What do you do when a customer won’t pay you for the cleaning you did? How do you deal with difficult customers who refuse to pay? Here is how you manage your client’s expectations and be clear about what it is you do so you don’t have customers that won’t pay 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.
What To Do About Client’s Who Won’t Pay
What do you do about clients who won’t pay the money they owe? Now, we have somebody that wrote into the show and they asked this question.
“I started my cleaning company last year and have around 12 clients as of today. I advertise my business on Facebook and Google. However, I’ve run into some problems and I was wondering if you could answer them. I recently did a deep cleaning for a new client and she claimed I didn’t clean well, and she won’t pay me the money.
I did a walkthrough previous to the cleaning and I told her to point out specific things she wanted to be cleaned. And I cleaned everything she asked me to and she still picked everything apart and nothing was good enough for her. My question is, how do you deal with these types of clients?”
You Might Be Missing Some Steps in Your Processes
So, there are a couple of things that jump out at me real quick. You’re new to the house cleaning business. You’re in less than one year. The first thing that I see are some glaring gaps in the process that you have. So the first thing that I am hearing from you is that you did a deep clean, and you did a walkthrough with the customer, and you told the customer to point out things that they wanted.
The very first thing that shows up for me is you don’t have a process in place for the difference between your maintenance and your deep cleaning. So, you’re not sure either what it is you’re cleaning when you go to the customer’s house. The customer is hiring you because you are the expert.
If they’re hiring you and then you get there and you’re like, “Oh, what do you want me to clean?” They’ve lost all their confidence in you already. And now what they’re asking in the back of their mind, are you capable of delivering a deep clean on my house to my satisfaction? And so in the back of their mind, there are already doubts because you planted them.
We Have a Course That Covers Maintenance vs. Deep Cleans
I have a training program at Savvy Cleaner training that I highly recommend you going through. It’s called Maintenance vs. Deep Cleaning. And it’s part of a membership package, which is a whole lot less money than if you buy that course itself, but you can buy that course itself. We take you on about 68 different videos where we walk you through every room of a house.
And we point out exactly, this is what we clean on maintenance cleans. This is what we clean on a deep clean. Then, there will be things that we don’t clean on either a deep clean or either maintenance cleans. But it’s very clear to the customer exactly what it is you offer when you go to close the sale.
You Also May Have a Gap in Your Collection Process
Now, you said in the note here that the client won’t pay you the money. That also throws up a red flag that you have a gap in your collection process. I have another course that I would recommend you going through. And that is a course on pricing your services so that you get your money upfront.
So we have a credit card on file for the customer so that it’s not a question of, is the customer going to pay me or not? Or how are they going to pay me? Or when is the money coming in? You already have that all figured out as part of your walkthrough process. So, the fact that they won’t pay you shouldn’t even be a question.
Do You Have a Satisfaction Guarantee?
Unless, and this moves onto the next step unless you have a satisfaction guarantee that says, “If you’re not happy, you don’t owe the money.” And that might be what the customer is assuming. They are assuming that you have a satisfaction guarantee policy in place that says, “If I am not satisfied with the work you have done, I don’t owe you the money.”
And that’s standard in the industry. Either you come back to my house within 24 hours, you clean the things that I’m not satisfied with, or you give my money back, or I don’t pay you yet at all. So, I’m questioning your satisfaction guarantee policy.
How to Deal With Customers Like This
How do I deal with customers like that? I take full responsibility. I am wondering right now if the customer did not think you did a good enough job. Where were the expectations? So, this is throwing up to be a gap in the expectations. Something happened during your walkthrough, where you promised something that was not delivered.
And I don’t know your style of cleaning. I haven’t seen the way you clean. You’re new to me and I haven’t really met you yet. And I haven’t seen the work that you do. So, I’m kind of taking a stab here in the dark. But if the customer is not happy with the work you did, what was it that you promised?
Because if you have a checklist and you say, these are the things that we do on a normal standard clean. This is a different checklist that we have for a deep clean. Here on the deep clean, because you did a deep clean at this woman’s house, right?
There’s a Gap in What Was Promised and Delivered
And if she’s not wanting to pay you anything, there’s a gap in what you promised and what was delivered. And so, she nitpicked everything. But in the beginning, nothing was specified. It doesn’t sound like it was specified in what it was you were delivering when you said, “I told the customer to point out things she wanted.”
Now, the customer’s in control. It’s not you explaining how your business works. It’s the customer randomly picking things. And then, did you decide with the customer what the finished project would look like? It doesn’t sound like you did because when the project was over, the customer’s like, “Well, this doesn’t meet my expectations.”
So, the customer still was expecting something in the back of their mind that didn’t match what you delivered. And so, now I have several questions that come up. But, how do I deal with customers like this?
This is a Huge Lesson to Learn
This is a huge learning lesson. So, my first suggestion to you would be to get your processes in place. You have 12 customers so far. You are new to the business. But I don’t want you to go on any more walkthroughs unless you know exactly what it is you sell. What does your maintenance package look like? What does your deep cleaning package look like? How are you going to get paid? When are you going to get paid?
And if the customer is not satisfied with your work, what does your satisfaction policy say? Are you coming back to clean? Are you going to give the money back? Because right now, this is a perfectly justified situation by this customer. She is not high maintenance at all. She was guessing in the dark what kind of services you provide. And it doesn’t sound like those were met. And so, she doesn’t want to pay. That is completely understandable.
The Reason Why We Have “Difficult Customers“
The reason we have “difficult customers” is because house cleaners promise things. But they don’t say, “Hey, tell me what the project will look like when it’s finished.” And so, the customer is kind of like having something in their mind. House cleaners have something different in their mind. The house cleaner said they did a fantastic job.
But the homeowner, because it doesn’t look like what they were expecting and the clarifications were not standardized, nobody agreed on those, how does anybody know when the job is finished, right?
So, I want you to just stop for a second. Take a deep breath. You may not get paid for this project. And I would chalk this one off as a lesson learned. But I don’t want you to make the same mistake over and over again.
I Don’t Want You To Go Through This Again
I don’t want you to go through this process with any more customers, where you’re left wondering why the customer is acting that way. And I don’t want the customer to have any more house cleaners where they’re like, why do house cleaners keep doing this to me? Where they show up and they have no idea what it is they sell, and they have no idea if they’ve done a good job or not?
So, there’s a lot of stuff going on here. But I want you just to stop for a minute and take a deep breath and say, wait a second. I don’t want this to happen again.
What processes do I have to put in place today so that I can keep the 12 customers that I have, and so that I can get more customers coming in on the back end, and that we never have this situation again? So, this was an expensive lesson. It sounds like for a deep clean, you should have been paid a lot of money. It doesn’t sound like you’re going to get paid any money. And so, I would learn from this and not repeat any of that stuff again.
Maintenance vs. Deep Cleaning – https://savvycleaner.com/maintenance-vs-deep-cleaning
Pricing Basics: https://savvycleaner.com/pricing-basics
Savvy Cleaner Membership: https://savvycleaner.com/join
Price: Maximizing Customer Loyalty through Personalized Pricing – https://amzn.to/3fYB6Oj
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