Walking into a mess your customer left you is a horrible feeling. You feel like walking out and never coming back.
I know! I’ve been there many times over and the feeling it gives you is one I won’t soon forget. But the fact is, it DOES HAPPEN from time to time.
When I was a beginner to the cleaning business it used to bother me a lot. I used to ask myself “How can people be so incredibly messy?” As an example, I had this one house cleaning account where every visit was an adventure.
We used to come out every week and just dread it. If the homeowner dropped an egg on the kitchen floor the moment we finished the cleaning. It would sit there until we came in for the next cleaning!
If you moved the couch, there was a good chance a collection of potato chips would be UNDER IT. I’m not talking a few chips, I’m talking nearly a full bags worth! HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN?
The only reason we kept that account is because we charged them an arm and a leg. The house was a disaster when I bid it, so I kind of knew what I was in for. It also helped that the lady was very nice. An absolute sweetheart.
On the commercial side I had a customer who is kind of slowly going out of business in my opinion. They are just a shell of what they once were staffing wise, and they are always throwing out a ton of trash each week.
It’s almost as if the big bosses know the end is near, so they are getting rid of the clutter in advance of the company’s demise. Well one day they leave me a collection of about ten trash bags to take to the dumpster. No big deal right?
Well each bad must have weighed about 200 pounds. When you tried to move the bags, each one broke open! Guess what was in them? Books, computers, printers and more magazines than your local bookstore carries.
To make a long story short, we had to empty each bag and basically turn one bag into four to make it manageable to carry. I wasn’t a happy camper as they say! I was going to leave a note saying they were too heavy, but once again, I charged these people a LOT for the cleaning.
My thinking was it doesn’t happen all that often, so I might as well “suck it up” and be a man about it. I’m not saying that was the right decision, but that is what I generally do. I want to make it EASY AS POSSIBLE for the customer, so if it’s within reason, I just do it.
I know the initial reaction most people have is to GET MAD, and I fully understand. But you need to remember IT’S NOT PERSONAL. It’s just business as they say. I always charged on the high side, so when these issues raised their head I knew I was getting paid a fair amount to just get it done. So if I can impart any wisdom, it would be this.
You should never think that every cleaning will be a BEST CASE SCENARIO for you when it comes time to clean. Sometimes there will be a party, sometimes they will do a spring cleaning and have a bunch of trash and sometimes they will make a mess for some unknown reason. When you go to bid a job you need to factor that in somehow!
Think of it this way. I had an employee who always was late. When you asked her when she would arrive, you had to add 30 minutes to whatever she said. She was always late because she always thought “best case”, as in NO TRAFFIC and she would get ALL GREEN LIGHTS.
Well that’s a fantasy! We all know that there IS TRAFFIC and sometimes all you get is RED LIGHTS. The same is true of your customers in a sense. It will not always be “best case”, as in clean and tidy. I wish it were otherwise but it’s not!
I’ll wrap this up by asking you to share some of your “horror stories” in the comments below. It may be good “therapy” for you plus it will help all the beginners out there get a feeling for what is possible when you get hired to clean a house or commercial property.