"Goofus and Gallant" - As I suspect most of you do, we have family that comes to visit every year about this time. They enjoy the 4th of July with us and travel from such faraway places as Ohio and Florida.
Wanting to make the best impression on our extended family, we often spend a week or two prior to their arrival making our house look a whole lot cleaner than it normally does. Please don't think us slobs, we keep a pretty clean home. With Amy's small business picking up speed and my hours at the chamber lately, we have been finding it more difficult to stay on top of some things.
This year, we decided to hire help for some key areas that were falling behind. The yard work, specifically some weeding and weed whacking, and the bathrooms and floors needed a professional cleaning. In order to accomplish this, we thought we would post in a local Facebook group that we were looking to hire a cleaner and a person to do the yard work.
We received names with recommendations for both relatively quickly. A young man, a high school sophomore I believe, that we will call Tim, agreed to the yard work. The bathrooms and floors were to be done by a woman we will call Suzy. Tim's position was a one-time deal, but Suzy was proposing such good work that we would likely hire her as our regular cleaning service.
Although we did not interact with Tim on Facebook, his mom indicated that he could come on Friday at 10 am. Suzy indicated she would arrive on Thursday morning. I called home from the office on Thursday to see how happy Amy was with Suzy's cleaning. I discovered that Suzy had indeed arrived, a bit late, and they had gone over the different areas of focus. Suzy then went to work in one of our three bathrooms. After about 30 minutes, she returned and indicated that she needed a special cleaning product that would cut her cleaning time in half (saving us money!). Amy agreed to get it and Suzy agreed to return on Friday to do the work.
Friday morning at 9:59 there was a knock on the door. It was Tim, as scheduled. Amy showed him the work we wanted completed and he indicated that he really only had 2 hours available. She gave him a long list of things to accomplish, if time allowed, before he had to leave.
At 10:40, I took a moment away from my "honey-do" list and walked out to see how Tim was coming along. In 40 minutes he had stacked the wood, weeded the roadside flowerbed and was well on his way to finishing the weed whacking. He was so efficient that we had to add some items to his list to fully utilize his time. He wound up mowing the front yard and cleaning some of the back yard as well. We gladly paid Tim, including a tip, and made sure we had his contact info for future jobs. He is a very hard working young man and extremely polite.
Suzy was expected at 1:30. At 1:50 we were still waiting for her to return. We were starting to worry but finally got a text that she was on her way. Phew. Then came the next text - she had tire trouble and would be delayed. I suppose that can't be avoided. She finally arrived at 4pm.
She came in and went right to work on the first bathroom and I left her alone. Close to 90 minutes later (she had 2 bathrooms to go and we wanted the floors mopped on the first floor - she may be here through the night at this pace) she emerged and started on the second bathroom. I took the opportunity to view my sparkling clean bathroom... but sadly, this is not what I found. There had certainly been much improvement, but it did not appear that she had done the floor at all and the mirrors were streaky. I decided that I needed Amy's opinion on this and met her in the back yard. I asked her to check the quality of the work and let me know what she thought.
After Amy looked at the bathroom, she asked Suzy if she had intended to go back in and do the floor. Suzy indicated that she actually thought she might be allergic to our dogs as her skin was developing a rash. We certainly did not want her to get sick, so Amy asked her to finish up the room she was in and we would do the rest ourselves.
I am telling the story of Suzy and Tim (shortly after mopping the floors myself) to illustrate the big picture. Suzy charged us $18/hour and was hopeful for a long-term agreement. Tim charged $10/hour and was a one-time visit. Who do you think will make more money from us this summer?
Little things like a good work ethic, punctuality and not making excuses are things that seem "common sense" to me, but may not be so common. If you are interacting with customers, at any level, make sure you are doing your best work, charging a reasonable price and being courteous and professional at all times. Your long-term relationship with your client will only get better if you accomplish these things. If you are not thinking about the long term, you are missing the point of being in business.