Clients who work from home vs. chatty maids is part 2 in our Ask a House Cleaner debate. Clients who work from home is the customers perspective. Homeowners feel they get a bad rap for wanting to remain at home during a house cleaning for medical reasons.
Clients who work from home told Angela Brown, they prefer to keep to themselves. If they don’t retreat, they get bombarded with questions and conversation starters from the maid.
A savvy cleaner is flexible with their cleaning routine.
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Listen: Clients Who Work From Home vs. House Cleaner
Watch: Clients Who Work From Home vs. House Cleaner
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.
Today’s blog is awesome in the sense that this is from a homeowner. A couple of days ago, we had a blog on “Can You Leave Already?” And it was from a house cleaners point of view.
It was about house cleaners who want the clients to leave and be gone when they come to clean the house. There was a client who wrote in and gave us the other side of this story. It’s about the clients who work from home.
Now I need to preface this by saying that there is not only one way to run a house cleaning business. There are many ways, and on this show, we get to explore the many ways.
So my way is not the only right way, and there are a variety of different approaches that are out there.
Here is a different approach. And I wanted for us to honor this particular client and respect their wishes. I am going to share with you what they’re going through from the customer’s perspective. See below for what she said.
Question: I’m One Of Those Clients Who Work From Home – Can I Stay?
“I am a homeowner looking for a regular house cleaner. I feel like those of us who work from home or choose to stay at home when a service person is in our home, get a bad rap.
“But, there are people like me, clients who work from home, who cannot leave due to medical reasons. I am also introverted, so I retreat to our garage or our front porch, to let whomever it is, do whatever it is they have to do.
So I let them in, and I inform them of any of the updates that they should be aware of. And I let them know where to find me when they’re done. That’s the extent of the conversation initiated by me.
I’ve found that if I stay in the main part of the house, it’s the house cleaner that’s the Chatty Cathy. I am answering questions and conversation starters. I prefer to lose myself in my work or just leave the person alone to do their work. Which is why I generally try to leave as much as I can when possible.
So it goes both ways. But I would be over the moon if I had a house cleaner that came to do a walkthrough and advised and did what you said. I would reassure them that I’m an introvert and I prefer to keep to myself. And I would not take offense if they didn’t speak much other than to let me know that they were here.
Answer: Clients Who Work From Home vs. House Cleaner
All right, that is an awesome response to our video the other day. And the answer is yes. There is a huge problem with house cleaners initiating the chatting that happens.
A lot of times they don’t even know that. That’s one of the reasons they want the homeowner to be gone is because they don’t know how to turn off the mouth.
The Neurosis Of House Cleaners
Okay, so let’s go back to the neurosis of house cleaners. House cleaning is a solo job.
Even if you’re working with a teammate, this is not social time. You need to be working the whole time.
So they are not chatting or having fun. It is not a social environment. But we are creatures of humanity and we want social interaction.
So every once in a while, you want to come back up above water and you just want to see who’s there. So when you see other humans, there’s this innate need to connect. Even if it’s with clients who work from home.
It’s Like Sitting on an Airplane
Now, If you’ve ever gone on an airplane ride, there’s this person sitting right next to you – all up in your personal space. If you’re flying cross country, you’re going to go 2,500 miles with this person rubbing shoulders.
So in the back of our minds, we feel we owe this person a conversation. The reality is you don’t. You’re never going to see them again. And all your seatmates, the people across the aisle, six rows in front of you and six rows behind you would appreciate it if, in fact, you didn’t talk.
They want you to be quiet so that they can read. They’ve got their iPads with them, they’ve got work that they’re doing. Everybody brought their own to do tasks on the airplane or they’re going to sleep.
So you’re chatting because you feel obligated that you owe these people. But it is a misguided approach just because they’re in your personal space.
Back to House Cleaning
All right, so let’s transfer that over to house cleaning. Clients who work from home, who are there when you show up to clean – just because you’re in their personal space doesn’t mean you owe them a conversation. They have paid you to clean their house. They have not paid you for a conversation.
Now the reality is that there are lots of clients who work from home. So if they’re at their house, guess what? They need to be working too.
It is only fair that they are able to stay in their house because guess what? That’s where they live. For a lot of people, that’s where they work. For you to expect them to leave, that’s kind of farfetched.
There are reasons we want them to leave. And the reasons are so that there’s no chatting, or micromanaging while we’re trying to clean.
Ways to Manage This
All those make sense. But if they know you’re coming in a specified window of time, they can figure out a way to be out of your way.
There are people that work out of their homes. And they are smart enough to figure out a way to move so they are not under your foot. They can work from upstairs while you are cleaning downstairs. They can move downstairs while you are upstairs.
Communication is Key
This happened a lot in my personal business. I would ask them every time I arrived, “Do you have any conference calls today? Is there any particular time that you don’t want the vacuum running?”
And they would say, “Yeah. I’ve got a conference call from 10:00 until 12:00 or something.”
Okay, great. I will do all the flooring stuff first. And you work around that so that they don’t have to leave because if that is their quiet hub. You can be upstairs without running a vacuum or something and still let them do their business.
Here’s The Key
If they don’t do their business, they don’t get paid, and they can’t pay you.
So they need to be able to get their work done in order to pay you.
Situations You Can’t Avoid
So there are house cleaners that prefer not to have people home. And sometimes the customers don’t know if they should leave or stay while the maid is there cleaning. And it can be confusing for people hiring a maid for the first time. So you have to explain it.
But there are certain circumstances that you can’t avoid.
For example, if there are seniors. Seniors often don’t have a job to go to or anywhere else to go.
So unless it’s a special occasion and they’re going to meet friends, they don’t have anywhere to go. So you need to work that into your conversation.
Just say, “Hey, I’m coming in the living room in just a couple minutes. Do you have everything you need so that you can move to another room so that I don’t get in your way?”
You can pose it like it’s your responsibility. Like, “Hey, I’m coming in there to do that room next.”
Give them a little bit of notice. Give them a little heads up. “I don’t want to be in your way.”
Saying What You Mean in a Nice Way
What you’re saying is I don’t want you to be in my way, but you’re saying it in a nicer way.
“I don’t want to be in your way. Is there anything you need before I head in there?”
They may go, “Yeah, let me get my tissues. Let me get my stretch bands. Let me get this, that, and the other and the dog,” and they’ll get up and they’ll leave.
Setting This Up Will Work Better for Both of You
But if you figure out a way to work with the customers who are staying in their houses, you will all get along a whole lot better.
It is important from day one. Whether you’re the house cleaner or you are the homeowner to set a no-chatting policy.
This is Not a Friendship
Because again, you’re not friends. This is a business relationship. You are friendly, but you are not friends.
If in fact, you are friends, then you need to take it outside the job. We don’t work while we socialize. That’s not what we’re doing here. We’re just working. They’re paying you for a service, you’re providing a service. That is the transaction.
So if there’s more to that, go out for lunch. Pick a day when you’re not working and you’re not on the clock and you’re not billing by the hour or the job. Go out and have a cup of coffee, go out for lunch, chitchat, go walking together in the morning.
I don’t care what it is you do, but don’t do it on company time.
Monkey See, Monkey Do
As you hire employees, and you bring employees into your business, they do exactly what they see you do.
So if you have trained your customers that it’s okay to chat with you, then your employees will have to follow.
As you hire employees to replace you with a client, those customers will chat with those employees. And you are paying for the employee’s time. So the chatting time comes out of your company profits.
So, train your customers upfront.
Explain in a nice and loving way, that you prefer not to have people at home. But if they have to be at home, there’s a no chatting policy.
Get in, get your job done, and go home.
Thank you so much for writing in and sharing this with us. Because it is important to know the other side. Yes, in fact, there are lots of people who have nowhere else to go.
Alrighty, that’s my two cents for today. And until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.
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Resources For This Episode
Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life – http://amzn.to/2BpbEwI
Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge – http://amzn.to/2BDNgKc
Where to Draw the Line: How to Set Healthy Boundaries Every Day – http://amzn.to/2BBkw4V
Model Rules of Professional Conduct, 2017 – http://amzn.to/2CMPVz0
The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service – http://amzn.to/2yNEyU8
Permissions To Share
SAVVY CLEANER – House Cleaner Training and Certification – https://savvycleaner.com
HOUSECLEANING360 – Referral database of the world’s most prominent home service providers and the homeowners they serve. https://housecleaning360.com