“We got tricked” – House Cleaners Lament. They go to give job estimates only to find the homeowner misrepresents the job. Prices for cleaning change if the messy house is worse than promised.
Housekeepers have walkthrough questions that help avoid a bait and switch. When the client tries to get a cheaper price by skipping details of the job it hurts the house cleaners and maids. It also increases pricing for the job.
Listen: We Got Tricked – House Cleaners Lament
Watch: We Got Tricked – House Cleaners Lament
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.
When House Cleaners Feel Tricked
“We got tricked!” You get a job and the job is different than what the house cleaner or the homeowner originally agreed to. Something went wrong and you got tricked. It’s terrible when this happens. One house cleaner wrote in with this problem
“My name is Regina. My husband and I are new business owners in a cleaning business and we have a customer that frustrated us. This was supposed to be a one-bedroom, one-bath clean. She said she had a professional clean about two weeks before. So yeah, actually it wasn’t that bad. We went, she was about 20 minutes late. She had a roommate who let us in. We were uncomfortable with starting when she wasn’t there because we didn’t get a chance to do a walkthrough.
We were there to do the kitchen, clean up the refrigerator, and to do a couple of the cabinets. And her bedroom and bathroom because she was moving out. But we didn’t know that until we got there. Not only was this actually a move out clean, this place hadn’t ever been cleaned. And then she kept adding on things.
What do we do with clients like this? I mean, we’re new, we’re trying to build the reviews and we have no idea. We don’t want to be mean, so we did it. And it definitely was underquoted, but we went ahead and did it. I felt like she was taking advantage. What do we do with cases like this?”
What to Do When Customers Trick You
It is very easy as a house cleaner getting started in the business to get tricked because you didn’t ask the right questions. Now, it was supposed to be a one-bedroom, one-bath house. But, when you got there it was different.
You also had to wait for 20 minutes in order for somebody to open the door for you, which is annoying because now you wasted some time. Time is money in the house cleaning business.
The next thing they said there was a professional house cleaning company that came a couple of weeks ago. And when you got there it was like nobody came. So something happened between a couple of weeks ago and now.
Learn from Your Experience Getting Tricked
The very first thing you have to do is admit that they tricked you and chalk this up to experience and don’t ever let it happen again. Turn this negative experience into a positive one by learning from it.
Now, when a customer calls you and they say, “Can you come to clean our house?” You need to ask a series of questions so nobody tricks you in the future.
The questions you need to ask are“You said you had a professional house cleaner come to your house, was it an independent or was it a franchise?” And they’re going to give you a piece of information. If they’re lying and they didn’t have a professional cleaning company come, they’re not going to be able to give you an answer.
Ask Questions to Avoid Getting Tricked
“Do I know the company? Is there somebody that you can let me know?” And if they can give you a name like that, it’s valid. If they can’t give you a name, they’re probably making it up. You have to recognize the signs. If they’re lying to you about things like that, there are probably more lies coming on.
So it’s important to be aware. When you said that you’ll be there at a certain time, were you very clear about the time you were going to be there? Say something like this, “I will be there at eight o’clock sharp, will you be there to meet me?”
And they say, “Well no, I have to go to work at eight o’clock in the morning. There’s somebody else that’s going to be there to let you in.” We have no deal. You want them to be there because you agreed to clean for them.
Clarify the Type of Clean With the Customer
You went thinking it was a regular job but, it was actually a move out clean. You need to clarify that right up-front. So you could ask a question like, “Hey, is this a weekly clean? Is this biweekly clean? Is this a one time clean?”
And if they say, “No, I’m moving, this is a one time clean.” That’s a different conversation because, on a maintenance clean, you’re going to do a series of things. On a move out clean, you’re going to be cleaning the insides of the cupboards and insides of the drawers.
You’re going to be cleaning out the oven and the inside of the fridge. And a whole bunch of other stuff that you’re not going to be cleaning on regular maintenance clean. So what kind of a clean is this? And you can’t give them a fair price until you know what kind of a clean it is.
Find Out Details About the Move Out Clean
Now you have confirmation that it is a move out clean, ask them when are they actually moving? Because you don’t want to go in and do all this work and then they escape town and you never see the money.
Ask them “Can we put this on a credit card upfront? You will not be charged until the day of the cleaning, but I want to make sure that I get paid for this.” If they’re not willing to come to some kind of agreement with you, you shouldn’t do the cleaning.
A lot of times house cleaners don’t know they’re doing a move out clean. Then the people escape town and then they disconnect their phone or they don’t answer their phone or they ghost them or whatever. You certainly don’t want to find yourself in that situation either. The clearer you are on your expectations up-front, the easier the information is going to go.
If a Customer is Not On Time
When you get to the customer’s house, and they are not there on time, after 10 minutes, 15 minutes, you need to leave and let them know that right up-front. Tell them that if you show up at their house and they’re not there, you can only wait for up to 10 minutes, so you are not kept waiting, because time is money.
My time is your money, you’re paying me for the job. And so, if you do show up after 20 minutes, I have to charge you for that time. When you’re very clear, people will say, “Oh well, I’ll be there on time.” And they will be there on time. All right.
Try to Get on a Phone Call With The Customer
The next thing is if someone is texting you this information and you’re not having a phone conversation with them. This is their biggest asset. The home for most people is the biggest asset that they own. So you say, “Hey, listen, in order to be fair to you, I would really love to jump on a call. Is there any chance instead of texting back and forth I can ask you a couple of questions on the phone?”
Get them on the telephone and have that conversation because if they’re not willing to have a phone conversation with you, you don’t have a deal. You need to find out all of these things before you get to the house. You don’t want to drive over there and waste your time. IYou took a shower, put my uniform on, and looked nice.
Then you show up at the client’s house and then they are not there. That’s just a waste of your time. You’re not going to do that unless you can clarify upfront. So the clearer you are, the easier it’s going to be.
Use Worksheets When You Get to the Customer’s House
Now, when you get to the customer’s house, you’re going to use your worksheets. If you don’t have worksheets, use mine. Go to savvycleaner.com/worksheets and a little box will pop up. You type in your email address and it sends you the worksheets.
You can tweak them, edit them in a word or a Google document and you can make them your own. When you show up with the worksheet, what you’re saying is, this is what you are agreeing to. The things you don’t agree to, cross off the worksheet.
But then when you get there, the customer can’t say, “Well, can I just throw this in? Can you do this? Can you do that?” “Nope. This is what we agreed to. This is the price I gave you. If you want to throw these extra things in, I have to give you a different price.”
Agree to a Price with Your Customer Before Working
So, before you leave their house, give them a price and say, “We both are agreeing these are the tasks I’m going to do for this amount of money. Is that fair?” And if they say yes, great, start cleaning.
So what they’re agreeing to is to pay you for the things on this sheet. All these other things that they’re adding in, it costs more money.
And because time is money, you can’t randomly do it even if you’re new and even if your schedule is wide open because like you said, you underbid the job. They kept throwing things at you that you should have charged more for.
How to Avoid Getting Tricked Again
So, you did get tricked and you don’t want to get tricked again. So, in the future, every time a customer calls and asks you to come to do a job, ask them to jump on the phone.
And then your next step is if you can come to their house and see the house?You do not want to give them a price over the phone without seeing the house. So, when you get to the house and you see that it’s different, you’re going to charge more money. It’s going to take longer to clean. You’re going to need different cleaning supplies.
After you have been in the business for years, you know exactly how much you can clean in a certain amount of time-based on the square footage. The questions you ask will lead them to say things that will hint it’s a bigger job than it really is. But until you are in that space, you need to go with your eyes wide open and take a look at the house before you give them a quote.Resources
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