It’s official you’re in business and need documents for your house cleaning. It’s official if you use verbal contracts to operate your maid service as well.
We Ask a House Cleaner what binding agreement paperwork will reinforce the working relationship. Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru says it’s official when you do your initial walkthrough with the homeowner. Agree to operate as client and maid and discuss rules and regulations. It’s easier to reinforce a contract in writing between you and the customer.
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Listen: It’s Official – Cleaning Business Documents
Watch: It’s Official – Cleaning Business Documents
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: It’s Official – Cleaning Business Documents
All right, now on to today’s question, who is from a business owner who wants to know …
My name is Jessica DeCandia. I am the owner of You’ll Have It Maid. I was wondering, I’ve been doing this for a few years now, but everything I’ve done thus far is verbal. How do I start to make it more official, with documents and agreements and such?
Answer: It’s Official – Cleaning Business Documents
It’s official! You’re in business! It is super important that you have all your documentation in place.
Why is Documentation Important?
Here’s the reason why. If you only have verbal contracts, there’s nothing to reinforce your rules and regulations.
My suggestion to you would be to spend a little bit of time every single day. Carve out a little window where you can put your rules and regulations down on paper.
Paperwork For Customers
Now, you’re going to need paperwork for your customers. So when you go to a person’s house and you’re doing an initial walk-through, you want to give them something.
What I recommend you giving them is a worksheet. I just made it matter of fact, like, “Hey, every time I come to your house, here’s the stuff that I will do. If there are any changes you want to make to this, we will make those right now during this walk-through. Then I’ve documented it. I’ll give you a copy of this, and this is our agreement.”
Don’t Call it a Contract
I don’t call it a contract because that sounds too official.
To me, it’s just an agreement. We both agree on the rules of how we’re going to operate this particular working relationship.
It might be a little bit different customer by customer based on their needs.
I’ve got to ask you this. If you don’t have any documentation in place, why not?
Even when we get married, we still sign a marriage certificate and a marriage license. We have nuptials and agreements that says here’s what we commit to.
There is an expectation set. It is a signed document, and a copy of it goes to the county courthouse.
It is a legal binding document, and this is a person we would trust everything with.
Now we’re going to a customer’s house and we have nothing in writing? That’s just odd.
You’ve got to start putting stuff in writing, and here’s another reason why.
As your business expands, if you’re going to be hiring employees, you’ve got to have stuff in writing.
Again, there has got to be another letter of agreement. If you come to work for my company, here’s what you can expect.
You can expect to show up every day between this hour and this hour. These are the hours that you’re going to be working. In exchange for these hours, you get paid X amount of dollars.
Here’s how it works: if you’re sick, for vacation, for health benefits, or if you don’t show up.
Here’s a noncompete clause. It says that if you decide to go start your own company, that you won’t compete with me in my marketplace. And that you won’t steal my customers out from underneath me.
Have Everything In Place
You have all these documents in place that you have people sign. Because if they know the rules upfront, then there are no surprises.
Later down the road … I get calls like this all the time. People are so surprised, like, “How could so-and-so do this to me?”
Did they know the rules? They’re like, “Well, no, I mean, I just assumed that they knew.”
There’s no assuming. It’s got to be in writing.
You do have to explain it as well. And then they have to have it in writing. Then they have to sign it, and you have to keep a copy of it on file.
You will have everything you need in the event that you have to go to court and fight this out. Or you have to fire someone, you have your legal documents in place.
What legal documents do you need? You need a legal document pretty much for everything.
You’ve got to have documentation about the chemicals that you’re cleaning with. They’re called safety data sheets. It is a law of the land that you provide those to your employees.
They need to know in the event that something malfunctions. And a little kid gets into the cleaning chemicals or if a pet slurps up those chemicals.
What are they supposed to do as far as a safety hazard goes? They need to know that, and it is your job to provide that. That’s got to be in writing.
If you have a company logo, you need proof of the logo. At some point, you may want to trademark that logo. That’s a lot of legal documentation.
If you have a bank account, you have business bank documents. You have documents of when you opened your account and what the privacy notices of your bank are. All that stuff needs to be on file.
If you open a savings account or add a signer to the account, it all needs to be in that file.
Business or Hobby?
Your files don’t have to be fancy, but you’ve got to have files.
The difference between a business and a hobby is that a business is treated like a business.
And a hobby is just kind of fly by the seat of your pants. Whenever I get around to it, whatever I decide, whatever the assumptions are, that’s a hobby.
Businesses create money; hobbies cost money.
There’s a big difference. Are you running a business, or are you running a hobby?
If You are Going to Do It, Do It Right
If you’re running a business, run a business.
We think we can just jump into the house cleaning business and clean houses. We think that because we’re great with a vacuum, it will all fall into place.
There is so much more to running a house cleaning business than just being able to vacuum fancy lines on the floor.
You have to carve out time every day and learn about business. Learn about the documentation.
There are a variety of places that you can go, like Rocket Lawyer, for example.
Let’s say that you only need one document. Create that one document and you pay for that one document, and that’s it.
You didn’t hire an attorney for all the services, you just hired the attorney online for the one document that you needed. You can pay as you go, or you can hire a person to be your regular accountant and your regular attorney.
Think of them as virtual assistants, but they’re online. You can do a little bit here and a little bit there, and you can pay as you go. It’s affordable, even to a small business owner.
My suggestion is to document everything. Because although we live in a fancy world where just stuff happens, stuff happens.
Now we live in an era where people are more prone to lawsuits and people attacking and accusing you. And you’ve got to have everything documented and in place.
It Is Not An Option
It’s just a savvy way of doing business.
I don’t care what your system is. It could be a fancy file cabinet or a milk case with 9×12 envelopes and you just write the name on the flap. The system just has to work.
It can be a simple homespun system, as long as you have the documentation in place.
Like I said, it doesn’t matter what you use. But you have to find something that works for you, and then be consistent.
So every employee you have goes through the same employee process. From the interview process to the noncompete to the letter of agreement. All those things. And they sign those, and those are inside their folders.
Then if you have to change your policies, again, it’s verbal and it’s in writing. They sign them; it goes into their employee folder.
You have to be consistent across the board. That way, you are, in fact, a business owner.
It’s official. Yay!
Okay, that’s my two cents for today. Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.
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Resources For This Episode
Rocket Lawyer for Occasional Contracts – https://www.RocketLawyer.com
Worksheets You Can Download and Edit – https://savvycleaner.com/worksheets
Start Your Own Business, Sixth Edition: The Only Startup Book You’ll Ever Need – http://amzn.to/2AGbynm
How to Start a Business: Startup Essentials-The Simple, Step-by-Step Guide to Successfully Start Your Own Business – http://amzn.to/2j26ApJ
Small Business Start-Up Kit, The: A Step-by-Step Legal Guide – http://amzn.to/2ADzfwt
The Start-Up J Curve: The Six Steps to Entrepreneurial Success – http://amzn.to/2yrB0Hf
Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business – http://amzn.to/2AF9z2K
Licenses, Bonds, and Contracts: Legal Documents for Cleaning Businesses – http://bit.ly/2yrL7Ma
Free Cleaning Services Agreement You Can Edit – http://bit.ly/2Bm3kjK
How to Start a Cleaning Business from a Legal Perspective – http://bit.ly/2Apo1I0
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SAVVY CLEANER – House Cleaner Training and Certification – https://savvycleaner.com
HOUSECLEANING360 – Referral database of the world’s most prominent home service providers and the homeowners they serve. https://housecleaning360.com