How and when to say no to hoarding jobs is a fair question.
Compassionate cleaning includes some psychology training. Hoarding is a mental health issue and it comes in all forms. Compulsive hoarding, organized hoarding, itemized hoarding, extreme hoarding and often needs junk removal.
There is an emotional attachment to hoarders and their stuff.
Listen: How and When to Say No to Hoarding Jobs
Watch: How and When to Say No to Hoarding Jobs
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 750 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
Many house cleaners wonder how and when to say no to hoarding jobs.
This is a sensitive subject because the hoarding client who called you went way out of their comfort zone to get a house cleaner to come to their house.
People that are hoarders aren’t proud of it they know they live in a messy house. They’re afraid that people are going to judge them and make fun of them.
As a house cleaner, it’s important to make sure you are compassionate when you arrive. If you feel the customer lives in a disgusting place the customer will feel your angst.
Not Every House Cleaner Can Do Hoarding Jobs
Now is the time to pass if you’re not right for the job.
Let’s say you’re new to your business. You may want to wait to pick up hoarding clients until you’re more seasoned.
Don’t accept hoarding jobs until about 5 years into the business.
Hoarding Jobs Require Compassionate Care
There’s a whole lot to navigate when starting a new business. As you grow your business you’ll need a whole new set of compassionate skills for dealing with hoarding jobs.
This is because when you have hoarding customers, it’s not just a matter of going in and cleaning. What you’re doing is you’re approaching these things that have hidden meanings to them.
Hoarding Jobs Mean Things Are Messy
Expect piles of things smushed together.
You’ll find clothes, shoes, and other things, that make it cluttered and messy.
Often clients don’t even know why they are saving some of the stuff they are saving. They’ve been saving so much for so long that now it’s out of control.
The customer may have good reasons in their minds why they have the things they do.
If you are new to the cleaning business, all you’re seeing is clutter.
Hoarding Jobs are Years of Belief Manifest in Piles of Stuff
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you see rooms filled with things that don’t belong.
What you’re not seeing is here’s a person that has a lifetime of beliefs that is inside their stuff.
That takes a compassionate, understanding person that maybe has even had some psychology training.
Hoarding Jobs are Not Time Efficient
If you’re new to the business, you’re focusing on-time efficiency. This is where hoarding jobs don’t make sense because you will need to spend lots of time working with the client.
So you don’t overbid, make sure that you are either billing by the hour or that you have a cash cushion in case the job takes longer than you thought.
Move On from Hoarding Jobs But Don’t Lie
You can go to the customer and just say this. “Hey, listen, I appreciate that you provided for my family and I’ve learned a lot by working from you.”
Don’t lie when you’re quitting a customer. Never say that you’ve enjoyed them as a customer if you didn’t. Just say, “Hey, my business is going in a different direction and I’m no longer going to be able to service your account.”
Let it be the account. Don’t say you can’t clean their home because now it’s an attack on them. So you want to keep it generic and third party. “My company is not going to be able to service your account.”
This way it’s their account and so there’s a distance between you two and it doesn’t attack either one of you.
Don’t Make Excuses When Ending Hoarding Jobs
You don’t have to say you’re new in your business and you overbid. Just say, “Hey, we’re moving in a different direction. We’re not going to be able to take this particular account, but I wish you well” and then be out the door.
End the relationship as soon as possible because the sooner you end it, they can find someone else.
You don’t want to leave them thinking you’re coming back. You’re not. Make it crystal clear, this is the end.
Hoarding is a Hard Conversation
Now, this is a hard conversation to have. If you’re uncomfortable in any way, go stand in front of a mirror and practice.
Even if you have to write it down in advance. Practice the words that you’re going to say. Practice speaking in a compassionate and caring tone. This way you say exactly what you want to say.
Be Clear About Leaving Hoarding Jobs
You have to be clear about leaving hoarding jobs to avoid confusion.
You don’t want the customer calling you back next week wondering when you’re coming back.
Hoarding Jobs Create Angst and Frustration
When you’re not clear it creates even more angst, more animosity, frustration. Maybe there are ways to help them, but you don’t want both you and the customer to go crazy.
Do it in the kindest and sincere way that you can. Then from here on out, do not pick up anymore hoarding clients until you are in a position where you can actually serve them. It takes a special kind of person to do that. It is not for most house cleaners.
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