The $863.00 Phone Call

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by Tom Watson on August 20, 2010

You must be wondering how one phone call can create $863.00 in business.

I don’t blame you for wanting to know, if I were you I would want to know too.

The secret to making such a profitable phone call in the cleaning business is quite simple. In fact, I do it all the time. You will be able to as well once you know how.

The principle behind making $863.00 phone calls is simple, and revolves around giving the customer exactly what they want BEFORE you get what you want.

Let me explain. You have three competing goals at work when you have cleaning customers. The customer has only one of those goals, which is a clean home or office.

You have the other two goals. The first one is to make sure the customers goals are met, which will make them happy. The second of your goals is to make more money off that happy customer.

Most people are quite good at making customers happy, but not so good at maximizing the possible earnings from that very customer. They did all the hard work to make them happy but did not really get the most from that client.

They are leaving a ton of money on the table.

So…how do you do this you must be asking. Well you could just pick up the phone and tell the customer all the things they need done. And then tell them to pay you to do it!

But that would not work. You can’t just call the customer up and tell them the carpets should be cleaned. That the VCT floors really need work or that the blinds and windows need extra attention.

You would be putting your needs ahead of theirs, not to mention it comes across rather blatantly that you are just looking more work. This approach is just to unrefined, you need a better plan.

And that plan is simple.

Call them and schedule a walk-through of their home or office. Explain to them that you are always looking to improve your service. What better way to do that than have the two of you meet and see how things could be improved?

This of course will make the customer happy. Remember…their only goal is to keep their place clean, and you get to give them what they want first, by performing this walk-though. The best part is once you give them what they want, you get to ask for what you want.

Which is more business!

While with the customer, you get to make mention of the little details that would improve the appearance of their home or office. You get to bring up the fact that the carpets have some new spots and should be deep cleaned.

You could also speak to the fact that the blinds and windows look a little dirty from the street. Oh…and lets not forget about the floors. They look a little scuffed and need some maintenance. Just remember to stay above board and only mention what really needs to be done. Trust is paramount in this relationship.

This concept works wonders for your bottom line! You can make a lot of money in the cleaning business by just making customers happy. But you can make obscene amounts of money by maximizing what you earn from each one.

You do this by giving the customer what they want first, then by asking for more business in the right way. It’s that simple. I just used this technique and made the $863.00 I mentioned earlier.

I called one of my customers last week to set up a walk-though (I usually do this two to three times per year depending on the account). We met this week and did a short walk-through of the facility. We fine tuned a few things, making a few small adjustments to how we serviced the account along the way.

During this time I made mention that the carpets needed some work. The customer agreed instantly, and my bank account grew by $668.00. Then I brought up the windows being a little dirty. The customer agreed but decided to wait on that one until later in the year (now keep in mind that deferred earning is not a bad thing either).

Then the customer brought up the floors before I was able to. They wanted them scrubbed ASAP. This resulted in another $195.00 to my bank account. $863.00 in new business just like that. Not bad for one phone call and 15 minutes of face time with the customer.

The real power of this technique is once you get a bunch of customers under your belt, you will be making these calls all the time! Before long you will have more business than you can shake a stick at.

I like this method not only because it works, and because it’s easy, but because it revolves around giving the customer EXACTLY what they want. You are not bending anyone’s arm for more business and you are not begging for business either. They beg you so to speak!

This method allows you to grow your business in the most ethical way imaginable, which is by making them happy and asking for more work only after giving them what they want, which is simply a clean home or office.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Graeme October 10, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Annual maintenance plans are an excellent way of maximising income from customers, by scheduling regular servicing helps to build that relationship and keep that customer loyal.

2 Tom Watson October 10, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Thanks for adding that. I appreciate you stopping by!

3 Patricia Lewis November 17, 2010 at 5:00 pm

I am looking to start my own cleaning business but i need information on the cost and how to get started . Office cleaning would be my area of chose however i would start where ever the need is greater. Please help if possible.

4 Tom Watson November 17, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Hi Patricia,

Thanks for stopping by. Concerning the need for commercial versus residential, I would think that commercial would be a better option at this point in time. Housecleaning is an area that is highly susceptible to the whims of the household budget. When times are tight, the cleaning person gets shown the door first.

Over on the commercial side, cleaning services generally do not get cut out completely because cleaning is mandatory for a commercial property (needed part of daily operations). What may happen is that the amount of service they require may be reduced in tough times (from 5 day per week service to 4 or 3 day per week service).

Concerning how to get started, two things come to mind. First I would sign up for my newsletter ( It’s provides you with a free no obligation series on starting your own cleaning business.

Secondly I would suggest checking out my course Commercial Cleaning For Beginners ( It basically is everything I have learned in my ten years in business. It will be a HUGE help to you.

Concerning the cost to do all this…much less than you think. The beauty of the cleaning business is that if you do things in just the right order, your first few customers finance your entire operation. If I had to pick a number for starting out, I would say less than $500.00, give or take a little.

Keep me posted on your progress, I’ll be glad to help you along as you need it.

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