Did you know that a pre-walkthrough is THE SECRET to house cleaning? Professional house cleaning and DIY cleaning both need a house cleaning walkthrough. This allows you to arrange your multi-task cleaning and stick to your cleaning schedule.
Listen: Pre-Walkthrough: The Secret to House Cleaning
Watch: Pre-Walkthrough: The Secret to House Cleaning
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. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
Pre-Walkthroughs are the Secret
The homeowner asks, “When dusting and cleaning the light fixtures, I’m finding that a lot of uncovered light bulbs have dust on them. It’s difficult to get this off the light bulbs.
The light bulbs are hot and you can’t just wipe them off. The lights are fragile. Do you have a solution for this?”
The solution is a pre-walkthrough.
Now, as a professional house cleaner, we often do a walk through with the customer before we get the job.
We walk through and we find out what the customer’s priorities are. We make notes with a worksheet and then we come to an agreement about what it is we’re going to clean while we’re there.
What is a Pre-Walkthrough?
Now, once you have that initial walkthrough done, you have a basic understanding of the customer. You start to understand their home, lifestyle, animals, pets, kids, and priorities.
So the walkthrough is super important. But did you know that every time you clean their house, there should be a pre-walk through?
If you are a homeowner, there’s a pre-walkthrough for you. If you are a professional house cleaner, there’s a pre-walkthrough for you. Let’s do both of them and explain to you why they’re both important.
The Homeowner’s Pre-Walkthrough
Let’s start with the homeowner. If you are a homeowner, the pre-walk through is this. Let’s say that you are cleaning your own home today. Do a pre-walkthrough before you do it.
In the back of your head, you already know where everything is and you kind of know what the messes are that need to be cleaned up.
But you don’t know others in the house may have moved things around when nobody was looking. So a pre-walkthrough is necessary.
It’s not going to take long. But, run through the house and do a quick visual of what you need to do.
Things you brought in from the car may still be sitting on the kitchen cupboard. You don’t know that without looking.
Create Your To-Do List to Meet Specific Tasks
As you go through the house make a list of what needs to be clean.
There are other things to do during the pre-walkthrough. We’ll talk about the lightbulbs in a second.
When you do the pre-walkthrough of the house, look for key elements. What are the hot pockets where you spend most of your time?
What are the Hot Pockets and What Can You Multitask?
For example, let’s say that you want to clean your kitchen, but you know in the back of your head you also have laundry to do.
You could start a load of laundry and that could be washing while you are cleaning your kitchen. Then while you are cleaning your kitchen, dinner could be cooking in the crockpot.
So that adds three things to your to-do list before you’ve even started cleaning. You don’t want to get in the middle of cleaning and think, “Oh wait for a second, I could be doing laundry right now.” Then, you have to stop cleaning the kitchen to go start the laundry.
Then you get distracted and go down a bunch of rabbit trails and you don’t get much of anything done.
Prioritize Your Tasks
On a quick walkthrough look for cobwebs and dust and things like that, you’ll find the things you need to do. Then, you have to prioritize in your mind the most important things to get done today.
In that case, you might decide what is more important is that the laundry gets done and dinner gets fixed.
Maybe you don’t get to the light bulbs. You can decide to give yourself permission that’s not a priority.
During a pre-walkthrough, look at how many tasks or chores you need to do, which ones you’re able to do, and how important they are.
The Professional House Cleaner’s Checklist
As a professional house cleaner, you’ve already done a walkthrough with the customer. In the back of your mind, you know their house.
It’s possible you’ve been cleaning their house every other week for two or three years. Your plan is to go in and start on a certain room and work your way through the house like you always do.
What you don’t know is this. The customer may be going through a divorce this week. It’s a new divorce. They weren’t planning it, it just happened, and the whole bedroom is a mess upstairs.
But you haven’t gone up there yet to check. So, you don’t know that the room will take an hour to clean, instead of the usual 20 minutes.
So, do a pre-walkthrough right when you get to a customer’s house. It will help you budget your time.
Here’s the Secret
Here’s where it comes in with the dust and the light bulbs. For the quick check, use a flashlight, and the lights are off. Here’s the reason why. When you’re at a customer’s house from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM, the natural light is at a certain place. It’s going to always be at that certain place if you have a regular time slot with that customer.
When a customer leaves their house and they go to work, they don’t see the house at the same time that you do.
When they see the house, it’s at 6:00 in the morning. They walk in and the sun is just starting to come up, and there are streams of dust coming in from the front room window.
Then when they come home at night, the lighting is different. So, they see a glare from the setting sun that sets in on top of the countertops, and they see dust that you don’t see at 10:00am.
They call you up and say, “You didn’t clean my house.” You know you cleaned their house with the lighting you were familiar with. So, the big pre-walkthrough secret is to walk through the house with the lights off. You’ll see everything from a different angle. When the lighting is different, the clean is completely different.
Seeing Things in a New Light
Use a flashlight. You can buy a cheap flashlight at the dollar store. It doesn’t have to be an expensive flashlight. There are all kinds of lights. Some are very small. Also, most cell phones now have a flashlight on them.
So what you’re looking for is dust on the lights. You’re looking up in the corners. Are there cobwebs in this house? You’re looking at the archways and the doorways. Are there cobwebs in the doorways or sitting on the ledge? Where is the dust that you can’t see until the light shines a certain way?
When you walk through with a flashlight, you’ll see if a room is going to take longer to clean. If you see dust, cobwebs, and other things, you can make time adjustments. It allows you to still get the house done in the same amount of time. You’ll become good at the pre-walkthrough quickly. Then, you’ll be trained to see all those things.
The Pre-Walkthrough is Important For Everyone
The pre-walkthrough will tell you exactly how to manage your time to clean the house. If there’s an unusual mess in an upstairs bedroom, you can contact the homeowner.
Communicate to them that, “I just did a quick walkthrough of the property. I noticed that the upstairs bedroom is just in shambles. Did you want me to ignore that room today, or is that a top priority and you want me to get everything out? Do you want me to spend more time up there? What do you need?”
When you’re at a customer’s house and you text them, they may not respond right away because they’re at work.
But if you have two or three hours at their house, this allows you to contact them first thing in the morning. They can get back to you in 20 minutes or 30 minutes and you still have time to make those adjustments.
The Light Bulbs
Let’s talk for a second about the light bulbs. When you do the first walkthrough, clean the visible dust off them with a damp cloth before you turn them on.
You don’t want to clean the lights while they’re on because they will break. Whoever breaks the lightbulb (homeowner or house cleaner) you have to replace it. So be careful.
The secret with light bulbs is to be gentle. It’s a very fine glass, so if you wipe them and let them cool before you flip the lights on, you shouldn’t have a problem.
House cleaners clean light bulbs all the time. But if you go in there and try to clean a hot light bulb, it will break. (Every time.)
So, the pre-walk through is perfect for the homeowner and the house cleaner for those reasons. It allows you to do a great job without extra damage and without going over your time. That way, you’re not in a scramble at the last minute trying to recover from not doing a pre walkthrough.
All right. So that is the pre-walkthrough. I hope that helps, and I know for a fact it will revolutionize your business. Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.
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