Homeowner gets burned by house cleaner. If you’re new to hiring a cleaning service, you may not know what to expect from a house cleaner.
When you’re not happy with the house cleaner you hired, there are lots of things you should consider. Arm yourself by learning to recognize the signs of a bad house cleaner and avoid getting ripped off!
Listen: Homeowner Gets Burned by House Cleaner
Watch: Homeowner Gets Burned by 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. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
A Homeowner Gets Burned by a House Cleaner
A homeowner called in and got burned by a house cleaner. Here’s what he had to say.
“I had a house cleaner clean my house as it was newly bought and wanted to get it clean. On our inspection, she appears that she did not clean the house at all, and we asked her for our money back and she said, “Okay, I’ll send you the money back.” And she never sent the money back and then decided that she wasn’t going to send the money back and that we’re going to hear from her lawyer.
Now, in this case, what’s the best thing to do? We don’t have photos. But after we inspected it, it was clearly dirty and we’re still cleaning it now. So wondering what your opinion is on this. She didn’t send us any before and after pictures, and she offered our money back and then went back on it.“
I Hate Stories Like This
So, I hate stories like this for the reason that some of this could have been avoided. One of the risks and challenges that we run into in the house cleaning business is people call and they’re saying, “How much does it cost to come to clean my house?”
And they’re looking for the cheapest price. The cheapest price does not always translate into the most quality work. Now, you can pay a whole lot of money and also get bad quality work. So that’s one facet. But if you look for the cheapest price, you might get unsatisfactory results.
The next thing to mention is when you hire a house cleaner, you are not hiring a perfect stranger off the street to come in and clean one time. You’re potentially looking for a long term partnership. This is someone that could come in week after, week after and clean your home.
You Have to Spend Time in the Hiring Process
So, you need to spend a little bit of time and ask a series of questions to the house cleaner that the house cleaner should be able to answer. So, the questions are things like, “Do you offer a satisfaction guarantee? How will I know if you’re going to come back? For example, what does it have to look like before I call you back to say this doesn’t pass.”?
And it’s not that you’re trying to send up red flags that you’re that kind of a customer, but you need to know how does that work? What is that transaction? If you call the house cleaner and they say, “I’m not coming back.” And then you say, “But I want my money back.” And then they say, “Well, I’ll give it to you.”
Then they never give it to you. What does that look like? Are they then going to threaten you and say, “Well, I’ll have my attorney be in touch with you.”? What do you do? You need to know what that process is before you sign an agreement.
What is Your Website
The next thing to ask is what is your website? And the reason for this is because when I started my business almost 30 years ago, we did not have websites. But the good news is everybody has websites now, and it’s free to set up a website.
So, if they don’t have a business website, they might have a business Facebook. But that needs to have before and after pictures, it needs to have testimonials, and contact information. And it needs to have a picture of the house cleaner that is going to show up at your house. You need a picture of the house cleaner so that you know you’ve got a name with a face, you know who is coming to your house.
Not to be judgmental, but so that you are aware when the camera picks them up on the security camera, “Yes, this is the person I expected to be at my house.” So, there’s a series of questions that will help you confirm the house cleaner.
Ask a Series of Questions
Now, once you get a house cleaner and you’re talking on the telephone, there’s another series of questions that I you should ask. Questions like, “Have you had training? How long have you been in business? Do you have any situations that you want to share with me that I might need to be aware of? Should I put certain stuff away so that they don’t fall and break or so that there are no surprises?”
So leave that to be an open-ended question and let them share with you. This will allow you to know about the way that they operate. Because sometimes they will tell you more than you need to know, but it will clue you in on whether that is the right person for you.
Now, the reason for this is you can ask a lot of questions that are not related to the cleaning itself, which can give you a lot of insight and information about how detail-oriented they are.
Look for Signs That They are the Right Cleaner for You
So, there are things that I do when someone comes to my house either to bid a job or what have you that lets me know, “This is the right person for the job.” Or “No, it’s not.”
It might be you to flip the corner of a rug over, and if they walk into your house, it’s something that can easily be flipped with their foot so that people don’t trip.
So, it’s little things like that, that they could do to show that, “Hey, I’m paying it attention.” Not to mess with stuff in your house, but little tiny things. One of the things I’ve always done on job interviews is I leave a newspaper at the end of the drive. And when people get out of their car and they come up the drive if they pick up the newspaper and they bring it with them, of course, someone somewhere had to pick up. They’re coming this way anyway, it’s a natural thing to do.
If They Ignore Something That Needs to Be Done, It Shows You What They Think
If they walk right past it, that shows me the way that they think. They saw something that needed to be done, they walked right on by. “It’s not my job.” So, I would have a little tiny something that says, “This person doesn’t pay attention.”
Now, if for some reason you find yourself in a situation where they are threatening you and say, “Let me put you in touch with my attorney.” I would say, “Yes, thank you. I would love to speak with your attorney.” For this reason, they’re probably BS-ing in you. There is probably is no attorney, but I would love to speak with that person and say, “Hey listen, we went into an agreement with all of these rules and regulations in place and my house cleaner reneged on me. They did not have before after pictures, they did not keep their end of the bargain. They took my money then they lied to me.” And I would speak with the attorney and find out exactly what your next options are.
The First Rule of Regulation is to Choose the Right Cleaner
So, there are things you can do, but the first rule of regulation for choosing a house cleaner is to have your questions upfront so that you know exactly what you want to ask. Be very clear about what it is you’re looking for because if you’re a meticulous kind of person, you want a meticulous kind of house cleaner.
And if you’re going to hire somebody that has no track record, and have no ratings and reviews. And they have no website, or no satisfaction guarantee. Then they might take your money and not refund it, that suggests to me you either paid them my cash or check.
So, it needs to be somebody that has an electronic form of payment because that leaves a trail. With the trail, you can also reverse the charge if something malfunctions. So, there’s that as well. So, you need to be very careful moving forward that you don’t hire the wrong person in the future.
Be Very Aware of the Questions You’re Asking Cleaners
And be very aware that the questions you ask can help clue you into the type of person you’re bringing into your home. Now, it’s such a shame that the house cleaner was so shortsighted that they didn’t see that after you moved into the home it could have meant an ongoing relationship.
So, this is a sad, sorry, situation that you find yourself in. And by highlighting the situation to other homeowners they will get their questions in order so they don’t find themselves in a similar circumstances.
So hopefully they will do their due diligence and actually check out the house cleaner and their reviews.Resources
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