When you or your cleaning teams break or damage something in your client’s home, how you handle it is critical. While breaking something is never part of the plan, it is part of cleaning someone’s home, which is why knowing the RIGHT way to handle these tough situations is so important.
The more your customers can trust you and your company, even when you break or damage something, the more reputable you become in your community.
In this episode of the Profit Cleaners, Brandon Condrey and Brandon Schoen discuss the right way to handle breaking or damaging items in homes — and how you can actually turn the situation into an opportunity to improve your business.
Listen to this episode to learn how to run your cleaning business like the top 1%!
And don’t forget to subscribe!
- Why do things get damaged or broken in a client’s home?
- What is Traction?
- Identifying blind spots in your own cleaning business
- How does EOS (Entrepreneur Operating System) benefit cleaning companies?
- How crucial are spreadsheets and scorecards for cleaning businesses?
To learn more about our incredible course head over to https://profitcleaners.com/courses
Check out our Facebook group https://m.facebook.com/profitcleaners/
And our Youtube Channel https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCjlgEpqKAzi9KeiGyXbv43Q
Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business
Episode 56: Damage? How to Handle Damage + Breakage in Clients’ Homes
The goal of businesses is to scale. Like you got to grow that business, but as you're scaling, you're going to hit some walls. You're going to hit some plateaus. And if you don't dig into what's causing this plateau and a lot of people never dig into it, but that's what we're doing. And we're figuring out these little problems in our business. Like all of a sudden we realized, wow, there's a lot of breakage recently and that's money out the door. So what are the things like that? Or what are other things that we never even realized? These things never really became much of a problem until now, because we are scaling to the point where, yeah, you're just like, you can't keep scaling until you fix these things because there's too many things that you can't get over, right?
Grow your cleaning business, make more money, have more time. This is the Profit Cleaners podcast with your host Brandon Condrey and Brandon Schoen.
Hey everybody, we are alive. Welcome to the Profit Cleaners podcast. We're actually broadcasting live today on YouTube. You want a live stream. So it was our first live stream. So welcome to the show guys,
the Profit Cleaners podcast, the only place where you can learn from the top 1% of cleaning business owners to maximize your business, take it to the next level. And when I am Brandon Shane, I'm joined by my cohost. Brandon Condrey live on YouTube for the first Time. That's right. This is awesome. So we're doing the live stream. We'll do these more in the future and maybe we can live,
stream them out to other channels too. But anyways, guys just wanted to put together this episode for you today because we came across a challenge in our business recently, and we wanted to tell you guys about it. So the question is really Brandon, like, how do we deal with damage, right? Someone's house. You're going to break stuff. Inevitably,
people are humans. They're going to make a mistake at some point. So how do we deal with damage? What have we done in the past to make it a really good customer experience and what are we dealing with currently? And we'll just update them on everything there. So let's dive into it. Damage happens. Breakage happens. We've got three people in a house moving very quickly.
They're earning a bonus on how fast they move. So you're going to break stuff. It's natural. Typically it's things like we knocked a picture frame over vase over the worst case when we've had so far was we scratched a bunch of appliances. That was our first insurance claim. So normally the way that we would deal with that is if it's something small,
we have a little pre printed out, leave behind the teams, have the carry with them. They will leave the small broken thing. And this note on the kitchen counter, for instance, and say, Hey, we broke this thing. We're really sorry. The officer's going to reach out and help you out. And our normal procedure, there is customer service to the enth degree.
So we're going to reach out before they even get home to find that thing, tell them like, Hey, the teams broke a doodad. And here's a picture of said, broken thing, really? Sorry, how can we make it right? And sometimes it's as easy as all order another one and give you a receipt. And we'll either reimburse the customer or we'll discount the clean by the same amount,
usually fine with that. Sometimes it's like older things or irreplaceable things and they'll just assign a value to it. And we will do the same thing, credit them or discount it. Sometimes they want cash for those things. Yeah. And just while you were talking about that brand, and it reminded me of when we were back in the early days of launch Sandia Green Clean,
I was actually still in the houses doing inspections and training the teams. And I don't know if you remember it was in our neighborhood and one of our neighbors that we were cleaning, I forget the lady with all the dogs. I forget her name. I remember I remember the story. You have to tell here too, but yeah, But it was such a great story because I felt like that was like the tipping off point where I was like,
man, this is why we're doing this. This is the experience people are getting. And they're so wowed when we do these things, even when they experience something bad, like damage, and this is how we turned it around and this lady went and told everybody, right? So I don't know, you know, a little bit more of the details,
but she told like a bunch of neighbors, right? It took a shot glass. We had pictures of the shot glass. We reached out to her and said, Hey, can we replace this for you? And she said, no, not a big deal. But then she ended up telling another one of our friends that we knew, and she was blown away because he,
some thing that her ex-boyfriend had gotten her, it wasn't a big deal, but she was just shocked that we went so far as to report that we broke the thing. Can we find a replacement for you? Like Googled a couple, like, here's one that looks kind of like it, like maybe we can get it from here. So that's the high touch customer service experience that we're trying to deliver to people.
Yeah. And it wasn't even, it's not even that big of a deal guys. We're just leaving a little note behind it that says like, Hey, like we take full responsibility for breaking this thing in your house. We're so sorry. Basically what the note says. And she was just so blown away. This was our earlier customers early in the day when we were first seeing all these like expressions of how people were reacting to how we were running the business.
And it was really cool to see that I don't think she had ever experienced something like that. Even just something so simple as like, Hey, we're going to be really upfront and honest with you and just tell you we broke something. And instead of like hiding it in the corner and stuffing under your bed, like a lot of cleaning companies might do.
She really responded well to it so much so that we took a bad experience and we turned it into a really good experience for her. And she told other people and we had new custom. That's why we started doing that policy in the first place was for those kinds of interactions, even if it's a teeny tiny thing to not hide it. So that's served us well for plus some odd years in the month of October in 2021,
we're recording this in early November, we just had a string of pretty bad damage experiences. We stained someone's couch in like the most bizarre way. Like we got the handheld vacuum that we use for pet hair and things like that had apparently gotten wet on some other surface in the home. And then they vacuumed the couch with it and it ended up staining it.
So we hired a cleaner to go out there, like a carpet cleaner, a steam cleaner to go out and do that. They couldn't get it out. So I thought that was actually pretty shocking that we couldn't fix this couch so much. Like whatever we stained it with was so bad that the professional stain remover with a giant steam van couldn't get it out.
All right. We replaced the couch. Okay. That sucks. Then we scratched a stove, a $3,000 stove file an insurance claim. We scratched some shower glass that had a special coating on it. $1,800 insurance claim. And it was just over and over and over again. So I think we've told everybody that we're doing EOS before. I think that's come up.
So we're working our way through this system. I tell them a little bit more about that. A lot of people, I think I've mentioned it, but I always call it EOS, but it's actually called traction, right? Is the book. It actually is called EOS. But the book that tells you about it is called traction. So the thing that we're doing that traction teaches you as EOS,
that stands for the entrepreneurs operating system. We're not sponsored by EOS, by the way, this is just something that a bunch of people told us to be looking into. And it's been really, really good for us. And we're about six months into it. Anyway, you read the book traction by Gino Wickman. Cheryl, we'll put a link in the show notes somewhere,
but it's a best practices for running a small business. That's the best way to describe it. It is. If you follow these very clear and set out instructions for you, you will succeed. That's how it's laid out for us so far. It's been very good for us. But one of the things that you do in those meetings is you do this weekly pulse.
So you have a leadership team, you meet with them every Wednesday and you go over issues. So issues are anything. The issue that we talked about this week was a, we're breaking a lot of stuff, but B we're not really tracking it. So our sales guy, Matt had asked our operations director, Claudia, Hey, was this a normal month?
Was it bad compared to other months? And she was like, I don't know. We don't really track it that detailed. And then he was blown away by it. So the way that we have issues set up the list, anyone can add anything to that list. This isn't like what the owner wants to talk about. Anybody can put something on that list.
And Matt wanted to talk about this breakage. So that's what we talked about. And I just want to rewind a little bit, sorry to interrupt you, man. But the whole reason we do this anyways, like we even incur these damage claims and stuff is because we provide amazing customer service. And if we break anything in people's houses, it's like right on our website,
it's all in all of our brochures. We'll take care of it. It's on us. So even if it was not our fault, we'll just cover it. And we want people to have a great experience. Yeah, That's a good point. Like when we were doing the research to start the company, I remember reading a bunch of reviews for other cleaning companies.
And oftentimes they get a one star review. They broke my mom's vase or whatever. And then the owner of that company was in there, like fighting with them in their reply. Like, no we didn't you liar. And that was just like the worst case scenario that you could do. Like it's no skin off your back to replace a vase, but you definitely just shot yourself in the foot by arguing about it in public.
So we kind of took the customer's always right standpoint. Even if we didn't do it, we will usually try to cover the breakage because they've already negatively associated us Sandia Green Clean with having broken that thing. So here's how we're going to fix it. So the issue, you discuss this thing as a team. So you ask a bunch of questions to try and get to the real heart of it.
And the heart of this particular issue. Isn't we're necessarily breaking stuff. We track a lot of things. We're really good at track. We're a data heavy company, but this inner revealed a hole, a blind spot where we could be tracking things better. So the end result of this issue solving session is that we are going to set up as part of our company dashboard,
this team tracking. And so we're going to track a bunch of metrics per team so we can compare each team to each other. And the team leads will go over these numbers together. I've got it pulled up. I've got our comment stream from when we were actually talking about it. And you're going to be looking at our week by week. Did they break stuff?
What was the estimate on those things broken? Like what was the dollar value? How much square footage did they do over a week? How many jobs does that spread over revenue profitability, the complaint rate, how much positive feedback did they get reviews that they got some metric to track efficiency, which we're still honing in on how many miles they have driven so on and so forth.
And the idea there is that if we did have a bad month, you'd be able to go back and look at this historical data and say, oh man, it's team nine, team nine is breaking everything. And if you're able to identify that it's one particular team that's causing 80% of the damage, another 20, 80 analysis here. I know we were talking about that before,
but this is the 2080 situation where one team in the month of October just continually broke stuff, but it wasn't just one person. So clearly something was off. They were just hustling too hard. So our trainer is going to have sit down with them to talk about it, but I'm really excited about this part of the scoreboard getting added onto it. So we're going to start building that out and see how it goes.
Yeah. And actually in addition to Reyna going over that like work, integrating this whole other level of meetings, not just the management type team in the office, but also now Raina is meeting with the cleaning teams and she's going to be every week now and going over these type of issues. So instead of it just kind of getting lost and nobody talking about it,
which up till this point, it kind of has, we haven't tracked break it, it happens once in a while, but now we're getting big enough that it's really starting to happen a lot more. So now Raina can go in and constructively say, Hey, like team eight or whatever broke 10 of the same thing this month. Why are we breaking this?
Let's look at what we're doing and let's change that. So we can be more efficient. We can break less stuff. We can make more people happy because nobody likes breaking stuff. So, but yeah, I think that, that was really cool that that came out of it too, because of all the EOS stuff we're becoming like more autonomous, more efficient,
everyone's owning their roles more because we're getting to that point where we really need to start thinking that way. I think one of the things That's really cool about EOS is that we're highly systematized before we found that book we're already into it. Do you know what I mean? So you're going to hit walls. And so we found EOS at the right time,
like our CFO had recommended it to us on a couple other people and a bunch of smart people that you trust and value their opinion. Keep telling you to read the same book over and over and over again. You should probably do that. So that's what happened to us and we did it. And really what it did was we caught it at the right time when we still have runway to make all these changes that EOS wants you to make.
I think what happens with a lot of businesses, if you didn't develop this system for always staying on top of stuff, you'll just hit a wall. You'll hit a ceiling. So we were growing so much. Now we've just like plateaued. Like what happened to us? We can't go any further unless you actively seek out how to change that. Then that's what ends up with that small business owner that we always hypothetically use where you've been doing the same job,
40 hours, 50 hours a week, and nothing has improved in 10 years. We're a hyper-growth company. We want to be a huge cleaning company. And to get there, you got to implement stuff like this. Some of it is, I don't know, like some of it's corporate, it's not fun. Like we're having weekly committee meetings and stuff,
which doesn't sound super exciting. But those meetings are actually really cool. It's called an L 10 meeting because you're trying to get everyone to rate the meeting on a score of zero to 10. You want everyone to be excited about those meetings because you're going to get stuff done. It's not a meeting where you sit around and roll your eyes and be like,
man, this meeting could have been an email, but we're sitting here wasting our lives. It's not that kind of meeting, which is really cool. Yeah. And I think what you said was really key there, like the goal of businesses to scale, like you got to grow that business, but as you're scaling, you're going to hit some walls.
You're going to hit some plateaus. And if you don't dig into what's causing this plateau and a lot of people never dig into it, but that's what we're doing. And we're figuring out these little problems in our business. Like all of a sudden we realized, wow, there's a lot of breakage recently and that's money out the door. So what are the things like that?
Or what are other things that we never even realized? These things never really became much of a problem until now, because we are scaling to the point where, yeah, you're just like, you can't keep scaling. And until you fix these things, because there's too many things that you can't get to get over, right. CEOs think differently. As a small business owner,
you have to stop thinking like one, we're launching the Profit Cleaners book club to help transform the mindsets of cleaning business owners everywhere. Together. We'll read some of the most important business and mindset books so that you can become the leader. Your business needs learn more about the Profit Cleaners book club today, by going to Profit Cleaners dot com slash book club that's Profit Cleaners dot com slash book.
The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem like that. This is it. Like we have to admit that we got a problem with breaking stuff. All right, what are we going to do? You got to bring all those like skeletons out of the closet and be like, we broke how much stuff in October, the system we've set up with customer services that both you and I are separated from this.
So like we found out about a bunch of those breakage issues in that meeting, super expensive stuff. So I can always go look at the customer service work, but there's so much traffic on there that I don't know which the serious issues are. So like, that's why these meetings every week have been really revealing. I think we're on like our ninth meeting.
So I guess we've been doing in nine weeks. So we'll keep reporting in on you guys with the EOS thing. But I definitely encourage everyone to read that book traction by Gino Wickman. And then I actually have a whole library of books. I think it's six books are for different aspects of the thing. There's like a crib note, cliff note version of one for employees to read.
So they understand why everyone started using all these weird acronyms. There's one for CEOs and there's one for marketing. It's very cool. Very cool. So we've gotten our whole team on it. Matt loves it. Everyone loves it. I mean, I think everyone's really resonating with it. And the cool thing is that like brings everyone on the same page,
which was the whole idea is that we were just getting to growing so much that we didn't know what was happening with customers or with sales or because everyone's owning those roles. But when we come together on these weekly meetings and we really talk about it, it helps so much. The other interesting points too, is that I am the spreadsheet nerd of the business.
I run all those numbers. So I have always had this crazy vision of this dashboard of graphs and charts on a TV and it's everywhere in the office. And it makes sense to everybody. And I've been literally been trying to do that since day one on the business. And it's just never come to fruition. Ended up happening was I've got 12 different spreadsheets in 12 different places.
And it only makes sense to me because I wrote the spreadsheet. Like it's just raw data. So what's really cool about these things is that as part of the scorecard implementation is that everyone gets a say on what data would be valuable to them in their particular department. So everyone gets a hand in designing those numbers. So as we keep iterating on making that score sheet better and better and better,
everyone gets at a weekly glance. We all come together and talk about it. One of the agenda items that happens every week as you reviewed the scorecard, okay, cool revenues up or down from last week, true or false, are we, did we get less or more customers? Did we get less or more reviews, whatever it may be. We're always reviewing those numbers together,
but we go over that company, finances with people. So like, it's not just you and I looking at profit and loss statements after the fact, the whole point of the scorecard is to tell you that things are super kick ass, or maybe they're starting to drift a little bit in the middle of the month where you can actually do something about it instead of looking at it two weeks after the month end.
And when you close the books. Yeah. And that's a huge problem is most businesses are only looking at the trailing numbers or the trailing problems happening in their business. And this system really brings everything up to the surface where it's not trailing anymore. It's like we're seeing it before it happens almost and avoiding major pitfalls and stuff like that. So, yeah,
I think it's awesome. And I'm really grateful. We started doing this EOS system and I think it's helping the whole team grow. And then in this specific instance where Raina's helping improve the teams, I mean, just that feedback loop is so critical and important because in order to improve, there's that phrase, we always say, if you're not measuring it or tracking something,
how can you improve it? Right. So now we're actually looking at these things and give us like Reyna, like another thing to feel good about and be responsible for too. She's like, she can be like, Hey, we need to fix this and reign it in. And a lot of it's just small tweaks, right? Just small little adjustments.
But when you think about it in the longterm, like if you're on a rocket ship, the slightest little bit off, if you're going super faster and your jet airplane, Brandon totally changes your trajectory, right. Just the tiniest little. So if you get all that lined up really nice with a nice system, or it brings everything in everything's on the same page,
it really is a huge part of scaling your business, everybody, The business, another set of tools to work with to take ownership of their part of the company, their little corner of the business and how to make that improve and make sure that the things that we need to know about it rising to the top during his meetings. And yeah, I think the rocket ship is a perfect analogy.
Like if you are off a little bit on your trajectory, that means you're going to be miles and miles away from your target when you're at the end of the journey. So the difference between like the plateaued small business that is twiddling their thumbs looking at P and L's two weeks after the fact of being like, how come the revenue's the same as it was last month?
The difference between that and the business that is just like to the moon every year, they keep doubling year over year it's stuff like this. It's a game of constant improvement. I've got a quote that I heard from my business coach recently actually put it on. I don't know what you call those boards where you can put the letters in the felt, but I have one in my living room.
And so we're talking to my daughter about her violin practice. And so the quote is practice doesn't make perfect practice makes permanent. So it's not that you're shooting for perfection here. I'm not trying to be the best cleaning company on earth. I am just trying to constantly improve and then make that improvement. Rock solid. It's just routine now that whatever change we implemented is there.
I don't want it to be a situation where we changed something. And then if someone looks away, it falls apart again, we're trying to make lasting impact. Yeah, absolutely. It's like a lot of the hard work and business is just showing up, doing the hard work consistently and doing it the right way when you have like the right systems in place,
obviously. So just to recap, like what we were talking about with this specific problem and the business now, I think you mentioned Brandon, some of the data we're going to be tracking. So we're going to look at the data more. We're going to see where these mistakes are happening. Rain is going to meet with the teams and then we are going to bump the bonus up to right.
Brandon. So incentivize That's part of it is that we want you to move fast, but we want you to care that you're moving fast so that you're being careful. So yeah, we're going to bump our bonus up significantly. It hasn't changed in awhile. So we're going to make the bonus tiers a little bit higher for everyone in the company. And that will give everyone some eyes and ears on what they need to be doing related to this breakage.
So it's going to be a good news, bad news meeting when we tell everyone, but like, Hey, bad news, you guys broke a bunch of stuff last month. Good news. We're going to raise the bonus so you guys can keep your eye on the ball. I think if you guys want to let us know, chime in, in our Facebook group or let us know in the YouTube comments,
but if you want us to check in on our EOS progress with you, maybe that's the thing that we could do regularly. Then maybe like once a month, we just dedicated an episode to telling you where we're at in the EOS process and how that's affected our business and how it might be able to affect her spoon A whole episode like that every month.
And cause it's amazing guys like how much we're growing and how much we're getting things organized. I think we should just finish off this episode telling them that story about Corby and his biggest breakage ever. And you remember that the floor? Yeah. This was one of Kirby's longstanding customers had sold their house. They're moving out of state and they cleaned the house.
Corby gets a frantic call from this customer on Monday query, the floors are ruined. We just had these floors put in as part of the sale of the house. And they're all destroyed. What did they do? And Corby is like, calm down. I'll come look at it. And he went out to the house. What had happened was there was Harvard flooring and a refrigerator water supply line for like the ice machine had leaked and the would absorb all that water and it all buckled.
So the floor was all wavy. It was brand spanking new floor. So he told the customer like, look, no worries. We're going to fix this. Don't panic. And Corby actually knew the guy who had installed this fridge. And in the end it wasn't them. Corby's just like us. We don't move appliances when we're coming out for a move out clean.
So what had happened was the fridge got pushed back in and that's what broke the waterline. Cause it got pushed too far. So it was actually the flooring guy when they had finished putting the flooring in the kitchen. Of course the fridge back in and snap, this line that was slowly dripping and then left for the day. Corby knew that guy too and called him up and told him that we should split it.
So Corby and the flooring guys split the repair on this. Everyone ended up happy. I think the flooring guy got in there and redid it right away. And in that case, Corby gave the flooring guy a heads up and they both avoided a crazy one-star review where you ruined the sale on my house. I can't believe this. And instead it turned into a good customer service through that.
We remember years later and we weren't even there. Yeah. And this is all what it comes back to you guys is like, when you're creating these scenarios, when you're leaving these cards behind the people's houses and communicating with them, you're creating like a feeling, right? Like how are you making people feel? And a lot of times cleaning businesses and most businesses in general,
just make people feel like crap. I mean, they don't care about them. They don't have time to listen to them. But in this case, in this example, Corby went out of his way. It wasn't even his fault. And he went and covered this huge damage expense and yeah, and those are the things we still talk about to this day.
And I guarantee you like that. Customer still talks about that story and told a bunch of people, if they ever want a cleaning company, gotta try these guys out because they go above and beyond. And it's just that little kind of stuff that you weave into your business, that attitude of we're going to take full responsibility. We're going to take ownership and make it right.
And that's what it takes to win guys. And you've got to just go the extra mile and go above and beyond for your customers. So in the breakage scenario, we're going to report back to you guys on that, how it goes and how these changes and we're implementing affect that. And hopefully it improves a lot, but yeah, we want to know what you guys are doing about breakage as well.
So please let us know. And I think we didn't even tell them to pay the fee brand. And we've got to tell him to subscribe to the show, right? Yeah. That's the ticket for admission. Subscribe to the podcast. If you found some value in this, if you're on YouTube, subscribe to the channel, give us a like, share this with a friend.
If you think that they could learn something, it doesn't even have to be a cleaning company. Maybe it's just another business owner where there is an opportunity to potentially break stuff. Here's how you can turn those bad customer expenses. Yeah. And just like with our customers, if we gave you a good experience, if you guys got any value out of this,
if we turned it around for you and gave you a new perspective, please pay the fee, leave us a review, subscribe and tell someone so that we can keep sharing this knowledge with everyone. And yeah. Keep changing the world. Guys. The Profit Cleaners are going to take over. Yep. Otherwise you can find us online Profit Cleaners dot com.
We've got a Facebook group hit us up there and in the meantime, keep it clean. Keep it clean. Thanks for joining us today to get more info, including show notes, updates, trainings, and super cool free stuff. Head over to Profit Cleaners dot com and remember keep it clean.
Thanks for joining us today. To get more info, including show notes, updates, trainings, and super cool free stuff. Head over to Profitcleaners.com and remember keep it clean.
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