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Lets talk pro safety and get a better look at customers

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Good morning everone!! Hope you are having a good day and staying warm! I have a house cleaning business/ dog sitting business with TT. I have been with TT for 5 years now. I do not use TT as much as I used to, but it is mainly because I am a one person business( working on my 501c3) and get alot of mouth to mouth referrals . I received a lead, for a move out clean, the customer put in 3 dates. my calender was blocked for all 3 days. But because she hit the open to other dates you suggest button, I was sent lead, and charged for it. Because i was charged, i replied to her, and we decided saturday would be the most convenient day for her( my business is closed on weekends) but i have very limited availability right now. I showed up to do cleaning, but there was still all kinds of belongings left in the house. So it was rescheduled, for this past friday. Her sister let me into house, and preceded to tell me she would be paying as a gift for her sister. ( this was never stated, in conversation) I went inside, and proceeded to clean house. I was not prepared for the depth of the dirt, it was horribly bad. I probably used at least 75.00 in cleaning supplies, if not more. The job was quoted a price of 175.00. Anyway, I sent her a text, let her know I was done. I sat in front of the house for at least 30 minutes before she finally showed up. As soon as she walked in the front door she looked at me and said, it doesn't look like you did anything! Wow, you got that just by walking in front door? She ended up calling her sister, who brought a friend with her, and they were just all saying you didnt do anything. I was physically ill just from breathing all the dirt and dust, had been there for over 5 hours. ( my normal time for a 3 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath house is usually 3-31/2 hours) I told them I was sorry, and I would settle for the cost of supplies. ( I kinda felt like it could get rowdy) she stated well I will pay you 50.00 dollars. And pulls 50 dollars cash out of her pocket. In my experience if a customer was truly going to pay the quoted price, and was not satisfied with the job. They would pull out the 175.00 and hand me total agreed on. This whole transaction, was a scam. I have spoken to at least 4 different, TT representatives about it I notified them immediately, she did not pay me full price. She left me a one star review, said I was playing like I was cleaning for 5 hours! Not gonna lie, i was pissed when i read that! This house had not been cleaned in at least a year or more, and there were kids dogs and cats. Yesterday, she sent me a text, asking if I took her laptop! Really it's a move out clean, why would you leave a laptop? I did not see a laptop. One of the TT representatives advised me to talk to her to work it out. I thought about it, and later yesterday evening, I sent her a text asking if she found the laptop, and again apologized for her not liking my work, I also told her I underestimated, the depth of the dirt. And more information about problem areas would of been a great help. She replied stating she reported it stolen, said she was thinking of taking me to small claims, for false advertisement. Thank goodness I sent my husband a polo of what the house looked like, and took pictures of all my appliances after the cleaning.
It was a horrible experience for me, i lost alot of money, my carpet cleaner is broke( sucked up 3 screws embedded in carpet and punctured water line) it was a 60 mile round trip job ( twice).
TT has a customer guarantee. But nothing for the pros. I ended up with this job because of open to other dates you suggest button.
Could we please maybe have the customers create a profile. I believe creating a customer profile, would weed out those that are just shopping. If they had a profile it could list the pros they have hired in the past, easy access for them if needed again. And there could be a button where pros could review the customers. Maybe this could be something that only pros can see, and the reviews could pop up when, job request are read by pros. We definetly need more customer information. People are crazy nowadays. This situation could of turned ugly fast. Not that it isnt, but it could of been worse. I just had to go. I have actually seriously thought about, just leaving thumbtack completely, but I have met some super great people, and would not be as far along in my process as I am without TT. Personal safety is now at the top of my list, for new jobs. Because you just dont know anymore. ( I finally did talk to a TT representative that turned it over to safety) it took a minute but I refuse to be treated like I am a criminal, or do not do my job. Any ideas? Suggestions? Thank yall!!

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Re: Lets talk pro safety and get a better look at customers

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This is where the uber model where drivers rate passsengers would make sense. I firmly agree that making the clients register and then be subject to a star rating would be helpful to pros. I have a feeling that this story is repeated time and time again and anything TT can do to protect and help the pros would be great. We pay a lot of money for this service - the leads are the basic commodity of the service - we need to know that we are getting more for the premium prices that pros pay. I looked back at my stats for 2019, and the volume of actual clients I took from TT is small and definitely took a negative ROI... but most interesting is that the highest no-pay rate in my lead sources is the TT leads. I am still chasing several for significant past due bills. 

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Re: Lets talk pro safety and get a better look at customers

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@Wreach Your safety is our top priority, and I'm glad to hear that you're now working with our Marketplace Trust and Safety team in regards to this situation. It sounds like you took all the right steps in trying to be as professional and courteous with the customer as possible. Whenever a pro is having difficulty receiving payment from a customer, we recommend continuing to request payment in a professional manner and if things still go unresolved to then contact us at 800-948-2034 (Mon-Fri 7am-8pm, MST). To help pros prevent things from getting to that point, we've compiled this list of helpful pro tips when it comes to Receiving payment

I'm also happy to hear that you've kept your overall positive experiences and past customers in mind. Unfortunately, difficult situations with a customer can come up, but we've seen that when a pro remains professional or responds professionally to a lower review that it reflects well on them in the end. Customers do have a profile that they access their account from, however, I'll be sure to submit your feedback about pros potentially being able to review them.

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Re: Lets talk pro safety and get a better look at customers

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Hi Kameron! I am a pro, but I am also a customer. I have never created a customer profile. Is this something new? I always just put in the job I need done, and look at pros.
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Re: Lets talk pro safety and get a better look at customers

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@Wreach sorry for the confusion. Each customer account has a place to put a picture and limited personal information similar to say a customer profile that you may find in @mrs example with Lyft or Uber. I guess profile would be a strong word for it when compared to the extent on the pros end. 

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Re: Lets talk pro safety and get a better look at customers

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Right, it is very limited what they have to put in. Thumbtack has a great customer guarantee, I would think it would be in everyone's best interest, to have a customer profile. In my situation, they seemed to know exactly how it worked. I know it would not be perfect, but there are those, who just like to get what they can for free. I just feel like, it would also be a deterrent for those that are just trying to scam people. Plus it could greatly help pros, determine if they would be a good fit or not. I know in my experiences, some do not give all information needed.
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Re: Lets talk pro safety and get a better look at customers

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Suggest you talk to an attorney to teach you about filing a mechanics lien. Your experience is not unique.

Many hoarders and clutterers try to take advantage of cleaners. 

These days; it does not cost an arm & a leg to take pictures and videos. Moving forward; I suggest you do before and after videos of every single job.  Many moving company's are taking lots of photo's, especially when there are apparent scratches and dents on furniture... to show that the damage was pre-existing.  

I also support the concept of Pro's being able to rate the Job-Posters. Technically, one could argue that Pro's should only be able to rate customers.  Right now things are one-way street. Not a two way street. A shrewd, unethical professional could post a job, and then give his competitors poor reviews on Thumbtack without ever hiring.  As per Thumbtack, Job-Posters get to evaluate Pro's on the Thumbtack Experience.  But Pro's do not get to evaluate Job-Poster's on the "Thumbtack Experience". 

Unfortunately, in this day and age: "REVIEW BULLY'S" are a real thing. When you receive an unfair, bad review. Fight the urge to respond immediately. Get some help, take some time to post your response.  Get someone who reads and writes well, to proof-read your response before posting.  For TT staff: It would be nice if Pro's could post photo's when responding to a bad review; That way a cleaner who is being victimized by a scam artist or bully, could post the before and after pictures....so readers can better draw their own conclusions. 

Bad reviews, with a response from the Pro...are basically a "he said---she said" type thing.  It is difficult to tell who is telling the truth. But it can be easy to figure out who is the more mature; logical, rational, practical person...of the two. 

About the screws damaging your machine. There are magnetic rollers which will pick up most but not all screws, etc. If they have zero iron, and are just aluminum or tin, magnets don't work.  It might be a good idea to use one of these on shag type carpets, before you break out that cleaning machine:
https://www.harborfreight.com/search?q=magnetic%20roller

Good luck going forward. Reese T.   Dec 17, 2019


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Re: Lets talk pro safety and get a better look at customers

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@ReeseTee. Thank you for the magnetic roller idea! I have a shark professional. But the bristles on it are not as long as they are on my shampooer. I have videos, and pictures. I received an email last night, from the safety team, thanking me for reporting the customer, but that they could not tell me what if anything they were doing about it from here on out. I really am not a fan of that. But ok.

Re: Lets talk pro safety and get a better look at customers

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In my business, I don't work without a contract and I get a deposit up front to hold the date. 

Even a simple agreement where they have to sign off when you leave stating that the work was done and everything is accounted for!  Maybe even just Google "simple contract for cleaning services" and see what you can come up with.  You list what they asked you to do, room by room. Then when you give them the bill, they sign off that everything was ok, and put the date. 

That is a frightening story. I hope you don't have that kind of experience again.