Can anybody be a house cleaner? What does it take to run a cleaning business and how do you know if house cleaning is for you?
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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.
Can Anybody Be a House Cleaner?
Can anybody be a house cleaner? Yes. Anybody can clean houses. When we hire people to be in our cleaning business, we hire them on attitude, and for skill.
I can take anybody, and I can train you on how to clean a house. But there are people that come in for job interviews. When I sit in the interview and ask a series of questions, I let some people go, knowing, knowing that I can train them to clean houses, but there are things that make me say, “Nah, I don’t think so.“
Now, if I look at house cleaners and there are a lot of house cleaners that I get to deal with every day and they come to me and they go, “I’ve been in business for 10 years and it’s not very successful. I still can’t pay my bills. What am I doing wrong?” Well, let’s talk about what you’re doing wrong. Let’s ask a series of questions. Let’s find out where the gaping holes are.
House Cleaners Don’t Communicate the Same as Customers
There’s one house cleaner, for example. And she assumes in the back of her mind that her customers communicate the same way she does and she’s very to herself. So, she just assumes that they know the price, that they know what the price covers, that they know how they’re supposed to pay and the amount that they’re supposed to pay.
And when they’re supposed to pay, and her assumptions very rarely match reality. And then she gets frustrated and irate with the customers and then she’s like, “Oh, we’re not a good fit for each other.” And then she leaves, and she goes and finds a new customer and assumes that they know better.
It would be super easy just to communicate those particular items to the customer so that they can play on the same page. I have never met customers yet that can read my mind.
Customers Can’t Read Your Mind
Customers can’t read your mind, that never happens. It would be awesome if they could read your mind. You have to say the words and you have to explain what your price is. You have to explain how the price works. Now I know another house cleaner that accepts cash only.
I don’t know why, but she accepts cash only. So, if the customer doesn’t have enough cash on hand, they either have to drop what they’re doing and run down to the bank and go get cash. And now with COVID and banks closing, hopefully they can get cash at a bank.
I know that my bank is miles away and you have to have an appointment to get in. So, the challenge is the customer doesn’t always have the right amount of cash, but because it’s cash, can’t be traced.
It’s Your Word Against Theirs if They Don’t Pay
So, they say, “Well, I owe you 20 bucks.” So, the next week she comes back, and they say, “Oh no, I paid you last time.” And she goes, “No, you owe me 20 bucks for last time.” And they’re like, “No, I think I paid it all. I remember because I went to the bank and I had to get some money.”
So, it’s their word against her word and this goes on and on and on. Why? In an era where everyone pays by credit card and you can track a credit card and you can hook it up to an encrypted program.
Why on earth would you take cash? It just creates all these weird things. There’s another one, a different house cleaner altogether. And she accepts checks and that’s awesome. Checks leave a paper trail. But the problem is there isn’t always a check waiting for her.
Cash and Checks Create Weird Client Situations
And so, she’s gone literally three, four, five times a day to the customer’s office to try to pick up the check that was owed to her. And when she gets there, the customer is in a meeting or they’re not there, or they’ve stepped out to lunch, or a series of other things.
So, because there are rules and regulations that are not in place, they’re not successful. There are other house cleaners that have a really bad enabled attitude. And their attitude is, “I can get by doing whatever I want to do because I’m the boss.”
And so, they’ve enabled themselves to think that the rules don’t apply to themselves. “I’m different, I’m special.” The customers don’t think that. They think, well, you’re running a business, you should have business hours. You should show up when you say you’re going to show up, you should send invoices at the proper time.
Having a Business Comes With Expectations
They have expectations because they think they’re dealing with a business. And so, all the time there are house cleaners that do things that are not cohesive with a successful business. And then the business is not successful. And then they’re like, “Whoa, what’s so different about what I’m doing.” What you’re doing is probably okay. It’s probably just one or two areas that need tweaking. So, can anyone be a house cleaner?
Yes. Anyone can, but not everyone can run a business. And so, if you decide you’re going to get involved in a house cleaning business, I want you to think through every single thing you do. Are my relationships with other people in check? Do I know how to deal with difficult customers?
Because I promise you this, you will have difficult customers. You will. Now, do you know how to manage that? Do you just get all hot-headed and say, “Oh well, that’s it I’m not working for you anymore.”
Don’t Reinvent the Whole Sale Cycle
And then you go reinvent the wholesale cycle to go find new customers, new walk-throughs and new processes to get a new customer when trying to work something out with an existing customer would be far easier, far less expensive and would probably have a lot more longevity to it.
If you’re bouncing from customer to customer, to customer, to customer, it’s probably not the customer’s fault. Oh, did I just say that? I think I did. I think I said that it might be your fault. So, are you a house cleaner? And are you willing to look at all the different avenues of your business?
Because what that means is that means you have to learn accounting. Oh no. Did I say you had to learn accounting? I did. And you have to learn employee management skills. You have to learn all about how to communicate.
You Have to Learn to Communicate With Customers
This is not just, I’m going to always text my customer, but eventually, you will have to get on the phone, and you’ll have to have a real live conversation with the voice. I know it’s super scary. Well, you’re going to have to learn all these different things. You’re going to have to learn to interview other people if you’re going to grow and scale your business.
If you’re going to be the only person that runs your business, you have to figure out solutions for what happens when you go on vacation. Or if you get sick, or if you have a family emergency, because you have customers that are not going to wait for you. If cleaning their house is something that they need and you are not available, they’re going to go find someone else.
So, can anyone clean? Yes, anyone can clean, but there are nine out of 10 cleaning owners that I know right now that won’t be here in a year from now because they don’t have what it takes and they’re not willing to learn.
Some Cleaners Don’t Play by the Rules
There are people that are in my private Facebook group, not a lot, but there are about 350 people out of 13,000 business owners that don’t play by the rules.
And they’re mean to other people. And the rules don’t apply to them, so they’ve been banned and blocked from our group forever.
So, where there are helpful, free resources to help them grow their business they’ve blocked that off going, “Eh, I’m better than all of that. And I can be mean to people because the rules don’t apply to me.” So, while the rules may not apply to you, neither does our group. So, see ya, sorry. So, we don’t want to block and remove people, but there are people that don’t belong. There are people that don’t belong in our ecosystem as far as cleaning goes.
Anyone Can Clean but Not Everyone Should
And so, what I have to say is, can anyone clean? Anyone can, not everyone should, and not everyone is cut out for it. And not everyone has what it takes.
Can you clean? That’s the real question. Can you clean? And are you right for the cleaning business?
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