By Kelly Doles

It’s a work day, just like any other.

I answer the telephone, and it’s a call from a regular client who works in rental property management. After a description of the property and a timetable needed for completion of this carpet cleaning job, I wisely decide to think ahead.

Since there are often many occasions where simply finding a property can be quite a challenge — from missing house numbers to road signs that now hang in a teenager’s bedroom — I decide to ask for a detailed description of how to find this particular house that, no doubt, is well beyond typical soiling.

The manager remembers very little, probably since there are so many to remember. So, I simply ask what I see as a very common and intelligent question: “Is the address on the house or mailbox?”

“Oh, yes… it is on the mailbox,” says the project manager.

The day comes to clean this property. I know the road. It’s well populated, and I figure this one will be a breeze. After driving up and down the road, not seeing a mailbox or house number even close to what I was looking for, I had to use my brain: The house with the uncut grass, the windows you can see straight through to the back, and no cars in the driveway. I’ve found my place.

I pull in and, as usual, take a second or two to make sure there are no angry, unfed dogs sneaking around the side of the house. I walk up the steps to the deck, still searching for a house number just in case this isn’t the one I am supposed to clean. I figure if I clean the wrong house, I might not get paid.

Out of the corner of my eye, what do I see? The property manager wasn’t lying. There it is — the number, right on the mailbox. Of course, as you can see from the picture, it wasn’t as visible as I had initially anticipated. I mean, really… how could I be so blind?

mailboxAs I think about my conversation with the property manager, I realize it could be compared to asking teenagers breaking curfew why they are late getting home and receiving any number of truthful responses while they leave out every possible important detail that explains the real reason why they were late.

I have to chuckle. Another typical day. In fact, the real frustration hasn’t even begun. That comes after I open the front door and have the privilege of visually embracing the evidence that I am going to have to perform another cleaning miracle.

The lesson?

I think I will ask for more details on a location, a complete description, moving forward. And I will spend a few minutes each morning, before leaving my office, searching online to find and map properties I will be cleaning for the day. That may help me to save a few bucks in gas, too.


Kelly Doles is the owner and operator of Ultimate Carpet Care in Chillicothe, OH.