Best Marketing Tips for your House Cleaning Business Edition
Toxic Employees Edition
Sexual Harassment and House Cleaners Edition
- Don’t ignore the signs. Sexual harassment needs to be stopped early. Don’t let it drag on. Report it to your supervisor and if necessary the authorities.
- Have a company policy that outlines what to do if you are sexually harassed while house cleaning.
- Learn martial arts so you can protect yourself.
- Carry mace with you to house cleaning jobs. Keep it in your apron. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
#WorkSmartNotHard Quiz of Next Week & Next Weeks Newsletter Topic:
Tweet me your best answer @SavvyCleaner
Ask a House Cleaner – Sexual Harassment and House Cleaners in Uncomfortable Situations
I was dusting a living room. And when I looked up the homeowner was standing in front of me, buck naked and playing with herself. I’d never found myself in that type of a situation before. And honestly had never even thought about what to do if something like that happened.
I was clear about one thing: my reaction in the next two to five seconds would be important to the outcome of this story.
Before I tell you how the story ends – let’s consider a couple of things.
- If someone who is usually clothed is suddenly naked, that’s huge information.
- If this person has never made unwanted advances towards you, and now they are – that’s huge information.
- Something triggered the new behavior. This could be an addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, medication, or a medical condition such as Alzheimer’s etc.
- If you ignore this behavior, because it’s uncomfortable and you continue as if nothing is happening, in a sense, you are approving it.
What To Do?
Look for clues to determine if this person is hitting on you. If they are, you need to make some quick fast decisions about sexual harassment and leaving. Should you stay, a bunch of different things can happen. One of them is that you reject the advances and hurt the feelings of the aggressor and they could become hostile. If you attempt to push away or touch the aggressor, you could be smacked with a civil suit claiming battery or abuse. If they are hitting on you, leave.
Maybe the aggressor is on medication that is causing the unusual behavior.
It’s also possible that the aggressor is experiencing cognitive issues and is slipping (as in Alzheimer’s.) If that is the case, they may need further help from a family member or doctor. It’s a good idea to have access to a number for a family member in case of emergency.
Here’s How the Story Ends
I followed my gut instinct. This was an unusual situation for me, but I didn’t feel I was in any harm or danger. I also sensed that I needed to remove myself from the situation immediately. I said these exact words: “Oops, I’m interrupting. I’m going to go clean the dining room and give you some privacy.” And I went in the other room without another glance.
This was a diplomatic way of saying “I’m not interested in anything except cleaning your house.” And she understood the message. If she would have made another move in my direction, I would have left the house. And most likely would have ended the contract.
The homeowner stayed in the living room for a few minutes, then she went upstairs. She showered and left to run errands and was never home again when I went to clean. Was it awkward? Yes. And who knows what that was all about? She was about my age, and I didn’t suspect a medical condition or addiction – probably just personal choice. And I wasn’t there to judge. But I wanted to make it clear I was only there to clean house. Nothing more.
Harassment comes in many forms and can happen to anyone at any time. If you are in a client’s home and you are being harassed with unwanted advances – you need to leave the room or the house. As the boss, you have the right to walk away from any situation that makes you uncomfortable. You need to encourage your employees to do the same. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Social Media & Sexual Harassment
Smartphones put a camera in everybody’s hand. Great for capturing those once in a lifetime shots that used to be just memories. But it opened a door for drunken sexual harassment photos and videos that plague my twitter feed. Sometimes it’s my Facebook feed and other social media business sites. I can’t control what others post, but I can monitor those sites for repeat offenders. Delete. Unfriend. Unfollow. Block.
Most of us have social media business pages. Your pages are a reflection of your business, your values, and your offerings. Unwanted suggestive media dilute the message you send to your clients and prospects.
Part of your social media strategy should include setting sexual harassment boundaries. Decide what types of pictures, videos, words, phrases, and comments are not allowed on your timelines, or online business groups you moderate.
Cleaning your social media accounts is a lot like cleaning house. It requires a thorough once through and then constant maintenance.
Time-Saving Hack of the Week = Have a Company Policy on Sexual Harassment
Once you hire employees your house cleaning business changes. It’s not just you anymore. You are responsible to and for your employees. Your employees are an extension of you and your brand. So it’s important to have policies in place that protect your company from the bad behavior of employees. You need to create these policies early. Communicate these rules and consequences to your new hires verbally and in writing. Your new hires need to sign off that they understand and agree to the rules. Copies of these agreements go in your employee files.
What About Same-Sex Harassment?
Anyone can be a victim of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is not limited by gender. The perpetrator can be a man or a woman, and their victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
Offenders can be anyone in the workplace. This can be the homeowner or the owner or manager of your cleaning company. If you are the owner, it could be your employee. It could also be a coworker or other house cleaner on your team. Harassment is harassment regardless of the culprit. And the victim doesn’t need to be the person harassed. The victim could be another employee affected by the conduct. As the employer, you are legally responsible for harassment that takes place in your company.
Protect your company by having strict rules in place – and enforce your policies. It will save you time and money from possible civil suits later on.
What’s going on with Angela? – It’s All About Me!
Like it or not, I am a reflection of my business. When people see me they make decisions, conscious or unconscious, about my core values and how I operate my business.
Sure, I’ve had bad hair days like everybody, and I have PMS from time to time. I have grumpy days and days where I prefer sweats over a uniform and no makeup. There are days I feel like crying and days I want to punch somebody. I’m human. But I do have to live with myself twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year, every year for the rest of my life. I need to become the person I want to be around 100% of the time.
I Am My Companies Biggest Asset
And because I am the boss, I am responsible to my clients, and my employees, my family and myself.
More important than crunching numbers or customer service, is that I take care of myself. I am my companies biggest asset. It is my responsibility to drag myself out of bed each morning and into running shoes. I am responsible for my mental well being. If my attitude is not in a healthy place, I am the one who needs to meditate or read or listen to a motivational podcast to reset my thinking.
I am responsible for the food I consume. I’ve noticed over the years of cleaning houses and living on the go – that fast food is convenient. But for the most part, it is uninspiring and unhealthy. If I’m not going to grab a burger, fries and a shake for lunch, I need to have other food available to keep up my energy. That is a conscious choice that requires effort on my part. Nobody pays the price or benefits from that choice except me.
Over the years I’ve learned that I can outsource lots of things like landscaping, administrative tasks, or car washing. But I can’t outsource my daily exercise, the amount of sleep I get each night, my emotional well being, or my nutrition. Those things I have to do myself. I have to do them for myself. If I don’t take care of myself first, I can’t take care of anyone else. This includes my family, my employees, and my clients.
As the new year begins, I am setting a new years resolution to celebrate the life I’ve been given and honor it in a way that serves the people I love.
Tax Tips for House Cleaners, Maids & Janitors
Best Tax Tips for House Cleaners & Maids – Your Answers
- Keep all your W2’s and 1099 forms in one place. As they trickle in over the month of January have one set spot for them. It makes bookkeeping for your cleaning service a breeze.
- Keep your house cleaning purchases and receipts separate from your personal household purchases and receipts.
- Report your cash earnings and tips. Don’t screw around with the IRS. It’s not worth the jail time if you’re caught.
- Hire an accountant to oversee your cleaning business
#WorkSmartNotHard Quiz of Next Week & Next Weeks Newsletter Topic:
Ask a House Cleaner – Best Tax Tips for House Cleaners & Maids
It’s tax time. Yay!
In our house cleaner training as Savvy Cleaner, we encourage all housekeepers and maids to think of taxes as a puzzle. The big picture comes together when you have all the pieces in place. The pieces arrive during January and come in the form of 1099 and W2’s. Because house cleaners have many clients – you may receive many tax forms.
Tax Tips for House Cleaners (Employees)
As a cleaning employee if you earn more than $2,000 per year from a single source (a family, or the cleaning company that hired you) you will receive a W2. That source is legally required to pay employer taxes for you. This means they’ve contributed to social security and Medicare benefits you may later need. Receiving a W2 also creates a verifiable work history that comes in handy when you apply for a car or house loan.
If you earn less than $2,000 from a single source in a year, they may send you a 1099 which pays you as an independent contractor. They didn’t take any taxes out or contribute to any benefits for you. One time house cleanings pay you as a “once and done”. You won’t receive any tax forms from them at all. You claim your 1099’s, bonuses, tips, and random cleanings as “other income.”
Tax Tips for House Cleaners (Cleaning Service Owners)
You own the business. You pay for advertising. Lots of clients cycle through your business. You provide the cleaning supplies. And you decide the cleaning hours. You are responsible for all the taxes. You are the one who sends out the W2’s and 1099s to your housekeepers, maids, and independent contractors. The law states that you send these out by January 31.
As the owner of the company, you pay self-employment taxes. You pay these taxes in equal installments four times a year to both the state and the federal government. If you don’t pay quarterly taxes and you owe more than $1,000 in taxes when you file your annual return, there will be penalties.
One of the Secrets to Putting a Puzzle Together Is to Look for Straight Edges.
This helps you form the outline of the puzzle. Tax codes are the straight edges that tie your tax puzzle together. Next, group like colors and common objects together. These are your cleaning business receipts that you’ve collected all year. You use these to confirm cleaning related deductions.
But the biggest secret of putting a puzzle together is to look at the big picture. This gives you an idea of what the completed puzzle will look like and keeps you on track. An accountant who understands tax law for residential cleaning holds the big picture.
Meet with your accountant through the year to ensure you get the most deductions your cleaning company deserves.
Be sure to keep good records of your business income and expenses. You wouldn’t think of putting a puzzle together knowing it’s missing pieces. Keep all your pieces together.
Social Media & Tax Tips for House Cleaners
Join a Tax for small business Facebook Group. There is lots of free advice out there and lots of people who can offer great solutions to your common problems.
Time-Saving Hack of the Week = Accounting Software to Streamline Bookkeeping
I’ve used Quicken for years for my house cleaning company. I have it connected online to my credit cards and bank accounts. Once a week I open the online software and it updates all the bank vault entries automatically. My weekly accounting takes me ten minutes. Fifteen tops.
Cleaning Business Deposits
For small deposits, I use mobile banking. Using the bank app, I photograph checks I receive and like magic, the bank deposits the money to my account. For larger or recurring accounts I have direct deposit set up through the client.
For cash accounts, I save up until I have $600 or more and then I drive through a bank teller window and make a cash deposit.
Every week I verify all deposits automatically added to my Quicken ledger are accurate.
Purchases for my Cleaning Business
Then I verify all purchases I made to operate my cleaning service. I match the receipts I’ve saved. And I note right in the software which ones are house cleaning related and which ones are personal. Then I file my paper receipts in a filing system that I keep for ten years in the event of an audit. Keeping good records is among the best tax tips for house cleaners.
Pay Bills on A Schedule
The weekly accounting routine is a good time to pay bills and taxes on a schedule. I see the bills due now, and the ones due next week and next month. This way I can budget money if necessary. It also prevents me from late payments, overdraft fees or tax penalties.
You don’t have to be super smart to run the financial end of your cleaning business. But it is a smart idea to use software that does the bulk of the work for you and keeps you on task.
What’s going on with Angela?
Well, it is the end of the year at Savvy Cleaner and probably the end of the year in your cleaning business as well. We’re really big in our office on new years resolutions. We have a contest that continues all year with awards and prizes for every posted new years resolution that we meet. In 2016 we had 43 posted resolutions and we met 36 of them. How do I know there were 36? Because we celebrate at my favorite restaurant which is a Hibachi Grill that also serves sushi (I pick up the tab for the team). At the end of the celebration the waiter brings us all fortune cookies. I keep my fortunes in a small tray on my desk. I just counted and there are 36 of them. No surprise most of my fortunes have come true as well. Woohoo!
So we are setting new years resolution for the coming year and I hope you are too. Tax tips for house cleaners – celebrate your wins. It’s great comradery and keeps everybody focused and on task. And since it’s a business celebration it’s tax deductible. And yes, you should keep the receipts. 🙂
CRM for House Cleaners Edition
What is your best CRM Tip? – Your Answers
- Use the CRM, not just for your clients, but to keep track of vendors, employees, prospects, and past customers.
- Use your CRM to keep track of inventory. If a client has a particular product that they prefer, you can keep track of how much of that product you are using on that one account. This lets you adjust your prices if one client is costing you more than another.
- Create a loyalty program. Every 25 cleanings give 1 free. This encourages the client to book you for another 25 cleanings. You can track all this in your program.
- Choose a Customer Relationship Management program with SMS capabilities so you can broadcast text specials to your clients or prospects.
- Use your CRM to manage everything from personal tasks to calendar scheduling. Sync your personal and business calendar so you don’t overbook appointments.
#WorkSmartNotHard Quiz of Next Week & Next Weeks Newsletter Topic:
Leave a comment in the review section at the end. I’d love to hear your feedback.
Ask a House Cleaner – CRM: What is it?
A CRM system allows you to manage your business relationships. A CRM takes place of your memory. You don’t have to remember all the details about your clients because
it’s all stored in your database.
Each client has an account. In it, you list their name, their spouse’s names, their kid’s names, and pets names. You can store their home address, telephone, email address, and special requests. Keep quotes you’ve given them here. This is where you include their birthdays, anniversaries and special family holidays.
You can track how many times a customer has canceled a cleaning. Or when they gave you a referral – and link them to the person they referred.
If you upsell a client on a special service like spring cleaning – you can mark the dates it happened and then upsell them again the following year.
You can schedule annual, bi-annual and quarterly projects on a recurring basis.
When you first start your cleaning business and you have three clients – remembering this stuff is easy.
When you have 10 or more clients, stuff starts slipping through the cracks.
If you’ve never used a CRM and your business is growing, now is the time to put one in place.
CRM + Social Media = Reputation Leverage
A recent article by Social Media Today got me thinking about connecting my CRM with social media platforms. The first reason is that by connecting them, you can track what your customers are saying about you online.
If a client is complaining about you on social media channels – you can resolve the issue publicly. This lets you keep your reputation intact, while you take the problem offline and resolve it with the client face to face.
Another reason to track this data is when client recommends you in social media outlets – it also gives you a chance to respond and reward those clients.
You can also like, share and repost these third party testimonials.
“Using social media for up-selling is not about the sales pitch itself. It is about taking advantage of the right opportunities at the right time.”
Time Saving Hack of the Week – CRM to Segment Email Lists
Use your CRM to email clients with super deals during slow times. If you have your clients email addresses, you can segment your email list with tags.
Tags allow you to create custom deals for part of your clients but not all. Let’s suppose some of your clients have children under the age of 10. You can create a custom tag. Let’s call it “Kids -10”.
Now let’s suppose that you have six cancellations in the same week. Well, that’s going to hurt your profits. So you segment your list by the people with the “Kids -10” tag.
And you send an email only to those clients. “Hey I’ve had a few cancellations this week so I’m running a special on toy room organization. I’ll help you toss or donate outgrown toys and make room for the toys you want to keep. I only have six openings, first come, first serve.”
You’re not looking for new clients here. You’re simply upselling to people who already know, like and trust you – who specifically need this offer. This is not an ongoing offer, it is just a way to fill in the gaps on a week when you have some free time. And by segmenting your email list, you’re not blasting (or bugging) all the clients you have who don’t have children.)
What’s going on with Angela? New CRM
Every business needs a CRM. Mine too. We’ve been using Infusionsoft over the past year at Savvy Cleaner. It’s a robust system with lots of bells and whistles.
Bells we weren’t ringing and whistles we didn’t know how to blow.
I’m a firm believer that you need tools to help you automate routine tasks. Especially as a small company. But for me, it was like going to the grocery store in an RV. All I needed was a set of wheels and a small trunk to put the groceries in – yet I was paying for all this other bulky stuff I wasn’t using.
So we switched to ConvertKit which is much more in sync with what we need.
It’s taken me a year of training to learn how Infusionsoft works and two days to learn how Convertkit works. So we are switching all our emails, databases and information over to the new system.
We’ve been transitioning all our records this week – so far it’s a seamless move, and I couldn’t be happier.
If you are looking for a CRM for your business – decide upfront exactly what you need. You can do this by comparing all the features on various platforms. Then buy a program SAAS (Software As A Service) that is easy for you to use.
If it’s not easy and you’re not using it – you’re wasting your money.Don’t ever miss a copy of this newsletter. Have it delivered each week to your inbox?