A Customer Seriously Just Demanded That I Organize Her Closet Because I Charged Her $100 for a job

Tcoulter

Member
Apr 18, 2017
77
40
18
25
Real Name
Trace Coulter
So I am in Hawaii, and people are NUTS here. Can't wait to leave. I got called by a vacation property management company in the ritziest part of the Island. They told me they have an owner wanting some grout cleaned. I get there yesterday, and it's a 3 million dollar oceanfront condo, and the lady had some guy seal some cracks in the lanai (deck) tiles with some grout or something. He didn't clean it up afterwards so every crack had like 2 inches of brown grout or epoxy or something on each side of it. I took a little white pad and some stone scrub and tried an area by hand. It looked pretty good. I told her I could come back and do all the areas by hand the next day (today), and that I would only charge her my minimum charge ($100). $100 doesn't go far in Hawaii. I was giving her a deal just cause I didn't have to pull hoses. There was probably 40 tiles I needed to scrub vigorously by hand.

So I come back today, and use about half a bottle of stone scrub with a little pad and start scrubbing away and wiping up with a wet cloth. It was like 90 degrees and my knees were burning just from kneeling on the tile. The sun just absolutely bakes that tile and radiates heat. So after about an hour or 90 minutes of scrubbing, I call it good. She had told me that it looks great halfway through and she was glad to get the residue cleaned off.

So I go to get the check from her. I tell her "Alrighty all finished up here" and she says something like "well you have some time to fill, can you go take a look at my closet". I say "Oh, you have grout in your closet? Do you want to schedule something? I can take a look". She's like "No I need some help in there moving stuff". I said "Oh, hah, I'm not from the management company, I am my own Carpet and Tile cleaning company contracted to do the tile work for you". She proceeds to get irate, and tells me "I know you told me yesterday 100 dollars, and you know what, that's just insane, you were here an hour! That's $100 an hour! You mean to tell me you can't even spend some extra time and reorganize my closet for me? I'm paying $100 for this!" I'm speechless. I tend to have anxiety, and people are fudgeing nuts here, and these are the moments that I have to deal with a lot. I was kinda just laughing awkwardly and I was like "Uhhh well..like... I'm a business,...and I literally turn down jobs all the time because I stay so busy, and in this business you usually make about $100 an hour , so I charged you my minimum charge of $100 because it's really fair" And then I told her that any of the stone professional companies around here would've charged 300 minimum. She was like "well my property management co told me that you were cheap!!! and it turns out you are just ridiculous priced! I thought they'd send me a teenager or something that I could pay a few dollars for scrubbing the tile. This is just ridiculous" She looked at me like I was the seed of satan and was just acting like I was being absurd. Again...this condo is about 3 million. She acted like she wasn't gonna write the check but I just sort of stood my ground and she wrote it and I basically ran outside to leave. I emailed the property management co just to tell them that the lady did complain. They were shocked, to say the least, lol. fudge these people.

Also, as a bonus for ya'll. Last week I cleaned a house that is valued at around 30 million dollars. It was just a small area I was cleaning though. The property manager informed me that the owners request that I bill directly to them and not through him because he charges 15% convenience fee. Yes... people with a 30 million dollar house shafted their manager out of 15 bucks. He had to come and unlock the gate and house for me, show me the area, and then lock up and leave when I was done. But god for bid he earn 15 dollars from their billion dollar pile of cash.

Edit: This forum seriously turned my F bomb to "fudgeing". wtf. are you kidding me. Are we in 3rd grade?
 
Last edited:

Tcoulter

Member
Apr 18, 2017
77
40
18
25
Real Name
Trace Coulter
Yep I would’ve been $300

Get some knee pads you’re gonna jack your knees up amigo.
Haha thanks. Yeah I actually have knee pads, I just rarely ever do hands and knees work so I totally forgot to bring them. I have a habit of forgetting the things that make my job easier. Only the essentials! lol
 

Select

Active Member
Mar 3, 2019
237
72
28
Real Name
John Cartegna
Business Location
United States
So I am in Hawaii, and people are NUTS here. Can't wait to leave. I got called by a vacation property management company in the ritziest part of the Island. They told me they have an owner wanting some grout cleaned. I get there yesterday, and it's a 3 million dollar oceanfront condo, and the lady had some guy seal some cracks in the lanai (deck) tiles with some grout or something. He didn't clean it up afterwards so every crack had like 2 inches of brown grout or epoxy or something on each side of it. I took a little white pad and some stone scrub and tried an area by hand. It looked pretty good. I told her I could come back and do all the areas by hand the next day (today), and that I would only charge her my minimum charge ($100). $100 doesn't go far in Hawaii. I was giving her a deal just cause I didn't have to pull hoses. There was probably 40 tiles I needed to scrub vigorously by hand.

So I come back today, and use about half a bottle of stone scrub with a little pad and start scrubbing away and wiping up with a wet cloth. It was like 90 degrees and my knees were burning just from kneeling on the tile. The sun just absolutely bakes that tile and radiates heat. So after about an hour or 90 minutes of scrubbing, I call it good. She had told me that it looks great halfway through and she was glad to get the residue cleaned off.

So I go to get the check from her. I tell her "Alrighty all finished up here" and she says something like "well you have some time to fill, can you go take a look at my closet". I say "Oh, you have grout in your closet? Do you want to schedule something? I can take a look". She's like "No I need some help in there moving stuff". I said "Oh, hah, I'm not from the management company, I am my own Carpet and Tile cleaning company contracted to do the tile work for you". She proceeds to get irate, and tells me "I know you told me yesterday 100 dollars, and you know what, that's just insane, you were here an hour! That's $100 an hour! You mean to tell me you can't even spend some extra time and reorganize my closet for me? I'm paying $100 for this!" I'm speechless. I tend to have anxiety, and people are fudgeing nuts here, and these are the moments that I have to deal with a lot. I was kinda just laughing awkwardly and I was like "Uhhh well..like... I'm a business,...and I literally turn down jobs all the time because I stay so busy, and in this business you usually make about $100 an hour , so I charged you my minimum charge of $100 because it's really fair" And then I told her that any of the stone professional companies around here would've charged 300 minimum. She was like "well my property management co told me that you were cheap!!! and it turns out you are just ridiculous priced! I thought they'd send me a teenager or something that I could pay a few dollars for scrubbing the tile. This is just ridiculous" She looked at me like I was the seed of satan and was just acting like I was being absurd. Again...this condo is about 3 million. She acted like she wasn't gonna write the check but I just sort of stood my ground and she wrote it and I basically ran outside to leave. I emailed the property management co just to tell them that the lady did complain. They were shocked, to say the least, lol. fudge these people.

Also, as a bonus for ya'll. Last week I cleaned a house that is valued at around 30 million dollars. It was just a small area I was cleaning though. The property manager informed me that the owners request that I bill directly to them and not through him because he charges 15% convenience fee. Yes... people with a 30 million dollar house shafted their manager out of 15 bucks. He had to come and unlock the gate and house for me, show me the area, and then lock up and leave when I was done. But god for bid he earn 15 dollars from their billion dollar pile of cash.

Edit: This forum seriously turned my F bomb to "fudgeing". wtf. are you kidding me. Are we in 3rd grade?
That is plain bonkers, dude.

Gotta wonder how people like that got their cash or at least you would think they understand business and the costs you have to cover as a whole.

Crazy. Glad she wrote the stupid check though.
 

AZHome&Carpet

Well-Known Member
Apr 23, 2018
3,420
2,505
113
AZ
Real Name
Michael Stevens
Don’t worry I got a call back from a nasty lady. She asked me “how did you get this on my wall”
Outside wall near her patio......she’s pointing up to about 8 ft.
My response, “Ma’am that’s bird poop on the wall” People are insane.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: MikeGaure

Tcoulter

Member
Apr 18, 2017
77
40
18
25
Real Name
Trace Coulter
You need to raise your minimum.
What do you think my minimum should be? I find that I can only clear $700 a day if I do tile. Since all the places are hard to access and really long hose pulls, if I'm just doing carpet and upholstery with my current prices, I can work from 8:30 to 5 pm with no lunch and only make like $500 or $600, busting ass. Right now I charge $0.30/ sq ft, measured wall to wall, only move smaller furniture, $70 for a regular sofa, $60 for a loveseat. It takes me SO long to pull hoses up to fifth floors, or get my portable out. It really sucks when there is basically no parking and I have to squeeze into a parking spot the size of a honda fit with my chevy express and pull 150 ft of hose out the side with only 10 inches between me and the car next to me and then pull those hoses up 5 stories. All to clean like 2 rooms. All for like 120 bucks usually. Hah.

To describe how long it takes me to pull hoses and navigate parking and all of that here, I will just say that I get SUPER excited when I get to clean a regular house. I'm like "Oh yay! I am actually going to be cleaning within 10 minutes, rather than a 45 minute set up time!"
 

PistolPete

Well-Known Member
Sep 28, 2014
1,681
1,014
113
Real Name
Peter Dymond
What do you think my minimum should be? I find that I can only clear $700 a day if I do tile. Since all the places are hard to access and really long hose pulls, if I'm just doing carpet and upholstery with my current prices, I can work from 8:30 to 5 pm with no lunch and only make like $500 or $600, busting ass. Right now I charge $0.30/ sq ft, measured wall to wall, only move smaller furniture, $70 for a regular sofa, $60 for a loveseat. It takes me SO long to pull hoses up to fifth floors, or get my portable out. It really sucks when there is basically no parking and I have to squeeze into a parking spot the size of a honda fit with my chevy express and pull 150 ft of hose out the side with only 10 inches between me and the car next to me and then pull those hoses up 5 stories. All to clean like 2 rooms. All for like 120 bucks usually. Hah.

To describe how long it takes me to pull hoses and navigate parking and all of that here, I will just say that I get SUPER excited when I get to clean a regular house. I'm like "Oh yay! I am actually going to be cleaning within 10 minutes, rather than a 45 minute set up time!"
That's a good question for the forum. I don't know if you can upcharge an 'Access Fee' for difficult scenarios?
Perhaps go with VLM bonnet cleaning?

How is your business doing? Have you built a good reputation?
Is your phone ringing from marketing and referrals?

Try an experiment and straight up double your prices for a week and see what happens.
If you only do half the jobs for twice the money you gross the same but only do half the work.

On the other hand, if you're just recently started, then focus on quality and building your reputation.

Once you're established as a quality operation then you can raise prices.
 

Ken Raddon

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2010
1,891
931
113
UT
Real Name
Ken Raddon
Business Location
United States
I went to clean a house and in the master bedroom closet the carpet was pulled up along one wall. I gave him the bid and mentioned that I could reattach the carpet in the closet. He said "how much?" I said "$60." He said do it. I did it before the cleaning and he was sitting at the kitchen island having morning coffee when I walked by with a knee kicker. He asked if that was what I used and I said yes. As I was walking back by with it 6 or 7 minutes later he said "You done reattaching that carpet already?" I said "yes," he said "$60 for ten minutes of work?" I said "it aint bad work if you can get it." He said "well played."

He paid with no complaint and I never put up with that crap from people like your lady. They tried to give it to me and I just stood my ground like you described so good on you and best of luck with your plan to get out of there and into a more pleasant working environment.
 

OxiFreshGuy

Well-Known Member
Nov 12, 2016
644
535
93
Real Name
Matthew Frein
Business Location
United States
I think what people don't realize is the prices we charge are consistent with the level of skill, time, material, equipment etc. Also this work is hard on the body. I don't see many carpet guys past the age of 50 still slinging wands. If you don't have your nest egg built by then you might be in trouble.
 

Select

Active Member
Mar 3, 2019
237
72
28
Real Name
John Cartegna
Business Location
United States
I think what people don't realize is the prices we charge are consistent with the level of skill, time, material, equipment etc. Also this work is hard on the body. I don't see many carpet guys past the age of 50 still slinging wands. If you don't have your nest egg built by then you might be in trouble.
Hard on the body (physical) is one of the factors that led me to choose to start a cleaning business. I switched from white collar to to blue collar work because I like the satisfaction you feel from actually doing something that produces a tangible result.

That and I thought cleaning would force me out of my comfort zone from being lazy and soft and I could prove to myself I can do this.

I mentioned on here I did my home 2 days ago with my equipment for the first time and that 4 hours beat me up. Pretty sad I know but Ill get in good shape soon enough.
 

Select

Active Member
Mar 3, 2019
237
72
28
Real Name
John Cartegna
Business Location
United States
I went to clean a house and in the master bedroom closet the carpet was pulled up along one wall. I gave him the bid and mentioned that I could reattach the carpet in the closet. He said "how much?" I said "$60." He said do it. I did it before the cleaning and he was sitting at the kitchen island having morning coffee when I walked by with a knee kicker. He asked if that was what I used and I said yes. As I was walking back by with it 6 or 7 minutes later he said "You done reattaching that carpet already?" I said "yes," he said "$60 for ten minutes of work?" I said "it aint bad work if you can get it." He said "well played."

He paid with no complaint and I never put up with that crap from people like your lady. They tried to give it to me and I just stood my ground like you described so good on you and best of luck with your plan to get out of there and into a more pleasant working environment.
To me that's the point though, "When you can get it."

Its not like your getting $60 for 10 minutes work 4x day everyday. (I don't know your business so I could be wrong). But, my point is those are the gravy moments for having the skills, knowledge, tools, materials, etc. to do that repair that quickly.

Reminds me about the plumber I heard about: $10 for the hammer, $300 to know where to tap with the hammer.

I would like to think most people (customers) understand this about the world and business.
 

Select

Active Member
Mar 3, 2019
237
72
28
Real Name
John Cartegna
Business Location
United States
That's a good question for the forum. I don't know if you can upcharge an 'Access Fee' for difficult scenarios?
Perhaps go with VLM bonnet cleaning?

How is your business doing? Have you built a good reputation?
Is your phone ringing from marketing and referrals?

Try an experiment and straight up double your prices for a week and see what happens.
If you only do half the jobs for twice the money you gross the same but only do half the work.

On the other hand, if you're just recently started, then focus on quality and building your reputation.

Once you're established as a quality operation then you can raise prices.
Im a total newb but maybe VLM like was suggested for carpets in good shape. Then it might just be vac, crb, prespray?

And, the idea of an access fee doesn't seem unreasonable either.

I couldn't imagine having to work out of a van 10" form a car. Kudos to you, man.
 

Select

Active Member
Mar 3, 2019
237
72
28
Real Name
John Cartegna
Business Location
United States
What do you think my minimum should be? I find that I can only clear $700 a day if I do tile. Since all the places are hard to access and really long hose pulls, if I'm just doing carpet and upholstery with my current prices, I can work from 8:30 to 5 pm with no lunch and only make like $500 or $600, busting ass. Right now I charge $0.30/ sq ft, measured wall to wall, only move smaller furniture, $70 for a regular sofa, $60 for a loveseat. It takes me SO long to pull hoses up to fifth floors, or get my portable out. It really sucks when there is basically no parking and I have to squeeze into a parking spot the size of a honda fit with my chevy express and pull 150 ft of hose out the side with only 10 inches between me and the car next to me and then pull those hoses up 5 stories. All to clean like 2 rooms. All for like 120 bucks usually. Hah.

To describe how long it takes me to pull hoses and navigate parking and all of that here, I will just say that I get SUPER excited when I get to clean a regular house. I'm like "Oh yay! I am actually going to be cleaning within 10 minutes, rather than a 45 minute set up time!"
Clearing $700 and making $5-600 doing carpet a day are those NET numbers or GROSS?

If net seems certainly like a good reward for the hard work. Gross wouldn't be bad either I don't think. Of course it depends how consistently busy you stay.
 

OxiFreshGuy

Well-Known Member
Nov 12, 2016
644
535
93
Real Name
Matthew Frein
Business Location
United States
Hard on the body (physical) is one of the factors that led me to choose to start a cleaning business. I switched from white collar to to blue collar work because I like the satisfaction you feel from actually doing something that produces a tangible result.

That and I thought cleaning would force me out of my comfort zone from being lazy and soft and I could prove to myself I can do this.

I mentioned on here I did my home 2 days ago with my equipment for the first time and that 4 hours beat me up. Pretty sad I know but Ill get in good shape soon enough.
All very true, but when your knees and back become shot from age and use, you don't want to put in the 60 hour weeks anymore. I personally hope to have everything taken care of by the time I'm 45, house paid, kids college funds ready to go if they so choose, etc etc, retirement building.
 

Select

Active Member
Mar 3, 2019
237
72
28
Real Name
John Cartegna
Business Location
United States
All very true, but when your knees and back become shot from age and use, you don't want to put in the 60 hour weeks anymore. I personally hope to have everything taken care of by the time I'm 45, house paid, kids college funds ready to go if they so choose, etc etc, retirement building.
Yeah man. Good for you. Man with a plan and I like when a plan comes together. :)

I read something recently that I really like and it will always stick with me. In some ways, it is relevant to this conversation.

"There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way."

Maybe I should apologize for turning philosophical. If so, I apologize.
 

Mama Fen

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2012
3,090
3,208
113
Real Name
no name
Business Location
United States
"There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way."

Maybe I should apologize for turning philosophical. If so, I apologize.
I wouldn't consider that "turning philosophical". I'd consider it excellent life advice.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Select

Tcoulter

Member
Apr 18, 2017
77
40
18
25
Real Name
Trace Coulter
That's a good question for the forum. I don't know if you can upcharge an 'Access Fee' for difficult scenarios?
Perhaps go with VLM bonnet cleaning?

How is your business doing? Have you built a good reputation?
Is your phone ringing from marketing and referrals?

Try an experiment and straight up double your prices for a week and see what happens.
If you only do half the jobs for twice the money you gross the same but only do half the work.

On the other hand, if you're just recently started, then focus on quality and building your reputation.

Once you're established as a quality operation then you can raise prices.
My business is very established in the area. I bought it a few years ago. So I am in debt. But I have an excellent reputation. People know me in the area. The problem is, probably 60% of my work comes from 2 large management companies. They really like my work, and they don't actually even pay for it, each individual owner does, but I just get nervous about raising prices. I typically stay very busy. Actually too busy. Right now I'm not too busy. But there are many times where I can't fit all the jobs in a week and have to turn people away and I get really annoyed because there are too many phone calls.
 

PistolPete

Well-Known Member
Sep 28, 2014
1,681
1,014
113
Real Name
Peter Dymond
My business is very established in the area. I bought it a few years ago. So I am in debt. But I have an excellent reputation. People know me in the area. The problem is, probably 60% of my work comes from 2 large management companies. They really like my work, and they don't actually even pay for it, each individual owner does, but I just get nervous about raising prices. I typically stay very busy. Actually too busy. Right now I'm not too busy. But there are many times where I can't fit all the jobs in a week and have to turn people away and I get really annoyed because there are too many phone calls.
Well, raising your prices is 100% your next move.
Search on here for "raising prices" or raising minimum.
I literally doubled some of my pricing and it's a game changer.
If you're good and proud of your work go for it, you're worth it.