“I’m still waiting for my money for house cleaning.” We hear it all the time. “How long should I wait to get paid for house cleaning?” And, “How do I collect for house cleaning payments?”
You can activate a late charge if your past due and collection rules specify. Your job is to clean houses not collect the money. There are lots of programs that allow you to bill the client, and put them on auto-pay. Once they approve of your work, it’s one-click credit card processing.
Listen: I Am Still Waiting for My Money for House Cleaning
Watch: I am Still Waiting for My Money for 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.
What Do You Do When Your Client Hasn’t Paid Yet?
“I’m still waiting for my money. When am I going to get paid for my cleaning job?” I hear this all the time from cleaners who have clients that aren’t paying up.
For instance, one cleaner told us this. “I have a cleaning business, and I have a customer that does an e-transfer. She is supposed to pay by the end of the day. She works till 6:00 PM and he is supposed to send the e-transfer through after she gets home.
But I have gone three days waiting for her e-transfer to come through. What do you think and what can I do about this?”
What Were the Terms of Your Agreement?
This is a question that all house cleaners have when they start. Now you’ve been waiting three days for the money.
Well, what were the terms of the original payment agreement? I have to go back to that because when you did a walkthrough with the customer I’m sure you talked about payment. If you didn’t, you’ll want to on every walkthrough that you do from here forward.
Make Your Payment Agreement on the Walkthrough
It’s one of the things we talk about in the Savvy Cleaner training program when we teach you how to do a walkthrough and the exact words to say. You can check that out at savvycleaner.com.
Now, having said that, what we’re going to talk about for a second is this. When you get to a customer’s house and you are discussing the payment, you’re going to talk about how much does it cost to clean your house and how do I get paid.
Tell the customer, “I’m not a collection agency, and I don’t chase money.” Right up front, you’re telling the customer, “When I clean your house I expect that there will be a check on the counter waiting for me when I arrive.”
It’s Better to Use a Credit Card to Get Paid Than a Check
“Or better yet, I can take your credit card and put it into our system. After I send you an invoice and you double-check the work that I’ve done for the day. Then, when you’re satisfied, we process your credit card.”
A lot of times people say, “Yeah. Yeah. I would love to use my credit card.” That’s great. It’s super-easy. It leaves a trail. At any time if they’re not satisfied they can reverse the process of their credit card with the credit card company.
It’s much safer than even a check that has already cleared and now they want a refund. That gets a little bit muddy anyway. Also, they are not required to leave a check on the certain day you come.
Use Credit Cards to Avoid Price Confusion and Waiting for Money
Sometimes house cleaners have a different price. When they get there something will happen and it’s going to take longer, and they’re expected to change the job.
If they change the job the money didn’t change, how does the customer pay the little bit of extra money that they now owe you?
Now, you’ve been waiting for three days. What are the terms? How long did you tell the customer that you would wait?
It’s Expected to Not Wait for Money in House Cleaning
It is expected on house cleaning that you collect payments at the time of the service. If it’s three days later, did you have a penalty that you charged?
Like, “Hey, if you’re three days late then I start charging you $25 a day.” Is there a penalty that you discussed? Because if there’s no penalty what is the incentive for the customer to pay you on time?
How long do you go? These are questions that we ask. How long do you go before you say, “Well, I’m not working for you anymore because you screwed me out of this money”?
Have Rules in Place to Avoid Waiting for Money
You have to have the rules and regulations in place, and you have to make them super-simple.
Now, I use a worksheet. On the worksheet, there’s a little place right there at the bottom for PayPal.
I say this to the customer on the walkthrough, “I’m not a collection agent and I don’t chase money. When I do my service I expect that at the time I arrive there will be money waiting for me, or we have a credit card on file for you.”
What to Do if You Don’t Have a Credit Card on File
If there’s no credit card on file and there’s no money when I get there, I cannot resell the time. I’ve already shown up at your house.
I can’t go look for a new customer. I’m out that money if I don’t clean. Say, “Unless we’ve made arrangements, and I’ve sent you follow-up emails, and you’ve confirmed the appointment, and you know I’m coming. Then I think I am getting paid.“
The customer will go, “Yeah. That’s fair. That’s an ethical way to do business.”
Sometimes Customers Forget to Pay
Now, in all the years I’ve been cleaning there are a handful of times where customers forgot to pay. This is different from customers who are consistently late in paying. It’s usually something so enormous in their life like a loved one died, and they weren’t thinking.
The loved one died and that consumed everything. The fact that a house cleaner did not get a check on the counter is a million miles away from their thinking.
They’re not trying to gyp you out of your money. They’re not trying to cheat you. Their family member died and how sad is that? They are honest, legitimate reasons why people didn’t pay.
Legitimate Reasons Why Customers Don’t Pay
There are also legitimate reasons like one of the spouses decided to get divorced at the last minute. They ran off with the money and the kids and now the other spouse wrote you a check and the check bounced.
They don’t even know what the financial situation is. Again, they’re not trying to rip you off.
They’re in a moment of one of those “oh my goodness” moments. They forgot to pay you because you are the last thing or the last priority on their mind.
Customers Aren’t Trying to Make You Wait for Your Money
When customers forget to pay, they usually look at it and they’re like, “Oh my gosh. I didn’t pay you yet.”
Then they can have a conversation with you. They can pick up the phone and they can call you, “Oh, something terrible happened. I didn’t pay you,” and you can make other arrangements.
If they’re ghosting you and you keep harassing them for three days for the money. Then you’re going to become an annoyance and they’re going to find somebody that’s easier to work with.
It’s Not the End of the World If You Aren’t Paid Right Away
Just take a deep breath when you’re waiting for money because most businesses don’t pay for a couple of weeks.
If you do commercial cleaning they don’t pay for 30, 60, or 90 days. The terms are different. If somebody went three days without paying you that’s not the end of the world.
Your Goal is to Not Be Surviving on Money From Today
Your goal is to get your businesses to a point where you’re not surviving on the money that comes in today. You don’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck.
That should be chump change that goes into the bank account that you earn interest on.
If you are living moment to moment and you are needing that money, then we have a whole series of different issues that we need to discuss.
For that, I recommend you do come over to the learning library and let us help you get your business regrouped so that you are not living moment by moment. Because that’s a frightening place to run a business from.
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