The weather can play a factor in the day-to-day operations of your cleaning business, especially if you get a lot of snow where you live.
I can speak from experience here, as being located in New Jersey gives me plenty to deal with, particularly in the winter season.
While snow is the main concern in my area, we also have ice storms from time to time. These can crop up anywhere from early December to mid March. No matter when they arrive, having a plan in place to deal with them is key.
In my latest podcast 118 Is it OK to cancel during bad weather? I discuss the first part of the equation… Should you cancel services in the first place if the weather is bad? The answer was YES… you can’t go around putting you and your staff in harms way just for a few trash cans.
This doesn’t mean you should abuse that privilege, but you need to make a judgment call as to how to proceed. You will never make everyone happy, but all I can say is put you and your staff first. Without them you don’t have a company!
Once you decide to cancel the cleaning THEN you have the question I pose to you today. Should the missed days be rescheduled? And if so… when? These type decisions can really give you some grief, especially if you have a lot of accounts!
My approach to rescheduling weather related cancellations…
If it was a job we cleaned multiple times per week – anything from 2 times to 7 days per week – I would just skip it and I don’t bother making it up. I’ve done this for years without much negative feedback from the customer.
If it was a one time per week job then I do my best to make it up within a day or two. Sometimes it may need to be moved out 3 or 4 days due to scheduling conflicts with other customers. I also give them a “heads up” as to when I’ll make up the missed day.
Now this approach to cancellations and rescheduling inevitably leads to a billing question as far as the monthly invoice goes. To cut to the chase, I don’t adjust the bill to reflect the missed cleanings. The price stays the same.
How I defend that approach is by the cleaning contract we both signed. I normally make mention that the monthly cleaning bill is a “Flat Fee” for the month. I also add a separate clause that says I can cancel for any weather related issues. I’m not sure anyone really reads all this too closely, but it’s there just in case.
Now I do this for a few reasons… one is because I like “SIMPLICITY”. Once you get a lot of accounts, adjusting a bunch of invoices due to a snow day will be a huge headache plus it only creates confusion with people having multiple invoices for the same month.
The other main reason is because when the rock salt that people put down gets tracked in and we need to vacuum three times as long to get it all up, no one is beating my door down to give me more money for that added work!
With all that said, some people will call you and complain about the bill. Not too many will do this, but odds are you’ll have a few who do. When they call, I don’t argue with them. I don’t tell them to “read the contract”. I simply adjust the bill for them.
My goal is to keep the customers happy. No use losing a paying customer over a few bucks. So there you have it… my approach for dealing with the weather. I’m not telling you to follow my lead, I’m just trying to give some insight into how I approach the process.
I would love to hear your thoughts and questions on the topic. I’m sure there are plenty of interesting stories out there. Leave them in the comments below!
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