Should you do charity cleaning when you’re just starting your business?
Cleaning for a reason like cancer patients, surgery patients, disabled veterans or the elderly is saintlike. But your bills come first. As a cleaning business owner turning a profit and supporting your employees is higher on the scale than volunteer cleaning.
Listen: Should You Do Charity Cleaning When Starting a Biz?
Watch: Should You Do Charity Cleaning When Starting a Biz?
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.
How Do You Price Charity Cleaning?
Sometimes in-house cleaning, clients might ask you to take care of their elderly parents. This is because they’re elderly parents like you and they were the ones you cleaned for.
This isn’t what you’re qualified to do, and it’s not what you want either. You want to get back to your housecleaning business. That’s what your business is, that’s who you are.
Be Clear That You Don’t Do Charity Cleans
So the first thing you need to do is to be clear. Be clear about what you sell and what you don’t.
You’re a house cleaning business, not an elderly caretaker. You have to be upfront with your clients about that or you could fall into the trap of caregiving rather than cleaning. If you’re not clear, your clients may take advantage of you.
Make Sure Your Clients Know You Don’t Do Charity Cleaning
When cleaning if you get asked you say, “I would love to do that, and that is out of the scope of the project that I’m qualified to do. I’m not able to do that.” Even if it’s your family member.
Many elderly care places just don’t have the funds or the budget for a cleaner, and they all need one. And if they cannot afford a cleaner it isn’t your job to work for free. Even if your family member or a close friend is living there.
Of course, you can volunteer, but you have to be able to afford that time lost for a free cleaning. But few house cleaners can afford that.
You Can’t Pay Bills With Charity Cleaning
You need to pay your bills and that comes first.
You’re not running a charity, you’re running a business. Can you afford some charity cleans? Maybe, but it depends on where your company is. If you’re new starting out and money is tight, it isn’t a good idea to take free or low pay jobs just to help.
Cleaning for an Elderly Home is Charity Cleaning
Even light housekeeping at the elderly care building, while visiting, is charity cleaning. This is not part of your business at all. What you do is you go out and you get regular customers.
So you have regular accounts that hire you on a regular basis. And you have regular money coming in so that you can pay your bills, that is running a business.
You can start and just help your uncle and clean your uncle’s place free of charge. And when you go to visit him and say, “Hey, I have a few extra minutes. Do you mind if I tidy the place up a bit?” Do what you can while you’re there, but you’re not going to be able to clean up the whole facility nor should you.
Charity Cleaning is an Overwhelming Project
This is an overwhelming project that has no end in sight. And as soon as you clean it, they will start to expect you to come back day after day after day.
If they could pay you, they would already have someone on staff. There could be a health-code issue where maybe the caregiver support needs to get brought in to look at the place. There are lots of places that fall under the radar because they’re understaffed and over budget.
There are a lot of places like that and it’s sad that people have to live that way. But this doesn’t make it your job to fix it.
Someone Else May Need to be Brought in
If that’s the case, maybe someone needs to get brought in from the outside. From the social services to take a look at this place and determine what is necessary. Maybe the government can kick in some money on a regular account.
Maybe you can pick up that account, but not if you’re just starting your business because it’s a lot of work.
It’s a lot of focus and energy that’s not going to bring you money today. Earning money and picking up regular accounts to pay future bills is your goal.
Saying No to Charity Cleaning is Not Selfish
It sounds selfish to say no to charity cleaning. And a lot of house cleaners are like, “Well, I don’t want to focus on me and my business when my uncle needs help.”
But you’re not in business to rescue someone else, you’re in business to rescue yourself.
And you can’t rescue someone else until you rescue yourself first. Lots of house cleaners are don’t want to charge a lot because they want to help others.
But until you have money, you can’t actually afford to go out and help other people at a charitable level.
If you do, then you’re spending all your energy and your resources helping other people. Then you start feeling hateful about the project. You’re there out of the goodness of your heart, but you’re frustrated because you can’t pay bills.
Charity Cleaning Can Cause Angst
If you do charity cleaning and can’t pay your bills then anger, frustration, and angst set in. When you take that to a charitable house, they’re going to feel it as well.
Even if it’s your uncle, then he’s going to feel like, “Well, my relative doesn’t want to be here. They’re here against their own will.” Then there’s anxiety, there’s frustration. You don’t want anybody to feel bad about your offer to help.
So you want to be careful about protecting yourself and your business first.
Get Regular Accounts Not Charity Cleaning
First, go out and get regular accounts that can support you. Get your business flourishing. Then when you’re at that point, you can turn around and offer charitable help to someone else.
Then you’re in a position to do that and it comes from the right place when you have an established business.
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