In 15 years of solo cleaning, over 75 families have hired me to clean for them. However, I sold my business with 17. What happened to the others? It's simple. This is a seasonal service for some and a lifetime for others. I never tried to figure that out. I just served. I have lots of experience getting "let go", "moved on", "fired", etc. Some let me know face-to-face with a month's notice. Some stopped immediately through email, phone, or text. Others just disappeared (literally a UFO got 'em)! There was only one time that I fired myself. For the sake of privacy, we'll call this customer "Bob".
Bob worked from home as a consultant and his family lived in a beautiful 4,000+ square foot home in a new development. They had a son 1-year older than my son, Kenny. Bob and I had awesome conversations and many were from opposing viewpoints. Some were political and some were religious. We had a mutual respect for each other and our beliefs. The cleaning itself was tough. The master shower had two glass doors, the kitchen island was 15 feet long, and the oven was HUGE! The knobs on the range top would turn to the 'On' position on a hairpin trigger, so I always had to check to the level of OCD to make sure the gas was off. On November 2, 2016, I cleaned and didn't do a good job inspecting!
When I got home, there was a text from Bob's wife. She is stressed out as the gas was left on for at least 6 hours after I left and she had to call to get help to make sure it was safe. Thankfully, everything was okay. But the family was in shock and I was feeling a level of guilt I've never felt in all my years in this business. **Cleaners** I urge you to check the oven knobs every time you leave!
You'll have to listen to the episode, but here's what happened. I fired myself. When Bob and his wife talked over what they should do, he came to me and just wanted to have another civil conversation. I had prayed and thought about it for a whole day and literally told Bob. "I am SO sorry. This is literally a irreconcilable offense. I put myself in your place with your wife and son as my own. If a cleaner had done that in my home, I would lose all trust and fire them immediately. I think you should do the same. I don't want to lose your business, but I want to do the right thing." Bob was amazed. "Ken, I respect you for your response and care of my family." Ultimately, they did let me go and they should have. I talk about building trust. In this case, I lost all of my trust in the turning of one oven gas knob. I knew it would be harder to go from a 1 Trust Factor to the 10 I had before THAN getting a new client at 6 and getting to 10.
After the smoke cleared, I remained friends with Bob. We still connect to this day and he left a glowing review of my cleaning service on Google.
The Smart Cleaning School Podcast helps cleaning business owners from start-up to the struggling solo to the striving seven-figure get SMARTER in their businesses, reshape their mindset, increase productivity, clear the overwhelm, and get clarity through SMART goal-setting & personal accountability. Ken Carfagno is a lifetime learner and teacher. His mission is to help visionaries make the impact they were meant to make.