Obviously when you’re self employed, you need new customers from time to time. At some point all of my customers were new, and as you may recall from my post Not About Oliver, I don’t engage in extra curricular activities with all of them. In fact I never start out with that as a priority because my first aim, as you might imagine, is to make a living. It’s a bit like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, in that I can’t feel relaxed and have fun if I’m worried about whether or not I can pay the rent or the electric, and so on.
Income first and foremost.
I get a few new customers through personal recommendation, and I’ve had a couple through Richard in the past, although they’ve since moved on. The way I feel about Richard would make me feel funny taking new customers he’d recommended and having fun with them. I’m taking the fact that he hasn’t done that for a while to mean that he might not want to think of me having fun with anyone but him. I hope that’s what it means anyway.
Actually, thinking about it, I’m not sure what I’d do if he ever does tell me he likes me.
What would I say to my other customers, the ones I have fun with?
I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it… or should I say, if I come to it.
Richard’s not there yet so I guess I don’t need to concern myself about that at the moment.
I don’t have much work on a Wednesday so, prior to my mum becoming ill, I’d asked a few of my regulars if they knew anyone who wanted a cleaner. Up until the other day when my phone rang I hadn’t had any response.
‘Hello, Carla speaking.’
A pleasant sounding male voice answered. ‘Hi. I’m looking for a cleaner. Is this the right number?’ The voice sounded confident and also a little hesitant.
‘Yes, that’s right, how can I help?’
‘Well, my name is John,’ he said.
Like most people do, my mind started creating a picture of what he, John, might look like. I had an image of someone with a medium build, professional looking and probably quite smart.
‘I’ve got a small house on the outskirts of Leeds, in Bramley. Is that within your area?’
Hmmm, Bramley… it doesn’t have a great reputation.
Don’t pre-judge Carla!
‘It’s a little further than I normally travel to,’ I said. ‘But I’ll consider it. What are you looking for?’
‘Well, my girlfriend says my house is dirty and she doesn’t like coming round.’ He laughed and I found myself mirroring and laughing along with him. ‘She’s been asking around and got your number from somewhere.’
‘Do you know where from?’ I asked. I like to know if any of my adverts have worked, or if it’s a referral which might mean I’m wasting my money on adverts.
‘I don’t I’m afraid, but I can ask her. She just said she’d asked around and been told you were good.’
‘Okay,’ I said. ‘Not to worry.’
‘So, I’m looking for someone to come round for a couple of hours once every couple of weeks and make the place look respectable. Then maybe my girlfriend will spend more time here.’
It’s nice that he’s making an effort.
‘Okay. I can probably fit you in on Wednesdays if that works for you?’
‘Yeah, that’s fine,’ he said. ‘What time?’
I see Dave and Pete alternate Wednesday mornings, so I quickly calculate how long it will take me to get from both Dave’s and Pete’s to Bramley.
‘Well, I can make it anytime from twelve if we started next Wednesday, or anytime after one if it was the week after.’
‘So about the middle of the day,’ he said. ‘Either of those work for me, but I might be out at work some weeks.’
‘So you’d want me to be a key holder,’ I say. I’ve done this so often that my patter flows naturally. ‘In which case I’d like to come and meet you because I know it must feel funny handing a key to your house over to someone you don’t know. It’s hard to get a proper feel for someone over a phone call, so I always like to meet people beforehand so they can get a feel for me and me for them.’
He was sounding more relaxed now. ‘That sounds like a good idea,’ he said. ‘When can you swing by?’
‘I’m out and about late Saturday afternoon. Are you are around?’
‘Saturdays are one of my busiest days, but I can make time,’ he said.
‘Cool. How does around four o’clock sound?’
‘Sounds good to me,’ said John.
‘Cool. All I need now is your address…’
John gave me his address and I popped all the details into the calendar app on my phone.
And there you have it. My professional side in action.
However, before I can tell you how my first meeting with John went, I need to tell you about Mr E!