8 answers

House Cleaning Contracts for Self Employed

I was wondering if any of you other ladies who clean houses for a living have contracts you use with new clients to guarantee payment. After 4 years of working my business, I recently had my first "stop payment" on a check and it was the first time a customer wasn't willing to work with me to make things right given I had time constraints and her home was larger and dirtier than expected. I can't afford to work for free and was hoping you other pros out there could give me some ideas or tips on how to handle things. I normally don't ask for cash up front as I don't have $75.00+ in my wallet on a regular basis either. I want to stop miscommunications and get paid fairly for the work I do which for the most part is exceptional. I was thinking about getting a 2 part carbon type form at Office Max or Office Depot but don't know if what I'd put in there would hold up in small claims court. Thanks in advance for your help!

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What you describe is "theft of services". It is a crime. Send the person a letter explaining that you believe she committed a crime and that if she doesn't pay in 10 days, you will be taking the information to the district attorney for criminal prosecution.

Make her give you cash. If she doesn't pay, go to the district attorney's office and ask for help.

D. Kimbriel
Grandma to 2 beautiful boys

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I'm not a pro, but don't know that your form has to be too difficult for you to come up with. Basically, go through a house in your mind and list what you will do (all rooms - floors (mop/vaccuum), furniture (dust), etc.) or maybe room by room - Living room - dust all furniture, use static wand to clean blinds, wipe baseboards, vaccum floors. Bathroom - clean sinks, toilet, tub & shower stall, mop floor. etc.) Basically be specific. Include if you provide cleaning products or if they provide them. Include how often things will be done - for instance, maybe you only do the baseboards once per month - include what your pay is (hourly or set price) and what is expected of the homeowner - for example, when the girl that cleans my house comes, I make sure there are no clothes on the floors, no dishes in the sink, everything is put away so that she can just clean, she doens't have to pick anything up. If that's what you want from your homeowners, then you should state it. Also include if you are going to do laundry, pick up, fold clothes, make beds, etc. Finally, put in writing how you want to be paid and what happens in the event of non payment. For example, Payment is to be made upon completion of cleaning, each time, in cash or check. If check is returned NSF, a $25.00 fee will be imposed and checks will no longer be accepted. If homeowner has any issues with the quality of the job, he should contact me within 48 hours of the cleaning so that I can make it right. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

What you describe is "theft of services". It is a crime. Send the person a letter explaining that you believe she committed a crime and that if she doesn't pay in 10 days, you will be taking the information to the district attorney for criminal prosecution.

Make her give you cash. If she doesn't pay, go to the district attorney's office and ask for help.

D. Kimbriel
Grandma to 2 beautiful boys

I would get a in detail contract for sure. I was told by a attorney if both sign and both understand it will hold up in court. One gal in my educational class said also when she went to court the judge only honored it because it was numbered at the bottom and if there are more pages they should always say 1 of 1 or 1 of 4 Make sure it is dated too. Money up front to cover costs for sure maybe that portion then after the work is done the rest. I got stuck for a week of Day Care free too. This gal left her stupid kid home alone or when I called to remind her she owed me he said he was alone. That is when I found out Tx does not have a law how old they need to be. He was 7 and one who would do something dangerous. Turns out she was at the car but did not bother to tell him and he thought he was alone. I have had a bunch come friday when they are to pay for the next week walk so now it is two weeks up front. See how that works. I just keep changing things when things come up. I have not lost a ton yet. But I did terminate someone and they said they wanted money back and I told them to look on page +++ where it says termination they do not get anything back and anyway they were not in-tittle to an anyway, some was for administrative fees non refundable one was for the first week I seviced them and the rest they were paid up. No refund. They will do anything. These same people went to get a pizza and ate most of it before they complained and got it for free. My granddaughter was there. So much for honest people. G. W

I don't clean houses but I agree with the lady below about making up a list of what you do for the price they are paying. I would not accept check for the simple fact of what happened to you or that they could bounce. I would have them give you cash or a cashiers check. Make it easy and less stressful on yourself. That is your income and you can't count on people to screw you like that. I watched kids before returning back to work and I had a Mom not pay me and that was 155.00 I was out that week. It sucks trying to trust people. Good luck with your decision.

I did this full time for over 30 years and I never had a contract. That really doesn't work because you may be your own boss, but you are really employed by them. It is hard to understand, but I only had one stop payment one time in 30 years. There is a lot to learn about cleaning peoples houses. If you want to just talk to me, call at ###-###-#### and I will help all I can.

I would just accept cash. Unfortunatly there are people who will never pay and there is very little recourse even if you won a judgement against them. I pay my housekeeper cash and I just run by the ATM the day before she comes. Good Luck with your business!

I'm sorry that you got stiffed. If you have a good computer, printer, and microsoft word, I think it would be great if you print up 2 copies of a contract and have the home-owner sign both. Then you both have copies. I just googled "how to write a contract for service" and I got lots of hits with examples of what you want it to say. Good luck!

I don't clean houses, but I am a petsitter and after having the same problem, I have some clients leave me a check or cash on the kitchen counter the day I start doing visits. I have my contracts made at Staples. But the bottom line is that even with a contract, your money is almost not recoverable because small claims court may decide in your favor but there is no way to enforce the judgment and get reimbursed for your pay and your court costs.

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