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Should You Do Charity Cleaning When Starting a Cleaning Biz?


How do you price charity cleans? This is a very interesting question with some
intricacies that we need to talk about today. Hi there. I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House
Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house
cleaning question and I get to help you find an answer. Now, today’s show is brought to us by House
call Pro, which is the number one service software for service professionals. So if you are in the house cleaning business,
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friends. So check it out, HousecallPro.com/Angela All right, onto today’s show, we have a very
interesting question. Here’s what our caller asks. Tai: My name is Tai. I recently tried to start a cleaning company
a couple of years ago. It did not go the way I wanted to go. It ended up morphing into some home-health
aid type of thing, which is not anything I’m qualified to do. But my clients had asked me to take care of
their elderly parents because they’re elderly parents like me and they were the ones I cleaned for. So I wanted to get back into my cleaning company,
but this summer I wanted to do it right, and I need help with direction and pricing. My uncle lives in assisted living, and I go
to visit him. They don’t have a cleaning staff. When I go to visit him, his house is disgusting. So I was thinking about marketing to those
type of apartment buildings to help out the elderly there who can’t upkeep their apartments
themselves. I don’t want to charge too much, but I want
to be able to pay my bills. Thank you for your time. I appreciate your help, and I can’t wait to
hear what you have to say. Hi, Tai. I am very intrigued by your question and I
love the fact that you’re wanting to help your uncle and the assisted living center
that he lives in. That said, there are a couple of things that
I also heard that I want to address before I answer your question directly. When you were explaining that you once had
a house cleaning business and it turned into elder care because your customers needed your
help and they asked you to do it. Right as soon as you said that, there was
this heavy sigh of anxiety, I can’t ignore that. So you said you weren’t qualified to do that
and yet you accepted it. So the very first thing that I would like
to suggest is that as you’re restarting your business, and you said you want to do it right
this time, my suggestion to you would be to be very clear about what it is you do offer
and what it is you don’t offer. Because the question would be, if you go to
service, this assisted living center, I promise you’re going to run into people that are elderly
like you said and that needs special care, what is to prevent you from falling back into
a situation like that? So, if you have very crystal-clear boundaries
on what you do provide and what you do not provide, when you are asked, and you will
be, when you’re asked, “Can you care for this person?” You will say, “I would love to do that, and
that is out of the scope of the project that I’m qualified to do. I’m not able to do that.” Even if it’s your uncle. So I hate the fact that your uncle is there,
it sounds like he does need some help and you said his place needs some cleaning. So if they don’t have a cleaner right now,
it’s probably budget cuts, and so they may not even have the budget for a cleaner. I hate to say that, but maybe they don’t. It doesn’t deny the fact that they need one,
which your sensitivities have already brought to the attention that they do in fact need
a cleaner. You also said something else that scares me
a little bit. You said, “I don’t want to overcharge, but
I need to pay my bills. And so the fact that you want to be sensitive
to their budget suggests to me they don’t have a budget because you wouldn’t have said
that if they’re rolling in the dough and they’re able to pay you. And so the fact that you need to pay your
bills, I honor that and that comes first. Because in a world where everyone has bills
to pay, you have bills to pay too. And so you’re not running a charity, you’re
running a business. And so first and foremost, I love the fact
that you want to help, but the question is, how do you price charity cleans? That’s the real question. This is a charity cleaning. If you go to this building and you clean it,
it’s a charity clean. So what I recommended is that this is not
part of your business at all. It’s not part of your business. What you do is you go out and you get regular
customers, and you have regular accounts that hire you on a weekly, biweekly basis, and
you have regular money coming in on a regular basis so that you can pay your bills, that
is running a business. And then the altruistic side of you is the
side of you that says, “I would love to go help my uncle.” Now, what I would recommend is that you start
and just help your uncle and clean your uncle’s place free of charge. And when you go to visit him and say, “Hey,
I have a few extra minutes. Do you mind if I tidy the place up a little
bit?” Do what you can while you’re there, but you’re
not going to be able to clean up the whole facility nor should you. This is an overwhelming project that has no
end in sight. And as soon as you clean it, you’re going
to be expected to come back day after day after day. And it doesn’t sound like they have the resources
to pay you. If they did, they would already have someone
on staff. There is an issue, it’s a health-code issue
where maybe somebody else needs to be brought in to look at the place if it doesn’t meet
anyone’s standard of excellence. There are lots of places like this that fall
under the radar because they are understaffed and they’re under budget. And so there are a lot of places like that
and it’s really sad that people have to live that way. And so, if that’s the case, maybe someone
needs to be brought in from the outside, from the social services, or what have you, to
take a look at this place and determine what is needed. Maybe the government can kick in some money
on a regular account, maybe you can pick up that account, but I don’t recommend it if
you’re just starting your business because it’s a lot of red tape, it’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of focus and energy that’s not
going to bring you money today. And if you have bills to pay today and you’re
at a job that you hate, or people you don’t like, or you don’t get along with or whatever,
and you’re getting back into the cleaning business to renovate your own personal life,
that needs to be the priority. And it sounds really selfish. And a lot of people were like, “Well, I don’t
want to focus on me and my business when my uncle needs help. But the reality is you’re not in business
to rescue someone else, you’re in business to rescue yourself. And you can’t rescue someone else until you
rescue yourself first. Lots of people have a money mindset, where
they don’t want to charge too much. They don’t want to overcharge, they don’t
want to charge what they’re worth. And the reality is, until you charge what
you’re worth, until you have money, you can’t actually afford to go out and help other people
at a charitable level. You just can’t afford it. And so if you do, then you’re spending all
of your energy and your resources and your money helping other people, which then you
come to resent. And then you start feeling hateful about the
project because here out of the goodness of my heart, I was trying to help and look it
really backfired on me and now I can’t pay my own bills. So, you don’t want to find yourself in that
situation because that’s not motivating to you, it’s not motivating to anyone. And then anger and frustration and angst. When you take that to a charitable house,
they’re going to feel it as well. Even if it’s your uncle and you’re related,
then he’s going to feel like, “Well, she doesn’t want to be here, he doesn’t want to be here. They’re not really helping me. They’re here against their own will, whatever.” Then there’s anxiety, there’s frustration,
there’s whatever. You don’t want to put yourself in a situation
under those scenarios. So you really want to be careful about protecting
yourself first. And so out of the goodness of my heart to
the goodness of your heart, I love what you’re trying to do. But my suggestion first is go out and get
regular accounts that can support you. Get your business flourishing, and then when
you’re on a point, you can turn around and offer charitable help to someone else. You’re in a position to do that and it comes
from the right place when your business is already established and it’s not eating away
at your psyche and your personality and your spirit to try to help other people. All right, if you found this helpful, please
pass it on to a friend. If we’ve earned your subscription, please
subscribe. And until we meet again, leave the word a
cleaner place than when you found it.

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