Lost income due to client inconsideration

Hi. My wife's friend has recently set up a domestic cleaning business and asked my wife to help so she can grow it. Earlier this week they visited a client and only well into the job discovered that 2 members of the household had COVID (both in the house at the time). By then it was too late to do anything. At no point had any attempt been made to inform them of this, even not on arrival! They had to cancel their next job and wife has since tested positive. She has an auto-immune condition but in fairness they weren't to know this.  Being conscientious, she is not happy to visit clients and put them at risk. So this means she will miss out on approx £100 income before Christmas and also we now potentially risk spending Christmas with some of us unwell (we have 2 young children). Naturally my wife and her friend are in dilemma about what to do given the infancy of the business. What do people think would be appropriate, both in terms of letting the client know and also the lost income? 

Comments

  • Were the clients asked about illnesses before entering the home. I doubt there is any claim for compensation..  Working in a customer facing service is always going to come with its risks.

    While the customer ideally would have had the courtesy to inform before arrival they probably aren't legally obliged.
  • Hi,
    did the cleaners wear masks?
    Might be a good idea to implement that for future.
  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 9,086
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    momo30_2 said:
    Hi. My wife's friend has recently set up a domestic cleaning business and asked my wife to help so she can grow it. Earlier this week they visited a client and only well into the job discovered that 2 members of the household had COVID (both in the house at the time). By then it was too late to do anything. At no point had any attempt been made to inform them of this, even not on arrival! They had to cancel their next job and wife has since tested positive. She has an auto-immune condition but in fairness they weren't to know this.  Being conscientious, she is not happy to visit clients and put them at risk. So this means she will miss out on approx £100 income before Christmas and also we now potentially risk spending Christmas with some of us unwell (we have 2 young children). Naturally my wife and her friend are in dilemma about what to do given the infancy of the business. What do people think would be appropriate, both in terms of letting the client know and also the lost income? 
    Welcome to the joys of being self employed... you will get sick for a variety of reasons and when ill you won't earn. 

    There is little point in letting the client know, they have no liability and you'll never prove that they caught Covid from them rather than the person they queued next to in the supermarket the other day. 

    It's certainly worth considering what income insurance they both need in case next time its a more serious illness that takes them out of work for months or years. 
  • Thanks everyone. Very helpful. Yes realise that it's a risk and that in reality there is no chance of being reimbursed. The main dilemma was whether to say something or not, given the business is fairly new. It's a shame that they didn't have the courtesy just to inform them but it realise (sadly) that not everybody is going to be considerate. Your suggestions about face masks and also asking clients upfront to inform them of things like that in advance are sensible. I'll mention the income insurance as well.  Have a lovely festive period.
  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 9,086
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    momo30_2 said:
    asking clients upfront to inform them of things like that in advance are sensible

    Personally... no idea if I've ever had covid, I think I did at one point but was out the country at the time and felt happier just hiding away than potentially ending up in a governmental facility. Last month I had what I assume was a heavy cold but don't have any latflow tests left to see if its something else, the Mrs had something similar but had a bad cough and the GP just gave a course of anti-biotics but didn't test for Covid or such. 

    If you ask in advance what are you going to do if they say they've a cold or chest infection or such? You won't know if thats a self diagnosis or a test result. Are you going to cancel appointments when anyone says someone in the household is unwell? Reliability is one of the key traits of a good cleaner and I wouldn't be too impressed if I booked you for a pre-party clean and you cancel on the day because I say my daughter has the sniffles. 
  • YBR
    YBR Posts: 528
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    If I were the client, I would be perfectly accepting that I should inform in advance if anyone in the household is known to have Covid or similar. I would treat that as normal, polite behaviour.
    If the cleaner chose to come I'd stay out the way but if they then caught it I'd not reimburse.

    It would need to be explained in T&Cs in advance what the expectation is.
  • HampshireH
    HampshireH Posts: 4,398
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    edited 22 December 2023 at 7:16AM
    As a business there should be a clear set of terms and conditions of employment which covers the businesses requirements not only to satisfy their insurer but also health and safety.

    Very easy to add a clause or 2 saying

    "We require a minimum of 2 hours notice if a member of your household has Covid. Please note we will cancel your booking but you will not be charged" (if they charge people will be more inclined not to tell them)

    "Employees may wear a face mask whilst carrying out their duties especially in peak cold and flu season"

    Not sure why they would consider telling the client they caught covid from them.
  • soolin
    soolin Posts: 71,862
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    As a business there should be a clear set of terms and conditions of employment which covers the businesses requirements not only to satisfy their insurer but also health and safety.

    Very easy to add a clause or 2 saying

    "We require a minimum of 2 hours notice if a member of your household has Covid. Please note we will cancel your booking but you will not be charged" (if they charge people will be more inclined not to tell them)

    "Employees may wear a face mask whilst carrying out their duties especially in peak cold and flu season"

    Not sure why they would consider telling the client they caught covid from them.
    So how will that work when there is no requirement to test for Covid and it isn’t a notifiable disease anyway? Are they going to ask everyone to test before they enter a property. I work remotely now but had a colleague who apparently had tested positive for Covid without a single symptom at all (a requirement of a second job they had), wouldn’t even had known they had Covid if the test hadn’t been performed.  

    I suspect there is quite a bit of Covid out there, people in shops, people on buses etc, some may know they have it, some might not know, some will be very Ill and some will be fine, without mandatory testing , which now comes at a cost, I believe we rub shoulders with infected people all the time. Yes it might be polite to mention it to someone entering your home, and I certainly would have done, but I think any contractual requirement needs to be very carefully worded . Also it might be worth the 2 partners doing daily or weekly tests to re assure their clients as well that they are healthy when they enter their homes. 
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  • "We require a minimum of 2 hours notice if a member of your household has Covid. Please note we will cancel your booking but you will not be charged" (if they charge people will be more inclined not to tell them)
    But is 95% unenforceable given there is no routine Covid testing these days and you are basically down to a persons own judgement if they have covid, a cold, flu or something else. 

    They want to cancel without consequences, great they can now claim they have covid and get out of paying you. They really want you to do the cleaning then they just say they think they've a heavy cold or bronchitis etc 
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