What is the World’s Greatest Cancellation Policy?
What is the world’s greatest cancellation policy? This is for a homeowner who has to cancel their scheduled cleaning with the house cleaner. Somebody asked this question, “Hi, Angela. My name’s Amanda. I would like to ask you a question. I just read your article on charging cancellation fees for cleaning services. I would like to know how I can come up with a company policy. Thank you.”
How Do You Create a Cancellation Policy?
All right. How do you create a cancellation policy? The answer to that is simple. You have to decide as a house cleaner what is important to you? And then you have to communicate that to the customer. And when you communicate what’s important to you, to the customer, that becomes the world’s greatest cancellation policy, because it is the one you are going to enforce.
Here’s how it works. At Savvy Cleaner, we have a program called “How to Ace a Walkthrough”. And as you go through the walkthrough with the customer, you give them a copy of your worksheet and they become very familiar with your worksheet.
As you go room by room through the house, you’re making notes of their priorities. You’re explaining the difference between the maintenance clean, the deep cleaning, the special projects, daily, weekly bi-weekly chores, all that stuff.
When You Go to Give the Customer a Price
And then comes the moment of truth. You’re standing at the front door and you’re getting ready to leave, and you’re going to give them a price.
Before we give them a price. Let’s flip to the back sheet of the worksheet. And let me go over the rules and regulations of how I run my business. What I’m doing at this moment is taking control.
This is my business. These are my rules. This is how I operate. And I want you to make sure that you are in agreement before we move forward. And I give you a price and you agree to the terms. And they go, “okay”.
We Call our Cancellation Policy "Rescheduling"
So, we flip to the back page and on the back page I have what’s called “rescheduling“. Now some people call it cancellations, which to me is a really harsh term. Nobody cancels on anybody. We’re going to reschedule. The way that the company is set up is you’re going to pay me for the service that you use.
“So, time is my most valuable commodity. And so, if you reserve time for house cleaning, I’m going to reserve that on my calendar. You’re going to pay me whether you use it or not. It’s like having a car sitting out in your driveway. If you don’t drive your car for three or four days in a row, you don’t deduct that from your car payment this month.
They would think you were crazy and they would take your car away. You still have to pay the full amount for the car, even if you don’t drive it. It’s the same with the house cleaning services we provide. You’re going to pay us either way.”
Canceling Last Minute Hurts House Cleaners
So, I just want to make sure that you understand that canceling on us at the last minute is not because it’s convienient. It is not just because I don’t feel like having you come today. Because here’s how it works. I run a business and when I run a business, that means I’ve got to hire people to work for me.
They are expecting me to put food on the table so they can pay, feed their kids. And I’m expecting you to give us the money so that I can put food on the table for their kids. So, if I’ve hired people and if they’re planning on showing up, if at the last minute you call and cancel, I have something else I need them to do, but I still have to pay them.
So, I’m going to send them on other errands or we’re going to try to resell the time or whatever, that’s our problem.
I Still Have to Pay Employees if Clients Cancel
But if you cancel on us, I still have to pay them. So, you still have to pay me. That’s how that works. And so, if for any reason you can let us know in advance, like, oh, I’m going on vacation for these two weeks. We have an alarm code. We have a house key we’re in your home because you trust us. We’re going to come anyway and clean your house. Your house still needs to be cleaned, right? That’s not a reason to cancel.
We Want You to Cancel if You're Sick
If you’re sick, we do want you to cancel. I want you to cancel. You’re still going to pay me for the time. I want you to cancel them because they don’t want to get sick. If I get sick, that means I might make my other customer sick and I don’t want to do that.
I’m not going to go to their house and then bring the sickness to your house. I don’t want to do that either. So, if I get sick, I have to take a whole week off work and quarantine and get better as well as my employees. If they’re in your home and they get exposed to a sickness, they also have to take time off work.
That’s not beneficial to anyone. So, cancel on us. If you get sick, no harm, no foul. We will reschedule your cleaning at the soonest available date. When you feel well, call us, we’ll do our best to try to squeeze you in, right? This is not, oh we’re going to hit you up with a fee at the last minute, you’re going to pay us anyway. So, there’s already a full fee in place.
Some Companies Don't Have a Cancellation Policy
Now, some companies don’t have the full fee in place and they charge for the cleaning. Like I’m going to show up today and you’re going to pay me for today’s work. And that’s how their business is set up. That’s fine. And then if a customer cancels, then they’re left stranded because now they have no money coming in and now, they have no agreements with the customer.
So, if you’re going to make an agreement, it needs to be in writing that says if within 24 hours you cancel on us, we’re going to charge you a full fee or we’re going to charge half the fee or a $50 deposit, or however you want to set that up. Every business is a little bit different.
How Some Cleaners Don't Have a Cancellation Fee
There’s a girl in my network who has a loosey-goosey schedule. She doesn’t charge any cancellation fees at all. And her price is a roaming price change. She doesn’t know what she’s going to do at the customer’s house. And she doesn’t know how much it’s going to cost and neither do the customers.
And she says, “Hey, listen, I’ve got family drama. And so, whatever happens, my family comes first. And so, if I cancel on you at the last minute, don’t worry. I’ll come when I can.”
And they’re like, “okay, well we work out of our houses. So come whenever you can and we’ll make it work.” And they do, they all work around each other’s weird wackadoodle schedules and that works for them. I don’t work that way because that doesn’t help me run a team and it’s not scalable.
Our Company Works on a Tight Schedule
So, for me, I have to have a tight schedule and everybody knows the hours that they’re working and they’ve all planned their daycare and other things around my tight schedule. So, I don’t get the luxury of just winging it. So, I do have a really tight schedule and I will reschedule with as much notice as possible.
We’re super creative. We’re very resourceful. We’ll do it as much as we can to make it work for you. But as long as we have an agreement in place upfront, no cancellations, and you’re going to pay full price.
It's Rare That We Get Cancellations
Anyway, it is rare that anyone ever cancels on us. I mean, it is rare. It happens maybe once a year per customer and they’ll call and say, whoa, something huge just happened.
And we were like, “oh my goodness, we are so sorry, what can we do to help this situation?” And there are times when one woman said I can’t have you come to my house, but I would love to re-gift today’s cleaning to someone else she’d already paid for it. It was kind of weird, but we said, you know what? That’s, that’s honorable.
We totally respect that. And we went and we cleaned someone’s house and exchanged stuff like that.
Your Clients Can Re Gift Their Cleaning if They Cancel
So, make it an offer. You can re-gift your cleaning to someone else cause you’re paying full price anyway. I’ve already hired the team. We’re putting food on their kid’s table. That’s how we’re going to make this work.
You can do it any variety of different ways that you want. But the answer is you have to decide what is important to you. What is important to me is that we run off a really tight schedule. We only have 24 hours in a day. I can get more money. I cannot get more time. My schedule is super, super important.
Once the customer understands that they do not screw around with my schedule. Right. So, if you’ve communicated that to your customer, that becomes the world’s greatest cancellation policy, because you’re both in agreement of how that works.
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