How and when to say no to hoarding jobs is a fair question.
Compassionate cleaning includes some psychology training. Hoarding comes in all forms such as compulsive, organized, itemized, and extreme. Often, it needs junk removal. There is an emotional attachment to hoarders and their stuff.
Streamline Your Operations
First, you need to streamline your business processes. That way, you can save time and energy for bigger projects like hoarding down the road.
So, how do you drop a hoarding client? This is a sensitive subject because the person who called you went way out of their comfort zone to make that call.
Don’t Judge Hoarders
People who are hoarders aren’t proud of it. They know they live in a messy house. So, they’re afraid that people are going to judge them and make fun of them. But there is a discrepancy between how they’re feeling and how you’re feeling.
If you go to a job thinking they are disgusting and unappreciative, the client will be able to tell. This type of negative attitude only causes them to continue to practice negative behaviors. If that’s how you both feel, you should move on from this job.
Don’t Take Hoarding Clients If You’re Just Starting Off
But let’s back up just a step. Let’s say you’re five months into your business. That’s too early for hoarding clients. You don’t want those clients until about 5 years into business. There’s a whole lot to navigate with starting a new business.
You’re still scaling your business and evolving your compassionate skills. These come along with dealing with a hoarding customer. With hoarding, it’s not just a matter of going in and cleaning. You’re dealing with things that have hidden meanings to them.
You Don’t Want to Get Overwhelmed
If you have a hoarder here, maybe some of the things are not put away. Instead, they pile up on top of each other. When there are clothes, dishes, and other things, the house looks cluttered and messy.
If you don’t even know why you’re saving some of the stuff, it gets out of control. The customer may have good reasons in their minds why they have the things they do. But as a third party, all you’re seeing is clutter. You might get overwhelmed.
You Need Compassionate Understanding
What you’re not seeing is a lifetime of beliefs and memories represented by their stuff. It takes compassion, understanding and maybe even some psychology training to sort through that. Compassionate help is needed for those affected by hoarding.
However, if you’re new to the business, you’re focusing on time efficiency. In that case, hoarding is not the right job for you. You might have overbid on this one. So, you can go to the customer and just be honest. Say “Listen, I appreciate that you provided for my family and I’ve learned a lot by working from you.”
Don’t lie. Don’t say that you’ve enjoyed them as a customer and all these things if you didn’t. Just say, “My business is going in a different direction, and I can no longer service your account.”
Let it be the account. Don’t say you can’t clean their home because then it’s an attack to them. So, you want to keep it generic and third party. Make it about your business. It creates a distance between you two, and it doesn’t attack either one of you.
End the Relationship As Soon As Possible
If you’re not good at confrontation. You don’t want to have a direct approach. So, you don’t even have to go into the reasons why. You don’t need to explain you’re new in your business and you overbid and all these things.
End the relationship as soon as possible. The sooner you end it, the sooner they can find someone else. You don’t want to leave and say, “Well, maybe I’m busy and maybe I can come back.” You’re not coming back. So, make it crystal clear. This is the end of the relationship and that frees them up then to go find someone else.
Practice Having the Conversation
Now this is a hard conversation to have. So, if you’re uncomfortable in any way, go stand in front of a mirror and practice. Even if you have to write it down in advance. Practice the words that you’re going to say. Practice it so that you can present it in a way that is compassionate and caring. This way you say exactly what you want to say.
There are some house cleaners that try to be indirect and when they leave, people are confused. They think “Is she coming back? Or is she going on vacation? Is she going to take two weeks to renovate her business and then come back to service my account?” They leave and the house cleaner thinks everything is clear. Then a customer calls them a week later and says, “When are you coming back?”
Be Crystal Clear
That creates even more angst, and more animosity and more frustration. So, put on your big girl pants. Go out and do this, but be crystal clear about what it is you’re offering. What it is you’re offering is that your business is growing and you’re growing away from this client.
You are not coming back. Say it in the most kind and sincere way that you can. Then from here on out, do not pick up anymore hoarding clients until you are in a position where you can actually service them. It takes a special kind of person to do that. It is not for most house cleaners.
Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hoardingworld
Reclaim Your Life From Hoarding: Practical Strategies for Decluttering Your Home – https://amzn.to/35R1zIU
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things – https://amzn.to/2SXEeme
Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding – https://amzn.to/364zyxT
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Therapist Guide – https://amzn.to/3jdbUqn
Treatment for Hoarding Disorder: Workbook – https://amzn.to/3wUQse7