Why We Call Cleaning Jobs “Clients” Not Customers

Clients Not Customers, Angela Brown, Savvy Cleaner
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Want to know why we call cleaning jobs "clients" not customers? Many house cleaners call them accounts, jobs, houses or cleans. At Savvy Cleaner Training we teach residential cleaning techs to call jobs clients not customers. There is a mutual respect and professional perception that comes with titles or labels. Customers behave like clients when you refer to them as such and maids are frugal with their time if they see a job as billable hours.

Want to know why we call cleaning jobs “clients” not customers? Many house cleaners call them accounts, jobs, houses or cleans. 

At Savvy Cleaner Training we teach residential cleaning techs to call jobs clients not customers. There is a mutual respect and professional perception that comes with titles or labels. 

Customers behave like clients when you refer to them as such and maids are frugal with their time if they see a job as billable hours.

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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.

Clients not Customers

Clients Not Customers, Professional House Cleaner and ClientsClients, not customers. What is the difference and why do we call our house cleaning customers, clients? This is an interesting topic and one that comes up a lot in our training at Savvy Cleaner Training.

We train every house cleaner to talk about their customers as clients. And they’re like, “They’re not clients. Clients are for professionals.”

I know. We are professionals.” That’s why I want you to start looking at your customer base as your clients.

Why You Have to Call Customers Clients

Clients Not Customers, Man Wiping CounterHere’s the reason why. There’s a mentality in house cleaning that we are a commodity. That we are going to go for the lowest price, and we’re going to get the job.

And we go in and we treat it as if it’s a commodity. They paid us some money, we gave them a service, boom, we’re done.

Change the Perception in Your Client’s Minds

Clients Not Customers, House Cleaners Arriving at Customer HomeAll right, now what happens if you have a client? Well, it’s like this. Let’s assume for a second you are a “client.”

You have a doctor’s appointment or you have an attorney appointment or you meet with your lawyer. You schedule the time and you know you can’t break this appointment because this person is busy and works off a tight time schedule.

Then you know that the appointment is going to be very expensive. And so there’s this different mentality about how the perception is on the other end of the table about your cleaning.

Treat Them Like Clients and They Will Behave Like Clients

Clients Not Customers, Excited Woman, I'm a Client and I'm Going to Act Like OneSo, call your clients, clients and treat them with respect like they are your clients. Then what happens is they start behaving like clients. If you treat them like a commodity or just a job, they behave like you’re just a commodity too.

And being a commodity there’s nothing to make them feel special. There’s nothing to bring it home and say, “Oh, you know what? I can’t break this appointment.” Because they’re a commodity because they’re a house because they’re an account.

So, they cancel appointments. “I can’t do it this week, let’s reschedule.” And they expect that because you’re offering a commodity it will always be available.

We all only have 168 hours in the week. And if you have spent 40 of them cleaning during the week, that’s a very narrow window of time you do have available.

There’s a Very Narrow Window to Sell to Clients

Clients Not Customers, Lawyer and ClientsNow, the truth is there are a lot of house cleaners that do not clean eight hours a day.  So it’s even a smaller window of time that you can sell.

And so, start looking at the hours of the day where you are actually working. Not travel time, chit chat time, time back at your office where you’re doing Instagram posts and all these other things. The actual cleaning time in front of a client are your billable hours.

There is a premium on your actual cleaning hours.

And so you can’t afford the risk of somebody canceling and not having a replacement to fill that time slot.

Send Out Reminders to Clients for Cleanings

Clients Not Customers, Woman Looking at PhoneIt sounds a little bit neurotic, but there are house cleaning companies that will send out three reminders for every clean. They send one out a week in advance. One two days in advance, and one the day before the cleaning.

They’re checking to make sure that it is still happening and they don’t double-book. And so that person is locking in at that time because it’s a very specific amount of time.

What are Billable Hours with Clients?

Clients Not Customers, Woman VacuumingAs house cleaners, oftentimes we fritter away our time. We stop by to grab some cleaning supplies and we ended up going grocery shopping. We’re not aware of the time that we have. 

That is not billable time you can bill your client for. When you are face to face with a customer or you are in their home, that is billable. Or if you are on the job or you are at an account, those are billable hours.

Treating Customers Like Clients is a Mind Frame

Clients Not Customers, Tired Man Working LateAnd when you treat customers like clients your mind frame changes and their mind frame changes. And now there’s this mutual respect. This is, “Oh yes, I had to schedule my cleanings.

And we do this in our company. We schedule our spring cleanings months in advance. We schedule our winter cleanings months in advance. This is because as people have holidays they have extra people and extra needs in their house.

There are a bunch of extra tasks that you can add on as upsells, but time is of the essence. There’s not a lot of time to wing it.

Schedule Appointments With Clients in Advance

Clients Not Customers, Woman Painting Nails, I'm Super Busy Can We RescheduleYou want to get ahead so that your schedule is ready to go months in advance.

And so, when people call and they’re like, “Oh hey, I decided to throw this party, can you come clean tomorrow?

I would love to. I’m so sorry. My other clients have booked that time five months ago.” And so they’re like, “Wait a second. This is an in-demand company.” So next year they get on the schedule five months in advance.

Not Planning Ahead of Time Causes Slow Periods for House Cleaners

Clients Not Customers, Woman with Piles of PaperworkThere are so many house cleaners that are experiencing a slow period for work. And it’s slow because they haven’t booked their schedules in advance. They’re treating their business like it’s a commodity.

And because you’re offering a commodity – it’s not in demand, nobody wants it. But if it’s in high demand people will reserve it in advance and they won’t cancel on you. This is because they know how hard it is to get an appointment with you.

You are a Professional with Clients

Clients Not Customers, Group of PeopleSo, you have to start thinking, “I’m a professional, these are my clients. I charge a premium for the services that I offer. I have a very specific set schedule that I can’t change. I apologize, but it cannot be because of the time that I’m allocated to work. That’s all I have.

And it’s true. We all only have 24 hours a day. And so if you use that time wisely, then your customers will respect your time as well.

But if you fritter it away and you waste it in front of them, they will waste it as well.

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