Ask a House Cleaner, Cancellations, Savvy Cleaner

Cancellations – #6 Top Tips to Handle House Cleaning Cancellations

Cancellations – #6 Top Tips to Handle House Cleaning Cancellations. Last minute cancellations can mess up your finances and your schedule. Instead of ranting on the lack of human etiquette and wishing you’d confirmed appointments. The House Cleaning Guru, Angela Brown shows the best ways to handle your client’s change of plans.

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Hi 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. Hooray!

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Today’s Question: My House Cleaning Client Keeps Cancelling One Me

Okay, so today’s question comes from a girl who is a really great maid. And she keeps showing up to this customer’s house, and the customer has canceled on her three times in a row.
And she’s totally perplexed. She doesn’t know why, and she wants to know, I mean she’s counting on the money to pay her bills. She wants to know; “Should I fire this customer? And go find another customer that’s willing to pay me? Or should I charge them a fee for canceling me at the last minute? Or what should I do?”

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Answer: 6 Ways to Manage Cleaning Clients Last Minute Change of Plans

From the very beginning, you need to set up your rules and regulations as a business owner.
#1 Rules and Regulations CancellationsSo, on your initial walkthrough, when you’re walking through with the customer, this is a chance for you to say; “Oh, by the way, I have a cancellation policy. Here’s how it works.”
And then go into the reasons why you have your cancellation policy and what the penalties are if, in fact, you have some when someone cancels on you.
Now, I’ve always had a cancellation policy that does not charge them if they are sick.
Because I don’t want to get sick. I don’t want to show up to someone’s house if they’re sick. Because if I’m sick, then it takes me out of work for however long, until I get better.
So, if they are sick, there is no penalty. And if have to call them and I’m sick, I don’t want them to make me give them money back or whatever.

What Are Your Rules for Cancellations?

Okay, so having said that, set your policies early on. And I say early on like on that initial walkthrough.
Let them know right up front if you’ve scheduled my time, and you cancel, it’s going to cost you x amount of dollars.
Within a twenty-four hour period, a lot of house cleaners will charge a 50%, non-refundable deposit for that cleaning.
Because they are unable to rebook that time.

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Work Your Waiting List

There are house cleaners that are really fortunate, they’re very good at what they do. And they have a waiting list.
And your waiting list consists of all of your one-time customers, somebody that just needs a one time clean here or there.

Great. They’ve seen your work. They know you, they love the work that you did. So on that one time clean just ask them “Hey, Listen. Do you want me to put you on a waiting list? In the event that I ever have a cancellation, I’ll give you a heads up? And if you need a cleaning at that time, you can say yes, or you can say no.” A lot of people say, “Yeah, put me on that list.”
There’s no obligation.

But within moments of somebody canceling on you, you’ve got a list of people that are on that one-off list.
One of them will probably say, “Yeah, come on over in the morning, I totally could use some help.”
They’ve already vetted you, they’ve already had you over. They’ve already given you a try, it’s a no-brainer.

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Find Out Why Your Customer Canceled#2 Show Empathy, Cancellations

When your customer keeps canceling on you, it’s important to find out why. Ask them with empathy.
The reasons for the cancellations could be anything from an elder parent that is in the hospital that needs care, and it’s too much to try to have a house cleaner come when they have to stay at home.

It could be that they’re going through a divorce right now, and they flat out don’t care if their house is clean.
There are weird reasons why people cancel on you.

And the more you understand and can put yourself in the customer’s shoes, the more likely you are to keep the client, and to avert them from keep canceling on you.


 #3 Is it you, CancellationsAre You The Reason They Are Canceling?

So, the third thing is, if it’s not them, there’s a finger pointing back at you.
So you need to find out “Is it me? Is it something I did? Or was it something I didn’t do? Is it something I forgot to do? Have I become sloppy and so complacent in the years I’ve worked for you that it’s easier for you to cancel on me, and have another cleaner come in from another company because you just don’t have the heart to tell me that I’ve been fired?”
You need to know that.

If you have an open time slot that’s every Wednesday at 1:00 pm, for a particular client and they’ve cancelled on you three weeks in a row, and they don’t intend to hire you back, you need to let that slot go to someone else that is willing to pay you and have you come in on a regular basis.

Cover Your Bases

  1. Set your cancellation policy early.
  2. Be empathetic and find out from the customer why. What’s going on in your life? Why are you canceling on me?
  3. Find out is it you? Is it me? As a house cleaner, am I the problem? Because you’ve got nothing to lose, if they keep canceling on you, you don’t work for them anymore. Right? You need to find out why.
    You need to ask brutal questions. And when your client says; “Well, you know, things are just kind of busy, kind of hectic…”
    “If it’s me, is is something specific that I can improve on so that I don’t make the same mistake as I go to another customer’s house?” You need to know what that is.

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Welcome Honesty

Because if they’re your good friend, if you’ve seen these people for years, they need to just be honest with you and say; “You know what? You’ve been skipping whole sections of my house. I noticed dust over here, I noticed that wasn’t paid attention to.”

You need to know what those specific things are so that as you move forward you don’t repeat those same errors in judgment.
It’s really easy as a house cleaner or a maid, to become complacent and get sloppy.
Don’t get sloppy at a customer who has had faith in you for five years. If you’re showing up for five years, guess what? You should be auditioning for that job at every single cleaning. At every cleaning, you should be fighting to keep that customer.

Keep Auditioning For The Cleaning Job You Have

Guess what? That customer believes in you. You’ve got a five-year history.
It is way easier, to keep that customer than it is for you to go out and do advertising to get a brand new customer that doesn’t know you, and you’ve got all this weird energy.
And you have all these weird expectations. And they haven’t given you a key to their house.
Spend the time on the people that know, like and trust you.
Welcome honesty, and don’t be defensive. And then do whatever it is you’ve got to do to fix the problem.

 #4 Be Gracious, CancellationsBe Gracious – Not Defensive

If someone is so kind as to give you some information about how you can improve, be gracious, don’t be defensive.
This is not a time where you cop an attitude and bully up your posturing. “Well, you know the reason why I did this was because of such and such.”
No, don’t do that.

Be gracious. Say “Oh, my goodness. You’re right. I didn’t realize I was doing that. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. I will fix that. It’s important to me that you shared your opinion. Thank you, I will fix that.”
And then do whatever it is that you’ve got to do to fix that.
So be gracious and not defensive.

Offer To Clean When The Client Is Gone #5 Not at Home, Cancellations

A lot of times, people will be there when the house cleaner comes, but it’s okay if they’re not there when you come to clean.
Sometimes, that’s actually preferred. (It’s always preferred, but we can’t kick client’s out of their homes if they want to stay right?)

So, say “Listen, you don’t have to be there when I clean. I know my job, and I can just do my job. And when you come home, the house will be clean, I won’t be in your way. If this is about your scheduling conflicts, I can clean when you’re not there.”

Remind the client that you’re bonded and insured. That you are reliable and trustworthy. And that you’re comfortable cleaning in homes when the customer is not there. You can even remind them that they can watch you remotely on their security cameras if they would like to check in.


Know When To Let A Customer Go

#6 Say Goodbye, CancellationsI hate to do this, but sometimes you have too many cancellations, you need to let the customer go. And say “Listen, I know you’re really busy, you’ve got a whole lot of stuff going on in your world right now, let’s put your house cleaning on the back burner. Let’s do this, I’ll put you on my wait list. And I will give your time slot to someone else. And in the event that I have a cancellation down the road, I will give you first right of refusal.”

A lot of times the customer is just looking for a way out. Give them that.
That way you can stay in touch with them. And you can keep them posted on your cleaning business.

It’s happened to me numerous times over the years, that a customer has left for whatever reason. And then they try a few house cleaners, they do a few things. And they come back and they are like “WHOA! I made a huge mistake. I really do want you to come back and be my house cleaner.”
And I say  “Sure, no problem. I only have this one-time slot that is open on Tuesday, not your normal day, but do you want it?”
And often times they will say “I’ll take whatever you’ve got.”
But be willing to let the customer go. Sometimes that is your best response.

Problems You Ignore Don’t Go Away – They Get Worse

So, those are my six tips. So, if customers are canceling on you, you have to deal with it. Because if you just ignore it, we know that problems we ignore don’t go away. They only get worse.

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How Do You Deal With Cancellations?

If you have ideas or suggestions, or another way to deal with cancellations, leave a message in the comments section below. We would love to hear your feedback and then interact and respond to that.
If you like this tip and you’d like more tips like this, give us a like. Let us know that we’re on the right track.
And until I see you again,  leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it. 

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