Ask a House Cleaner, Travel, Savvy Cleaner

Travel Time – How Far Should Maids Go For A Job?

Travel time, wear and tear on your car and commute time are hiccups for house cleaners and maids. So how far is too far to travel to clean a house? In today’s episode of Ask a House Cleaner, we look at the philosophy behind commuting to work. While franchised maids and house cleaners are limited to a territory, independent house cleaners can choose where the neighborhoods they want to work in.  This episode is about working smart not hard. 

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Listen: Travel Time – How far is too far to go for a cleaning job?

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Watch: Travel Time – How far is too far to go for a cleaning job?


Hi there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is the show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.

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Family travel with moving boxesQuestion: Travel Time – How far is too far to go for a cleaning job?

Now, today’s question comes from a house cleaner who is moving thirty miles down the road from where she has been living. Now the clients that she has been servicing, living another thirty miles down the road. So, just roughly, as far as driving time goes, it’s going to take her about an hour to get one way to her cleaning clients houses, and another hour to get back home in the evening.

And so, her question is; “Is it worth the travel time, or should I just say goodbye to those clients and go find new clients at the new place?”

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Answer: Travel Time is An Expense. Work Smart Not Hard travel in rush hour traffic

That’s a great question. But in the house cleaning industry, we don’t get paid for time and travel.

That would be the equivalent to anyone who has a job who has to commute to their job in the morning. Or the afternoon, or whenever they go to work. You commute to your job, and then you commute back.

The difference is in house cleaning, we are not bound by a specific office location. We do not have a specific place we go for business.

As house cleaners, we can choose to work wherever we want.

 colorful map with pin depicting travel time to a cleaning clients houseFranchisees Do Have Territories

Now, having said that, that applies to independent house cleaners. This is not for franchisees who are assigned a particular territory.

When you buy into the franchise, you buy a particular territory that may not be close to where you live at all. Sometimes it’s not even in the same state. And so, you don’t get to pick where you want to work, you are bound by the regulations of that franchise.

But if you’re a small mom and pop company, and you’re an independent house cleaner, you can choose to work wherever you want to work.

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Travel Expenses Eat Into Company Profits

And so, if you have a choice to travel an hour to go clean someone’s home, choose someone that lives closer to you. 

The wear and tear that you put on your car is an expense to your business.  Not to mention the price of gas and the time you will lose driving and sitting in traffic. Those expenses eat into your company profits.

And you might say “Well, all the good houses are an hour away.” 

collage of different priced homes

I think that’s easy to say that if you’re unaware that at all different socioeconomic levels there are people willing to pay for house cleaning. From studio apartments and college dorms all the way up to multi-million dollar houses that probably need five or six house cleaners to maintain.

So, there is a wide variety of people that are willing to pay for house cleaning.

You Have a Choice to Travel or Not to Travel aerial view neighborhood cutting down travel time for house cleaners

So, my suggestion would be to find somebody that lives close to you. Like in the same neighborhood. Or maybe in the neighborhood next door, or the neighborhood next door to that.

Because then when you go into a neighborhood instead of driving fifteen, twenty and thirty minutes between houses, you’re literally going next door.  Or two doors down. Or across the street, or two streets over. So, all of your work is consolidated in one or two neighborhoods.

Here’s the thing.

Let’s say that you do two houses a day, and you work five days a week, that’s only ten houses.

You don’t need to find ten houses that are scattered all over the city which comes back to your marketing.

If You Don’t Travel, You Don’t Need To Market All Over The City

man in blue shirt drawing a marketing strategy on glass wall You don’t need to be blasting your energy and your marketing dollars all over if all you want is one neighborhood.

You can really hone down your marketing expenses and the time, energy and resources that you spend building your business if you focus on one small neighborhood.

Now, if you’re moving, this is a perfect opportunity to start your business over again.

Let’s say that you started your business in the old neighborhood and you were at a fixed price. But let’s say that now you’re a better house cleaner.

You have better cleaning systems. You’re faster at what you do.

You’re smarter about the way that you work.

And maybe it’s time for you to raise your prices.

Moving To A New Area Is a Great Chance to Start Over House cleaner traveling to new location with new rules

So, going into a new neighborhood is a brand-new chance to completely start over again, and maybe charge a little bit higher rates.

And to pick that “I’m not going to drive thirty miles one way to a customer’s house, I’m only going to work in my neighborhood.” Because that’s just working smart not hard.

So should you travel? It’s entirely up to you. You’re the business owner.

You get to make that determination. I would recommend that you say goodbye to those people. It was a great experience. And you can stay in touch with them.

It’s Easy To Start Over Again If You Own a Maid Service

Transfer your business to your new home, because this is an easy business to pick up new customers and clients.

And now you can fix all the little things that are hard to fix with old customers. You can do that now with a whole new set of customers.

So, don’t travel if you don’t have to. Don’t put extra wear and tear and gas mileage and commute time in that you don’t have to.

This is your business. And it’s your life. So, consolidate and work smart, not hard.

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What do you think? Would you make the drive? Let me know in the review section below.

And until I meet you again, leave the world a cleaner place, than when you found it.

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