Legal Issues for House Cleaners @SavvyCleaner

Legal issues for house cleaners and maids – this should be part of your house cleaner education. Legal issues are not a matter of if in a cleaning business, but a matter of when. 

Ask a House Cleaner about lawsuits and who can sue for harassment? Or emotional damage, and other torts that you don’t expect. 

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru gives tips on having a legal budget for legal issues. And it’s great cleaning advice. From one house cleaner to a maid, you can get sued for just about anything. And it’s your job to protect you. 

Today’s sponsor is #HouseCleaning360 is a referral database of the best and the brightest in-home service providers and the homeowners they serve.

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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.

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Question: Legal Issues for House Cleaners

Today’s question comes from a new business owner, who’s starting his business. And he wants to know, “What are the legal issues that I need to know before I begin?”

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Answer: Legal Issues for House Cleaners

legal issues permitted by lawThere are rules for recruiting, drug testing, hiring, and firing house cleaners and maids. There are not-so-strict rules if you are the boss and you are the only one booking the jobs and doing the work.

The taxes could have legal implications if you set the business up as a solo house cleaner, then hire people to work for you. The expectations from OSHA could involve legal issues. As the boss, there are things you should know – should being the keyword. Yet when you hire employees that “should” becomes mandatory training under state “right to know” laws.

Don’t Be Careless With Your Accounting

Payroll for employees could trigger legal issues you’re careless with your accounting.

Your solo insurance policy will include your bonding and a liability coverage. And you may need to amend your policy when you hire additional house cleaners to include some form of workers compensation or disability coverage. It depends again on how you set up your cleaning service and the terms and conditions you agree to. Are your house cleaners considered employees or independent contractors?

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Solve the Legal Issues with Your Cleaning Business Upfront

Legal issues will keep you up at night – either now before they happen, or after. Your choice. The big difference is if you do your homework upfront, you will sleep better at night both now and later.

Suppose you know you should do a background check on the lady you just hired to clean houses for your company. But you met her at church so that means she’s trustworthy right?

I mean who knew she was a recovering meth addict and would steal one thing from each house she went to clean? It was only one thing. She left lots of other valuables so the clients would just think they misplaced the one missing thing. Is it no big deal right? And now you have a whole heap of legal issues you’re dealing with – and rightfully so because you hired her. She is representing and destroying your brand. You are the one who chose to skip the background check.

So before you make any advancements in your business do your homework. What legal issues will you have for the next step? Find out, then resolve those.  I am not trying to scare you, and I’m not trying to paralyze you from starting a house cleaning company.

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What Do You With Unexpected Legal Issues?

First, take a deep calming breath. This will happen. There is no possible way you can see everything coming.

Suppose one day a client is overly demanding and upsets one of your cleaners. The employee calls you for guidance, and you tell him to stay and finish cleaning. When he returns from the job he threatens to sue you for emotional damage because you forced him to stay.

What Do You Do?

Panic? Call an attorney? You didn’t see it coming, and you don’t have an agreement in place releasing you from emotional damage caused by clients.

Before you do anything drastic, make a note that this could happen again. Ask your peers what they did in the same or similar situation.

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If you don’t have any peers in the house cleaning business, join our private Facebook group. We’ll help you. Ask if they have a working agreement they have their employees sign. Ask if you can have a copy of it. Make copies of the agreement releasing you from liability of emotional distress and get your employees to sign it before they pick up their next paycheck.

Hold a Company Meeting With Your Team

Let them come up with best practices for dealing with high maintenance clients. Vote and agree on your solutions. They will be less likely to sue you if the solution is their idea.

Now you have your bases covered for next time. From here on out, have new employees sign your release from emotional distress agreement up front. Sometimes a threat is all it takes for you to install a rule or policy.

How Are You Going to Pay for Your Legal Issues?

Suppose you get sued by the employee and you have to take it to court and fight it out like animals? How will you pay for it? Legal Issues
With your legal budget of course.
What? Don’t you have a legal budget? Oh yes, one lousy lawsuit could break the bank and could put you out of business.

  • You need a legal budget.
  • And you need an advertising budget.
  • You need a screening and recruiting budget.
  • A training budget is not optional – it’s a necessity if you are to succeed.
  • And you need a product and supplies budget.
  • You need a social media/SEO/website marketing budget… you get my drift.

So many start-up businesses go under because they don’t ask the right questions soon enough. They don’t have a plan and they have a budget for the plan.

So What Are the Questions You Need to Ask?

I have prepared for you a list of 63 Questions that clients will ask you when they call you to come clean a house. If you have an answer for each of these questions – you will know without a doubt how you operate your business. You won’t be winging it, and you won’t be flying by the seat of your pants. These 63 questions will spark ideas you haven’t even thought of yet and help reduce legal issues.

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Legal Issues – the Worst Case Scenario

Let’s suppose you get a great idea of a way to expand your cleaning business in a new direction. Ask yourself, what is the worst case scenario? At first glance, this looks like I’m asking you to focus on negative possibilities. Nope, that’s not it at all. I’m asking you to figure out what the worst case scenario is if you move forward in your business. It could be that you hire and train your house cleaning employees and then they run off and steal your clients.

Once you figure out the worst thing that can happen, then you can safeguard yourself from that thing. Maybe you need a new contract in place or a new insurance policy, maybe you need more help. 

Legal Issues never as bad as you fear Angela Brown, The House Cleaning GuruWhen I started my cleaning consulting business I had a talk with my husband about what happens to the business if our marriage goes south. I’m not planning on divorce, and he’s the nicest guy I could ever hope to marry. We just celebrated our 14th anniversary.  Yay!

Yet, Many Startup Businesses Go Under Because of Legal Issues

And a failed business can put a huge financial strain on an otherwise happy marriage. Divorce can get nasty if you don’t plan for the worst-case scenario.

Why not plan for it while you are best of friends? Agree with kindness what has to happen during that scenario. This way, if your marriage ends, (and we hope it doesn’t) you have a plan in place. You have removed the emotional element that turns people into goblins. Instead of tearing down your business with stress and emotional chaos – you move to plan b. You split your stuff, you sign the paperwork, and you both go your separate ways. The business keeps on rolling without a hitch.  Without a plan, your sour relationship takes a toll on your emotional well-being. Your stress from no backup plan affects your eating habits and causes you to lose sleep. Now your relationship, and your health slide down the drain taking your business with it.

The good news is that the worst usually never happens – and it’s never as bad as you fear. Prepare for the worst before there are legal issues, and no one is the wiser.

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During the shows we recommend services, sites, and products to help you improve your cleaning and grow your cleaning business. We have partnerships with these companies to provide you with discounts, and savings. By clicking on and buying from the links in the show notes, we may receive a commission which helps pay for the production costs of the show.

Support the show so we can continue to bring you free tips to improve your cleaning and help you grow your cleaning business.  THANK YOU!

About the Show

Learn how the show came to be, interesting facts about the show host, and other frequently asked questions about the show.

Resources For This Episode

What Legal Issues Will I Run into Starting a Cleaning Business? –

The Uber of the Home Cleaning Proposed a Law That Would Retroactively Solve its Legal Issues –

Starting a Business All-In-One for Dummies –

Small Business Taxes for Dummies –

Your Small Business and the Law: A Guide to Understanding Everyday Legal Issues for Small Business Owners-

Cleaner, Greener, Healthier: A Prescription for Stronger Canadian Environmental Laws and Policies (Law and Society) –

Quicken Legal Business Pro 2006 & Quicken Will Maker Plus 2006 –

QuickBooks Online Essentials 2016 Small Business Accounting with Payroll –

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HouseCleaning360  – Referral Database of the best and the brightest home service providers and the homeowners they serve.

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