“Help! There’s family competition in the cleaning business. I am trying to grow my cleaning company and family competition is messing things up. She didn’t ask to come clean my space or clean with me or anything. Should I be a mentor or give cleaning advice or let her figure it out on her own?”
Angela Brown gives expert cleaning tips for this house cleaning FAQ. Should family competition be the reason not to give free house cleaning training?
Listen: Family Competition in the Cleaning Business
Watch: Family Competition in the Cleaning Business
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 Do You Do When You Have a Family Member That’s Also in the Cleaning Business?
“Hi, Angela. I have a question for you. I have a family member that, after years of me starting my own business now has started her own. And I feel like she’s walking on my turf. It would’ve been nice if we would’ve talked about it beforehand, but that did not happen. What would you do? How would you handle this? If she has questions, would you help her or give her suggestions on how to grow her business? We live about 20 minutes from each other, and I’m sure we may cross paths. All suggestions on this topic would be great. Thanks, Michelle.”
All right, Michelle. This is an odd question, but the answer is this. Yay! Your sister doesn’t work for you, but she has her own cleaning business. She probably started her business after seeing how successful you are.
Maybe she envied you a little bit when she saw the freedom of your schedule. And she noticed you got to work for yourself, and take vacations when you wanted. Your sister envied that, and said, “Man, I wish I was like Michelle.” So, it’s possible she started her own business thinking that she could be you.
The reality is not everybody that can clean houses should clean houses. Not everybody is cut out to be a house cleaner. We find out soon after people start a house cleaning business if they are capable business owners.
If you are just good at cleaning, you will be better as an employee. In the house cleaning business, there’s a lot of sales and marketing. There’s also bookkeeping and accounting. Then, you have to continue learning to keep current on all that comes along with running a business. Being successful requires a lot of work.
Should You Help Her?
Yes, you should. She lives 20 minutes away from you. She’s not even in your market.
But, here’s the good news. She’s close enough that if you get into a bind, and you need an extra hand, maybe you could call her.
That way you have somebody that you’ve trained, and that you know, like and trust. Even though she started her own business without asking, you could call her and say, “Hey, I have this huge project. Would you drive 20 minutes away and come to help me?” You could make it worth her time so she would make the trek. You’re family, so you might need to rely on each other.
This is Not a Competition
Now, there’s a philosophy in life that we have to compete with each other. We need to one-up everybody and be better than everybody. The good news about house cleaning is that in America alone there are 74.5 million home units.
They all need cleaning, and if you’re one person, you can only clean two or three houses in the course of a day, so there’s no need to feel threatened.
If you have a team of people, you can clean three or five houses in a day. Then, you have to have more teams to clean more houses. So, even if you guys worked in the same neighborhood, there is plenty of business for everyone.
It’s frustrating when you spend money to go to a training class. You learn about all types of surfaces, and what chemicals you can and can’t use on those surfaces. You go to training seminars and learn and study. Then, you gather all your knowledge, and somebody just comes in and says, “Hey, can I pick your brain for free?” First, it’s tacky, and I get the fact that she is looking for some free help. But she’s come to you because she respects you.
Sharing Knowledge Doesn’t Cost You Anything
It’s like lighting a candle. If you are a candle and you share your light with another candle, it doesn’t take away from the brightness of who you are. It just helps shine more light in the same area.
It’s like aisles of a grocery store. Your brand is like a soda, and other people who have brands are like other sodas, and we are all on the same shelves. Then, as customers come in to buy the things we’re selling, they pick a brand that fits them. The goal is to bring people in. Even if they don’t come to my brand, they’re going to come to a similar brand. Together, we all rise the tides higher.
Be a Mentor
So, there is no need to be in competition. Don’t feel like she’s trying to sneak around you or do something like that. She probably just admires you and admires that you’re this amazing businessperson. She wants to be like you.
So, as you mentor and help her, you have to realize maybe this business is not for her. But, maybe it is. So, if it is and she does well, maybe she can help you out on occasion, and vice versa.
You may have some leads that are in her area, that you don’t market to because you don’t service that area. You might be able to send business her way and maybe she’ll send business to you. That makes it a collaboration, not a competition.
Welcome Your Sister to the House Cleaning Family
So, yes. Welcome the fact that she has a business and that she’s asked for your advice and opinions. Be happy that you are in a position to help her out because you are a family member.
You don’t have to spend hours with her. But, if she asks for advice, give her some advice, and if she implements that advice, then you can give her more. If she doesn’t take the advice, then it’s a waste of your time to keep giving her your best ideas. She’s not going to use them, so stop giving them.
There’s no need to be afraid that she has a business 20 minutes away. It’s not even your market. Just take it as a compliment like, “Oh, hey. I’m pretty cool. Somebody wanted to be like me, so they went out and they started their own house cleaning business. Woohoo.”
You can learn from each other. She’s not stepping on your toes.
Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.
The Little Red Book of Family Business – https://amzn.to/2OS4eIC
Keep the Family Baggage Out of the Family Business: Avoiding the Seven Deadly Sins That Destroy Family Businesses – https://amzn.to/2vxjEtJ
Dirty Little Secrets of Family Business: Ensuring Success from One Generation to the Next – https://amzn.to/2MunHgW
Deconstructing Conflict: Understanding Family Business, Shared Wealth and Power – https://amzn.to/2nqE4Ar
How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships – https://amzn.to/2AYlucx
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