So, you have to have standard operating procedures in place that say, “This is how we expect you to show up for work every single time. This is what we expect you to look like every single time. This is what we expect you to behave every single time. Here is what we expect you to do once you get on the job every single time. This is how we expect you to clean every single time.”
And those rules and those standard operating procedures for every single facet of your business keep those people on track. Because if you leave any error for their common sense. And most people do have common sense, but you sometimes have to assume that they may leave room for error.
It leaves room for interpretation. It leaves room for judgment when the judgment could be off.
Everyone Has Bad Days with Bad Decisions
Have you ever had a bad day where you made bad decisions? You made bad decisions for whatever reason. The smartest people have at some point made bad decisions. It’s bio-rhythmic or carelessness. But there are times where people feel bad.
They physically don’t feel good or they’re having an emotional breakdown or they’re having a mental breakdown. There are people that work for you that have things going on in their lives. And it can be a wide variety of things. It could be that their kids are driving them bonkers. It could be their spouse is driving them bonkers or cheating on them.
Employee’s Personal Lives Can Cause Bad Common Sense
There are all these weird things going on in the background of employee’s minds. And then what do you think they’re going to show up in like start making smart common-sense choices about chemicals and stuff? No, you can’t leave anything to chance.
“These are our procedures. And because these are our procedures, this is how we behave.” There’s no guesswork. If they ever find themselves in a pinch, they go back to the procedure. What does the procedure say? “I know I want to do something different at this moment because my customer asked me and I want to please the customer, but the procedure says I do it this way. What do I do?”
You follow the procedure every time. If for some wild reason you think you need to break the procedure, pick up the phone, call the office. So, don’t leave anything to chance because guess what? Every time you do, it will be challenged. And that costs your business time and money and damage.
Mistake 25: Not Making a Retirement Plan
Number 25. This comes from a senior cleaner who’s been in the business for 25 years and she says, “I never made a retirement plan and I never saved any money. And now I can’t quit cleaning houses.”
This one hits close to home for me because I woke up one day and I found I was the same way. I got started in the house cleaning business and I didn’t know anything about money. My parents didn’t know anything about money. We weren’t savers, we weren’t investors. We knew nothing about the stock market. None of those things. The only thing my parents knew is that we were not supposed to get into debt.
That’s all they told me. Don’t get a credit card. Don’t get into debt. Go on your merry way. But I didn’t know about retirement. I didn’t know about 401ks. I didn’t know about saving money, none of those things.
Start Thinking Long-Term
So, at some point in your career and it doesn’t have to be today, it can be tomorrow or next week, but it needs to be sometime soon, you have to start thinking long-term. “What happens to me when I age out of my physical ability to clean?”
And you have to start thinking and making a plan for that time. “What does my retirement look like? Am I going to be cleaning until what age? Am I going to be cleaning until I’m 50? Till I’m 60? Till I’m 70? Like what’s the age?” I’ve got lots of house cleaners in our network that are 50 plus years beyond and yet they’re still cleaning every single day. Every single day, they’re rocking and they’re rolling. And they’re in great shape.
But the day will come when they will age out of the business and they will wish they had something on the back burner, another business or a side hustle or a retirement fund or a 401k that they’d been paying into or an IRA.
Rules and Regulations for Retirement
So, the rules and regulations for your retirement are every bit as important as the rules and regulations for running a business. There has to be an exit strategy, whatever that looks like for you. And so, one of the biggest mistakes here, a person waking up one day with a sad realization, “I have no end plan. I have no exit journey. What does that look like for me?”
And that can be frightening. It’s frightening because what happens to your children? What happens to your spouse? What happens to your property or your pets? These are all things that have to be determined, and that should be part of your exit strategy. There’s got to be a retirement plan at some point.
The earlier you understand that the earlier you can start saving and planning for that because it’s going to hit every single one of us. And people are now living much longer than they used to live, so you need to tack on an extra 10 years. You can kind of be like the new bionic woman or man. The technology, the vitamins, all this stuff’s available. It’s super cool. But you’ve got to plan for that financially so that you can afford to live.Resources
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