Cleaning Client is Micromanaging Me! And It’s Driving Me Crazy!

Micromanaging and bossing around the house cleaner are narcissistic tendencies. The house Cleaning Guru, Angela Brown shares insider secrets to end the chaos. Learn how to deliver excellent customer service without caving into negative manipulations. Don’t be the victim. Take control of your business and learn to manage your cleaning projects with finesse.

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Hi there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is the show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.

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Today’s Query: House Cleaning Client is Micromanaging Me and Bossing Me Around

Now, today’s question comes from a house cleaner who says; “I’m a professional. I go to these people’s houses, I clean all day, every day. I do this for a living. And I go to a particular customer’s house, and every time I go, she gives me a to-do list. She’s trying to micromanage my job. Now, I don’t show up to her business and tell her how to do her job. Is this appropriate? Is this acceptable behavior?What should I do? How should I deal with this?

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Answer: Micromanagement is About Control

Okay, so I like this question, and it comes down to a couple of things.

The customer is giving you a to-do list because they are hiring you for a particular service. And so, they want to have control over the job that you do. It is a control thing. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

It may go back to bad experiences they’ve had with other house cleaners where maybe they weren’t very clear. And so, the house cleaner came in and cleaned and left. And I’ve heard this story way too many times, the customer comes home and they look around the house and they’re like “Was my house cleaner here today? Because I’m not sure. I can’t tell if my house cleaner actually came and cleaned anything because they weren’t very specific about what it was they did.”

And because they’ve had experiences like that, now they want to leave a to-do list. And they want you to check those things off on the to-do list like “Yes, this is what I did when I was here today.”

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To-Do Lists Are Just Progress Reports

Now, if you work from a worksheet, you have your own checklist. So, if you don’t have a checklist, you can go to and you can download the worksheet I’ve used for 25 years. You can change the information on the top. Which is your, your name, your phone number, and your email address, all that stuff. Change the rules on the back and your PayPal account, because it has all my rules and regulations on there. You can edit it and make it your own.

But use a worksheet when you go to a customer’s house because what you’re saying is “These are the things that I did while I was at your house today.” The things that you check off are also the things you’re guaranteeing on your satisfaction guarantee.

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Customers Want To Receive Value For Their Money

So, if a customer is leaving to do things for you, it’s because you’re either not being thorough enough or they have specific requests. Or it could be something totally different like, they want to feel really important. “I’m paying all this money for a house cleaner. I want the house cleaner to make me feel important. I want them to recognize that I have specific needs.”

And so, if you treat every one of those things on the request like “Oh, this is so important, I want to make sure that I do the best job to clean underneath that rug, or make sure that this bookshelf is straightened.” These are things that you were going to do anyway. Right? So acknowledge their request. 

You want to make them feel like “Oh yes, I’m paying attention to your special requests.” Because when you do that, guess what happens? They do. They feel important and they recommend you to their friends and their neighbors. And that is how you get repeat business and referral business.

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Don’t Be A Victim – Be an Opportunist

So, instead of taking the opposite approach like “Oh hey, I do this for a living, like why are you micromanaging me?”

Take it instead like “Ah, this customer is trying to help me. They want me to be the best house cleaner that I can be, and they want the confidence of knowing that whatever their request is, I’m going to go out of my way to make that request happen for them.” Micromanaging their requests is not psychological or narcissistic abuse.  And it doesn’t have to be considered crazy behavior. The controlling behavior usually eases when your customer knows you care and you’ve got their back. 

When they know you care that’s when the referrals come. That’s when they start leaving tip money. Because you went out of your way to make them feel like you honored their request.

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Turn Controlling Behavior into Positive Behavior

Now here’s what’s going to happen. After you’ve done this for a period of time, you come back for six months, eight months, a year or whatever, there’s nothing for the customer to leave you. There are no to do lists. They know how you work. They know your checklist.

They know you have your own checklist, and they will eventually back off.

They will eventually say; “You know what? She cleans everything. It looks amazing when she leaves.” And they will just send you thank you notes and tips, instead of to-do lists.

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Narcissistic Psychopath

Now, you may find a rare occasion, that you have some weird psychotic control freak that leaves a whole bunch of to-dos for you that have nothing to do with the job that you bid. And they want to take out money out of your pay because they’re not using the dining room, or they want to add in extra projects that they don’t want to pay for. That is just a weird chaotic relationship. And you just really need to stop and analyze that relationship to see it it can be managed. If this bad behavior continues on, you’ll need to have a conference with the customer and bring up these issues or let them go.

Because this is a really competitive industry, and there are house cleaners that would love to have that client.

But if a client that causes you a lot of stress, and you look at your schedule for the day and you’re like Ugh, ugh I’m not going to Mrs. Nivens house, “Ugh ugh, no way.” And it makes you sick, and you get stressed out and you hate it. Then Mrs. Nivens should not be on your schedule.

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Learn To Cut And Run Early In A Bad Relationship

The world is too big. There are too many house cleaners, life is too short. If there is a customer that makes you go mad, you need to say goodbye.

So, if it’s something that can be worked through, totally work through it. If it’s something you cannot work through, then say goodbye.

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If You Want More FreeTips Like This on Micromanaging – Leave A Comment or A Rating Below

Okay, so that’s my tip for today. If you like it please pass it along to a house cleaner that means something to you.

Okay, so that’s it, and until I see you again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

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