Don’t be blind sided when first cleaning a new house. Questions to ask before cleaning someone’s house. It may seem to be straight forward: A client hires you, you arrive to the clients’ house, clean and then leave.
But often there are many variables through out that process. In the beginning months of my cleaning business, I would sign up a new client, and only collect their basic contact information, how they would pay me and that was about it.
But there always seemed to be some unknown that would cost us money, lost time or client frustration. So I came up with a list of what to ask new clients.
Before cleaning a clients home it is important to get as much information about them, their home and access to service to create a smooth cleaning service. You can do this by using a new client data sheet and when you are quoting the cleaning service.
New Client Welcome Forms
Before we get too far into this…if you are looking for a new client data sheet and new client welcome forms my new client welcome kit is just that. The Kit includes a Customer Data Sheet, a Welcome Letter, Client Policies and Procedures, Cleaning Checklist and a Client Referral Program.
These are done for you forms that are ready to print and use.
Questions to Ask Before Cleaning Someone’s House
Below are questions that I have developed throughout the years with my cleaning business. This allowed us to offer a professional cleaning service and avoid any unwanted costly surprises.
Collecting important contact information:
Ask questions about who your client is and how to get ahold of them during a cleaning or after hours.
Common questions include:
- Phone number
Ask if there will be a different name on their forms of payment. Especially if they are paying by check. This will make it easier to reconcile your payments to your client.
Don’t forget to ask if they have a preferred first name.
Always ask for a second contact
If you can’t get ahold of your client and their is an emergency, who should you contact? Don’t assume if you are talking to a female that her spouse is a ‘he’. Be aware and sensitive to all different family make-ups. I like to ask for the Significant Other. Or to make it easy, just say 2nd contact who lives in the house with you.
What is the best number to reach you while we are at your home in the even of questions, emergency, or if we can’t get into the house?
If the client is not going to be at the house while you are cleaning, you will need a contact number to reach them at whether it’s a cell phone or a work number. Anything can happen while you are in the home, and you’ll want a way to get ahold of your client quickly if needed.
Collect important information about the home to help with pricing & cleaning time:
The next set of questions you want to ask about is their home. These questions will help you understand how long it will take you to clean and what types of cleaning products you should be bringing with you to the first cleaning service.
These questions will help you get a better understanding of how long it will take you to clean, so that you can more efficiently price the cleaning service.
Read this article to learn How to Price House Cleaning Services.
When was the last time you had your home professionally cleaned?
This will give you a good idea of how long the first cleaning will take. If they had their home professionally cleaned in the last 4 weeks the first cleaning will not have to take as long.
The first cleaning service will more than likely will take up to twice as long if a client has not had their home professionally cleaned…like ever.
If this is the case, you may want to suggest your client to purchase a deep clean for their first cleaning service and then regular maintenance cleaning after.
These questions will help you understand the size of the home.
Basic questions include:
- What is the square footage of the home? You can verify this on Zillow.com
- How many bedrooms do you have?
- How many bathrooms do you have?
These questions will help you to know what kind of equipment, tools and cleaning supplies you need to bring to the house. These questions are really important so that you can come to the house with the right tools.
What kind of flooring do you have?
You’ll need to know if you need a vacuum for carpet or a vacuum for hard floors. If the client has hardwood floors you will want to make sure to bring your hardwood cleaner and mop. Tile flooring and other types of hard floors require different types of mops.
How many stories is the home?
Is there 1 or multiple stories. You’ll need to know this because of the extra cleaning time with the stairs. Additionally when cleaning 2 story homes you will approach cleaning a little different as it is more efficient to clean the top floor first then move down to the bottom floor.
Questions regarding Special Cleaning instructions
Ask your new client questions about any special cleaning instructions. These questions are NOT meant to cater your cleaning services for each specific client. Rather you will want to ask questions about any special no-touch items or items they hold near and dear to their hearts. This way you know the whether you should skip cleaning these items or not.
Do you have any special cleaning products you will provide? Where are they located?
The majority of maid services bring their own cleaning supplies to clean client homes. But every once in a while, a client may have a special product they use on a certain piece of furniture. It is not best practice to buy cleaning products specific to every client. Instead, if a client has a special product, they provide it. You’ll want to know where to use it and where you can find it in the house.
Do you have any family heirlooms?
This question is important because you want to know which items hold sentimental value to your clients. These are the irreplaceable items in the home. In my cleaning business these were generally ‘no touch’ items, especially if they were breakable.
Money can’t buy everything. That holds true to a ceramic vase that has been passed down from 4 generations. You will never be able to replace a family heirloom like you could a lamp that was purchased at a home goods store last year.
What are your no touch items?
There might not be a family heirloom, but some clients may have a no touch item. These items may be expensive, one of a kind or just unique and can’t be replaced. You’ll want to stay clear of them when cleaning the home.
Let the client take the responsibility to cleaning or dusting these pieces. It will save you headache (and heartache) if in the event the items get damaged during the cleaning process.
Are there any rooms in the house we should not venture into?
Sometimes you’ll have clients that may have area’s of the house they don’t want you to clean in. These could be nurseries, offices with confidential information or storage areas.
Usually, they will tell you up front, but it is always good to ask the question. It shows you care and are professional. Make sure you respect the wishes of your client and stay clear of these areas.
Questions about your clients pet’s
Don’t get caught off guard by a large dog. Or let a cat run out of the home when you are arriving or leaving. Ask about any pets your new client may have and what to expect with them.
Do you have any pets?
It is a good idea to know your clients’ pets. You’ll be in the house for a few hours with the pets.
You also don’t want to leave a door open when carrying cleaning supplies to and from the house if they have a cat or dog. The last call I would want to make is that I allowed the dog to run out of the house.
Which leads me to the next question….
Are the pets allowed outside?…Will the pet be locked up?
These are great questions to get a gauge on whether or not the pets are allowed outside. We had clients that had cats that were allowed outside. The cats would roam in and out of the house, and there was a kitty door where they could get back in.
If the client has a large dog or dog that is prone to running out of the house, it is a good idea that you request them to cage the pets during your visit, especially if the client will not be home.
What are your pets’ names?
If they have pets, write down the pets’ name. Pets are often time treated like family and children. Learning and remembering the pets name will help build report with your customer and it will show you care about their belongings.
Questions about getting into the house/locking up
Clear up any questions about how you will be getting into a clients home and how to lock up. This will save you wasting time on or accidently setting off an alarm.
Is there a gate to get into the home or complex?
Some neighborhoods will have a gate or guard at the front. With these many times there are codes that you will need for these to enter the neighborhood.
Where should we park?
This question is not always obvious. Your client will appreciate you asking the question. Answers will vary such on the left or right of the driveway, on the side of the road, on the side of the road across the street. Or if the client lives in an apartment complex or condo there may be visitor parking or service parking.
Some communities don’t allow parking on the side of the road and may result in towing or ticketing. Make sure you clear up any parking restrictions before you arrive for your first cleaning service.
How should we get into the house?
This is an important question. Many clients will not be home when you clean their house. That means you will need to know exactly how you will be entering the home. It is best not to make assumptions here.
Some clients will provide a key, others will have garage door codes you can use, or some may want you to come into a side door rather the front. I even had clients who left a key under a planter or mat and that was how we got in.
If the client says they will leave the door open for you, or that they will meet you on cleaning day to let you in, make sure you make it very clear what time you will be there and how long you are willing to wait. Also, this is a good time to remind them of your lockout or last-minute cancelation policy. (Our lockout/cancelation policy can be found in the New Client Welcome Kit)
One thing to note here; I always presented the question saying most of our clients prefer to provide us with a key. If at any time they termed service, we would provide the keys back to the client. Having a key is the best way to prevent any lock outs or having to wait for a client to meet you at the home.
Is there an alarm/alarm code you will have to shut off when entering the home?
If there is an alarm that will be activated, you will want to get the code so that you can shut it off when entering the home. You don’t want the police showing up because the alarm went off.
Ask the client to show you how to use the alarms control panel, or do some research of your own to get an understanding on how to use it.
Most alarms will allow the homeowner to set a secondary code just for service providers. That way if they terminate service, they can inactivate the code that they give you.
If the client does not want to give you the code to the alarm because they say it will not be set on cleaning day, make it clear that if you walk into the home and the alarm does get activated, that the client is responsible for any costs associate with the alarm going off.
How should we lock up the house before we leave?
If there is an alarm code do, they want you to set it before leaving? If the client meets you at the home to let you into the house, do they want you to lock the door when you leave?
Where is the location of your central trash container?
As part of your cleaning service, you more than likely will be collecting and taking out the trash. Make sure you know where to take the trash out of the house. Most residential homes will store their outside garbage cans in the garage or on the side of the house.
For apartments and condo’s this may be in a different location than the unit.
Read this article to learn how to present a house cleaning Quote to a potential customer.
New Client Welcome Forms for Cleaning Businesses
Essential New Client Welcome Form Kit with fillable and ready to go forms. Just update the area’s highlighted in Yellow with your information and you are ready to print or use on your webpage.
Forms Included in the Kit
- New Client Welcome Letter
- Client Data Sheet
- Customer Policies
- Cleaning Checklist
- Customer Referral Program
Get the Forms Here
Questions to ask before cleaning someone’s house