I loved and hated the movie "Patch Adams" when it came out in the late 90's. There is one scene that is burned into my mind and unfortunately, I'll never forget it. Patch and his girlfriend Carin Fisher were serving the community with a medical clinic. A man named Larry enters the clinic and they take him in. He is mentally ill and disturbed, but seems harmless. One night, Larry calls Carin and asks her to come over and help him. She is so trusting and willingly comes over. She enters Larry's house with a smile, says his name, then sees his face. The scene ends as my heart fell into the pit of my stomach. I knew what happened and it was confirmed when the scene ends and goes to Patch receiving the news that Carin was murdered by Larry, who then killed himself with a shotgun. Years after this movie, I still think of this scene for my wife, my daughter, and even myself as I enter homes and offices to clean by myself. What could Carin could have done differently? Are there steps that solo cleaners can take to protect ourselves? I admit that I don't worry as much as a guy cleaning, but I've still had my doubts from time to time. The majority of solo cleaners are female, so I've asked a solo cleaning community that I lead for suggestions. Here's what they said...
These are all amazing tips from solo cleaners in the field right now and some for many years! I also have an opinion that mirrors the advice from Beth Lane. Learn to filter out the bad and potentially dangerous clients. How do we do this? The answer is not easy to hear in this fast-paced, high-tech, automate everything world. We need to take more time with each potential client before we say yes to working for them. Many companies with employees have a multi-step, filtering out process for bringing on great employees. They take time to interview them multiple times. The best ones have 5+ meetings, including getting to know the spouse and family. These employers want to know if they have the right personality style to match the position they're hiring for. They want to know if this potential employee is good with their money, background checked, trustworthy, and accountable. They don't just hire the first applicant. But why do we say yes to the first or next potential client that wants to hire us? I recommend that we take the same care and attention to detail when we bring on new clients. It's okay to say no. If you take time to speak with each client over the phone and in-person, and you add in the tips above, you will increase your safety while you work in this amazing business.
"Helping cleaning professionals make the impact they were meant to make."