I’m writing online content, some on commission, some without. I’m co-creating a startup called ON BOARD and I’m helping people clean their households in Berlin, Germany’s capital city.
As much as I liked to clean according to everyone’s desires, I would fail. It’s either the chemistry with the client that is not a fit or it’s the requirements that don’t match with either my skills, my idea of clean or the time to accomplish this level of clean.
Whatever the factors are, a seemingly easy thing as cleaning a household reveals rather complex issues. If the client simply doesn’t like you as the cleaning professional, the client will double-double-check your work and decry it. It’s just how people are.
If they like you and you had a good interaction with each other, a corner that is less of what they see as clean is considered ok. Even if you break things (glass!), they will consider it ok because they liked you and they saw your effort.
There are also clients who gave you a good feeling in the interaction but eventually won’t book you again without saying anything as an explanation. It’s not fake when you were at their house. They just don’t have the capacity to be as direct to tell you that something was missing in your work or they would have liked to have some things done differently.
Cleaning is tricky because what people consider clean has a wide range. Some are more verbose and direct about what they see as clean. Others talk about cleanliness which can mean that they want a superficial clean or a very accurate cleaning.
The good thing about cleaning is: After your job is done, it can range from 2 to 8 hours, you know how the client is aligned with your level of clean. It’s not like in creative projects where results can be intangible or take a long time to establish. Cleaning is a very agile process that you can adapt, modify, prototype and execute just like that. A manifesto for agile cleaning would be too much to ask but some nice and crisp dogmas would be nice so people understand what clean and cleaning is.
The takeaway from today: Everyone can clean. For sure. There are different levels of clean. True. Since de facto a perfectly clean is impossible to reach, what you get is a compromise. This compromise is an unwritten contract of a cleaning person and the client who are aligned in what they see as clean.
If you are a „dirty“ cleaner, you don’t go along with a „clean“ client. If you have high ambitions to make your client’s place a shiny white heaven, you’ll have a problem with a „dirty“ client who won’t appreciate your effort, e.g. paying attention to details or removing dust from corners the client never thought of even looking at.
Cleaning is an interested field of social studies. It reveals a lot. Your field of practice is maybe also publicly underrated but offers highly spectacular insights into the human mind. What’s your field?
Also published on Medium.