Most customers are looking for help with the basics: kitchen, bathrooms, dusting, and floors. But beyond the basics are plenty of other house cleaning chores on your customer’s ‘to do’ list… and it’s possible they’d be interested in help with some of those items, too~ if you ask.
Generally, ‘extras’ tend to be a great value for your customer; since you are already there, and you are already cleaning their entire house in purpose-driven mode. Because it’s simple and efficient to weave additional tasks into your routine, your customer gets the-most-bang-for-their-buck.
And it’s an even better deal for you. When your workday involves loading-up supplies, driving (non-billable work hours) to a 2nd (or 3rd!) job, unloading, and re-starting from the top… it takes a toll. More hours at fewer houses makes for an easier schedule.
It can be hard to guess which customers will have an interest in extra services for an extra charge… you might be surprised by who is willing to pay a bit more to have their workload lightened.
There are customers who can afford help, and who like their home kept to a high level of just-so-ness; folks who might hire a lawn service and a window washer, too. Whether you are just getting started with them or you’ve been there 5 years, make a point to notice any tasks they might like done… you’re just the person for the job.
But even a customer whose budget is tighter can be encouraged to go to the high-end of their budget range to include an extra service. Draw a picture of how nice it would be to have those tasks done. I say something like: “If it would be possible for you to go to $xxx for each cleaning visit, I’d be able to change the bed sheets and re-make the bed; plus I’ll run the other set through the wash so they’re fresh and folded.” It’s a very nice option to be offered, right?
And for older customers, tasks like changing sheets might be physically difficult. Recognizing chores you could help with can go a long way toward keeping your aging customer comfortable in their own home. Actually, ‘extras’ to support seniors is a broader topic than what this article covers; stopping at the store, helping with basic yard work, or any home-related task they’re finding more difficult can make for a win/win arrangement.
(Regarding beds in particular, you can alternate which beds get changed visit to visit if it’s a full house. I currently have a bi-weekly customer; one visit I change the master bed, and the following visit I change the two kids’ beds~ works great.)
Following is a list of extra tasks that I’ve done in lots of customers’ homes; both in Cincinnati and here in Asheville. (Not all my customers are looking for ‘extras’… probably about half.)
The list is broken down into
- Regular Tasks: that need to be done often, so they become woven into your regular routine
- Seasonal Tasks: that need to be done regularly while ‘in-season’ (The ‘Seasonal’ list of tasks is usually spring through fall. It’s easy to keep your time consistent at a customer’s house if you tackle ‘Occasional’ tasks during the winter with the extra time.)
- Occasional Tasks: that need to be done once or twice a year. Some tasks listed might already be part of your regular service; if not you might suggest allowing some extra time each visit so you can rotate these tasks to keep everything well maintained. These are also great ideas to offer when your customer is going on vacation; instead of skipping that visit it might be the perfect time to clean the fridge, etc.
Word of caution~ First, Do No Harm. Some items on the list take a certain amount of skill and know-how (especially ironing), so there is the potential for damage.
NEEDS TO BE DONE OFTEN AND YEAR ROUND:
Wash bed sheets and remake beds (my favorite ‘extra’!)
Wash bath towels and re-hang in clean bathroom
Polish silver and brass items
Iron clothing or linens
NEEDS TO BE DONE OFTEN ‘IN SEASON’:
Cobweb and sweep front porch
Cobweb and sweep screened-in porch, deck or patio
Clean front door; back door; patio doors
Clean porch furniture (vacuum upholstery and/or damp wipe hard surfaces)
Clean grill exterior
NEEDS TO BE DONE OCCASIONALLY:
Clean refrigerator interior
Clean oven interior
Clean cabinet fronts
Clean inside cabinets (especially below kitchen sink and bathroom vanities)
Clean inside closets and closet floors
Damp wipe wide lateral blinds
Damp wipe louver doors
Clean windows, screens and window wells
Clean all doors and woodwork
Damp wipe baseboards
Move small furniture to clean beneath and behind
Vacuum upholstery, lampshades, and mattresses
Detail clean all wood furniture with oil soap (or customer’s preferred product)
Cobweb and sweep out garage
Cobweb and sweep basement
Clean washer, dryer and utility sink
If you know of ‘extras’ not mentioned here, please share!