Residential Cleaners: I Need to Vent!!!! - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
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post #1 of Old 06-20-2018, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Residential Cleaners: I Need to Vent!!!!

I am in a situation probably many of you have been in. I have a fairly new customer - about two months. The minute I met him I sensed trouble. His house is a total mess. I will try to describe it. He buys a LOT of stuff online. And when the boxes arrives, he opens them wherever and just leaves the empty boxes, wrapping paper, bubble wrap, etc wherever he opened the box. He appears to drink a lot,( judging from the number of alcohol bottles on the kitchen counter, and other clues.) Every time I get to his home, he is in bed (at 9:30 am). He has three cats that he seems to care about very much ( a plus in my mind). However, he tells me the kitty litter is cleaned daily and I can always tell that is not true.
Picture this: every surface in this 3 bedroom, 2 bath house, is covered in either trash, or lottery tickets, or small change, or receipts, opened enveloped, junk mail, half empty bottles, empty boxes, items that came OUT of those boxes, clothing (dirty clothing), etc etc etc. It always looks like a tornado hit the house!
Okay. I will tell you that every single time I clean there, I do an extremely good job considering the hundreds of obstacles. I sort through all that stuff and put in trash bags stuff that is obviously trash. In his bathroom, I do that plus put in the cupboards stuff he has recently bought. I try to organize all this STUFF and it is not easy and takes TIME. Two cleanings ago he started saying that he couldnt not afford 4 hours of cleaning. BS! He sure can. I replied as carefully as I could, and he backed down a bit and we are back at 4 hours. In all truth, it should take about SIX hours to truly clean this person's home!
Today, I get there and yup, he is in bed. I get to work. I always start with bathrooms because they are often grubbier than the rest of the home. He had become picky about his glass shower doors, so I re-thought how I do those and now do a better job. For THAT, I kind of thank him, in a weird way.
The last time I was there, I checked all three filters on his Shark vacuum ( a good one, just like the ones I use). They needed cleaning, so I cleaned them and left them on a paper towel next to the vacuum cleaner in the room he stores it in. When I got there today, the vacuum was in another room, so I went ahead and used it. At the end of the day, I checked the filters (as I always do) and guess what? HE HAD ONLY REPLACED ONE OF THE THREE FILTERS. I said something to him in a nice tone of voice and got snapped at. "You should have checked. That is YOUR job not mine." Since when???" I clean those filters as a courtesy, it isnt not a job requirement. And when I did clean them, I made a big point of telling him he needed to put all three back in once they were dry.

If business were not so darn slow lately, I would drop this customer in a heartbeat! I KNOW I do a great job and go way above what normal cleaners do. ( I clean his four kitty litter boxes, for crying out loud! Who does that???) But work requests recently have NOT been coming in to the sites I normally use and I cannot seem to find any other online sites with residential cleaning jobs. I currently use Thumbtack, Care.com Porch and Housekeeper.com.

I needed to vent, and thank you for taking the time to listen to me whine!!!!! smile_big: Sometimes you have to both cry AND laugh over the stuff we run into!
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post #2 of Old 06-21-2018, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
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No one out there has had this sort of issue???? I KNOW someone has!
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post #3 of Old 06-21-2018, 08:53 PM
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Yes, I'm sure we have all had at least a few clients we couldn't wait to dump. I have and like you the only reason to keep them around is financial.... once you make the decision that's the reason why you are putting up the BS it should make it easier to deal with because you've made a decision to stick it out for a reason. There have been a handful of times that I have dumped a client because I felt that the BS wasn't worth any amount of $ and you know within a week that spot was filled with a better paying job... it's always happens! Is that karma, maybe? I feel for you... it's good to vent and if you really want to dump this one I hope something better comes along next week. Sometimes you just do what you have to do until then.
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post #4 of Old 06-22-2018, 10:01 AM
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Try Facebook ads. This is the type of stuff you should not have to put up with. I use facebook ads for my pressure washing business and it works wonders for me.
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post #5 of Old 06-22-2018, 02:03 PM
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I know you don't have enough business but it is important to focus your business on the base of customers you want. Taking on bad clients is a bad idea overall. I'd fire the customer and spend the time looking for new clients.

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post #6 of Old 06-30-2018, 11:18 AM
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Why are you organizing his stuff? I thought he hired you to clean.

Once you change the role for which you were hired that's bad.For example, they want you to start walking the dog, bathing the dog.

This happened to me after I had been working for someone for several years.I quit. These people could easily afford to pay to take their dog to the groomer, but now I was cleaning the house and walking and bathing the dog for the same $$.What a bargain for them.

Like I said I quit. You teach people how to treat you by what you will put up with, and what you are willing to do for free or you change the role for which you were hired.Bad idea.
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post #7 of Old 06-30-2018, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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Simple answer. IN ORDER TO CLEAN, I HAVE TO REMOVE OR MOVE ALL HIS GARBAGE, PAPERS, ETC ETC. It is that simple. And when more jobs come available I WILL replace this guy.
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post #8 of Old 06-30-2018, 05:40 PM
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missannienow do whatever you have to do to find a replacement for this abusive customer and when you find a better client don't look back. You aren't a garbage service.
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post #9 of Old 06-30-2018, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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I know this and thank you. Lately, cleaning jobs have been scarce in my area and the two online sites I use have been acting stupid. Care.com and Thumbtack both made changes in the last few monthes, and I am no longer getting requests (job listings). I have tried to fix this over and over but havent gotten much response.

I can put up with this jerk only because I truly do need that money now. I do not let him be nasty to me, at least to my face. But yes, he is abusive and in total denial of his problems (hoarder and God knows what else).

When I DO replace him, I wont look back. I know I did a band-up job for him and if he is so messed up he doesnt realize that, well, to hell with him!

Leave them laughing.....

Thanks for your support. It helped.
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post #10 of Old 06-30-2018, 07:17 PM
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I guarantee that when you do leave he will beg you to come back! Omg, it's like a bad love affair... lol! Heck, I think you'll even have a good laugh about it later, cleaning people tend to have a good sense of humor (or we would be crying all the time ). It's easy to say dump him but we all got bills to pay. And trust me there ain't one of us out there who hasn't held on to a less than desirable customer a little too long because we have responsibilities. You always come across as stand up kind of lady and I know this too shall pass as it always does. Venting and being very clear about the reason this customer is still on your schedule will get you through another cleaning.
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post #11 of Old 07-01-2018, 08:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your support!!! Yes, it is a money thing right now because new requests for quotes just arent coming in lately. And of course I have bills to pay. I do a first cleaning on a large home tomorrow, and the lady sounded like she could be one of those "picky" ones who maybe does not tell her house cleaner exactly what she likes and doesnt like. Her last cleaner quit over this issue. I hope it is not goin g to be like that for me. She hired me mainly because in my profiles I admit my OCD-ism about floor cleaning. Her prior cleaner had been using an ordinary string mop and a bucket, so she was just swishing dirty water all over the place.

Sometimes being OCD about cleaning can be a good thing! LOL!!!
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post #12 of Old 07-03-2018, 07:54 PM
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Yay! I can finally type without this site freezing up on me every 10 seconds with a huge banner ad on each side of the screen!!!

I just fired an account and I feel terrible. The only saving grace was a dentist appointment! Yup! haha~The dental hygienist was listening to me cry about an account I started around Thanksgiving and have hated every single visit. I don't know why but she said she'd take it off my hands. (I have pics but not sure if I can upload or else I just don't understand the drag and drop files thing below.) The hard part for me was I love the home owners and we got paid for our time. I just don't know how to charge for gross and I shouldn't have to deal with it. I need to turn around when I'm ready to leave and like what I see but I didn't!

They are hoarders but I have 1 other account like that and we just deal with it. But this account owned 2 cats that missed their boxes peeing and pooping. (This was the dining room.) The part that peeved me about the poop is that it was hard so we knew it didn't just appear minutes before we got there. The peeing was horrible. They had a mat under the boxes that had holes in it and I would pick it up and it would drip pee. I did tell her that I couldn't be expected to clean that and told her about training pads. She took my advice on that but not where to buy them. lol (The $ store sells them for 5 in a package.) They also used a saw-dust kind of litter that was more on the floor than the box.

Moving on, the master bath had a shelf over the sink that looked as tho they were getting ready for surgery. Take that back~I made it LOOK like it was ready for surgery because I laid the 4 scissors, 2 clippers and 3 other things I can't name, all in a nice and neat line. (I could have told them that a cup or flat container would have helped us all out but I didn't want to treat them like idiots. There was a toilet but I don't think they knew how to use it because everything was on the outside. There were no less than 50 bottles of shampoo/conditioners/etc. that again, I have another account like that but there were just too many things at this one.

I could only get the garbage out of the office and then we were done with that room but some pictures fell against the door and closed it far enough that only I could fit through. I couldn't leave it closed but it sure was a deeply inhaled squeeze to get me in far enough to right the pics to open the door.

The kitchen was tiny and I ask that people "pick-up" prior to us coming so we can see the dirt but the kitchen table was always overflowing with papers and other junk that I had to move to the paper filled counters so I had room to pick up the stuff on the floor so I could wash it.

The basement reeked of cat pee and was worse when vacuumed. The stairs were actually damp and by the time we were done with that room, we'd both have lungs full of the ammonia from the pee and felt like crap the rest of the day.

I did have to let this account go and I never, ever would have been able to if I didn't have someone swoop in and offer her service for me. (I have 4 accounts on hold that I knew would be able to appreciate what I can offer a little bit more and that I could clean and feel I've accomplished what I set out to do.)

I was going to write this reply the day I saw you post it but like I said, I had problems and after an account I had today, I'm almost having a hard time explaining how "bad" the account was that I let go because if I had it in me, today's account would have been in 1st place. :( I've only had them for 7 cleanings now and 1 time, the woman answered the door like she had to go to the ER. BUT, she said, I have no problem with you cleaning just because I have the flu! BYE! Say no more even tho you SHOULD have called/texted and given me a heads up!!!! (I didn't get the flu this year but my sister did and we were out of commission for 1 full week.) Thank goodness we had the next door as an account so we didn't have to go far. Then, a few cleanings back, they already had to cancel due to work on the house that we "got to" clean up today which was like an initial minus the amount paid. Not only that, there were 2 adults and 2 dogs when we began and due to health problems, the dad and mom had to move in with their dog. Today, I walked in and there were 2 people there I never saw before and another dog AND, they forgot about us! So again, next door...can we come in 2 hours early even tho you're not really ready either but you have less people in the house? BAD DAY.

Thanks for allowing me to vent even tho because of this mornings circumstances, it was longer than I had anticipated! If I can figure out how to upload the pictures, they could've told the story and I could have typed a lot less.
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post #13 of Old 07-04-2018, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Gayelynn, you make me laugh! I like your honesty.
I cleaned a regular home today as I do every two weeks. This man has two cats. Now, I LOVE cats. In fact, I have re-named my business CatLady Cleaning.The kitties are not the problem, their owner is. He is a bit younger than me and obvisouyl has a strong OCD ting about buying stuff online. Plus I think he is an alcoholic. Every time I am there, I find newly opened boxes and their contents just set aside. He NEVER takes out all those boxes and wrapping paper. It just falls wherever he opens the darn box. He treats his cats well, which IS nice, but other than that he lives in a way I cannot even imagine doing. There is trash, lotto tickets, receipts, boxes, etc., all over his home. It takes me time to somehow wade through all of this. His kitchen - oh hell, what a disaster, Every counter is full of STUFF, whether it is trash or usable.
This time, I was both cat sitting and cleaning. The cats are lovely and no problem for me at all. I picked up as much trash as I could and worked my way through his house. It is one HELLUVA lot cleaner now. But you know what? I wont hear a word of thanks from this guy.
I plan to ditch him as soon as I can find a new customer!!!! Money worries keep me going there.

I got home today and realized my work calendar is missing. My cat didnt take it so where the heck is it? I used a flashlight and looked all over my office room. NOT visible. This troubles me. That calendar is my LIFELINE and I am sure you know what I mean. Because I am not very techie, my calendar is an ordinary pen and paper one.
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post #14 of Old 07-04-2018, 11:06 PM
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Did you find your calendar? I'd be lost. Forget the cell phone apps or any of that. Paper calendar with a pen also but it SHOULD be a pencil. (Now, why did I NOT think of that years ago??) I buy the 1 from the Dollar Tree store. (Lots of them here in WI~not sure about Florida.) It's about 9.5x7.5. Nothing fancy. The whole month is staring right at you at once. Weeks to me, are not enough. The oxes are plenty big to list accounts for the day. The only problem I found this year is that where the months are at the start of the book with all of them in small print, start on Monday. May not sound like a big deal but that's where I keep track of my purchases and kitty and even tho I don't work on Sundays, they are the beginning of the week so that's how it should be in this book. (Maybe I'll contact them to fix it for next year.)

Off topic but it's yours and I'm sure you won't mind. How do you approach the dust in the corners of the panels on a paneled door? Hope that was descriptive enough. Dusting doesn't work, obviously. Sometimes I spray and wipe but that still doesn't get the corner or the entire tiny ledge. I use wet dental brushes which looks great wet but it's there the next time so I don't believe it looks UNdusty when it dries. Any suggestions or is that too small a peeve for you?
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post #15 of Old 07-05-2018, 07:21 AM Thread Starter
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No, I havent and I have looked almost everywhere. It stays in my office (which also serves as the kitty litter room and storage areas). I never take it out of this room, so it simply has to be here. I will continue to look but am also re-creating my schedule on scrap paper. Hate it when I misplace things!!!!!

By the way yesterday I cleaned this guys home, the one I strarted this thread about. Mr Messy. As usual I found recently opened boxes (he has an online shopping addiction!) and the contents nearby in a hodge podge. Trash on the floor, a lot of cat food scattered about willy nilly, and food spilled everywhere, too. I was also there to do cat sitting as he is away. He had said he didnt want me to clean much on this day - why I do not know.....it has been two weeks since I last cleaned it! But when I found the money he left for me, it was almost the same amount if I had worked there 4 hours as usual. So - I just went ahead and got it all done. It was a lot easier not having him around!
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post #16 of Old 07-06-2018, 07:01 PM
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Congrats gayelynn you did it! You deserve a huge pat on the back.Remember you're a professional cleaner and you need to BE ABLE to do your job.Which means you have to be able to see the surface that the customer is asking you to clean.

Don't look back.You did the right thing.
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post #17 of Old 07-07-2018, 06:42 AM
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Venting is a necessity for us lol! I’ve had some gross houses to clean. How some people can live like that is beyond me! One house I did (one time only and will never go back), I asked for things on kitchen and bathroom counters to be cleared so they could be cleaned. I couldn’t even see the kitchen counters! I was not happy but did what I could. The master bathroom...omg it was horrible! There were 2 sinks, mirrors, and a long countertop, and it had so much crap on it! Not just the typical stuff, but included hardened toothpaste all over, hair, beard shavings that naturally stuck onto the toothpaste, night guards dangling on the faucet knobs, fingernail clippings here and there... it was gross! I moved some things but refused to touch the night guards. The shower was disgusting too, and I got clumps of hair, plus hair stuck to the shower walls, a zillion bottles of shampoo, soap scum, etc. I did what I could but obviously this woman was taking advantage of me because she obviously never cleaned her home. I no longer take any jobs like this and make sure I visit the home before taking it. Lesson learned. Although a client I had for a year took advantage of me because the house kept getting worse and worse to clean! Thankfully I suggested she pick up a little, clean a little between visits, and I increased my rate..which made her say she couldn’t afford me 👍🏼
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post #18 of Old 07-07-2018, 07:39 AM Thread Starter
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Sometimes we take on grubby jobs for financial reasons and that should be respected. IF I find a new customer for his day I will replace him. Until then, I will keep doing the best I can, since he does pay me. This last time with his house I made $70 for 3 hours. Not too bad.

I have one other client whose house is always grubby. But I have cleaned for her for about 2 years, I like her and know the house so well none of it bothers me at all. In fact, I feel very proud of what I get accomplished there every two weeks.

I have an "occasional" customer who only wants me to clean her two bathrooms. And she does NO cleaning in between. It is always gross, dust and hair everywhere. But again - I like the lady and get her two bathrooms nice and clean. Perhaps being a nurse helps me to deal with gross stuff better!

Gayelynn, I didnt see your question about coorners of panelled doors. I seldom clean interior doors except a bit of dusting (unless the owner points out how dusty they are). You could try using a DAMP microfiber dust cloth or even a damp small paintbrush, a cheap one. I think what I would do first is lightly spray on some all purpose cleaner. Wait a little while and then wipe it off with a micro cloth or even a rag.
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post #19 of Old 07-13-2018, 07:34 PM
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This site can be stubborn!! but I'm back for now...... haha!!

Jagski300, the way you described your vent was so descriptive that I could see it!! Those pesky little whiskers are pesky on a clean vanity so add in a little bit of toothpaste, (grrrrr.....sometimes more in the sink than the tube after waiting for me to scrape it off) or even the cleaner, makes it hard to get rid of them. And the "I touched everything but the night guards" made me laugh. Just think of someone putting that in their mouth after sitting out on that faucet. YUCK!

profcleaning~thank you for the pat on the back. It's funny because I know if I didn't move the stuff or find a way to clean around it, they'd be unhappy with me and eventually let me go. So I don't know why I have such a hard time doing the same! It's in the flyers we give out and it's verbally spoken when we look at the house but some just don't get it. I have accounts like missannienow said, the longer you clean them, SOMEtimes, they begin to not pick up as much. I agree too, if I'm getting paid for the time, in most instances, I see what I've accomplished which is always a good feeling. But, the one I mentioned, there was no feeling of accomplishment and if I don't care, then that's time for me to leave. It's not fair for them or us! (If anyone knows how to upload pictures, please let me know!!)

missannienow~I finally came up with a way to clean the panel corners and keep them that way! I take a dental brush with a little Liquid Gold (light stain) and just dab it in there. Not sure why it took me so long to think of that and even more unsure of why they bother me so much. haha! I see it all the time~the corners are white as are the little ledges, especially on the darker woods and whether it's dust or faded stain on the door, the stain accomplished both problems.
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post #20 of Old 07-14-2018, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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People's STUFF is often an issue for residential cleaners. What annoys me is when people say after I have cleaned "You didnt put my bottles back in the right order." HUH? How can I remember where 20 small cosmetic bottles were?

I am still cleaning the pig stye house, but am closer to dumping him. I am like you all, I dont see how some people can live in their homes like this! This guys house will, I already know, be covered in empty mail order boxes, newly bought items just sitting there, trash just dropped on the floor, cat food everywhere, and the litter boxes not cleaned in several days. When I say "every surface in the house will be like this", I am not exaggerating. And this is a customer who had the nerve to criticize how I cleaned his cooktop and glass shower doors! I was so irritated I almost started laughing when he did this.

His kitchen will have food spilled, dirty dishes in the sink, the same trash dropped on floors, counters, table, etc. It is almost impossible to clean, but I managed to do it. Same with his bathroom. The ONLY room in his house that will not be like this is the guest bathroom!

I am having surgery on a finger this coming week, and was very happy to cancel his cleaning this week because of this! LOL!
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