How do I keep employees from stealing my clients? Today we talk about building relationships with employees to inspire loyalty.
You can’t stop house cleaners from stealing clients. So focus on building positive work relationships that last in your cleaning business.
Listen: How to Keep Employees From Stealing My Clients
Watch: How to Keep Employees From Stealing My Clients
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 Keep Your Employees From Stealing Your Clients?
How do you keep your employees from stealing your clients?
The answer is you can’t. You don’t own the customer and the customer doesn’t own you. The truth is, most of the time the customers have a more lasting relationship with the house cleaner themselves than they do with the company. The house cleaner is the one that’s inside their home. They’re the one that is intimate with the family.
They know the pets, they know the kids, they know the kids’ names. When there’s ever an exchange between the homeowner and the house cleaner, it is, “Hey, how are you doing today?” And they say, “Well, my son had a soccer game.” It’s the house cleaner that’s following up going, “Hey, how was the soccer game?” So there’s a relationship that’s being built that you don’t have unless you keep that relationship alive with the customer. But most of the time their relationship is actually better with the house cleaner.
You Can Have Them Sign a Non-Compete Agreement
So, what can you do about it? First, you can have them sign a non-compete or a non-disclosure, and say that you will not share the information that you learned from the company. And then second of all, that you will not steal the customers.
So you have an actionable item in their employee file. If they do that, you have the chance to let them go. If those are the parameters on which they’re hired. So if you say from the very beginning, “If you steal my client, and you try to go out on your own. You no longer work for the company.” So that in and of itself is all you’re going to be able to do.
It will never make sense for any cleaning business to go after another house cleaner and take them to court. They stole your clients and they work for you. They don’t have the resources to give you a huge settlement of cash or anything. What are you going to get out of it? You might get the judge saying you’re right and you win, but then what? You go back to your normal business.
There’s Not a Good Way to Enforce It
So, there’s not a good way to enforce it. Having said that, what you can do is ask how many accounts can that person steal from you? How many can they do? So if they do two houses a day, the most they’re going to be able to steal from you is around 10 clients? 10 clients times two houses a day in a five-day workweek?
The most they’re going to steal from you if they steal all your clients that they’re working is 10 houses. And there are millions of houses around. 74 and a half million in America alone. So how many are they going to take? And then what happens if they do take your customers from you, and they whisk your business right out from underneath you?
That speaks about their character, not yours. So that’s on them. That’s their character. That’s who they are. Your business has to stand tall through that. And you will hate it, but you might have to go get 10 new customers because it’s a business.
Customers Come and Customers Go
If you buy something at the store one day, let’s say you go to a CVS, and then a couple of days later you’re driving on a different path and you stop at a different CVS. This customer, this CVS over here hasn’t lost you as a customer.
It’s that this one over here was more convenient. And it’s the same with house cleaning. They may have a house cleaner that comes for a period of time, then they liked the new person better. So they say,” Hey, I want to stick with this person.” Maybe they decided to go with that route. And you can’t get mad at the customer, and you can’t get mad at that at the employee. It kind of is the way it is.
And so, maybe when you got the house, it probably belonged to another house cleaner. You didn’t work for that house cleaner, but you probably took business away from another house cleaner. So we’re all guilty of it. We don’t do it on purpose. But sometimes that’s the way the chips fall.
Don’t Try to Stop Employees From Stealing Your Clients
So how do you stop them from it? You don’t. It’s a waste of energy and it’s a waste of time. And you could ask them in the initial interview, “Are you here to take my clients and go build your own business? Because if you are, I have a fast track manager program. I would rather put you on where I will put you in charge of all the different accounts. So that way you can learn the way that we do things and either promote them up the ladder or help them spin out on their own.”
You can decide that right up front as you hire people. And you can help lots of house cleaners spin out on their own. And it will be great because they would have worked with you for a period of time. Then about that time where they decided that they didn’t want to work well with other people, they can spin out on their own.
And you will say, “Oh, it’s great that you’re gone.” But then you could hire them back as an independent contractor on rare occasions when somebody would call out sick. If you have a good working relationship with those people, there are ways you can still make that work in your favor.
You Can’t Stop Anyone From Taking Your Business
So, don’t focus on cutting your employees out and making them stop from stealing your clients. It’s going to happen. It’s the nature of the business. It’s not even worth thinking about. Resources
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