Should you clean for friends and family? And should you offer friends and family discount? What do you do when they ask “Can you come clean my space or come clean with me?”
Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru says friends and family don’t make good cleaning clients. Her expert cleaning tips say don’t work for a family. There’s too much baggage and chaos to do speed cleaning and get on to the next job. And you may never get paid.
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Listen: Should You Clean for Friends and Family?
Watch: Should You Clean for Friends and Family?
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.
Question: Should You Clean for Friends and Family?
Should you clean for friends and family? We’re going to talk about that today. A house cleaner writes in and she wants to know if she should take a job cleaning for friends and family. It’s always sticky when you family hires you, or when you hire family.
Should You Clean for Friends and Family?
My answer is no. Don’t take the job. Here’s the reason why. Family and friends are too close to us. They’re too comfortable and they break all our rules.
For some reason, they don’t think the rules apply to them. If you decide to take a job cleaning for friends and family make sure that you get paid up front. And make sure that you have a schedule the cleaning with a start and an end time.
Then don’t come over and visit beforehand and don’t stay and visit when it’s over.
Your Time Isn’t Cheaper Because You’re with Friends and Family
Come over during the middle of a calendar day when you’re actually working cleaning houses. And make sure you have a job following so you are sure to get back to work.
Friends and family often don’t pay on time. They say things like; “Oh, well, you know I’m good for it, so I’ll just catch you on payday on Friday.” And then you may never see the money, which is typical in families.
Friends and Family will Distract You
Now, here’s what most of the time happens and one of the reasons why I say just flat out don’t do it. When you’re working with friends and family they will distract you.
Suppose you’re in the middle of a normal cleaning routine when your buddy pops their head in. “Hey, I’m carrying this mattress out to the car. Can you help me?” How can you not help out a friend?
So, you’re like, “Well, okay,” and you stop your cleaning and you help them carry the mattress out because it needs an extra set of hands.
Then while you’re out in the garage they offer you a drink from the fridge “Hey, can I get you a drink?”
And you’re like, “Yeah,” so they open the fridge from the garage and they get you a drink. The next thing you know, you’re having drinks and you’re not cleaning the house.
Friends and Family Add-on Tasks as You Go
Another thing is, they start adding tasks on. “Oh, hey. I was wondering if you could just throw this in the wash for me.” Or “Hey, we’re going to have lunch. Do you want to stop and have something to eat with us?”
There are all these weird distractions. Soon, your three-hour window turned into a five-hour window. And you can’t bill for five hours of time because you know and they know you did not work the whole amount of time.
Now they’re going to try to cut you on price and they’re going to ask for a friends and family discount. This is not a business transaction.
Help Friends and Family Because You Want to Help
If you want to help your friends and family, go over and help them for free. Don’t work for your friends, and don’t hire your friends. If you’re helping them for free, my suggestion is to get them involved. Say, “Hey, listen. Everyone else pays me for my service and I’m going to come over and help you for free. But in exchange, I need you to help me back.
Be ready at 9 o’clock when I get there. I will bring the cleaning supplies. And you and me will tag team the house. I’ll start on the upstairs, you start on the downstairs, and we’ll finish the entire house by 11:00am”
That way, you can have them help you.
Decline Friends and Family Who Just Want a Freebie
Now, another thing to think about is what is the big picture?
I had an extended family member that wanted my service to come over and fill in the gaps, is what they said.
It’s like somebody calling and asking if they can pick your brain because they don’t want to pay for consulting.
The fill in the gaps was “when you have a cancellation and you haven’t sold that time, can you come over and clean my house for free?”
I had to be clear with this particular extended family member and say no.
Flip the Responsibility Back to Your Friends and Family
“As it turns out, there’s an adult child that lives at your house that’s never lifted a finger. You can show her how to empty the dishwasher and how to bring groceries in from the car. She can learn how to vacuum and to sweep and mop and maintain your house.
If what you need is help, I will help you with something else. But I will not pay my employees to come clean up after your daughter who can clean up after herself. “
Everybody gets to carry their own weight in a household. Even grown children who live at home free of charge.
Kids are able to do work from young ages. And it hurts them in no way to learn cleanliness and household chores.
Don’t Mix Business and Pleasure – In the End, You’ll Have Neither
When family and friends are asking you, “Can you come clean my house?”
Ha. My suggestion is always no. Don’t mix business with chaos.
Friends and family are entertainment. And they provide drama, chaos, rule-breaking, and exceptions, none of which work well in business.
Should You Have a Friends and Family Discount?
If you don’t clean for friends and family – there is no reason to have a friend and family discount. But if you do – make sure it’s posted on your website along with the rules of working with friends and family.
This way you can suggest they read the rules up front which specify payment, hours, and expectation.
And then enforce your rules if they don’t pay, waste your time or tack on extra services they hope you’ll toss in at no charge.
Keep Friends and Family – Just Friends and Family
My suggestion to you is don’t go down that road. Don’t let your friends hire you, don’t hire your friends. It is such a punishment to yourself and it’s a punishment to the family and friends because you’re not going to do a good job.
They will distract you and then they will think you did a crappy job.
Then they will tell all the other family members that you’re crappy at your business. I’ve seen so many bad situations.
When they ask for your help, say no and say that your schedule is full. And then go somewhere else where you’re going to get paid and you have people that respect and honor your rules and regulations.
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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 – https://amzn.to/2LqcIVG
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Not Nice: Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty… And Start Speaking Up, Saying No, Asking Boldly, And Unapologetically Being Yourself – https://amzn.to/2J2wFDQ
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