Ask a House Cleaner, Two Hour Minimum, Savvy Cleaner

Two-Hour Minimum for House Cleaning

Two-Hour Minimum, Woman Writing Rules“I have a two-hour minimum for house cleaning. And I’m trying to grow my cleaning company but a customer is like ‘can you clean my space? I can only afford one hour of cleaning’ and that’s not worth the money. Should I have a two-hour minimum?”

Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru digs into two-hour minimum policies. Even with speed cleaning, you’re not going to make a dent in one hour of cleaning. She gives pro cleaning tips on today’s Ask a House Cleaner cleaning channel. 

Our sponsors are Savvy Cleaner (house cleaner training.) Savvy Perks (Employee benefits for small business.) HouseCleaning360 (A referral hub connecting the homeowner and maid service.) And My Cleaning Connection (a resource hub for cool cleaning stuff.)

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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: Two-Hour Minimum for House Cleaning

Two-Hour Minimum, Woman ThinkingOne hour of cleaning. Is it possible to clean a customer’s house for only one hour? We’re going to talk about that today. 

“Ange, I have a customer who only wants one hour of cleaning, and I have a two-hour minimum. What on earth am I supposed to do?” 

All right, well that’s a lovely question, and you’ve already answered it.  You have a two-hour minimum. The two-hour minimum means you can’t take jobs that are only one hour. 

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Answer: Your Rules Dictate the Two-Hour Minimum

Two- Hour Minimum, Woman Holding Up Two FingersHere’s how that works. When you are in business and you set up rules and regulations. You set up the rules and regulations for you and for your customers. And the beauty of having rules in place is it removes all the need to reinvent your business every single day.

Now, I got a phone call yesterday from a girl who’s been in business, I’m not kidding, for 20 years. And she’s still reinventing the rules and regulations of her business. She does this because she never became firm on what her business offers. 

Every day she wakes up and a customer will ask her if she offers a particular service. And there’s all this stress, and chaos, and worry, and wondering.” does she offer this type of thing in her business?” It’s stressful because quite frankly, she doesn’t know.

If you have rules and regulations and you have a two-hour minimum, that’s your answer. It removes all the worry. It removes all the wonder. 

Your Two-Hour Minimum Rules are Scalable

Two-Hour Minimum, Two House CleanersAs you grow and expand your business and you hire new people, they will come and say, “Hey, we have a customer that wants one hour.” 

The answer is no. You have a two-hour minimum. That’s your rule. That’s how you operate.

When anyone at any time calls and they say, “Can you come clean my house for one hour?” You say, “I’m sorry, I have a two-hour minimum.” 

The answer is the same whether you answer the phone, or whether it’s one of your employees. Everybody knows the rules. 

Two-Hour Minimum is the Way to Go – or is it?

 Two-Hour Minimum, Bottom Half of Man MoppingAll right, now the flip side of that is this, you may decide that that is not one of your rules and that you don’t have a two-hour minimum.  Because there are house cleaning companies that will advertise “No job too small.” 

This means they will take a job that is only 15 minutes, or an hour, or whatever. If your business does not have a two-hour minimum, then it is possible for you to accept a job that’s only one hour.

Here’s how that works. If you work in your neighborhood, and I love the idea of working in your neighborhood. Because you will have cancellations from time to time. And if you have a customer that only wants one hour of cleaning, you can turn around in that moment of cancellation, and do the job.

 “Hey Joan, you needed one hour of service for this particular project that you’re working on. I just had a cancellation. Is now a good time for me to run over?” 

Use One Hour Here and There as Showcases

Two-Hour Minimum, Man Cleaning BlindsYou can go two doors down and you can spend that extra hour right now. You can earn some money now, where a minute ago you weren’t going to earn any money because somebody just canceled on you. And it gives you a chance to show the client your cleaning capabilities or audition for the job if you will. 

Having a rule that says, “Oh yes, you are nearby, so I can fit you in at any random hour that I have available” rocks.

That way if you finish early one day and you have an extra hour and you still feel like cleaning, you can run over there and put in that hour.

Because in the house cleaning business, you only get paid for the time you actually work. We don’t bill our customers just for kicks, right? They only pay us when we clean. 

So, in order for you to make more money, you have to do more jobs. 

Create One-Hour Packages for Your Business

Two-Hour Minimum, Fluffing PillowsIf one-hour requests are common for you, create one-hour packages.  

Here’s a secret. Don’t ever include the bathrooms and the kitchen in the same hour. 

Because you’re not going to be able to do either one very well. 

And if they can get the bathrooms and the kitchen clean in one hour, why on earth would they hire you to clean the rest of the house, right? 

Put together a bathroom package, or put together a kitchen package, or a guest bedroom package. 

So, they can call you and say, “Hey, I have a guest coming to town.” And you go, “Great, I’ll run over and I’ll get that room ready.” In one hour, you get that room ready for that guest. 

That might mean laying out towels, and an extra toothbrush. You fluff the pillows, change the linens, whatever it is, but you get that room ready and it only takes one hour.

What Does it Mean – I Can Only Afford One Hour of Cleaning?

Two-Hour Minimum, Woman Taking Out GarbageNow, if a person has a budget that is so tight that they only allow for one hour of cleaning, you may want to offer them a job. “Hey, would you like to come work for my company?” 

This is somebody stretching their budget. But they appreciate and understand the value of house cleaning. They might be a perfect fit for you to bring onboard.  Train them in the business, and then they can do other projects like this. Because there are people that hang out in circles that are minimalists. 

And they want the minimal amount done. And they want to pay the minimal amount of pricing. And so, they may have other friends in their network that are like them. That person might be perfect to accommodate those kinds of small jobs.

I Can Only Work Part Time

Two-Hour Minimum, Smiling Woman on PhoneThis might be a part-time person that only works a few hours a day or a few hours a week. So, this might be another opportunity for you as well so that you just don’t turn business away. 

Because everybody that comes to our door, even the one-offs, we have an opportunity to upsell them at a later time. 

If somebody’s budget is tight today, that doesn’t mean they will never have money. If they understand the value of your service, when their financial situation changes, they may want to hire you on a regular basis.

But if you’ve turned those people away and you’re like, “I only have a two-hour minimum. I’m not coming to your house.” 

What Happens When Their Finances Improve?

Two-Hour Minimum, Christmas Tree DecoratingWhat happens when they need a service and they’re willing to pay the big money, they’ll turn to someone else. And then you lose the deep cleaning, spring cleaning, and attic cleaning. They could hire you for garage cleaning, and Christmas decorations, and parties, and all this stuff.  But they will go to someone else because you were abrupt with them. Or you had some kind of minimum, and you turned them away.

But if you welcome those people in and then you put them on a waitlist, and you accommodate them when your schedule allows, they will be loyal to you. 

So, you massage that waitlist, and maybe their situation never changes. Maybe they’re never able to hire you, but if you’re kind to them and you do excellent work, they might be the best referral system you’ve ever had. 

Be Clear on Your Offer

What is it you offer? And be 100% clear about your terms. And then don’t keep reinventing the wheel. You either do offer one hour, or you don’t. If you do, make it work. If you don’t, be very clear about that so you don’t keep re-wondering, and re-worrying, and re-asking that question every time it comes up.  

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