How to break up with a client – this cleaning advice is for house cleaners and maids. If you have difficult customers who are high maintenance it may be time to end the contract.
Write a breakup script. Do you know that old “it’s not you, it’s me” line? Make it about you when you drop the customer. End the working relationship with customer service and a smile.
When you learn how to break up the homeowner will say goodbye with their blessing.
Listen: How to Break Up With a Client
Watch: How to Break Up With a Client
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 to Break Up with a Client Who Claims Insurance
There are some clients who try to claim insurance for things that might not have been your fault.
Let’s say I have a cleaning company and I’ve had a couple of cleaners with a difficult client for maybe about 10 months now.
But we’ve now just had a bit of an altercation. I’ve ended her contract after one of my cleaners was allegedly rude to her and she was allegedly rude back.
How to Break Up with a Client After You’ve Ended the Contract
We’ve ended the contract, and out of the blue, she now feels that we owe her for breakages. She says there were two ornaments that one of my cleaners broke. Yet, she decided to not tell me about and keep quiet, just to keep the peace perhaps.
But now that we’ve had this altercation and cancel the contract … I don’t believe her at all, I think that it’s an opportunity for her.
There is an Art to Breaking Up with a Customer
So, there is an art and a science to breaking up with a customer.
If you break up with a customer and then they come back and they accuse you of something, your reputation is on the line. So, when you break up with a customer you want to let them go easy.
How to Break Up on TV
When we watch TV, when people break up, they don’t just leave in peace. On their way out the door, one of them will turn around and say something to have the last laugh on the other.
Before that happens, there is a writer’s room. There are a whole bunch of writers in the room and they talk about the story that’s going to happen.
Then they sit down and one of them writes the story out. Then they come back and they see how the story went. Then they take it and they pass it on to production and they say, “Yeah there’s a pretty good story, let’s make a few tweaks here.”
TV Break Ups Aren’t Real
On TV they rehearse the breakup over and over again and they look for little nuances. They ask, “How do I say this and how do I present this and should I be mad or angry or should I be funny. Should I be like aah no big deal?”
So, there’s a lot that goes into it. As a house cleaner, you can’t just go into it and wing it with clients.
The reason it works on TV is that all this stuff has happened before we get to the breakup. So, when the breakup happens, there are all these things that are set up to make the breakup go according to plan.
You Can Practice Breaking Up with Clients
As a house cleaner, you too have the opportunity to sit down and write your breakup. You can even practice what you’ll say in the mirror.
In your mind, you know the customer. But if this is a high maintenance customer that has caused you problems, you have to practice.
Going into the break up we already know that. The customer said things, the house cleaner said things and we lost the customer.
Either we fired the customer or the customer quit. But the relationship busted apart.
Real Break Ups Don’t Always Get Rehearsals
In real breakups, neither the customer or the cleaner gets the last laugh. What happens is the customer feels defensive and now she’s attacking the cleaning company back.
So even though we fired the customer and we’ve moved on, the problem is not resolved. So, we want to make sure that when we have a breakup that we spend the time learning how to break up.
You will break up with clients in house cleaning. It happens to every house cleaner, and you can’t always rehearse your breakup beforehand. So it’s best to know how to break up so you can apply it to each customer.
Make Your Reason for Breaking Up About You
Make your reason for leaving about you not the customer. Because if this is a high maintenance customer her instincts are to attack you and to destroy your business. So, you want to let her down easy.
Walk yourself through your script. Have a conversation with her. Say, “We’re not a good fit for each other and it’s for a variety of different reasons.” Don’t get specific about why you’re quitting. It’s her fault, but you don’t have to say it.
Thank the Customer When You’re Breaking Up
Tell them, “Thank you for the opportunity to clean your house. While I was cleaning your house, you paid a lot of my bills and I will be grateful to you for the rest of my life. But today is your last cleaning from me.”
Then she’ll be like, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. You are the best house cleaner we ever had. Is there anything I can do to keep you?”
You can say, “It’s not you, my company is just moving in a different direction.” Then you can leave on good terms, and you avoid all the nastiness that comes with a defensive customer.
How to Break Up with a Client in a Positive Way
You can avoid customers who will retaliate by giving bad reviews after you leave. But you have to leave in a positive way.
Instead, when you leave you can get a big tip. She’ll say, “I don’t know what you’re doing in your life but as you move on, here blessings to you on your way, I want to make this peaceful for you.”
Then you’re like, “Oh that’s so nice of you. Thank you so much.” She might even give you a big hug. And she’ll tell you to look her up if you can take her back as a client
How to Break Up with Clients When They Accuse You
When clients accuse you of breaking things, the easiest thing to do is just pay for them. That is what your business does. You pay for broken items.
Paying will ease the pain of this woman losing you as a customer for whatever reason. Send her an apology and say, “Hey there was a blowout. I wasn’t there, I don’t know what happened I’m sorry about it.
Please accept my apologies. Here’s the money for the items that were broken.”
Have a Conversation About Breaking Things
On the initial walkthrough have a conversation about breakage. Say, “ I try not to, but it happens like two or three times a year. I feel so horrible when it happens, but I promise if I’m at your house and I break something I will always tell you and pay for it.
So, if for some reason you find something that is broken, I did not do it because I will come clean and I will tell you every single time.
If you find something and you think I broke it will you let me know? Let me know within 24 hours after I’m here so that I can make it right.”
Most people are very understanding about this.
Always Tell Your Clients When You Break Things
Then if anything malfunctions, always tell them. There are times when people have had broken things in their houses.
They’re like, “She broke my stuff!”
Any of the neighbors that they talked to will say, “She didn’t do it, she would’ve told you. She didn’t do it or her team didn’t know, they would’ve told you.”
How You Break Up with Clients is Your Reputation
That becomes part of your reputation. So, let them know that right upfront. “I’m going to break something. One of these days a month where I’m super clumsy or something. I hope it’s not at your house but if it is, I’m sorry in advance and I will let you know.”
Now there is no surprise. When you’re on your way out the door and you leave them, they’re not coming after you going, “Oh you broke this or you stole that”.
So, you leave them with no ill will. You leave without anyone fuming or arguing.
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