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Thread: Financial issue - what thought /analytical process works for you?

  1. #1
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    Financial issue - what thought /analytical process works for you?

    The situation. Had the same housecleaner for about nine years, biweekly. She brings other people with her but she's not an official "company". Been mostly satisfied and she's always been trustworthy. Payment is in cash, left for her day of. She cleans for a number of families in our apartment building including one I referred her to (and I've referred her in the past when I am able). One time years ago she couldn't come till later in the week and asked me to leave her the money in advance. I did. No problem. Cleanings are in the $75 range (plus holiday bonus) -a reasonable price here. One time years ago she asked all of us to give her a "paid vacation day" -the amount of one cleaning, mid-summer and another time she asked us to contribute to a gofundme for another business she was thinking of starting.

    Yesterday (Easter Sunday) she texted me and asked if I could prepay for two cleanings (she is coming this week) by paypal. I didn't ask her why as I did not want to embarrass her but I did call her to make sure it was she texting me as this had never happened before. It was she. I sent the $. A few hours later she texted again, explained she'd wanted to ask for 4 cleanings prepaid but knew that might be too much but her husband who is unemployed is starting a new job this week and they now risk foreclosure if she doesn't get the $. I hesitated (not to her, my communications with her were short, professional, polite and caring in general "I am sorry you're experiencing these challenges"). I hesitated because even if she shows up this week that means she needs to stay in town and stay in business the next two months. I did not contact my friends who use her as I again do not want to embarrass her/share her dirty laundry so to speak. Our building's management knows her but they are not affiliated with her.

    We will be "fine" if we lose the $2-300. I won't feel fine though. I'll be really upset. I'm kind of worried now and wondering if I've been taken. I have a paper trail of her agreeing that she received the money and that it's for 4 cleanings of our apartment. I was NOT heavy handed in asking her for confirmation - and she readily agreed to text me the details of our "agreement". My focus was on protecting her feelings/sense of pride and not prying into her situation. I'm fairly certain she is telling the truth.

    So, it's done. But how do you evaluate whether to give $ in these kinds of situations - is the "how would I feel if I lost all the $"/"will losing the $ affect us financially?" Are you good at putting it out of your head once you loan/prepay in this kind of situation? I do think it's only a remote risk that we will lose any of the $ but yes it would bother me a great deal -that violated/betrayed/icky feeling. I know technically I could pursue getting the $ back if it came to that and at that point we'd have to decide whether it's worth it.

    No, I don't loan money/gift money regularly. I regularly give to charities and I am a person who is very very selective about giving charity to individuals I only know indirectly (like on social media, etc)-I much prefer to give to organizations I know.

    Thanks. I'll be fine. Just would like better analytical tools if there is a next time (I do not plan on doing this again with her. I believe we've done the right thing now, twice, and that is enough -I'd rather have to switch housecleaners).

  2. #2
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    I would not prepay. As you know I have my own business. I NEVER ask people to prepay OR pay for my holidays. Why is it her clientele’s problem her husband is unemployed or she wants to start a new business? Whaaa? Her husband needs to apply to the government and put in an employment insurance claim .

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    Yes. I was surprised too (that other time it literally was 24 hours before she came to clean and it was for one cleaning). As I wrote given our relationship I decided I either was going to prepay or not but I did not feel comfortable prying into her personal affairs. Knowing her I am sure she was embarrassed to ask and to share. I believe in those cases that if you choose to give the thoughtful thing to do is to give without strings attached like commenting on someone's personal affairs. And if you don't give same thing -simply "sorry we cannot manage that" and without commenting.

    She wanted to start a new business several years ago and asked for contributions to a gofundme. I did not contribute. I also did not give her a paid holiday since back then we used her even less than twice a month given our out of town extended travels. I do give a holiday bonus.

    I am concerned now about her stability and whether she will stay in town -but if it's true her husband is starting a new job here and they have a mortgage I assume that relocating wouldn't be the best option.

    Thanks for your input especially as a small business owner!!

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    Gold Member SarahLancaster's Avatar
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    I think it may be time to switch housecleaners.

    In my opinion, she has behaved inappropriately by asking for a paid vacation day. She is not a full time employee and not entitled to one. If you gave it to her, it was simply out of the goodness of your heart. As far as asking for pre-payment, if you feel like helping her, you can do that, as long as you have it in writing that she will fulfill her end of the bargain.

    Her money problems are not your problem. If she continues to ask for more money, just say, "I"m sorry. I can't advance you the money right now."

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    Silver Member dundermiflin's Avatar
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    I guess I would consider how much you trust her, like her work, and how reliable she's been. I don't like it though. Even friends and family can take advantage of someone's generosity. How would you pursue it if she didn't do the work? I think small claims court has a minimum. I also don't agree with the paid vacation and GoFundMe. I hope she comes through! If she asks you again for an advance, find someone else.

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    Silver Member dundermiflin's Avatar
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    Actually maybe the best analytical tool is gut feeling! :)

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    Originally Posted by dundermiflin
    Actually maybe the best analytical tool is gut feeling! :)
    Oh yes and I know it. And yes I did my best to analyze it that way and I am still feeling uneasy about it.

    Just to clarify -the vacation day and gofundme from a few years ago were part of the back story. I've now prepaid for four cleanings. One time years ago I prepaid for one, 24 hours in advance. Thank you!!

  9. #8
    Platinum Member mustlovedogs's Avatar
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    Have her cleaning prices increased over time? Would you be open to paying a little bit more for every cleaning?

    Prepaying is fine, but it comes with a discount when I do it. Like 4 cleanings for $275 or $75 a piece kind of thing. I would do that next time, if you want to prepay.

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    Gold Member Gary Snyder's Avatar
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    How do you handle this manipulative leach in the future?

    You get a backbone and say "no". Do not pass "go", do not collect $200.00

  11. #10
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    Originally Posted by Gary Snyder
    How do you handle this manipulative leach in the future?

    You get a backbone and say "no". Do not pass "go", do not collect $200.00
    Yes. She gets the one time thing - although again I obviously now have my regrets -and then I am done. Thank you.

    My mother's take (my mother, who is smart/savvy and just utterly kind and compassionate but not a pushover): "she seems desperate and probably is telling the truth/I'm glad it wasn't thousands/I agree it only should be a one time thing."

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