Suspending Services

I have a question for you store front Window Cleaners. What is your policy for customers that refuse service on any particular day?

For example: Today and twice in the past two weeks, I have sent crews out to clean windows on a route that is quite specific as far as scheduling and mileage/direct route travel, and each day some if not all have asked us to not clean the windows.

Now some are because of the weather. Like today, it is quite cool (30-38 degree Farenheit) and misting/foggy/drizzle, so I get why they want to suspend service until a better weather day.

And others have decorated (if that’s what you call it) with the fake snow crap, all over the glass. I have no doubts that we’ll get to clean it when the holiday passes, but for now, they are asking me to not clean over half of the glass.

I understand the whole “customer is always right, do the right thing, don’t be greedy” thing, but when we send these guys out for their routes, and the routes are planned and scheduled for a specific day/time–for one reason or another, and they don’t get to do them, not only is it cutting their paychecks, but mine too.

I get the weather thing, but I don’t want to get the routes too far off of their normal schedules, and then the customers are asking us to come back tomorrow or the next day the weather is nice. I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the process of changing the entire weeks schedule for a $20 job. It would cost me that much in travel time to/from times 2, payroll, and changes to “come back tomorrow”.

I suppose the question is, do I tell them that we’ll make our best effort to come back again, but schedules are limited. Or do I just say " To hell with them! They’ll just have to wait until their next scheduled appointment’?

Do any of you charge these type of clients any fees for showing up at the normal time only to have them deny your services. We don’t do contracts, just service agreements. We don’t have more than a handful of route customers that we invoice anyways. Most pay when the work is done. I don’t feel like my company is just some sort of push-over (for lack of better wording at time of post) or Joe Dirt kind of set up, so I don’t want to roll over for these cheap jobs. Don’t they understand that we have other customers too?

I know this is an issue that we’ve all faced. I just don’t remember it being such an ordeal. Maybe it’s a growing pain. I don’t know. I have enough work during the better weather, but route keeps the bills paid in the bad weather times. And the days when we have commercial or residential jobs to do, we push the storefront jobs to another day. Maybe I should just try it the same way with denials or refusals.

I am considering letting go of all of my storefront accounts because they are such a pain.On the other hand, the local competition (<><) is firing up my desire to gain more accounts. I just don’t want to have the ones that pay crap. I’d rather have few accounts that pay better (I suppose that is a personal issue for another post {or my therapist----j/k} to address) less often, than more accounts that pay dirt more often.

Someone tell me I’m just being eccentric, tell me I am being a pussy, or tell me what your policy is and how you address these customers. Please–Comments?

In essence, yes.

You tell them that if they skip, they’ll have to wait until the next scheduled service day.

They need to respect you, and value your time and effort, and that’s how you make it happen.

I agree, we just skip that particular service and hit them up on the next scheduled service. We put a lot of thinking into how our routes are run, so jumbling them all up is not an option.

I have never had a customer that had an issue with that, really.

I agree, I’ve had this same thing happen to me. It really ticked me off because it was only a 10 dollar job that I drove out of my way to do monthly in a new area I was trying out. It’s a dry cleaner who was ridiculous…yes, was. I showed up in the afternoon when the rain stopped. I took the bill in before I began and she told me not today b/c of the rain. I told her I wasn’t going to drive back down tomorrow and she’d have to wait till next time, she didn’t mind. I dropped the account since, I fired the customer. Now when I hand in a bid I tell the customer that I will be showing up regardless of the weather unless it’s extreme circumstances.

I also hand in the bill before I begin and collect when I’m done just in case there is any confusion w/ the customer. Saves me from cleaning windows for free. Does anyone else do this or just hand it in after?

it is always best to call and confirm when the weather is bad or during the holidays, it will save you time,gas and employes wages.

all my clients know that the job is a certain price all the time. if they ask for half service because of decorations or whatever, they still pay full price. this is mainly for the storefront work type stuff. obviously for jobs that are much larger i recalculate things for them.

As far as weather is concerned. if they seem concerned with me cleaning in “bad weather” i let them know if the weather ruins the windows after i leave, i will come back the next day to re-clean free of charge…sorta a rain guarantee type thing. so far no one has called me back.

And if they refuse service all together, i make them aware that im busy and that they will have to wait until the next scheduled visit. otherwise they are likely to try and do this often. and thats a game i dont have time to play.

I believe that making sure the ground rules are established is important. I recently got out of storefront because I could spend that time making more money on residential. I made sure all my clients knew from day one I would be there every 2 weeks unless there was - a medical emergency, lightning storm, temps of -25F, or a blizzard. I also made sure they understood that the bill would remain the same even if they decorated a window or made access impossible for a limited time. Once you have those issues dealt w/ up front there should only be rare difficulties.

Alright guys. Thank you for your replies. I have recently updated and added to our Terms and Conditions. It looks like I am going to be adding some more and instituting a new directive that the T&C will be reviewed by all new customers. I may even go to all current customers and do the same thing. I think now would be a good time to do this as well as the price increase that is coming in January (I am late on getting that out to the customers). I’ve also written a rough draft for a new policy regarding weather and decorations on the glass. Here is what I have. Please add to it if you like.New Policy.doc (27.5 KB)