My Theory On Cleaning During Inclement Weather (should I clean or cancel?)

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by Tom Watson on January 21, 2018

With all this record cold, snow and generally crazy weather this year I thought I should re-visit this topic once again.

I know that during my time running my business I encountered lots of situations where I had to ask myself “should we clean or not”.

We ran our business out of New Jersey, so we had a pretty good variation in the weather. During the summer we often had nasty thunderstorms capable of producing high-winds, lots of rain and the occasional tornado. In the fall we had Nor’easters that came rumbling up the coast to pound the entire region. And the winter brought the possibility of lots of snow to our area.

To clean or not to clean. That is the question!

To make a long story short, we had several times per year where I had to decide what to do. The rule of thumb for me was IS IT SAFE? That always came FIRST. I would never ask someone to go out if they felt uncountable, as cleaning just wasn’t worth the risk. The trash and the toilets being cleaned CAN WAIT if there is any doubt.

I didn’t always follow my own advice. When I first started I had this account out in the middle of nowhere. It had snowed something fierce and I was worried about getting the job done. So as soon as it stopped I jumped in my car to go clean it. What a mistake! Nothing was plowed, so when I got to the doctor’s office the entire place was covered in about 15 inches of snow.

So I parked the car out front and WADED THROUGH DRIFTS UP TO MY WAIST to get to the door. Dragging the big 44 gallon trash cans outside to the curb is one memory I still laugh at. WHAT WAS I THINKING? I risked life and limb to go clean a small doctors office for a few bucks! I’m sure the office staff appreciated my effort, but it wasn’t very smart!

Words I added to my cleaning contracts

As time went on my cleaning contracts went from being pretty simple to a little more involved. This is because as I learned more I protected myself more via the language I used in the contract. One line I added was: (My Company) reserves the right to cancel cleaning services due to inclement weather.

That simple line put my accounts on notice that I won’t be betting the farm on getting the cleaning done in bad weather. Not that they would EXPECT IT, but to be on the safe side I wanted it my contract. I never wanted people to say they won’t be paying because I missed a day of cleaning.

Did I make up the missed cleaning?

If I cancelled service due to some weather event this is how I looked at that question. If I cleaned the place MULTIPLE TIMES PER WEEK, then I DID NOT make up for the missed cleaning date. If I only cleaned an account once per week (or once every two / once per month), then I DID MAKE UP the missed cleaning date.

Most never had an issue with that approach. Occasionally a customer would want some refund off the cleaning but that was it. If that happened I just gave it to them. No use getting in to a big cat fight over a few bucks. I kept the bigger picture in mind at all times! I hope this post helps you out if you are new and feel free to post any questions in the comments below.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Merenciana January 22, 2018 at 8:44 am

Thank you.

2 Shameka Brown February 5, 2018 at 1:44 pm

Great information! God bless you for taking the time to explain different scenarios. I really needed some insight on cleaning apartment complexes and found out information on Apartment turnovers.

Thank you and God Bless You!!!

3 Tom Watson February 9, 2018 at 11:34 am

Happy to help!

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