Firing a customer can be the most thought intensive yet relieving decision you may ever have to make with your professional house cleaning company. It’s a quick choice for some reasons. But for others, it’s wise to give notice before terminating a cleaning contract. Here’s why I say this.
But, before I go any further, please let me explain that I completely dislike the word “fire”.
I just don’t like it.
It sets the tone of one person being above the other rather than a mutual agreement between two parties. To me, an agreement between two people is mutual. My husband and business partner would agree with me on this.
Here’s how I see it….
The homeowner needs a service from someone responsible, skilled, knowledgeable, and trustworthy – among other things. You, the professional cleaner, need a respectful, honest, understanding, open-minded customer.
See what I’m saying?
You can add a few more expectations to either side, but you get my point, right?
It’s a cohesive business relationship. Both parties must work together to achieve the purpose of why they have an agreement in the first place.
Your customer’s… to receive a service.
Your’s… to make money.
It’s just that simple!
Realistically, it is your customer’s home, and their prerogative to have you there. In the same respect, it should be a safe, peaceful environment for you to carry out the service for which you’ve been contracted to do.
It is the homeowner’s job to make sure the house is ready and to have payment when services are rendered. Your position is to be on time and equipped to provide those services.
Again, to me it is an equal relationship and it is the premise for which we have ran our cleaning services for over 27 years.
When providing personal services such as house cleaning it is important to understand that both parties of the agreement must work together.
Since, this working agreement is on an equal playing field, in my opinion, either party can ‘fire’, (ugh), each other.
Do you agree? Leave a comment below.
If you’re terminated, this is how you bounce back quickly after being fired as a cleaning service provider. Or, if you find yourself needing to cancel a contract with a house cleaning customer, it should be for a really good reason.
Before you cancel a house cleaning contract and let your customer go.
First, ask yourself the real reason why and if it is worth your business losing money, lay-off an employee, and/or backlash from any connected customers.
… because ya know they’re gonna tell the friends they referred to your business.
Secondly, did you have conversations with the customer about anything within their control to correct the problem on their end?
Lastly, is your decision strictly a business decision based upon profits? Are you losing money serving this customer in any way?
It is perfectly in your right to cancel a house cleaning agreement because it is no longer profitable.
It’s valid, after all you’re in business to, well, make a profit. Just give it some thought before you approach your customer. Or, get creative to see how you can work things out to benefit more in your favor.
Another thing, you want a legitimate reason to terminate a cleaning agreement. You don’t want to fire a customer for frivolous reasons such as the house is always too hot or too cold when you clean. The lighting is bad or the ceilings are too high to dust. Or, you can’t seem to fold their sheets the correct way. Or heaven forbid, their wallpaper makes you nauseous.
You want real reasons to let a customer go.
Here are 5 reasons why and when to “fire” a house cleaning customer
1. The house is never picked up and ready for cleaning despite many warnings. If this was a part of your agreement with your customer, AND, you have had multiple conversations, you have every right to let this customer go. After all, you’re losing money picking up when that time needs to be cleaning up. You can be more than fair and give a 30-day written notice.
2. When the customer wants to add extra cleaning tasks but are not willing to pay extra. This will eat away at your profit each and every time. Again, there has to be a clear understanding of what you are being paid to do. Have a conversation or two about this. If they continue to leave little requests, but no extra money. Politely leave a 30-day written notice.
To alleviate any misunderstandings, have a residential customer profile worksheet for every house. These sheets will spell out everything included for routine cleanings. And, if ever there is a request for additional services, you will have those prices written down. There is even space for writing square footage for carpet cleaning and hard surface floor care.
3. When the customer has become disrespectful verbally and disrespectful in terms of expectations for cleaning. You are an ADULT contracted to clean a house. There is never, ever a reason for a customer to yell, call you a name outside of yours, demand, control, manipulate, threaten, or touch you. Never. If this should ever happen to you or your staff, you have every right to drop your mop, collect your things, and walk the hell out.
This reason does not require a 30-day written notice!
4. When you have to chase after your payment once cleaning is performed. Most professional house cleaners get paid at the time of service via a check or currency. Nowadays, a lot of cleaners have their customers on a credit card paying system. Some avoid both routes and receive payments directly from the customers automatically.
Chasing after people can be annoying and just not worth the hassle. Again, a 30-day written notice would suffice.
5. The constant complainer. Sometimes, there are those situations that even your best efforts aren’t appreciated.
It can be nerve wracking getting a call from the same customer after every cleaning just to hear the same thing about this or that wasn’t cleaned appropriately. And again, after having multiple conversations and trying all types of things to make the customer happy, you have to just let them go.
Seriously, stuff like this will kill your self-confidence and you need your inner strength to be an awesome professional cleaner. You can give a 30-day written notice to this customer too.
Let me just tell you that we personally, including our staff, have had all the types of the customers mentioned above at some point in our business. We had to let some go, and as things worked in our favor, some chose to ‘fire’ us. Trust me, we were just fine. 😉
Ok. Now for the takeaway…
Homework: If, and only if, there is a customer that you really don’t like to provide house cleaning services to, write out your grievances. Analyze the list. Brainstorm and think about how you could alleviate some of the issues you or your staff encounter. If you can’t and need to involve the customer, then do so before things get out of hand. Usually, we, the cleaner, let the situation get to the point of total frustration before we decide to do something about the problem. So, be proactive, not reactive. Just my 2 cents 😏.
Whenever you feel the need to fire a house cleaning customer, give it some serious thought. Think about your staff, the lost income, and any other negative backlash that can come from it. You want to make sure that it is worth letting a customer go and that your reasons are not shallow and easily solvable with a conversation. Remember, you and your customer have a mutual agreement of expectations and an infringement on their part should be the only reason to ‘fire’ them. Above all else, this is your business – a professional cleaning service, and the choice is yours.
“I also learned that a person was not necessarily bad just because you did not agree with him, and that if you believed in something, you had better be prepared to defend it.”
― Hillary Rodham Clinton
Until next time,
If you want the FREE DOWNLOAD of Residential Customer Profile Worksheets, CLICK HERE.
Creator of A Janitor’s Story®. I started my office cleaning side hustle at 20 years old. Years later, with the partnership of my husband and our amazing staff, my business grew to mid-six figures and fulfilled my wildest dreams! Now, 27 years STRONG, I’ve retired, and I help aspiring entrepreneurs to START and GROW their house and office cleaning service businesses to achieve their biggest dreams. I’d like to help you do the same.
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