Client from HELL - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
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post #1 of Old 03-11-2010, 06:40 AM Thread Starter
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Client from HELL

I don't know where to begin with this story. I guess with the question I have about it: Would you ever post a personal blog item about a former client? Only a handful of people read my blog, but I live in a small town, so I'm risking getting myself or my company in trouble, but the odds of anyone identifying the client or reading the post are next to nil. Would you do it?

Hard not to want to share this story.

My company took on a client who was willing to pay triple for the privilege of telling us exactly what and how to clean her place. Job included putting away and organizing the family's clothes and linens, hand washing and organizing dishes, hauling packages in, out of and around the house, picking up and cleaning a home that was a general disaster area.

The crazy homeowner tried to kill me twice. First by grabbing my cleaners and spraying ammonia-based window cleaner all over bleach cleanser I had sprinkled in the sinks, shower and tub. The next time, the client beat me into the bathroom, stopped up the sinks and tub and poured pools of bleach in all of them and ordered me to wipe everything with straight bleach. I think she was insulted when I started working with a rag over my nose and mouth, but it was all I could do not to pass out or puke from the fumes in the unventilated master bathroom.

(Aside: Can I bill her for the pants and shirt I ruined that day? I honestly can't afford to replace one of my two pairs of work pants any time soon)

This is a person who put two cleaners out of work three or four times by canceling the all-day job at the last minute. Last time she decided to keep her appointment, she was home sick and still hovered over our shoulders and had us handle her germy dishes and linens.

That time, the client also insisted that I reclean the urine stained underside of a toilet seat, and I inadverently ended up scratching the paint off an inchlong spot. I duly reported it and told her to call my boss so we could make good, and the client told the boss that I ruined the toilet bowl and that she won't pay the $250-some bill until our company fixes it.

Amazingly, the company fired the client, not me.

Last edited by Spicnspan; 03-11-2010 at 06:51 AM.
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post #2 of Old 07-02-2010, 02:41 AM
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woooooh! what a story! Yes, it can be tough dealing with some clients making it particularly memorable experience to the cleaning job.
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post #3 of Old 07-10-2010, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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I never did post anything about it in my personal blog. If you can't promise absolute privacy to even the worst clients, you ought not to be in the business. Thank goodness for anonymous, international message board sites!

What ever happened to the poster here who started up a cleaning stories blog a few months ago? I can't find her post and link and can't remember what it was called. If that ever got off the ground, that'd be a great place to share war stories.
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post #4 of Old 07-14-2010, 02:54 PM
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I'd have fired the customer

after I realize she was nuttier than a Christmas Cake.

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post #5 of Old 07-16-2010, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Carpet Repair Guy View Post
after I realize she was nuttier than a Christmas Cake.

Oh there are plenty of good nuts out there. The old ladies who want to follow you around and talk, germophobes who will pay anything to have you scrub away imaginary biohazards, the widowers who miss their wives and just like having a lady tidy up the place once a week.

How to tell the good nuts from the bad nuts before starting a job, I don't know.
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post #6 of Old 08-03-2010, 03:06 AM
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I have to say that some of the stories are really scary.
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post #7 of Old 03-11-2015, 04:42 AM
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People are different, and working with people always has some risks. Let's hope that we do not have to deal with such picky clients on a regular basis. I haven't had such an experience so far.
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post #8 of Old 02-07-2016, 04:34 AM
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what an experience , that was a client with some real issues
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post #9 of Old 03-15-2016, 01:54 AM
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There is some weird people out there for sure.... I got a call today. The lady wanted us to come over to clean her house but she said that she is willing to pay $12/ hour for TWO people. I politely told her that we are a business that has overhead and that our employees alone make $13/ hour EACH. She was shocked... Shocked. Why, I still can't figure it out.
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post #10 of Old 04-09-2016, 04:25 PM
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Wow i try to keep my patients with all costumers as much as possible as you can see some are worse than others of course
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post #11 of Old 05-01-2016, 08:21 PM
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What have you found is the best way to diffuse a situation like that? And if the client is being consistently unreasonable how do you professionally deny them service? I got some advise recently to vet my clients to prevent getting any crazies but I am not too sure how helpful that would really be in the long run. Thoughts? I know there are a lot of questions, I'm new at this
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post #12 of Old 05-22-2016, 10:28 AM
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I've "fired" multiple clients. It's an extremely difficult thing to do at first but once you get the hang of it and find a way to professionally deny them services it gets easier.

Some great professional reasons to terminate a customer:
1. we are no longer serving your area
2. The professional relationship is no longer working/is unhealthy
Of course there are others and the way you word your termination to them is key. Always end the termination with info on another local cleaning company that you feel would be able to assist them.

Unfortunately with our industry every customer is very different. You have customers who don't care what services they get as long as the job is done well. Then there are the nightmare customers who hover/complain about everything/insist you use certain cleaners even tho they are not suitable for the surface that needs to be cleaned.

I once fired a customer who told me and my cleaners that we "have to use bleach on their natural stone". after explaining that you cannot use bleach on this surface that it ruins it, she didn't care and still insisted we do it her way. I had the crew pack everything up and walk out. I will not clean a surface with the wrong product. (The last thing I need is for her to come after me and say I ruined the counters)

Trouble clients are not worth the hassle. Also, why would you want to continue cleaning for someone who is never happy?? It becomes a toxic business relationship. Most people who complain all the time have weird control issues and just want to take it out on whoever they can.

Find the customers who love and appreciate the hard work you do for them! Even if you are low on customers right now, don't entertain toxic customers. One thing I do during consultations is ask them if they had cleaners previously in their home. They I ask simple questions such as, how did you like their services? What didn't you like about them? If they go on a rant about how they "can't find a good cleaner" that's usually a red flag that they are the problem and not the companies they have cycled through.
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post #13 of Old 05-22-2016, 07:09 PM
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I had to let a client go after she complained that she wasn't happy with how her wooden floors looked and accused me of not even vacuuming them before I cleaned them! She admitted she wasn't happy the time before that. I had been cleaning for her at least 6 months. I had done nothing different. She insisted I use her steam cleaner on her floors. I did not want to do that as damage can occur if not used properly and did not want the hassle. Her entire house was wood flooring and it was huge. She had 3 small kids, a babysitter and 2 dogs that walked all over those floors during my time there and after I left. I told her that was the problem and not my cleaning. I have all happy clients now and it is never worth the stress of hanging on to people that you just cant please.
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post #14 of Old 06-09-2016, 07:20 AM
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I had a similar case ... horror
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post #15 of Old 06-15-2016, 01:14 AM
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What a story ?!
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post #16 of Old 07-14-2016, 09:33 AM
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omg I feel your pain haha. You can't please everyone i guess.
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