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The Risks of Over-Delivering House Cleaning Service

Over-Delivering, Woman in Cleaning Clothes with SuppliesOver-delivering on your house cleaning is a touchy subject. There are pros and cons to over-delivering on the cleaning services promised. 

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru gives us a look at the risks vs. rewards of over-delivering. Even if you’re speed cleaning, the message you send your clients is “I don’t respect your tight budget, so I’ll just pay it forward.

If the client can’t afford your maid service, you enable them when you give more house cleaning than paid for.

Today’s Ask a House Cleaner sponsors are Savvy Cleaner (Training for house cleaners and maids.) My Cleaning Connection (A resource hub for all things cleaning.) HouseCleaning360 (List your cleaning business and find some clients.) And Savvy Perks (benefits for small business owners and their employees.)

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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: The Risks of Over-Delivering House Cleaning Service

Over-Delivering, Woman Picking Up ClothesOver-delivering. What is the risk of over-delivering? We’re going to talk about that today. A house cleaner writes into the show and says

 “Hey, what would you do? I have a client that won’t pay us to stay longer than two hours. Her house is a mess, and we leave, it’s not clean. It would only take one more hour and we could really get into everything. 

She has a bunch of friends who visit her home regularly, and I would love to sell them our services. 

They’re my ideal prospective client, and I feel that they see her house when we leave, and they say themselves, ‘She has a cleaning service?’ Would you give her an ultimatum, and would you stay the extra hour so that you can sell her friends and just consider it an investment in your business?”

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Over-Delivering = A House Cleaner Wants to “Donate” an Extra Hour

Over-Delivering, Man Loading DishwasherLet’s talk about that for a second. There is a house cleaner who wants to give an extra hour of her time to help a client. Not to meet the client’s expectations – but her own. 

That’s really going above and beyond. Now in our business, we believe in what’s called a “Mulligan.” That’s where you give a little something more. The little something more is like cleaning out the inside of the trash can. Or bringing in the newspaper from the drive.

It’s not giving an extra hour of your time. I want to back up just a little bit and I want to talk about this for a minute because I know where this is coming from.

Over-Delivering Comes from People Pleasing

Over-Delivering, Woman Expressing Good IdeaAs house cleaners we are by nature, people pleasers

We want to make people pleased and delighted that they’ve hired us. And because we believe in clean houses, we want our customers to experience that same joy. 

But let’s look at it from a completely clinical perspective. When you go to the store and you only have so much money, you cannot go to the store and buy everything. It’s impossible to do. You can’t expect of it yourself. Nobody expects it from you. And nobody expects the store to give you everything because it’s not in your budget. 

It’s the same with house cleaning. 

Over-Delivering is Giving More Than You’ve Contracted

Over-Delivering, Woman Taking Out TrashWhen you go to a customer’s house, if they can’t afford three hours and they can only afford two, that is all they can afford. 

By hiring you, what they’re saying is, “Hey, I take pride in my home enough that I want to spend this money that I’ve saved on two hours of cleaning.” 

Now your cleaning does not match your standard of excellence, but there’s nothing to say it doesn’t match the clients.

Honor Your Client by Giving Them the Best They’ve Paid For

Over-Delivering, Three Women on Couch ChattingWhen a client has a messy house, two hours make an enormous dent even if it’s not enough time for you. So, while you might think it’s not even clean yet, it’s not, I agree. But to the customer it might be, “Wow, this place looks so much better than it did.” 

If that’s all they can afford, and out of the pride of their budget and being able to hire a house cleaner and whatever, I think it’s important to honor that.

Now, you say that she has friends that come over that you would like to sell your services to. 

The friends are coming over and they’re seeing the house before you get there, so they know the dent that you made.

Over-Delivering Sends the Wrong Message

 Over-Delivering, Woman Pointing FingerAnd they don’t know, (maybe they do,) how much money the woman is paying you. It might be easy to assume that she paid you for a full cleaning and you only did half a cleaning. 

Yeah, that’s going to make you look bad. But, here’s what you don’t want to happen. 

If you spend an extra hour of your time, every time, to impress her friends, who do not pay your bills by the way. You will impress them, what they’re going to see is this. You’re a pushover and they can take advantage of you. 

“Hey, my house is messy too. I wonder if I could pay the same amount of money and get you to come over and give me three hours for the two hours I’m paying for.”

Over-Delivering is Not a Sustainable Business Model

Over-Delivering, Cleaning CrewWhat happens is you create this weird situation that you don’t want, number one. You don’t want it from the first house. Second, you do not want it from many houses of friends that she recommends to you as referrals. You don’t want to create that situation that you can’t get out of.

Then the next thing that I want to mention is it’s not duplicable. What that means is, as your business grows, as you hire more people, you are going to be paying employees to come clean this woman’s house for three hours. And yet she’s only paying for two. 

That’s not duplicable and it’s not scalable. Are you going to pay your employees for three hours when she’s only paying you for two? Because now you’ll be paying out of your pocket to clean her house.

That doesn’t even make any sense.

Over-Delivering to Meet an Expectation is in Your Head

Over-Delivering, House CleanerIt’s coming from you. This is in your head; it’s not in the client’s head. If it was in the client’s head and she’s like, “This place is atrocious.” Okay, so we have a couple of options. 

“If you’re only paying us for two hours there are things you can do before we get here so we can streamline our time together. 

You can pay us for two hours to pick up toys, shoes, Legos, and food. Or you can pay us to dust, vacuum, clean toilets and mop floors.

We’ll clean in any state the house is in when we arrive – what you want us to do is up to you.”

Over-Delivering is Not Honoring Your Client

Over Delivering, Woman ThinkingNow, again, a short cleaning may not meet your standard of excellence, but it might meet the clients.  But it’s like going to the store – you can’t buy everything. 

 If your customer can’t buy all your services, it is disrespectful for you to give them away free of charge.  While you think you’re helping, you’re really enabling. You are saying “you’re too poor to meet my standards. So, I’ll just give it to you.”

And you train the client to expect it rather than you following instructions and the boundaries you’ve created. But if the event the day comes when you don’t have it to give – the customer will be mad at you. And they will complain and make you feel lousy because you can’t keep giving them extras for free. 

And you did this to yourself by creating unrealistic expectations. 

 You are dishonoring your client by not giving what they’ve paid for. It’s not duplicable and it’s not sustainable for the long haul.

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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

Pleasing People: How not to be an approval junkie –

Not Nice: Stop People-Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty… And Start Speaking Up, Saying No, Asking Boldly, And Unapologetically Being Yourself –

The Disease to Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome –

Who’s Pulling Your Strings? How to Break the Cycle of Manipulation and Regain Control of Your Life –

When It’s Never About You: The People-Pleaser’s Guide to Reclaiming Your Health, Happiness and Personal Freedom –

Where to Draw the Line: How to Set Healthy Boundaries Every Day –

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My Cleaning Connection – Your hub for all things cleaning.

Savvy Perks – Employee benefits for your employees.

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