1 - Not visit the site in person – What's what?
2 - Not talk with the person who will be paying you – Who's who?
3 - Not knowing the state of access to the site, or the degree of clutter – Little things add up.
For a moment, put yourself in your customer's shoes. You are on the phone with your new housecleaner. She asks you how big is your home? You tell her it is a two-story house with two bathrooms and a family room. And you ask the housecleaner: how much do you charge?
Now, put your own shoes back on. How do you answer? If you have no or little experience in cleaning for a living, your answer will give you away. And your customer is going to decide, right then, if they will hire you. Or not.
The number of rooms is one factor in your bid. So is the size of the property. And letting your customer describe her house over the phone will give you some idea of what to expect. And you will still be surprised when you get on the job.
Communication is good. It will give you an idea of who this person is that you might be working for. You can learn a lot about each other in a brief phone call. And you still won't learn a thing about the house.
This is not because the customer isn't telling the truth. The customer is giving you a picture of their residence from their perspective. Even pictures are only a snippet of what you will see in person. The picture-taker is choosing what goes inside the frame. Whatever lies outside the frame is unknown. Until you get there.
You go to the house and have a comfortable chat with the person who greets you at the door. He takes you from room to room. You ask questions about the furnishings and he gives you specific answers. It's a pleasant meeting, and after the tour is over you leave.
And then you discover that the person you talked with for half an hour is a family friend visiting from out of town. Not the person who will be hiring you.
You might meet the entire family that lives in the house you clean. You may never meet anyone in the house, except one person. It is a big mistake to assume the person you talk to is the person who has the power to hire you. You would be surprised how often this occurs.
An experienced housecleaner does not commit this faux pas. They know how to reach and how to communicate with the person who will pay the bill.
Little things add up
To get the job, one more bidding mistake must be avoided. Checking access. Is there difficulty gaining access to the site, or is clutter going to add significant time to the job?
Access to the property itself includes the time it takes you to drive there. Ask yourself how the job fits into your schedule. When first starting, professional cleaners can be tempted to take every job offered. And the burnout rate for those cleaners is high.
you agree to a job contract, consider the location. Where is the job
located in relation to you? How much driving time will it take, both
ways? Cleaning for three hours and driving for one hour just to get
there may sound alright at first, but then become difficult the busier
your schedule gets. The time it takes you and your crew to reach the job
should be considered in your bid.
Once you are on the job, another type of access is important. Some environments are too filled with clutter to clean effectively. Moving clutter from counters and tabletops to gain access for cleaning is not only time-consuming, it is risky. Items can be broken or damaged through moving them around. The only way to get a realistic picture of the clutter, and understand the access to surfaces that must be cleaned, is to see for yourself.
Visiting the property in person, negotiating with the person with the power, and ease of access to the job are just a few of the factors you need to consider when giving bids. Mistakes can be easily avoided when you have a bit of guidance.