Working in Another Person’s Home
Who will be my Clients?
Before considering where to advertise, look at the area that you live in and sum up its potential. If you want to work in this area, do the people here all work, or are they mostly on government benefits? It’s no use advertising in areas where people cannot afford to hire you. It’s better to travel a little and make some money. There are many factors to consider when working in another person’s home.
Another consideration is competition. I do not believe competition is a bad thing, because if the area you are targeting has been exposed to the services of other home cleaning business owners, then it is likely that the homeowners are open to using the service. Also, people hire your services often because they liked something about you, and you are a unique individual so there can never be any competition with who you are because there is only ever one of you. However, once you are given the work, you must make the standard of your work high quality so that you don’t lose the work because of poor performance.
To asses the area you might like to take a drive at night after people return home from work to see if there are two cars in the driveway. Then check to see if the driveways are empty during the day. This will indicate that people are at work. In newly developed areas the homeowners have placed all their spare cash into their newly built home and garden, and usually do not have anything left over to pay for luxuries like having a person do their cleaning. You will need to wait a few years before promoting your services to homeowners in newly established estates – until they have paid off most of their establishment costs for their new home.
You could try marketing in more well established, wealthier, older areas as people who own homes here nearly always have hired help in all areas of home maintenance. They usually have a person to clean the house, a gardener and a person to do the lawns. Once or twice a year they will hire people to clean their carpets and others to clean their windows. So in these areas make sure you can offer more than one service, and offer to solve their cleaning needs when they arise.
Ultimately, the clients that will pay for a cleaning service are usually those who come from two-income families from homes with disposable income. When two people work neither one of them wants to come home and do the cleaning on the weekends, so this will be your target market. The idea that someone else will clean up for them is very attractive to them and they will willingly part with their money to do so.
You will find that the greater majority of those people that will book your service will be the female of the couple. This is the person you will mostly deal with as well. Therefore, if you do a little reading and study the nature and psychology of humans, both men and women alike, you will find this to be of great benefit to your ability to deal with people in this business.
When dealing with your clients be aware that there will be times when their reaction to your work seems incomprehensible. You may not have done anything out of the ordinary, and normally they are very happy with the standard of your performance, yet on the odd occasion they will be more critical or demanding. And there is nothing you can do to prevent factors that are beyond your control influencing their behaviour. There will be times when your client has had a very trying day at work or with the children, and this will affect how he or she relates to you. So be prepared for this aspect of your business and expect it to happen. Also, be prepared to deal with what happens within yourself when life doesn’t always go along as planned. Then if difficult situations arise you won’t be so devastated when they do.
Old Age Pensioner Clients
If you are anything like me you are going to love to clean for elderly pensioners. They are usually such lovely people and are nearly always easy to deal with. You won’t be able to charge the same rate as what you do with people who are not pensioners, but the warm welcome that you will receive when you arrive to do the cleaning will make up for the slightly lower hourly rate that you will be paid.
Mostly, elderly pensioners simply enjoy your company as much as the fact that you take a burden from them by doing their housework for them. They will ask you to sit and have a ‘cuppa’ with them, and they will sincerely look forward to your (usually) fortnightly visits. In this circumstance you become a welcome friend and confidant, and if you have the time to spare you will enjoy the extra time that you spend in their home.
Old age pensioners are lovely clients, so look after them well. Do a good job with their cleaning, spend a little time with them also, and they will always want you to be their home cleaner. You may soon find that you grow to love them as much as they love you.
Pets and Children
There will be times when you will have to deal with pets and children while working in your clients’ homes. This may cause you some bother if you have an aversion to either one, so if this is the case then perhaps you should tell your clients this and ask them to keep the children or pets out of the way when you work. Or, let them hire someone else if their presence becomes an issue for you. Otherwise, just get on with the job.
Pets will create more work for you in that their hair will be everywhere if they are allowed inside the house. So make sure when you vacuum and dust that you pick up all the hairs. Children will make mess at the height that they are so on walls, doors and mirrors look for fingerprints and messes at that level and make sure they get cleaned up. It is nice to stop and say hello to pets and children, but make sure that you keep focused on why it is that you are there. Do as much PR as you need to in order to make your client feel comfortable to have you around, but don’t waste their money by spending too much time with your attention on things other than the reason for you being there.
You can read more in the next article about: Gaining Your Client’s Trust and Confidence
Free From the Gilded Cage is the education arm of the Loving Heart Foundation Australia where we teach the basics of self-employment and basic budgeting skills. This is so that women can learn the skills needed to manage their own lives without feeling trapped in a relationship with a man who is beating them up. With these skills they can easily leave him.
Update: The first novel in our series of seven written to raise funds for those whom we assist is now published. It is the courageous story of a young teen growing up in a home filled with domestic violence, and how she manoeuvres her way through such a difficult situation. Click here if you’d like to know more about this novel.
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