As most service providers, I make my living by working in different clients homes. Everyday I am in a different city or home. Last year was quite the year. I was five doors down from a murder, locked in a clients basement, exposed to severe mold, and almost car jacked. Yes, those were only a few of the adventures that I had. I spent more time praying on the way home than ever before!
So how does one keep themselves safe on the job without offending your clients? Here are some tips for you.
1. Ask the client the name of their neighborhood when setting up the appointment. Chicago is really pocketed so part of a neighborhood maybe good and the other part bad. In the neighborhood where I was almost carjacked, the lady gave me an incorrect neighborhood name. I thought it was safe. I should have known something was up when she refused to come out and get me.
2. Ask about parking. Make sure you are able to park in a driveway or near the clients home. I have had some clients who have parked one of their cars on the street to save me a space.
3. If you are working at night, don't be afraid to ask the client to walk you to your car. I have done this several times. They are more familiar with the area.
4. Only carry the minimal items in your car. In the case where I was almost car jacked, the men were standing around my car looking in the windows. Anytime I take donations for a client, I get them out of my car immediately, especially if its computers.
5. Make sure that you have clear exits in and out of the home. Sometimes when I am working with a client, they will literally bury us in the space. I always take a moment to move things and explain the safety guidelines that I choose to work around.
6. Always keep your work bag close to you. In the case where I was locked in the basement, I had left my bag upstairs. I don't believe the client intentionally locked me in the basement, but just closed the door out of habit. I should have immediately banged on the door and demanded that she open it. I was down there for two hours with no phone or tools if I needed to get out.
Remember, your life is the most important thing! Be safe!!