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Increase revenues with new services

January 6, 2012

Looking to increase revenue in your business in this down economy?  There is work available but it’s not advertised to the public.   It’s actually right in front of you already… what is it?  It’s as simple as expanding your services for the people who own and manage real estate rentals.   As most of you know we live in the White Mountains of New Hampshire,  it’s a big vacation area.  So our area is flooded with second home owners, vacation rentals and residential rentals.  There are a lot of property owners who can’t or won’t do this kind of work. Some are elderly and just can’t do it all themselves. However, they are looking for a good deal for any services they hire for.  There are many specialized companies that do this type of work but their prices are usually very high. Just stay competitive in your market by offering these services at a slightly lower cost than your competitors.  You’ll typically get hired especially if your already doing work for the client.   

So how much should you charge?  Simply just call a few cleaning companies in your area and find out what services they offer and what they charge for rental cleanings. 

Additional services that you can offer without specialized skills:

Window cleaning, trash removal, laundry service, property checks, organizing, etc… 

For example we did a job last week where we helped this woman who had a slight hoarding problem clean out the clutter from her living room and kitchen.   And now we are scheduled for the next few months to tackle the additional rooms in the house.

Once you have an idea what they are charging, you simply put out an ad in your local small weekly classifieds. These classifieds are usually very reasonably priced and they are a virtual goldmine because everybody likes to pick them up. To really get started quickly, you might offer a free cleanning for their third appointment or a one-time discount after a set number of jobs. Do not offer these discounts up front or you will find yourself working for next to nothing.  I challenge you to sit back and take 30 minutes and write down what new services you could offer to your current clients and to rental property owners.   You’ll be surprised what you come up with! 


Four Components of Marketing A Cleaning Business

April 13, 2011

The 4 Components of Marketing

There are four essential components of marketing. Most marketing has to do with how you engage a prospective customer and how you provide customer service.

1. Impact Presentation: You need to deliver a positive, re-enforcing, clear message to your customer letting them know that you are there to help resolve problems.

2. Positive Acceptance of Your Business: When a customer is exposed to your company, do they find it a positive experience for them? This can be an coming telephone call, face-to-face meeting with your customers or passing your vehicle on the street. The way that your prospects and customers feel about your business is extremely important. Having a professionally recorded voicemail message and always following consistent scripts on how the telephone is answered will represent how your business is perceived. The more you work on how you want your business to be perceived, will determine the right experience for your customers and prospects.

3. Exclusive Delivery & Experience: We are amazed to see how housecleaning businesses do not create any significant difference or a unique way that they deliver their service. The entire experience is introduced and delivered just like the customer’s last cleaning company. Be different so you stand out by having the shiniest, most sparkling vehicles around, clean uniforms, outstanding on-site presentation materials, procedures that are used, starting from the introduction, or a multi-step housecleaning system that can be communicated so the client knows you are doing MORE than anyone else!

4. Exceptional Follow Up: Send out thank you letters, monthly or quarterly newsletters, quality check calls and providing a great service guarantee. This will set you apart from every other housecleaning business out there.

Your business should be a positive experience to the client and visually appealing. Don’t be that lazy housecleaning business that can’t get it done when it actually comes down to doing what is required to make this happen.

Make sure your materials stand out and always present you and your employees in clean professional uniformed attire.

The 4 Components of the Marketing Message

The marketing “message” is really what captures the client’s interests. The customer is evaluating your business on emotional ideals. Customers always buy on their emotions, not your great features or benefits. They will buy on how they feel after coming in contact with your business. We must be able to immediately recognize their feelings and to use them as validation to reassure the client that “your business” is what they are looking for. Now we are not saying “to ignore” your functional features and benefits. If you don’t talk about your great features and benefits of your business, you may lose the sale. You share the features and benefits so they will have a good feeling about your business. People buy from people they trust. This goes back to creating a great feeling about your business and this is what makes the customer initially call your business. Let’s go through the four components of the marketing “message”.

1. Trustworthiness – Why is trust number one? Because your prospects have one important, not often spoken question, do they trust your business? This question overrides everything else. If you don’t build trust, you dramatically reduce your chances of winning their confidence. They may never ask the question verbally, but they are thinking it. In your own search of hiring a business you are searching for clues whether you trust this person or not. You can have the greatest marketing materials and plan in place, but if your prospects don’t know whether they can trust you, your marketing will not work. This is why trustworthiness is listed as number one.

2. Knowledge – The second unspoken question is, does this business know what they are doing? Your marketing message must be clear, and must prove that you have knowledge and the ability to deliver your service effectively. Becoming a member of an association or joining the local Chamber of Commerce you can use to your advantage, especially if you know your customer may belong to that group. Make it clear to the client that you can provide knowledge on difficult cleaning situations.

3. Operations – This point has to do with both cleaning systems you’ve put in place, as well as interaction you have with the client. Fumbling around looking for documents, forgetting questions during your initial calls and meetings shows you’re unprepared. The more that you can define how your operations and systems will solve their problems, the more confidence you will build.

4. Your Guarantee – The way you structure your guarantee will have a great impact on your message. Be specific about your guarantee. Don’t just say “we guarantee our work” but tell them exactly what you will do if they are not satisfied with your work. Example: “If you are not completely satisfied with the service you received from our company, we will return within 24 hours at no charge and no obligation to address your concerns. If you are still unsatisfied, you owe us nothing, and we will issue a 100% refund”. The guarantee must have no restrictions.

How to use the four point marketing message is pretty simple. Write down the four points just discussed and put next to each one everything you can think of that is important to what you do. Keep going until you have a unique and effective message.

Learn How to Make $10,000+ A Month Running A Small Residential Housecleaning Business

April 4, 2011

Learn how to quickly open a small residential housecleaning business and earn $10,000+ a month.   If you don’t mind a little hard work and determined to start making the money you deserve.   A housecleaning business might be for you!

Start A Cleaning Business

How To Quickly & Accurately Price A Residential Housecleaning Job

April 4, 2011

Want to learn how to quickly and accurately provide an estimate to your residential cleaning customers.   No more guessing and losing money on jobs you under bid or charge to high and never get the job.   Use our exclusive “Residential Cleaning Calculator” and take the guess work out of estimates.

Start A Cleaning Business

Bonding- Do I need it for my cleaning business

March 30, 2011

Is it necessary for you to carry insurance or bonding for your cleaning business?   The reality is it’s not necessary but it’s always a great idea to protect yourself and your customers by having the insurances and bonding in place. Most home owners won’t even ask you if your bonded or insured.    They usually just ask about how you screen your employees and don’t seemed concerned whether your insured or not.

Shop around to business insurance agents in your area and get quotes, keep in mind the lowest premium isn’t always the best for you.  Make sure you understand the coverage and exclusions you are receiving with your policy quote.  Also look into a Fidelity Bond,  this protects the people you are working for from theft by you or by one of your current or past workers. In order for this policy to pay out there will need to be a trial and guilty party found. Your customers like this type of bond since it will protect them in case your company is involved in any theft from them.

A fidelity bond can cover you as the owner or the bond can cover all your employees or just a few.  You can also purchase a bond for one job in particular or you can purchase the bond for several jobs.  There are many ways to acquire and use a fidelity bond.

Keep in mind with a fidelity bond most thefts are not required to go to trial and the bond becomes a waste of your money. Find the cheapest premium you can just to make your customers feel good about you having the policy.

The other type of bond you may need is the Surety bond also know as a “Performance” bond.  Most residential cleaning companies who provide services for individual home owners will not need this type of bond. It basically guarantees the client you will perform the jobs you agreed to for the money you are requesting. If you do not perform then the client will then have the option to contact your insurance company and collect the funds to complete the job and the client will not be out the money. Your insurance company will have to pay for these charges on your policy.

The only time you may need a surety bond is for large jobs and state, city, or federal jobs. You can also purchase a surety bond per job.

If  a bond is required call your agent. Find out the cost of the particular bond on that job and place the estimate in your bid.

To learn more about running a residential housecleaning business.

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Dealing with Difficult Customers and Warning The Signs

March 25, 2011

As a cleaning business owner, wouldn’t we love to land every cleaning job and wouldn’t we love to please and satisfy every customer that hires us?  Of course we would, but unfortunately in the real world it just doesn’t happen.   When you own your own business, it’s inevitable that you will deal with difficult customers.  You will quickly find that it’s not very enjoyable and it’s very stressful.  Sometimes it can be a challenge to recognize these difficult customers from the start.  Here are some things you should watch for…..

Never Ever Give Estimates Over the Phone ~ There will be times when a prospective customer insists that you give them an estimate over the phone.  Trust me….never ever give phone estimates.   What usually happens if you are hired over the phone is you end up pricing the job too low (just because you want and need the job) and every time you clean for that customer you are frustrated because you know you should be making just more money.  Also what happens is you rush to get the job done so it’s worth it to you.   If you do an estimate by phone and you are hired to do the job, 90% of the time you will shoot yourself in the foot.  You will find that most times, these people are just shopping around.  They are calling different companies to see who is the cheapest.    Sometimes it may not matter about the quality of work they are getting, they are more concerned about the price.

Customers Who Criticize Other Cleaning Companies ~  We all know that there are many legitimate reasons why a customer would fire a cleaning service.  But when they tell you they have hired several in the past and they didn’t work out, more than likely their prior ten cleaning services could not satisfy them for many reasons.  The outcome is… the customers will “bad mouth” that company affecting their reputation and sometimes that is extremely hard to repair.   Our advice would be to avoid these customers it may not be worth it for you in the long run.

Watch for the Customer Who is Never satisfied!! We’ve all had that customer who is just never satisfied… matter what you do.   Unfortunately, you spend a lot extra of time and energy doing everything you can to satisfy them to no avail.  However, there are some customers that just like to complain and once you explain to them that you will do your best to fix the problem, most times they are happy with your response (sometimes they just need to be coddled). However, please know that there will be some customers that are to the extreme and you just need to politely let them know that you can no longer clean for them.

Some Customers Will Always Ask for MORE ~ Once you have been hired and have a signed agreement in place, be sure that you stick to that agreement.  You will find those customers who will continually ask you or your employees to do something “extra”.  When you agree, you are setting yourself up for more work than you are getting paid for.  You need to be clear that any additional services will be extra money.   These customers think that they are the only customer you have!!

Customer Who Do Not Pay On Time ~ We suggest that you invoice your customers for every service you perform for them whether you mail a copy or send it via email.  When you service residential customers, you should expect payment at the time of service.  Bring the invoice with you and leave it for them.   Customers will occasionally forget to leave payment or will come up with an excuse as to why they cannot pay “today”.  However, if you find this is an every time occurrence and they are behind in payment, do not clean for them until they get caught up.   When serving rental properties, it may be impossible for the customer to leave payment for you.  That is when you mail or email a copy of their invoice.  You can either do that upon completion of service.  Be sure to set a “payment due date” or “terms of payment” so your customer is aware of when payment is due.

Handling difficult customers takes patience, kindness and knowledge.   It’s difficult to not take their criticisms personally.  The best advice is to stay calm and ask the customer if you can give them the opportunity to resolve the problem.  We always tell our customers that we welcome their concerns or complaints so we can continue to improve our quality of work.

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Estimating construction and move out cleaning jobs

March 23, 2011

I’ll start out this blog with one of the biggest problems housecleaning businesses have!  What is it?   Trying to do an estimate properly, especially a construction clean or a move out type situation.

I like to talk about real life examples- so here is one.  We went to this older 2 family home a few days ago and the property manager wanted us to provide an estimate on cleaning the residence, the tenants just moved out.   The apartment was vacant and well…. it was really more like a house (1st floor of this large farm style house).  It was about 2000 sq ft and needed some serious cleaning.   When you start out, this can really be overwhelming.   You walk out scratching your head saying “what in the heck am I going to charge to do this job”.   The anxiety kicks in.  If I price to high they won’t use me and if I price to low I might be working for nothing.    Well, you really have to take into consideration how many “hours” is it going to take you to complete this type of  job.   Now, I’m totally against ever doing a job on an hourly basis…heck if I wanted to do that, I’d go back to my high tech management job.  You have to set a price and complete the job- period.   I talk about this quite a bit in our eBook, not going to get into it here.    Well, we figured this job was going to take about 6 to 7 man hours to clean the place- vacuum, clean the bathrooms and kitchen, dust, window sills, baseboards and refrigerator cleaned (no inside cabinets or oven cleaning) customer didn’t want it.   Set your hourly rate, multiply it by estimated hours and you have your price.   Most cleaning companies should be between $25 to $45 an hour when doing this.  For heavy cleaning like this, be on the high end.   If we estimate jobs by the hourly method for construction and move out cleans, we are always estimating the job at $35 to $45 per man hour and padding it an hour to hour and a half.   Just in case we get any surprises.    Don’t be confused if you use our residential cleaning calculator on our website, these are not initial cleans for regular on going service.  We get these prices all day long, why because we are professionals when we meet with customers and we’ve perfected the art of understanding our cleaning customers real needs.

P.S.  We got this job in case you were wondering!

We not only help people start this type of business… but guess what? We actually do it!

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