“Yikes, I can’t believe I made these house cleaning mistakes!” You’re not going to believe the silly/stupid mistakes house cleaners made and got away with.
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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.
House Cleaning Mistakes
Biggest mistakes made by house cleaners, and can you prevent yourself from making the same mistakes? This is part two of the biggest mistakes that house cleaners make so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Another biggest mistake made by house cleaners is taking on a business partner. Because you thought they were going to do half the business, they were going to come up with half the money and they were going to do half the work.
It very rarely ever ends up that way. Usually, the person that starts the business is the one that carries the weight of the business. And they’re the ones that are doing the contracts and come up with the money. They’re the ones that come up with good ideas, and there’s usually someone riding their coattails. And so, it gets frustrating when you think that you’re all in with someone else, and they think, “Hey, I’m coming along for the ride.”
Starting Partnerships Can be a Mistake
There have been so many house cleaning business partnerships fall apart. Because they have agreements with their customers, but there are no agreements upfront with the partnerships. Nothing that says, “Here’s exactly what you’re going to bring to the table. Here’s exactly what I’m going to bring. This is exactly how much money we’re both going to bring. Here’s exactly how much money we’re both going to take home.”
And because those are not clarified from the start, so many businesses fall apart and they get sour and ugly. Then, what normally happens is one or both parties will destroy and sabotage the business so the other person doesn’t get everything.
And in the end, instead of having a surviving, thriving business, they have no business at all. Then they get a sour business owner, and a lot of times it’s both of them, they’ll go off and they’ll spin-off in their own directions. And then, they start their own house cleaning businesses, and they do now what they wish they knew. So, business partnerships, be careful if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. And if you do decide to take on a business partner, make sure it’s all in writing, that it’s all legal, and that the expectations are very clear.
Mistake 5: Hiring Anyone
Number five biggest mistake made by house cleaners. One house cleaner said the biggest mistake for me was hiring just anyone that showed up for an interview. You’ve all been there. You were desperate for help, you put an ad in the paper, someone showed up, and you hired them.
But along with hiring, what’s happening is you are bringing on an extension of your business. And so when you hire a person and you bring them in, what you’re saying is, “My business is super important to me. And I want to carry on this culture throughout my business, throughout the employees that we have. Throughout everybody that’s working for our company, for our clients, so that we have this great big empire that we’re building together.”
When you hire somebody that walks in and you don’t know what their background is, and you don’t know what their work ethic is, and you don’t know what their morality system is, is this an honest person? Is this a person that is trustworthy and reliable and dependable?
Some People Aren’t Great Workers
I’ve hired some people that weren’t dishonest per se, but they were not great workers. And they were lazy, and they stretched out the time as far as they possibly could. And then, they wouldn’t show up when they didn’t want to. There were issues.
And so, one of the things that we learn as house cleaners, and this is a reinventing the wheel thing if you don’t pay attention to hiring and firing procedures. But without very strict hiring and firing procedures, it’s easy to like, “Oh, I like this person. Oh, this is a single mom. Oh, they need the work. They’re going to help me.“
You want to believe in the best in people because as house cleaners, we are people pleasers. And so it’s instinctive for us to meet people and want to help them. And so, we see people that need help, and we go, ‘Oh yes, I can help you.”
You Can’t Help Everyone If They’re Not a Good Fit
Well, the reality is, if they’re not a good fit for your business and they’re not going to help you back, it’s a bad fit for employment. And so, this is a trial and error thing, but you end up getting to the point where you start recognizing some of the symptoms of people who are on the job hunt. Who are not good workers, and they can’t hold down a job for certain reasons.
So, hiring the first person that comes in, is not always a good idea. You need to put in place a very tight screening process and it needs to be because they are representing your brand. They are an extension of your business. And everybody that meets this one employee is going to think that your entire business operates that way.
So, it is very important that you have a process in place and that you don’t out of desperation hire the first person that walks through the door.
Mistake 6: Taking Complaints Personally
Number six. Taking complaints personally instead of tactically. As house cleaners, we want to bring our best to the customer. We want to give it our all.
Everything that we do in house cleaning is a touch of our magic, and so it is an extension of us. And then, the customer comes in and they’re like, “Oh, it’s not very good,’ and then you get really discouraged like, “Oh my goodness, it’s not good enough. What did I do wrong?”
And then you start taking it personally, and you’re like, “Well, the customer hates me.” Or worse yet, the customer doesn’t say anything. Maybe they’re in a bad mood for some reason, and then you start thinking in your head like, “Oh no, do they not like my work? Are they disillusioned with the fact that I’m here? Did I get sloppy? Did I forget anything? What are they not telling me?” And house cleaners will second guess themselves.
If You’re Following Your Worksheet You Can Stop Taking Complaints Personally
So, the good news is this. Stop it. Because that’s what the checklist is for. If you are following a worksheet, you’re following a checklist, then every single thing you do is done the exact same way every single time. It’s called a system. Once you have a system down, you can stop the guesswork, you can stop worrying and wondering, “Am I pleasing the customer? Am I doing enough? Am I doing the right job? Is the customer happy?”
The customer’s happy unless they call you back. When you don’t get any callbacks for two or three or five years, then jump on the phone and call the customer and say, “Hey, I’m checking in. Are we still good? I haven’t heard from you in a very long time. There’s no feedback. Are we still good?”
Because if you’re doing an excellent job and they’re getting excellent results, you’re never going to hear from the customers. But when a customer calls you, this is a chance for you to fix your system. Whatever it is that is not making them happy, this is a chance for you to fix it. Ask yourself, “Is this a high maintenance customer, or are they being weird? Or is this someplace I’ve fallen down in my business? And if I’ve fallen down, can I actually fix this with all my customers so that I don’t have this problem ever again?” So, that’s a mistake that house cleaners make, is they take it personally, and they feel sad without ever fixing it when it’s tactical feedback.
Mistake 7: Giving Discounts to Attract Customers
Number seven. Giving discounts to attract customers. There are a whole lot of house cleaners that don’t feel like they’re going to be able to get any business unless they offer a discount of some sort.
And so this happens all the time. “Hey, $50 off your first cleaning or your second cleaning,” or whatever it is. At Savvy Cleaner, no discounts are offered at any time for any reason.
We don’t have a discounted service. We have an excellent service at a very reasonable price, and it’s always very reasonable and it’s always excellent. And so, it’s the value that we’re selling, not the discount.
Discounts Can Drive Some Customers Away
Take this scenario, Costco has nice vitamins, and they’re discounted every few months. However, I do not buy them except in the months where they’re discounted, and I don’t know why because I need them at other times of the year. But because there are discounted, I say to myself, “Oh, I can save $4 on that one bottle if I wait until it goes on sale.”
They have trained me to wait for the sale when at any other time, I would go in and I would buy whatever it is I needed. If it was the same price all the time, I would buy it whenever. And so, we train our customers either to buy from us on value or to buy from us on price. If you start your business and start a relationship with a client based on discounts for as long as you clean for them, they’re going to always be looking for the next discount.
And so, if they don’t feel like they’re getting quite the value that they’re paying for. Then either you’re overcharging, you’re not doing a very good job, or you’ve trained them to look for the discounts. So, I can see how that’s a mistake lots of house cleaners fall into, is because they are desperate for business. They offer discounts to lure in the customer when instead they should be selling on value.Resources
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