“I want to quit and I’m afraid I might get sued.” Do you ever think you’ve got a high-maintenance customer that is going to be trouble? Do you quit before they get the best of you? Here are some cleaning business owner hacks to make you rethink leaving or quitting the job.
Listen: I Want to Quit and I’m Afraid I’m Going to Get Sued
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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.
I Want to Quit, But I’m Afraid
“I want to quit, and I’m afraid I’m going to get sued.” These are the words that came to me today across the airwaves as a customer called in. And she said she wants to quit her current cleaning job. “My name is Angelica, and I have a client who is very high-maintenance. She has OCD issues, requires that everything gets polished and dusted every week in her house. And I honestly have been cleaning for her for about a year now. And over the course of the year, about two or three things have broken.
And she has referred me to other people, so I don’t want her to start talking negatively about me, but I also don’t want her to sue me, or anything else in terms of ending the contract. I did see your video about ending a contract in the most diplomatic way possible. Yet, it’s kind of still up in the air for me. Thank you so much for your answer.”
It Sounds Like You Have a High Maintenance Customer
Hey, Angelica. I am so glad that you called in today. And I’m about to burst your bubble, so sit down, have a seat, take a deep breath, and calm down, because what I’m about to share with you is not what you called in to have me say. I’m going to share with you what they do not tell you in house cleaning school.
Right now, this is what I hear you say from the message, you have a high-maintenance customer, she wants her house clean, which is what she’s paying you to do, you’ve broken a couple of things at her house, and she’s given you referrals. That is what I hear you say. And that leads me to a specific day, “Oh, wow, you’re one of those.”
There are house cleaners, lots of these house cleaners that every month at a certain time, they get a little bit hypersensitive, and they’re kind of clumsy, and everything that they touch, they drop and break.
It’s Easy to Break Things On the Job
And so, it’s possible that if you clean the same lady’s house on a regular schedule, that every month, at about the same time, you’re going to be cleaning her house, if she’s on a regular, weekly, or a bi-weekly schedule. At the same time every month, you will be cleaning her house.
It sounds like after a year, there were only three times you broke things at her house. Good for you. Good for you, because it is possible you could have broken 12 things at her house, one every month, on this clumsy sort of day.
Okay, now that we’ve established that, because you are at this certain time of the month, and I don’t know what part of the month it is, but it happens in a biorhythmic fashion for most house cleaners, they have up and down days, and then the clumsy day comes out at the same time every month.
You’re Being Hypersensitive
Okay, so what happens is, you’re hypersensitive. And so a customer that normally is like, “Hey, this needs to be done,” on any other day, it wouldn’t bother you, but the day that you’re hypersensitive, it’s going to come off sounding like high-maintenance. It’s probably not the customer at all, it’s probably you.
Okay, now, I know that’s not what you want to hear. Just take a breath for a second, calm down, and listen to this. She’s probably the best customer you’re ever going to have if you think she’s high-maintenance and she’s referred you to other people.
If it’s true that she’s high-maintenance, her friends know that she’s high-maintenance, so when they get a referral from her, they’re like, “Whoa, that woman can’t be pleased by anyone, and yet here is a house cleaner who meets her standard of excellence. We better hire that person.” You’re going to get the best referrals from that customer. And most likely, they are not high-maintenance customers. Most likely, they are friends and normal everyday people. There’s no risk whatsoever.
I Don’t Think She Will Sue You
Now, you said in your call that you were afraid she might sue you. Okay, I don’t think she’s going to sue you. If she was going to sue you, you’d be in the middle of a lawsuit right now. Now, the fact that she hasn’t already fired you, lets me know that she’s kind of a nice person, that you broke three of her things, and she’s like, “Oh, whatever, the same house cleaner.” She didn’t fire you over that.
And I don’t think she’s going to sue you for that because, well, she probably has a clumsy day, too. Every month, she probably does. It’s like part of being human. If you moved her to a different day, you would probably never have this problem again, and she probably would not be high-maintenance.
You Don’t Have to End This Relationship
And I know that you brought up the fact that there’s a diplomatic way to end a relationship, but I don’t want you to end this relationship. There’s nothing here that tells me the relationship should end. There will be lots of high-maintenance customers.
I mean, for real, high-maintenance customers for real, but they’re wanting service and they’re wanting value for the money that they offer. Once you provide them the value that they offer, then they go back to doing their own thing, and they don’t have to micromanage.
People are high-maintenance because they’ve had a bad experience. And so they’re just trying to make sure that, “Hey, I don’t want to have another bad experience.” They’re scared.
Let Your Customers Build Confidence in You
Once you can ease their mind and make them feel safe in their own home, let them build the confidence in you that you’re going to do a great job and that you have a satisfaction guarantee, and that if you break something, you’re going to make it right.
All those things. And then she’ll be a normal everyday customer. But the high-maintenance customers, you will learn the most from. They will challenge you, and you will learn more about your business. You will change policies and procedures to future proof your business so that weird things don’t happen again.
There’s Nothing Wrong With Having an Off Day
But from what I’m hearing from this scenario, this is not a problem. This is not a problem for customers. There’s nothing wrong with you. You just had an off day, and it’s a biorhythmic thing. And the customer is being herself, but it seems high-maintenance because of the biorhythmic day thing. It’s not the customer. I wouldn’t let them go over this because they’re providing you money right now.
They’re paying you for a service that you can then pay your bills with. I would just be gracious. If you can switch the days, okay.
If you can’t, explain to your customer, “I think I have a crazy day every couple of months or every month, and I think it’s on the day when I come to clean your house. So if I stay on this day, I’m probably going to break more things, like, once a month, or once every other month, and it’s completely unintentional.”
Build Your Off Days Into Your Bid
I actually build that into my bid. When I’m at people’s houses, I say, “Hey, sometimes I’m clumsy and I break things.” And they’re like, “Whoa!” “But, I will always tell you, and I will always make good on it”.
And they’re like, “Oh, okay.” And then if I ever break anything, they’re like, “Well, you told me. All right, we got that out. Okay, good.” And then we all move on and everyone is… It’s all good. All right, I hope that helps you a little bit.
I just want you to kind of reframe the situation because you don’t really have a problem here. I know you think you do, but you don’t.
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