Archives December 2019

I just made my cleaner cry – and I’m so happy about it

Yesterday I made my primary cleaner cry. And I’m delighted about it.

No, I’m not a monster. They were tears of joy, and I was simply happy to be able to be the bearer of good news.

What did I do to cause such emotion?

I gave her a Christmas bonus for all of the hard work she’s done for me over the past year.

No, she’s not been perfect. I’ve found plenty of issues that needed to be addressed over the last year. But she is a willing learner and receptive to feedback, and that has made all the difference.

Some people expect perfection from their cleaners every…single…time. That is simply unreasonable. Those people forget that cleaners are humans, too. They are juggling family, health challenges, other responsibilities, and more – just like the rest of us. And no one – no one – is perfect.

So if you’re the type of person who will fire your cleaner after a single transgression, perhaps you need to rethink your strategy. Try talking to them respectfully about the problem, and make your expectations clear for next time.

Here are 3 tips I have for creating healthy and long-lasting relationships with your cleaners.

  1. Be honest about your needs – but kind. I like to employ the sandwich method – sandwich the constructive criticism in between 2 compliments. It becomes much easier to take that way.
  2. Use checklists for every property. This will make it much easier to have those hard conversations mentioned in #1. Either the items on the checklist are getting done, or they aren’t. Plain and simple.

    Need a good checklist? Click here to get mine!
  3. Finally, I try to make sure my cleaner knows I appreciate her in more tangible ways – like generous Christmas bonuses.

If you’re paying someone to work for you, and you say you appreciate them, but their paycheck doesn’t reflect that, eventually they’re going to look for work elsewhere. It’s worth it to me to shell out a little more to create those long-term, lasting relationships.

At the end of the day, this is a people-centered business. And if you’re not treating your own people right, how can you expect them to do their best for your guests?


I’ve had some people ask why I didn’t treat every cleaner I’ve worked with this year the same. Well, the short answer is that all of our relationships are different. Some have done hundreds of cleanings for me this year and put up with a lot of challenges. Some have done just one or two and been difficult to work with. Many fall somewhere in the middle. The bonuses I give are commensurate with the work that’s been done and the relationship that’s already been created. It’s up to you if you want to do things differently :). But for me, I’ve worked with over a dozen cleaners this year and sadly, it just wouldn’t be financially feasible to do the same thing with them all :(.

What you might have in common with artists

When I was in college, I had a lot of artists in my life. They all had their own challenges, but there was one complaint that seemed like a pretty common theme – why do so many people want my services but don’t want to pay me for them?

There seems to be a fairly universal theme here.

People will pay full price without question for tangible, solid things like groceries and car repair; but when your product or service includes a cost for that intangible, ever-elusive quality – time – people think it isn’t worth paying for.

Because, of course, that is really what you’re paying for when you pay for art – the cost of the time that it took the artist to make it.

The irony here is unmistakable. Time is the only asset we can never produce more of, and thus it should be the most valuable thing on the planet…yet it’s one of the only things that many people will balk at paying for.

It doesn’t just happen with art. Most people who offer a product or service that requires a lot of time to produce have similar struggles. People seem to think that your time isn’t really an expense they should have to pay for.

Short term rental management is no exception – especially if you’ve also started coaching others.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people reach out to me “just for a few tips,” but they don’t want to pay for them. They think it’s just a simple question, it should be easy for me to answer, so why should it cost them anything to get an answer from me?

What they don’t realize is that, while it might take me just a few minutes to answer their question, that’s only because I’ve had years of experience in the business. I’ve learned the answers to their questions the hard way.

They’re not paying me for the 5 minutes it’s going to take me to answer their “quick” question. They’re paying me for the years of trial and error I had to slog through in order to be able to know the “quick” answer to their question. If it was really a quick and simple question they’d be able to answer it themselves.

And of course, they don’t have to pay me if they don’t want to – there’s always the option of learning the hard and long way like I did.

There’s such a strong disconnect here, it boggles my mind. People just don’t see serviced-based businesses this way.

Regardless of whether most people are willing to pay you for your services and knowledge or not, you have to learn to shift your mindset so that you don’t give away your knowledge for free, but rather charge for it.

In order to succeed in this business, you have to shift your mindset. You have to be able to see the value that you offer, and be willing to ask people to pay for it.

And if they’re not willing to pay, you have to be willing to walk away without helping them.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating for heartless and greedy extortion. Of course there are times when it’s appropriate to help people just because they need help.

But if that’s all you ever do you’ll never make any money. No one is going to pay for something that they can get for free – even if it’s worth paying for.

You’ve gotta be willing to charge what you’re worth. And you’ve got to realize that experience is worth something. Isn’t it time you got paid what you’re worth?