Just going to drop this riiight here - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
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post #1 of Old 04-24-2019, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 3
Just going to drop this riiight here

So, I'm looking to teach as well as for input from the community here.
We've only been doing this for a couple years, but only about 8 months "seriously" as a business.

Our business offers residential, commercial, move-in and move-out cleaning. We generally don't require stuff in writing except the AirBnBs that we do.

Someone found us on Yelp recently and contacted us for a Move-out cleaning. The woman's mother had been living in an apartment in a senior community. She asked for a quote so I set up a consult with her. I looked at the place and it was horribly dusty (I'll demonstrate this point in a bit) and not well taken care of at all. But fact remained that it was only 800 Sq Ft and it would be empty. They were in a rush, as if they got it all closed up early enough, in addition to the deposit, they would get retroactive rent back. I didn't have anything to do on Easter Sunday, so I figured my wife and I would actually do the job ourselves. We generally quote $40 an hour for recurring residential accounts, but $50 an hour for move-outs. The husband after getting my verbal for three hours proceeded to tell me about how their cleaning person cleans their 3000+ SF house in two hours. So after that I figured, "We've got nothing else going on that day" and I told them two hours. There were only two carpeted rooms and the kitchen was small so I quoted two hours. They told me they didn't want us to concentrate too much on the floors as they were being replaced. They also told me this (And it's a copy paste from their email):

"The walls will be painted after the cleaning, a light cleaning on the stains but you don’t have to scrub them real hard. "

We got into the apartment and the TWO carpeted rooms actually required emptying the vacuum SIX times. There was actually a Post-it on the wall for us stating that the walls would be painted and not to worry about it. The fridge itself took an hour to clean. No big deal- we did the work ourselves and it was just our time really. So we go through and clean the whole place top to bottom. The horrible brown stains in the toilet were gone and the nasty stuff that was a mixture of hair and chocolate syrup (I'm telling myself that's what it was) that was at the bottom of the baseboards was all cleaned up. We wiped down the walls to get all the dust and cobwebs off them. Three hour job at a two hour price, but I was happy with the way it came out.

Next day, I email the customer and just give her a rundown on what we did, wished them luck and linked them to the invoice for $100. The reply? She went in the next day and was "ashamed" that we didn't scrub the eight years of caked on food off the kitchen walls or the (hopefully just coffee and not something worse) stains off the living room walls. She said she wasn't going to pay.

So... moral of the story? First, if you get a bad vibe off a customer, go with it. Second, get EVERYTHING in writing. Make sure you have something in place to cover yourself. Since then I've put together a checklist and agreement for people to sign. It states clearly what they expect to be done.
Third, get a deposit. At least make something off the deal if you do your job.
And fourth, while sites like Yelp and Care.com help us get leads, they don't protect us from scumbags that know from the get-go they aren't going to pay us. There should be a site for good and bad customers.

Last edited by mjwcleaning; 04-24-2019 at 08:18 PM.
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post #2 of Old 04-30-2019, 04:42 PM
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Missouri
Posts: 34
Wow, what a crock of BS!....And exactly why there's no way in heck I'd touch any make ready for under $150 starting flat rate AND I always require the payment upfront ALL of it unless its a property management and they're offering a contractual agreement for multiple properties. My reputation says a lot and that is exactly what I refer them to when they laugh at the idea of paying up front and honestly I had NO reputation when I started out and that method worked just fine. I always find myself asking the caller if when they go to Wendy's or Wal-Mart do they pay first or pay after they've had the opportunity to use it? , The answer of course is well it depends I can go to a restaurant and get my food and pay afterwards and of course this is true so my response is BUT then you'd agree not all services are managed the same and that is what makes AMERICA so damn great! Afterwards I remind them we are providing a service in the community in which we are established and our word is what we value most and we'd appreciate it if they'd value it as well. I do have a written service agreement to put their mind at ease for their investment. We don't take all clients either and some hang up after I give them my spill BUT the way I see it if they don't like my price and my stipulations then they can find someone else, period. I don't mess around with any of those clients individuals or commercial accts when it comes to my payment terms. I do have to admit I'm flexible with my services. I'm easy to work with but I don't allow them to tell me what needs to be done on the property. I do a walk thru and from there provide a checklist of areas I will address. I do this for ALL my accts. My commercial accts pay within 7 business days, one of my clients actually submits payment at the beginning of our service week which is GREAT. I think traditional times are long gone where waiting until after the job is complete to get either all or some of your pay is standard. If we set the standards and provide what we say we can provide then customer will follow along or so this has been my experience. Don't get me wrong, I've had my learning curves but I've been sticking with this method and it works for me. I do understand regionally things can be different.
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post #3 of Old 05-15-2019, 03:56 PM
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Sedro Woolley WA
Posts: 34
Yeah. As Reagan said, "trust but verify". There is also a reason that lawyers and contracts exist. Working off a hand shake is fine if you are willing to live with the worst case scenario. In some cases, in my air duct cleaning business, I am willing to do that. In others cases I am not and that is where a solid quote in a written contract is necessary. You can still get burned but you some protection. Sorry it happened to you.

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