Ask a House Cleaner, Second Chances for Felons, Savvy Cleaner

Second Chances – Should You Hire a Rehabilitated Felon?

Second Chances are for rehabilitated felons who are re-entering the workforce. After getting out of prison these recovering citizens need jobs to make an honest living, they need second chances. But should you hire them as house cleaners and maids? Today on Ask a House Cleaner we look at some of the reasons for incarceration. And we weigh the risks and rewards to small business owners offering second chances.

Usually, innocent people don’t end up in jail. There’s usually a character flaw or a lack of sound judgment that triggered the sentence. That weakness can also wreak havoc in your cleaning company.

Before you offer second chances to ex-cons, check out the costs to your clients and your company reputation.

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Listen: Second Chances – Should You Hire a Rehabilitated Felon?

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Watch: Second Chances – Should You Hire a Rehabilitated Felon?

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: Second Chances – Should You Hire a Rehabilitated Felon?

Today’s question comes from a gentleman who has started a company and he wants to offer house cleaning jobs to people who are going through second chances.

Second Chances are let’s say that you’ve been incarcerated for something minor. You didn’t kill anybody, but maybe you had some problems that left you incarcerated.

Now you’re out of prison, and you are looking for another job.

And he came to me and said “Hey, Isn’t’ this a great idea? I can help these people get back on their feet and back into the workforce.”

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Answer: Second Chances – Should You Hire a Rehabilitated Felon?

Okay, that’s a huge concern to me for this reason. Second Chances Man behind bars

I don’t know what the committed crimes were, I don’t know why that person was incarcerated. But a lot of times when it’s not a serious crime, there are usually some ethics that have gone awry.

And so, when you’re looking at bringing a perfect stranger into a client or a customer’s home, what you’re looking at is the character of the person.

Usually, innocent people do not end up in jail. And so, if you end up in jail, for something, you’re usually guilty of something. And I don’t want to point any fingers, I’m not here to judge, I’m not here to blast the people that have gone to jail for whatever reason.

That’s not my job or my intention here.

But what I do want to suggest as the owner of a company, offering second chances, there are probably other businesses that are better suited for second chances than house cleaning.

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There May Be A Better Job Than House Cleaning for Second Chances 

Second Chances not for kids rooms and house cleaningWhen you are house cleaning, you are inside the privacy of someone else’s home.

And along with that comes lots of family photos. You know the layouts of the kid’s bedrooms, and of the house and you know where they keep their valuables.

And sometimes people leave money lying around on the dressers, or on the bookshelf or something like that.

If you have a character that is not very strong, it might put you in a situation where you would be tempted to take that money that doesn’t belong to you. Or maybe you would take something else of value that doesn’t belong to you that you then and hock at a pawn shop.

If you are a predator of some sort, and we don’t know why these people have been incarcerated. But if there is a predator, you do not want that predator inside someone’s home where they know the layout of the family’s house and they have an alarm code to get in, or they have a key to the house or they know where the customer keeps the key hidden outside.

Hiring a House Cleaner with Questionable Ethics Is High Risk

Those are all really bad reasons and high risk to put someone needing second chances in the home of a customer that completely trusts you. Second Chances require drug and alcohol testing for house cleaning jobs

And so, as we hire people, yes, it’s very important that we do background checks and that we do drug checks, and that we make sure the people we’ve hired are actually cleared to go inside someone else’s home.

Now a lot of these things we don’t think about it’s too late.

I had a particular instance in one of my companies where we were working in tandem with another company.

And between the two companies, we were working there simultaneously. It’s a long story, but one was doing fire and flood restoration while the other was doing the cleaning.

So, there were two companies there at the same time and a diamond ring went missing.

Make Sure You’re Bonded and Insured

bonding and insurance for house cleanersAnd so, they called our company and said: “Is it you?”

I don’t want to say no because even though I would say “No, we would NEVER do that.” Are you 100% sure?

I mean, there are parents that have raised their kids in the church, they’ve been great parents, and their kids grow up and steal, and do drugs and all kinds of weird stuff.

You never really even know the people that live in your same house. Nor do you know the employees you hire,  even if they’ve never been in prison and they have no history of theft. It is possible they are in a bind.  Maybe they’re not making enough money or they blew their money on gambling or they’re in debt or whatever.

It is possible that they stole something.

Anyway, back to the story. None of us took it. We searched all of our cleaning caddies, we looked through everything, no. None of us took it.

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Your Reputation is More Valuable Than Any Stolen Item Will Ever Be Worth

And so, for me and my company, what we are riding on is, times might be tough, but our reputations are far more valuable than any item you could possibly ever steal from anyone.

You can replace a stolen diamond ring. You cannot replace a damaged reputation. Once that information trickles out that somebody from your company stole something from a customer’s house, oh my goodness. There goes your business.second chances, new chapter next exit street sign

Your customers are not going to go then and refer you to other people so you can go steal stuff  They just won’t do that.

And so, the other company checked with all their people. Turns out that one of the guys was a recovering heroin addict.

And he had stolen the diamond ring.

And they had to kick in with the bonding. And they had to recover, and repay for and replace that diamond ring.

And so, thank goodness, they were bonded and insured. And this is another reason you want to be bonded.

Because if someone on your team does steal something, for example, you are responsible.

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Reputation Management Hard At Work

And it always comes down to your word against their word. 

It is the customer vs. the house cleaner. It’s is always your word against their word, right?

And so, you want to make sure that you are bonded, your bases are covered and if you get accused of theft, just pay it. 

Even if you didn’t steal it, it’s not an admission of guilt. It’s simply saying “I want to protect my reputation and I want to protect my business so much that if you accuse me of stealing, whatever the cost is – that’s why I am bonded. I will pay this and make sure that it goes away.”

Do Your Due Diligence Before You Cough Up Payment

Don’t pay it without researching it. Do your due diligence. Let the customer know you will interview everyone on your team that was at the house that day. Ask them to do the same with their kids and any other service providers who may also have been in the home.  If you have a reputation for honesty – that may be as far as it ever goes. If they insist, settle the problem. second chances risk vs. reward switch

Because you don’t want to stretch this on. You don’t want it to hit social media. It could be that one of their teenage kids stole it and traded it for something at school. You have no idea.

But you have to keep your reputation in check.

Be very careful before you hire people for second chances inside your client’s homes. Like I say, the risk way too high.

Instead, help them get into a line of work that helps them find the best in themselves and reduces your risks as a business owner.

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When You Offer Second Chances You Offer Hope

And so, as far as second chances and the Fair Business Pledge go, I applaud this idea. I love the concept of helping rehabilitated felons find second chances. There are 70 million Americans that have some form of criminal record. 

Here are some jobs you can direct them to:

And from  Here’s a  list of the companies who have signed the Fair Chance Business Pledge:

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Alright, that’s my tip for today. If you found this helpful, please pass it on. if you have a suggestions or ideas or comments, I’d love to hear about them. You can leave them in the show notes. And if you have a question, you can head on over to you can ask your question there, or you can email me at Angela[at] – it’s so easy.

Okay, cool.

Until I see you again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

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