House Keys, House Cleaners & Security Codes

House Keys, House Cleaners & Security Codes

House keys. Should I give my house keys to my cleaning lady? That’s an excellent question and we’re going
to talk about that today. Hi there. I’m Angela Brown and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning
question and I get to help you find an answer. Now, today’s show is brought to us by, which is a resource hub for all things cleaning. You’ll find all kinds of products, best products,
best recommended products. You’ll find company uniforms. You’ll find everything from different reading,
topics, blogs, tips, helpful hints, recommended books. There’s all kinds of stuff at Now, on to today’s show, which is from a variety
of house cleaners that wrote in. We get this question one or two times a week,
and it is a compilation of everybody’s question. Here’s the question. Number one. It comes from homeowners who want to know, “Should I give my house cleaning lady a house key because I’m very uncomfortable doing that.” And then the next question is from the house
cleaner who says, “What happens if the homeowner does not give me a key? And if they do give me a key, where do I keep
it and what happens if I lose it?” Okay. So that’s a variety of questions and today
we’re going to talk about house keys. All right, so the very first question is this. Let’s talk about it from the homeowner’s perspective
because the homeowner is hiring you and you are a perfect stranger coming into their home. This is their most valuable asset, all of
their prized possessions live here, and you’re a perfect stranger, and they kind of don’t
want to give you a house key. I totally get that. Now, as a small business owner, you have to
overcome that as an objection because when a customer is going to hire you, they’re already
putting some faith and trust in you, but they’re not ready to give you the keys to the kingdom. And so you shouldn’t expect it. Be okay with not having a key to their house. So, for the first few months while you’re
in this weird phase of proving yourself, you have to make sure that whatever they want to do is fine. If they don’t want to give you a key, that’s
fine. If they want to give you an alarm code, that’s
fine. If they want to hide it under a rock in front
of their house, that’s fine. If they want to give it to a neighbor to give
to you, that’s fine. It’s completely okay whatever the customer
wants to do, as long as the customer is comfortable. As you prove yourself as a house cleaning company,
the customer will gain more confidence in you, and then they will feel more comfortable
giving you a key if that works for them. There are customers we’ve had that never gave
us a key and that’s okay. Whatever they are most comfortable with, that’s
what works. Now, the next part of the question is what
happens if you are the house cleaner and you do not have access to the house? Okay. That’s problem because you have a certain
amount of time that you’re scheduled to work. If you show up to a customer’s house and you
do not have access to their house, you cannot do your job. It becomes important and crucial that you’ve
made arrangements with the homeowner to have access to their house during the time scheduled. As a house cleaner, here’s the first way that
you’re going to prove yourself and you’re going to prove yourself that you are worthy
of earning a key. Number one. You’re going to show up on time. If you say you’re going to be there at 9 o’clock
in the morning, oh my goodness, be there at 9 o’clock in the morning. Don’t show up at 11 because they’ve stayed
at home to let you in because they’re not comfortable giving you a key. Now you’ ve screwed up their morning because
you lied and you were two hours late for whatever reason. So, show up when you say you’re going to be
there because that builds trust. When you do what you say you’re going to do,
that builds trust. All right. Having said that, let’s say that you get locked
out. You get to a customer’s house, you do not
have access, they did not leave you a key, there you are stranded. You need to have policies and procedures in
place that say if you do not give me a key, here is the penalty or here is what happens next. Some people charge a lockout fee. Like, hey, we got locked out of your house. That’s going to cost you $25. That either inspires the person to be there,
but here’s the catch, if you’re not there on time, it’s not fair for you to charge them
a lockout fee if you showed up at a random different time than what you promised and
they were there waiting for you at the promised time. See? That’s kind of a catch-22. You have to do what you say you’re going to
do in order for them to do what they say they’re going to do. It’s faith in each other. All right. Next thing. If they do give you a key, you need to have
a system in place. Now, at our office, we had a lock box. The lock box has coded key colors. There’s not a number and there’s not a name
on any of the keys. In the event that a key gets lost, and this
answers the question what happens if a key gets lost, it’s a weird random key out in
the ether without no identifying information. We don’t know if it goes to any of the thousands
of homes in this neighborhood or thousands of homes in a different neighborhood. Nobody knows where it goes. It’s just a key. But when it comes back to your office and
it goes on a particular color-coded nob, what happens is that matches up with something
that’s inside Keeper. We use Keeper because it’s a secure online
system that has a whole bunch of passwords. It’s where you can keep computer passwords
or you can keep your bank account information or whatever the private information is that
you store. We’ve used Keeper for years. It’s proved very success for us and very secure. What we do in there is we keep the customer’s
address and their alarm code if they give us an alarm code for the garage door or for
the home. Now, as a house cleaner, here’s what you have
to know. If you have a key to a customer’s house, they
still have an alarm code. Though you might be able to get in, if they’re
not expecting you, you could set off the alarm and that could trigger the police. Now, a lot of fear that homeowners have is
that their house cleaner is going to come when they are not at home and wipe them out
and steal all their goods. I don’t know why, but unfortunately there
are a lot of people who have had bad experiences over the years, and they take to online forums
and then lots of people from around the globe that have had different kinds of similar experiences
will jump in and rehash their bad scenarios with house cleaners stealing their stuff. The reality is, house cleaners, for the most
part, don’t steal stuff. There are a few bad eggs out there that have
ruined the reputations for many. But for the most part, people that come into
your home are people that are coming in to bless your life. They’re coming in to clean up your space. They’re coming in to make your world a better
place. They’re not here to rip you off and steal
your stuff. They’re here to make a paycheck and if they
steal your stuff, you’re not going to keep them employed and they’re not going to get
any more money out of you. It’s kind of a catch-22. That doesn’t work long-term as a plan. If they steal your stuff, they have whatever
they stole for that moment, but they lost you as a customer, and they’ve burned their
reputation. There’s nothing you own as a homeowner that
is worth the reputation of a company. Nothing. Because once that reputation is ruined, you’ve
ruined it for how long? It takes years to rebuild the trust of customers. It’s not worth it to steal stuff from anybody’s
house ever. It’s just not worth it. As a homeowner, you need to be comfortable
in the people that you hire. My suggestion is that you double check their
references. Make sure these people are bonded and insured. Now, I get told this on a daily basis. There are homeowners who will tell me, “I
prefer to hire a big company, like a franchise, because the independents, I don’t know where
they’re coming from. I don’t know who they are. I don’t know their friends and relatives and
who they’re going to bring with them on the job. A regular, reputable company is going to have
a lock box, and they’re going to be insured, and they’re going to have all these other
things that I feel secure giving my information to a company.” So, if you’re only a small business operator,
you have to instill this kind of trust in your homeowners. That’s going to take some time to build that
trust. Now, one thing that I will tell for both sides,
this is the house cleaners and the homeowners, is that with the current modern day alarm
systems, they have what’s called a cleaner’s code, and it is designed for house cleaners,
and pet sitters, and people that come to your home and access your home while you’re away. Everybody is allowed their own private code. You can ask your house cleaner what is your
code and they can give you a four or five digit code. That four or five digit code lets you in their
house and it sets off an alarm or it sets off the cameras or whatever it is to let them
know, okay, my house cleaner just entered my house. Now, they can watch you on the security cameras,
they can watch you work, whatever. When you leave the house, that also is a lock
up code, okay? So, you lock up when you leave and now they
know that you’re gone. That is the only window as a house cleaner
you are authorized to be inside that person’s house. If you come in at any other time, the code
doesn’t work. It’s only allowed, it’s programmed like from
Tuesday from 12 until 4. If you come in Thursday from 12 until 4 without
having made arrangements, you could set off the alarm that calls the police. For all parties concerned, we need to have
trust in each other. We need to earn the trust. We need to earn the respect. We need to have rules in place that says a homeowner will grant us access to the home during a certain time. Then as the house cleaner, you need to guard
that key with your life. If you have employees, let them check that
out at the beginning of the shift, they bring it back at the end of the day. We don’t want any loose customer keys floating
around in anyone’s purses or pockets, or going through washing machines, or getting dropped
below the seats of people’s cars. We don’t want that. We are responsible for our customers’ keys
and they go in a lock box at the end of the day. If there’s an alarm code or a security code,
that goes inside a Keeper. That is not on any scraps of paper. It’s not on post-it notes. It’s nowhere visible where anybody who could
break in will ever see it, including friends and family members and anybody who may swing
by and pick you up from work. It is completely 100% secure to protect your
privacy of your customer. That’s how that needs to work. All right. That’s my two cents for today. House keys. It’s a really big part of our job because
if you don’t have a house key, you can’t access a house, you can’t do your job. All right. That’s my two cents for today. Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

4 Replies to “House Keys, House Cleaners & Security Codes”



  2. Hi my friend, you said it right. the customer keys are very important to keep save, also if you never lose it it give you more trust from your customer because you pruve that you are very respondable. Keep up the excellent tips love you 👍

  3. Keeper sounds very smart! I cringe at the thought of keeping track of residential keys. Unfortunately I have enough trouble keeping up with my own. I do have two keys for property managers that have made all of their properties to be the same lock. I always suggest residential customers get a lockbox and they have door or in an inconspicuous place if they don't like the way it looks. I tell them for their comfort just put the key in the night before we supposed to arrive and take it out when they get home. It's not that I don't trust us or them I just like to have less issues as possible.

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