Top 14 Ways to Keep Homes Clean During Installations

Keeping homes clean during installations will lead to more respect and referral jobs. Here are 14 tips to keep your clients home immaculate during the installation.

Top 14 Ways to Keep Homes Clean During Installations
Todd Anthony Puma · July 26, 2012

When it comes to keeping a client’s home clean and damage-free during an installation, I’ve been accused of being OCD.

I’ve also been jokingly called “Dexter” because, like the character in the Showtime series, I meticulously protect every surface and cover my tracks (although I’m proud to say I’ve never had a murder to clean up).

Am I nuts? Quite the contrary. Because I take care of their homes the way I do my own, my clients greatly respect my professionalism. One client’s comment - “You are the most immaculate people I’ve worked with” - typifies the feedback I get. And believe me, my clients’ friends hear about it, because I’m constantly getting referrals for big jobs in the hotly competitive New York metro area.

Here are my suggestions for treating your clients’ home like the Fabergé egg it is:

1. From the moment you walk in, wear booties.

2. When you start your work, put gloves on. You’ll be leaning on lots of surfaces, and you don’t want your fingerprints smeared everywhere.

3. Lay down paper, and then put plastic above the paper, in every room in which you’re working. You don’t want to scratch the floors or leave footprints from the dirt you may be dragging around on your booties.

4. Depending on your insurance, move all furniture and small valuables out of the room, or at least out of the way of your physical work zone, or ask your client to do so.

5. When working on the client’s walls, use blue masking tape to build a template of where all the cuts will be. Now the client knows the cuts will be placed exactly where they want them, without the need to just imagine it. And you don’t need to patch up holes or scuffs in the wall; you can make changes without making CHANGES, if you know what I mean. Have the client sign off for confirmation.

6. Wipe every tool you have with a cloth. Don’t lay them on furniture. Instead, position them on a cloth in a designated area.

7. Unbox all of the products you’re installing and lay them out on cloth before you begin.

8. Place all manuals in a folder to give to the client.

9. Label all remotes, even if you’ve programmed a universal remote: the “TV remote,” the “cable remote,” the “Blu-ray remote,” etc. If something unforeseen happens with the universal remote, the client will always have the option of using the remotes for specific products.

10. When cutting into drywall, I place a vacuum tube with a long hole, about 27 inches wide, below the cut. Now, when the dust falls, everything is falling into the abyss of the vacuum.

11. If you need to go up a ladder, make sure no tools can fall out of your possession and damage the client’s flooring. I use a Velcro belt and lock other tools, like drills, into the ladder.

12. Lift all components into place. Do not scratch the wood of an entertainment center or other surface. If, say, an AV receiver needs to slide into place, place plastic under it before you slide it.

13. Once the installation is wrapped up, get every bit of dust and debris out of there. Vacuum all of the paper so that when you crush it, it doesn’t leave a mess. Bring 32-gallon garbage bags and throw out every bit of garbage. Use Pine-Sol and clean all surfaces. Use a Swiffer. Spray everything with air-in-a-can.

14. Now, sit with your customer for an hour, with your gloves still on. Go through every step with them, but make sure it’s the client, and not you, who presses all of the buttons. Your client will learn from doing, not from watching you. Go through your checklist of everything you’ve done for the client, and have the client sign off.

Follow these steps, and there will be no proof that you were ever in the client’s home. Except for the awesome system you left behind.

  About the Author

Todd Anthony Puma is president of Staten Island, N.Y.-based The Source Home Theater. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Todd Anthony at [email protected]

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