How Not To Negotiate (if you’re a housekeeper)

french maid

One of the other things I’ve written about ad nauseum is my dirty condo.

I’m just going to resign myself to the becoming-more-and-more apparent fact that I’m just not going to become skilled at cleaning. I received a cold-call at work the other day from a big commercial cleaning service wanting our business. I had put off hiring a housekeeper since the last time the skag I hired stole a bunch of my crap.

This particular company has been around Chicago forever with a great reputation, but to my knowledge they only deal with offices and apartment buildings, not individual units. Since this woman seemed to think I owned the company I asked if she would be willing to send a crew to clean my place. I believe she thought this would be an “in” to the other buildings the company I work for owns, because she became very excited.

She didn’t seem to have any sort of pricing set up – I don’t think they really clean individual units. She was so thrilled to start the relationship, however, that she couldn’t wait to get the details. A few days later, and we had it all worked out. Except the price.

She kept asking me what I thought was “fair.”

Strange to offer service without a fee structure, but whatever.

I, having at least a modicum (one of the fancier words I know) of business savvy asked her to figure out her best price and to let me know. I’m not about to pay more for cleaning than necessary. Plus, I’m not about to tip my hand if she would have come in cheaper. Personally, I found the whole conversation annoying. “Just figure out your best price and let me know,” I told her.

This broad’s a little wacky. She has called me eleven times in the past three days. It started with having a crew (two-three) people come out to my little 1250 square foot apartment to now she may do it herself. I think they really just don’t do these things at her company and she probably couldn’t get anyone to cover. I mean, she’s on the sales team and will soon be cleaning near the cat box. Which will be hilarious.

She’s also a little dumb. I don’t mean that in a condescending way. Some people are just dumb. It’s okay. We all know it. I’m dumb in certain ways. She’s dumb in all the ways I’ve communicated with her. Her last call, which was late last night (I just let them all to go voicemail at this point), asked if I had any…

You know what? You need to hear this, just so you realize I’m not exaggerating any of this…


Yep. I almost thought of going out last night and buying a  Burmese Python so that I could greet her at the door with it wrapped around my neck.

So, finally we agreed on a price. I told her the last housekeeper cleaned for $80, which was true. (not the one that stole from me)

Would you be willing to go higher than that?

(Not exactly a great question. But since I’m a nice guy, and she was struggling, I helped her out.)

Uh, well… what price do you think is fair?

Well, we’d really like to do it for $90.

Yes, but I’m used to paying $80, and, I’m not trying to be offensive but, I don’t know if you guys will do a good job. But I’m reasonable, so how about this – we’ll do the first one for $80 and if you knock it out of the park, we’ll go $90 on the subsequent trips. Does that make sense?

Now, here’s the reality. I’ve never had someone call me 11x in two days for any reason. Other than her my phone hasn’t hang once this weekend. So, on one level I appreciate the effort.

I’m going to keep my eye on this kooky broad, though. Maybe I’ll live tweet it. That would be fun.

Now, time to edit this piece and “clean” up the errors. Oh yeah I know how to come full circle and complete the story arc!!!

french maid

photo credit: Vim Trivium via photopin cc

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