Ask a House Cleaner, Nagging Boss, Savvy Cleaner

Nagging Boss – Cleaning Client Nit-Picks and Complains

Nagging boss or client? There’s nothing inspiring about cleaning for a homeowner who nit-picks or makes complaints about your work. If you’re house cleaning but keep getting reminders, digs, and dings from the homeowner, it’s time to take pull back the curtain and find out what’s wrong.  Podcast Rss Spacer Savvy Cleaner

Listen: Nagging Boss – Cleaning Client Nit-Picks and Complains

YouTube Spacer Savvy Cleaner

Watch: Nagging Boss – Cleaning Client Nit-Picks and Complains

 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.

Ask a House Cleaner DIY Question Spacer Savvy Cleaner

Today’s Question: WTH? Nagging Boss – Cleaning Client Nit-Picks and Complains

Today’s question comes from a woman who’s been cleaning for a particular customer for a long period of time. As it turns out the customer is increasingly nagging and nitpicking on all the different items in her house. The house cleaner wants to know “What am I doing wrong? My work is excellent.”

Ask a House Cleaner Answer Spacer Savvy Cleaner

Answer: Inside Look at Nagging Bosses who Complain and Gripe

fingers point from nagging bossOkay, so the answer to that question is it could be a variety of things.

But my first question; is it you?
And I asked that question for this fact, once we’ve been working for customers for a long period of time it’s easy to slide into a routine.
Where maybe we get stuck in a rut and so instead of doing our very best work every time, it is possible that maybe we’ve become a little bit sloppy over time.

Is Your House Cleaning Lazy or Sloppy?

lazy house cleaner mad at nagging bossSo, if the customer is getting increasingly nitpicky is it by chance that you’ve become increasingly sloppy? 

And I have to ask that because if it’s you; you can fix that right away. That’s really easy to fix, right?
If it’s not you, then you have to get to the bottom of that as well.

I had a particular customer. At the time I had been cleaning for 20-plus years, and I knew I was an excellent house cleaner. And I did an amazing job at her house and when I would go to her house, her house is immaculate there was nothing left to clean.

When Your Best Isn’t Good Enough

And so, as I looked around the house, I mean of course I did all the routine tasks and all the things that I was required to do, but her house was immaculate.

two women discuss nagging and nit-picky issuesAnd yet she became nitpicky and was just complaining and griping and, finally one day I stopped. And I said; “I have to ask, but I’m really curious, I have to ask what is it that you would like me to improve? Because I’ve got a really keen eye for what needs to be done in a home, and I honestly can’t see anything else that needs to be done.”
And she said, “You know, I feel the exact same way.”

Okay, but you’re the one that’s complaining where is this coming from? She said “I don’t know. I just can’t put a finger on it but you know the place is messy.”

Clarify Expectations to Understand the Root of the Nagging

Okay no, it’s not it’s perfect I just checked. woman shines flash light on nagging and nit-picky issues
And I said, “Why don’t you come with me and we’ll check together.” And I grabbed my flashlight and we went around and I shone it on all of the surfaces.

There was not a crumb in her house.

I went through every corner of the house and the hardwood floors, and we looked under the sofas. There weren’t any dog hairs, there was no dust there was no… it was perfect.

I said, “What exactly is it that you’re complaining about?” She couldn’t give me an answer.
And so I said well let’s dig a little bit deeper where is this coming from?

If There’s Nagging – There’s Usually A Trigger

Chain of Nagging, Savvy Cleaner

Well, it turns out it was coming from her husband who would get home from work and complain that the house was a mess. It turns out that she didn’t work outside the home. She was at home cleaning all day long.

Then her husband would get home from work and he would complain about the house.
And she had tried everything she knew how to do until the house was immaculate in her opinion, and she was so befuddled and so baffled she hired an outside house cleaner. (Me.)
Now I was baffled because I had no idea what else we could do to make her house better.

Nagging & Nit-Picking Have a Domino Effect

Well, it turns out her husband was really frustrated at work, and he was really stressed out, and his boss was taking something out on him.
When he would get home because there was nothing to take out on his wife, he was channeling that negative energy from work into her house cleaning which was her pride and joy.

And so, he was just bringing junk home from work and dumping it on her, and then she hired me and was dumping it on me.

So that was really an easy fix I said “Okay so between the two of us, now we know it’s not you as a housekeeper or a homeowner, it’s not me as the house cleaner.  It’s not either one of us. We did an immaculate job. Your house looks amazing.

But what we do know is that your husband is really stressed out at work and he’s bringing this home and he’s dumping it on you. So I tell you what let’s do, between you and me, we know that the house is clean. Right?”

She’s like “Oh yeah, it’s beautiful.”


Scapegoat“Okay great. I will be the scapegoat and whatever your husband says, you say “Oh no, that’s the house cleaner.” And you dump it right back on me because guess what? You’re paying me. And I’m not here to hear the argument. So instead of him dumping it on you, blame it on me.”

And she said well I don’t want him to fire you because you’re the best housekeeper we’ve ever had.

I don’t want to be fired either but at the same time if you need to blame somebody, blame me. Right? That was an easy fix. We got along swimmingly from there on.

She never complained at me again because between the two of us we now knew. We knew what was causing the root of those problems.

Misery, Criticism, and Nagging are a Choice

If it’s not you, and if it’s not your customer, it’s possible that they’re connected to a really negative person who complains and gripe and criticizes for whatever reason. Now, I have run across the lots of homeowners over the years who have been incredibly difficult to deal with.

woman pointing finger text reads list of negative wordsAnd so, if you run into a customer like that you have to create boundaries.
“Are there things you would like me to improve?”

“Specifically, what are those things?”

“If I change those things specifically, and I get a commitment right up front if I change these things specifically for you, will you stop complaining?”

Will this make you happy?

Will this meet your standard of excellence?

Because if you don’t get that commitment right up front, even if you go to the trouble to make all of those changes, then guess what? 

Checklist Fixit Spacer Savvy Cleaner

Get a Commitment Before You Change

They’re still going to gripe and they’re still going to be miserable. And you have to realize that, (and I hate to say this,) but being miserable and choosing negativity and griping and complaining is a God-given right.

This is a free country. People get to choose how they want to be. And there are people, (I don’t know why,) there are people who choose misery and complaining and griping and nagging and moaning.
That’s how they choose to live. I don’t choose to live that way because it’s exhausting. Right? But there are people who choose that and eventually, you’re going to get those people as some of your customers.
And so if you just understand right up front “well there are people like that.”

It’s a choice.

They choose it.

You can choose then to either continue to work there or to go find a happier customer. It is your choice.
But if you go through those three things first, is

First, is it you? You can fix that.

Second, Is it the customer? Because you can fix that too.

And number three is it just their negativity and their choice to be miserable? Because that you cannot fix, you can only choose to deal with it or walk away.

Like Thumbs Up Spacer Savvy Cleaner

How Do You Deal With Nagging and Nit-Picky Customers?

Alright, that’s it for today. If you found this helpful please pass it along to a friend. You can also leave a question here in the show notes below, or you can head on over to

And until we meet again leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

0 Savvy Cleaner Spacer Savvy CleanerDisclosure

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



Permissions To Share

You Have Our Permission To Share This Episode

Show Sponsor

SAVVY CLEANER – House Cleaner Training and Certification –

HOUSECLEANING360 – Referral database of the world’s most prominent home service providers and the homeowners they serve.

Scroll to Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!