Ask a House Cleaner, Not that bad, Savvy Cleaner

“It’s Not That Bad” – House Cleaner Pet Peeve

“Not that bad” It’s a phrase customers use when describing their home. “Come clean my space. It’s not that bad.” And they want the house cleaner to give them a price quote over the phone. 

Want some cleaning advice? Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru says if you say those words; “My house is not that bad” your price just went up. 

Today on Ask a House Cleaner we learn that if you want a fair price, you have the let the housekeeper or maid service see your house. 

They don’t want to bait and switch, but they have to clean the basics at every house. They have a series of routine tasks and pretending your home isn’t that dirty is a house cleaner pet peeve.

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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: “It’s Not That Bad” – House Cleaner Pet Peeve

Today’s question comes from a house cleaner who has a great question. She wants to talk about customers calling and asking her to do a bid estimate on their home. They say, “The house isn’t that bad.” What does that mean? 

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Answer: “It’s Not That Bad” – House Cleaner Pet Peeve

I must tell you something. And this is for house cleaners and homeowners, so everyone pays attention! 

When you call a professional house cleaner and you say “My house isn’t that dirty,” or, “It is not that bad,” expect to pay more. I don’t care what the price is; your price just went up. 

Here’s why. Those are code words for, “If I didn’t think my house was that messy, I wouldn’t have brought it up in the first place.”

its not that bad - burned gross gas stoveTwo Extremes of House Cleaning

So what happens is this. House cleaners go inside people’s houses every single day. That is what we do for a living. So we have seen the worst of the worst. 

On the other side, people have hired us that when we walk in and we have no idea why we are there. The house is immaculate. There’s not a cobweb or a crumb. There is nothing in the house. So we have seen both extremes.

Why Are You Hiring Us? its not that bad - new gas stove

So when a customer calls and says,“My house is pretty clean already,” why on earth are you calling us? If your house is already clean, why are you hiring us?

There has to be a reason why and it usually means that your house needs maintenance. Whether it’s super messy or it’s super clean, it doesn’t matter.

its not that bad - house cleaners wiping countersNon-Negotiables of Every House

When a house cleaner arrives at a house, clean or dirty, there are some things that must get cleaned. 

The floors, toilets, showers, bathtubs, sinks, and basins must get cleaned every time. 

Every flat surface such as countertops and cabinets gets wiped down. 

So it does not matter if your house is immaculate or if it super dirty. There are a series of tasks that a house cleaner will do when they come to your house no matter what. 

So, if your house is not that dirty, you will get a fair price based on that when the house cleaner comes to your house. 

“But It’s Not That Bad!” It's not that bad - what customers tell house cleaners

Since you live in the house, you know where things go. Even if they are out of place, you don’t think it’s that bad because you know where they go.

So you might think, “Well, it’s not that bad.”

Or, “it’s no big deal,” or, “it’s only 500 items that I know where they go.” 

The house cleaner who has never been to your house comes in, and they don’t know where these things go. So, they come in and have to move all these things around. It is a bigger job than you expect.

its not that bad, you see thisTwo Different Perspectives

There are two points of view here about the same situation. The homeowner thinks their house is average and it’snot that bad. And the house cleaner thinks that there is a lot of work to do at this house. See the problem? 

If your house is immaculate, that’s amazing. They can create systems that will serve them and serve you. 

If there is a bunch of stuff out of place, or you have two inches of dust, your house might not look that dirty to you. A house cleaner will look at that and begin calculating how much time and how many people it will need to get the job done. 

Price Discrepancy its not that bad, your house cleaner sees this

And so, when you stand there, and you say, “Well, I paid my last house cleaner $80.”

Our question to you is, then, “Why am I here?” Why am I here if you paid your last house cleaner $80? 

Because something didn’t work out, or you would still have them, right? Either they moved, died, went out of business, retired, did a sloppy job, you fired them, I don’t know. 

But here I am bidding a job for you because, for some reason, you felt it was necessary to call a new service.

So, now that I’m here don’t tell me it’s not that bad. It might not be. And it might be much, much worse than you said on the phone. The latter is more likely. 

its not that bad - how many house cleaners will it takeHouse Cleaner Pet Peeve

This happens a lot and it is a pet peeve of house cleaners.

People will say, “Can you come over to my house? It’s not that bad.” And you get over there and it’s way worse than the price that you quoted on the telephone.

And now you have to tell the customer, “There’s a lot more work here than you painted the picture of. I will not be to be able to do it for the price that I gave you.” This is not a fun conversation to have.  

It’s one of the reasons house cleaners don’t like giving prices on the telephone. If they are getting paid by the hour, this is not as much as a problem, although it could take longer than they thought. 

If they bid a job to you over the telephone without seeing the house first, their quote may not be accurate. They might charge you more than quoted upon seeing that it is a much bigger job than you made it out to be. 

Not Fair to House Cleaners or Home Owners

So it’s not fair to them, and it’s not fair to you. So, here’s the best way to get the most from your house cleaner.its not that bad - house cleaners mopping floors

Tell them how many rooms and  how much square footage. Tell them how many people live in your house. Do you have pets? And how often do you clean your house? Do you do your daily chores and weekly chores to keep up your house? Communicate the most information that you can. Be as honest as possible. 

So, if you give the information that the house cleaner needs to bid your job, they can give you a fair price. But do yourself a favor and don’t say, “Oh, it’s not that dirty,” or, “It’s not that bad.” I can save you some money. Don’t say that.

Alright, so that’s it for today, and until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

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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

The Worst Pet Peeve Ever: Beware of What Bugs You –

The Price is Wrong: Understanding What Makes a Price Seem Fair and the True Cost of Unfair Pricing –

Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It) –

Rock Breaks Scissors: A Practical Guide to Outguessing and Outwitting Almost Everybody –

Invest Like a Guru: How to Generate Higher Returns At Reduced Risk With Value Investing –

Dealing with the CrazyMakers in Your Life: Setting Boundaries on Unhealthy Relationships –

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion –

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others –

Selling 101: What Every Successful Sales Professional Needs to Know –

People Buy You: The Real Secret to what Matters Most in Business –

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