Ever wonder how to stay safe when cleaning solo? House cleaners and maids ask this question.
When working by yourself it’s wise to carry pepper spray. Wear appropriate attire when cleaning. All your interactions with clients should send a clear message. “No sexual favors”, practice personal safety
Listen: How to Stay Safe When Cleaning Solo
Watch: How to Stay Safe When Cleaning Solo
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.
Are Solo Cleaners Safe in Clients’ Homes?
Are solo cleaners safe when cleaning strangers’ homes? Many house cleaners wonder this, and a house cleaner showed her concern.
“I’m looking to start my own cleaning business and I’ve done a lot of research. I’ve gone on YouTube, but my husband has concerns about me doing this as a lone female entering people’s homes. I wondered whether you have had this issue going into people’s homes and whether people have actually voiced this concern to you.”
A lot of house cleaners are even afraid to enter their clients’ homes right away, so are they safe?
Solo Cleaners’ Safety is a Common Question
All right, this is a question that comes up again and again and again, and it’s all about safety.
Were people safe way back when or are they safer today? I have no idea because who knows the reporting and who did they report it to.
All I can do is take you from today, moving forward, and help keep you safe as you go to a job.
Safety Starts with Your Ads
The first thing to do is look at the ads that you’re writing. When you write ads for house cleaning, what does it say? What kind of images are you using in the ads?
This is because before you even get to a customer’s house, you’re sending a message with your ad. So if you make an ad and it’s got a maid wearing a little tiny skimpy outfit, there’s a message in there. The kind of person you are going to attract is not the kind of person that is going to hire you normally. So, you have to m9ake sure that the pictures you use in your ads are cohesive with the message that you’re trying to send.
Send the Right Message to Clients on the Phone
All right, the next message you’re going to send is on the telephone. You want to send a professional message. So, if a customer texts you, it’s better to get on the telephone with them.
There’s something alarming these days about being on a telephone with a customer because here’s what happens. You weed out the people that are fooling around or the scam artists.
If you get on the telephone with a customer, you can actually ask real questions and you can get real answers.
You Can Ask Real Safety Questions on the Phone
The good news is this, you get on the telephone with a customer and you ask a series of questions. Based on what you say will determine how you come across to the customer. So you have to get amazingly good at asking questions to get answers out of them that you need.
Do you come across as a no-nonsense kind of person that is going to go to their house and you’re actually there to clean? Or are you more nonchalant about it?
Based on what you say, even if they’re house cleaning questions, the way you ask the question sets the tone for the customer. “Maybe she is fooling around,” or it might say, “Whoa, she’s no-nonsense and she’s here to clean.” So, you have to pick your words and tone to send the right message.
Tell Someone You are Going on a Walkthrough
Now, the next thing is you’re going to go do a walkthrough. On the phone, you say, “I want to come to your house. I want to take a walkthrough with you.”
Now, before you go clean, leave notes of where you are. Send someone a text or give them the address of where you’re going. This will help keep you safe if you are solo and you are going out to bid a job.
Say, “Listen, I’m going to Mrs. Peterson’s house. She lives on 312 Lilac Lane or whatever. I’ll be there from 1:00 until about 1:15 or 1:20.” Let somebody know where you’re going to be. That’s your out if something goes wrong.
How to Stay Safe in a Dangerous Neighborhood
Now, if you live in a dangerous neighborhood or you’re working in a dangerous neighborhood. Have someone go with you, sit outside in a car so that there’s this backup. Just like if you were to go on a first date with a stranger. You have to take precautions
Tell your client, “Oh hey, listen, my husband is out in the car waiting.” It kind of gives an extra layer of protection of somebody else being nearby.
Make Sure You Look Professional to be Safe
The next thing is when you get to the customer’s house. What are you wearing? You have to make sure that whatever you’re wearing sends the message that says I’m actually here clean.
So you want to show up not in Sunday clothes. I say Sunday clothes because there are lots of people that are like, “Oh, it’s a sales call and I want to look my best.”
So, they dress up and they wear a little dress that shows half your legs. It doesn’t look like you’re there to clean the house. Again, it sends the wrong message.
Send a Very Clear Message to a Client
So, are you safe? I don’t know. Are you sending messages that you’re safe? I’m not trying to rap on you about this, but I want you to send a very clear message to the client.
Either you’re about business or you’re not. If you’re going to clean houses, show up looking like you’re going to clean houses. Show up in your uniform, be professional, have your clipboard with you. That’s why you’re there.
Stay Safe by Asking the Client Questions
Then you want to ask questions of the customer. If for any reason there’s any hint of any bad intentions, make a note of it on your clipboard.
You want to ask the customer upfront. Lots of house cleaners don’t do this, but you have to ask right up front, “I’m sorry, I was confused by what you said. Did you have different intentions or are we actually here to clean?”
There are lots of situations on a daily basis where a homeowner might smack the cleaner on the bum as they leave. Or even take pictures of a cleaner as they’re doing their job. So you have to address it right away.
Stay Safe by Running Ads in the Right Places
Now, another thing to think about is where are you running ads? Lots of people will run ads on Craigslist because they’re inexpensive or free. But Craigslist is known for having all kinds of ulterior motives for cleaning people. It’s not all about cleaning, there are other things going on.
So, if you’re going to run an ad on Craigslist, specify in the ad, no sexual favors. Specify that it’s just about the house cleaning.
Then make sure that all your marketing materials are all about the cleaning. Make sure when you show up you are all about the cleaning.
Keep the Safe Standard Every Time You Work
Then every single time you do the job, make sure that you show up dressed to clean.
Make sure that your behavior is not flirty and inappropriate. And make sure that you’re not acting in any way that would be unprofessional or send the wrong message.
How Solo Cleaners Stay Safe in the Summer
I know that especially in some of the hot areas in the summertime there are house cleaners that will wear something small to stay cool. Then they’re cleaning and then they bend over. You can see their body, and it sends completely the wrong message. You have to find another way to keep cool.
It does not say we’re professional. So, then the customer comes in and says, “Hey, would you like a nice cold glass of ice tea? Why don’t you sit down and relax for a minute?”
The next thing you know, one thing leads to another. It has happened. It happens on a regular basis unless you yourself stop it.
Tools to Stay Safe When Cleaning Solo
Now, protection inside the home. Carry pepper spray with you on your apron or in your cargo pants, that way you have something to protect you in the event that you need it.
It’s unlikely you’ll need it, but you’ll have it in case. Also, keep your cell phone on you. I carry my cell phone with me at all times, under all places and most people do, inside your apron or in your cargo pants.
That way, in the event that you have to run out of the house and you have to call someone to come pick you up or the police. Then you have your cell phone with you.
Keep Your Keys on You to Stay Safe
Don’t get in a situation where your keys and your phone are somewhere else in the house. Keep them on your person.
You don’t need your whole car keys, but a car key. I keep the car key also my apron pocket or in my cargo pants.
For that reason, if I have to bolt in the event of some emergency, I have my car key with me and I can go to safety. These things will keep you protected.
Take Responsibility for Your Own Personal Safety
Now, it is all about you. Take responsibility, you. You take responsibility for your own personal safety while you’re on the job.
Do not leave this to chance. The truth is most customers that hire you for house cleaning, most of them are about the house cleaning.
If anything goes awry, I usually look at the house cleaner first. What were you wearing? What message did you send? What did your ad say? So, you have to make sure you’re sending a clear message along every step in the process.
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