How do you deal with unhinged customers

It happens to everybody - an already miserable customer chooses you to throw his rage at. Maybe they weren’t happy with the job you provided (either warranted or they’re just plain unreasonable), maybe they’re claiming you did damage (likely it was pre-existing, waivers signed etc but they don’t accept it).

How do you preserve your own mental health when dealing with these people? Does anyone with experience have any tips? This is my least favourite part of the job.

Don’t lose your temper
Stand your ground
Be empathetic
Fix the problem if it is your fault
Walk away if its not.


So I’m curious, has anyone else noticed an increase in easy to anger customers since the end of quarantine?

I don’t have a great answer on how to handle them,

lol I did. People have become unreasonable and demanding. I’m not sure if its because of the pandemic or because we’re growing and its normal to deal with more people like this. This year we’ve had an influx of people forgetting we’re people too. I feel like people expect more from us this year than ever before in terms of customer service. I’ve noticed a lot more price shoppers too or people that want a quote just for the sake of getting a quote but not actually proceeding.

My lesson learned this year is to be more mindful of having my back covered in case these crazies come along (detailed estimate of what’s included and what’s not, make sure they accept the online quote and our terms and conditions relating to liability…) oh and not being afraid to walk away when I get a gut feeling this customer will be trouble.

This is why the quote process is so important, you can learn a lot by listening to them


Its a damn war zone this year. Seems to be getting worse every year, and 99% about nothingburgers.


Here’s a new one that just started happening… a LOT…

People call for a house wash. We upsell them on window cleaning, or vice versa, and put them on the schedule. Usually about a month out.

We arrive to do the job, and the house wash has already been done. They just want the windows done. This turns into a problem because the windows are priced differently when its a combo job. That, and the house washes are TERRIBLE because they’re usually done by inexperienced teenagers who were told by TikTok shitballs that pressure washing is sexy and you can become a millionaire overnight.

Well, your new house wash company didn’t learn how to rinse the SH off, and now you have hard water issues. Not our problem.

I’m gonna say this happened 4-5 times in the past 2 weeks. Before that, it happened maybe once or twice in 12 years. Literally had one this morning.

End rant

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Also, inflation is causing price increases, and no free gov’t money is making people more price sensitive, which leads to more tire-kicking around the industry…

It sucks dealing with crappy clients, and I’d never subject any of my crews to being screamed at or attacked physically or verbally, but there’s no requirement for people to be nice either. We’ll do the professional thing, and not treat them the way they deserve to be treated…

So when you get there you revise your price for the window cleaning right ?? Were all of the 4 ok with it, or did you have to walk on any of them ?
I think you’ve said You take deposits right ?

I’m assuming that’s why they just didn’t cancel you all together , because your holding there deposits. Still either way it’s a little balsy of them to have you come there to presume doing a house wash and window cleaning , and now your daily total is all F’ed up. You could of put something else on if they’d called you. Man I’d be pissed. I think I’d walk an keep therr deposit. Unreal !!!

The problem is that people disrespect service tradesmen as professionals. If we react unprofessionally, then they will just be proven correct IMO

We’re kinda experiencing something similar, we get to the job and the home owner will tell us just do the outside . Lots of clients are removing services , which cuts our service time at the job site . And now we’re running super ahead on schedule and we’re finishing early . Also we been getting more cancellations lately

I feel you. Had a customer agree to a 10k job then back out come time to schedule. bye bye money…

Hmm weird, maybe I’m not as busy as some of you but this year has been pretty good for me, better than the last.

Only had that one psycho customer a while back who bossed us around but been pretty good ever since then.

But now I think it might slow down a bit, not much on the schedule for next week.

Guess it’s perfect timing to slow down since I caught covid lol


For the first time, I had major complaint.

The job went well, outsides only, super mansion (I prefer not to clean for the super rich). The owner said everything is great. I told the owner, please contact me if you are unhappy with anything, I’ll come back right away.

A WEEK later I get a text “here’s why I will never use your terrible company again, don’t come back, this was a horrible job, EVERY window looks like this”

It’s a picture of condensation from the AC covering the outside of single pane picture window.

You can also see the rag marks where the maid smeared the insides.

The whole tone of the message was so irritating without offering any benefit of doubt or request to have me resolve, I didn’t offer to explain that it wasn’t me, why argue with someone that’s so set on an idea…I just replied “sorry we let you down”. Ties severed.

Some customers will never be happy, but thankfully that’s been rare in this business.


Funny how in the beginning I wanted to target these higher end mansion homes to now realizing they are a pain in the ass to do and giving them a quote turns into an interrogation session.

“Last guy did it for… or can you do it for $600… or etc”

This one $2 mill home the lady said the last guy did it for $600… I’m talking all french windows in & out, and a cabana house in the back of the home with all Frenchie’s, also need a big ladder to bring for the insides.

She said the guy before moved to a different state, I believe either to retire or health reasons I don’t remember which and that he would bring 2 of his friends and they would all finish it in like 10 hours making $200 each.

She said they spread like wildfire throughout the neighbors and community doing these type of homes

I was able to “negotiate” with her to just doing the front and back of the home and for a higher price than they did the whole house

But these rich folks are a pain in the ass to deal with.

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kudos on you for replying so gracefully.

I’ve tried to negate these situations by writing in my invoice email that if there are any issues please let us know within 3 business days. Every single ‘unhappy’ customer we’ve had has been someone who had either pre-existing damage (which we proved couldn’t be caused by us) or had dirty windows on the inside. I’m tired of wasting time, energy and gas on these people. They’re miserable and looking to take it out on people they paid to be around them. The more professional you look (less like sole proprietor and more like a big corp) the more animalistic they are

We have rich people we get tipped 100-200$ by and then we have rich people who only want ‘certain windows’ done and then ask for a discount because they weren’t satisfied with the service. I’m learning to trust my gut with people now. The second I feel someone looking over my shoulder and complaining about (insert insignificant detail), I’m walking away. There’s NO WAY they’ll leave happy with us - they’ll probably look for ways to pin pre-existing damage on us just to not pay. It’s happened enough

Really appreciating this thread.

I had a customer this week that I had quoted $275 to $300 for outside only based on his count of 40 windows and 2683 square feet. He went ahead and scheduled a service.

When i get there, i do a walk around and quote him $286 which is in the range of what I had quoted over the phone.

He says, “I only wanted to pay $200.”

I was kind of flabbergasted. So I just left.

I did have a gut feeling that this was going to be a problematic customer on the phone. Should have listened to that.

Tht’s when you tell them, “sure, it could be done for $200, but we prefer to guarantee our clients a higher level of service than that, and we find doing it at the level that would cost $200 just isn’t up to the standards that we would put our name on…”

It’s also probably more beneficial to lock in the worklist/price before you go out there, with the stipulations of the few items you’re looking at when you show up to finalize the price being named/listed clearly. They should be things the client would know obviously, and if they lie trying to get over on you, just do the job, mark their account as “do not service”, and move on. Don’t take it personal, none of it is personal.

TBH, is there really that much difference if you had locked in at $275 or 300 before even going there? The difference doesn’t seem worth the hassle.

I fully agree, if a cleaner seems rather unassuming and low profile, toxic customers are less likely to want a piece of the pie. Because it seems there’s little to take advantage of.