Clients taking advantage of you and your services - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
 
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post #1 of Old 04-29-2013, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
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Clients taking advantage of you and your services

I wanted to get some advice on here from fellow business owners. I'm a very nice guy and willing to please the customer, but lately my clients seem to be "taking me for all I'm worth". When I send the cleaners to the client's home they have ridiculous expectations. For instance, one client expected my cleaner to scrub a door for hours that her son had taken crayon and marker and written all over. Another client wouldn't let me send a male cleaner and insulted our company several times (before we finished the job). I'm targeting those that make over $125,000 a year, and I'm starting to think its a huge mistake. At least half the clients I serve are unhappy with the overall clean or are asking my cleaners to spend an inordinate amount of time on one or two projects that prevent them from doing an adequate job on the "big picture". How should I solve this? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I also find it interesting that while they do complain a lot, they never switch companies...?

P.S. I'm thinking about having a 45 minute cleaning policy....in other words, my cleaners will never spend more than 45 minutes on cleaning any one thing, if they are asked to then that item/area most likely needs to be replaced or charged extra for.
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post #2 of Old 04-29-2013, 11:44 PM
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I have not started cleaning yet but i have done some lawn care in the past. And with messy unorganized yards that you could literally spend all day on getting them to look decent, i would spend (some) of my time doing extras. And thats what they are, extras. Im here to maintain your yard, not to fix neglect.

If i run into this im going to just set firm boundaries. We agreed to X and this is what i will do. The agreement doesn't change on the fly. But like you said, they just complain and dont switch. Id put my blinders on, ignore the fussing and raise the prices until it become worth your hassle or they find another service.
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post #3 of Old 04-30-2013, 02:16 PM
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I can understand your situation, but this is not a new thing and it happens in every business as clients expect always more than what they are paying for. If you think that this is okay not really more difficult, then try to adjust or if it is becoming difficult, then you should leave it and it all depends on you.
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post #4 of Old 05-01-2013, 08:46 PM
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A properly done estimation goes a long way: both you and your client know exactly what work will be done and how much it will cost. There are houses that have been neglected and need extra time and effort to bring them to a "normal" condition. Thus comes initial or deep cleaning, that involves longer hours. After that, if additional stuff comes up, you can charge for it based on time spent, or substitute it for cleaning other items. However, all this needs to be communicated with your customers. If you are a company owner, they should talk directly to you, not to your employees. Good communication is a part of your company's customer service.

Clean4Real
House cleaning services, Jackosnville, FL
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post #5 of Old 05-05-2013, 04:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MajesticMaids View Post
I wanted to get some advice on here from fellow business owners. I'm a very nice guy and willing to please the customer, but lately my clients seem to be "taking me for all I'm worth". When I send the cleaners to the client's home they have ridiculous expectations. For instance, one client expected my cleaner to scrub a door for hours that her son had taken crayon and marker and written all over. Another client wouldn't let me send a male cleaner and insulted our company several times (before we finished the job). I'm targeting those that make over $125,000 a year, and I'm starting to think its a huge mistake. At least half the clients I serve are unhappy with the overall clean or are asking my cleaners to spend an inordinate amount of time on one or two projects that prevent them from doing an adequate job on the "big picture". How should I solve this? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I also find it interesting that while they do complain a lot, they never switch companies...?

P.S. I'm thinking about having a 45 minute cleaning policy....in other words, my cleaners will never spend more than 45 minutes on cleaning any one thing, if they are asked to then that item/area most likely needs to be replaced or charged extra for.
Lot of moving pieces to home cleaning. It could be a number of things. My best guess is that it's a mix of bad cleaners and you not setting expectations. The latter is easy to fix, the former takes a lot of experience to get right... you have to find really hard working people, and not only that, they need to have past experience. Training from the ground-up for home cleaning isn't worth it in my opinion-- commercial yes, any monkey can empty trash bins and push a mop, but home cleaning is an entirely different beast all together.

As far as expectations, set your pricing and time estimates on your website and make everything really simple to understand; dump the archaic quoting nonsense that everyone is doing (hiding pricing and forcing people to contact you for it is a sales tactic that in no way applies to home cleaning and never will). Also say what you won't do too.

Naturally you're still in a services industry so getting yelled at on the phone once in awhile by a client who is absolutely insane is guaranteed, but having issues every other job is your fault (bad cleaners, mismatched expectations, whatever), but you seem to be on the right path to figuring it out.
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post #6 of Old 05-07-2013, 12:28 AM
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Let the client know how long the service will take. Make sure you dont have any hidden charges.
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post #7 of Old 05-18-2013, 08:51 AM
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You need to create a very detailed contract specifiying exactly what is entailed in your services. I would verbally make it clear that your service includes what is in the contract, and any additional service is an additional charge. Also, add that to the contract, that any services not included in the list will result in an additional charge of "xx amount" per hour. This should create a clear understanding so your clients don't do this anymore. When they read the contract, ask them if they have any questions and that everything is clear.

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