My Secret To Booking Clients

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by Tom Watson on March 4, 2011

Did you ever fly on an airplane where you were the only paying customer?

Of course not! The airline industry wouldn’t make any money if that were the case.

So what do they do?

They start by overbooking the flight so much that they sometimes need to ask people to take a voucher for another day. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could do something similar in your cleaning business?

Well…I’m here to tell you that you can, and it’s not as hard as you may think. Early in my career we were so busy at times that we had to push out the start date for new cleaning accounts several weeks into the future, sometimes even a month or more.

There was just no way around it, we needed some breathing room to fit new cleaning accounts into our busy schedule. Did the clients object? No, they did not. Hmmm…why is that?

During this time I learned some valuable lessons about how the whole “getting customers process” worked. What was really interesting to me was the fact that I was “accidentally” doing a lot of things right when I was out on sales calls trying to drum up new business.

I certainly didn’t know it at first, but after a year or two these lessons were becoming clearer and clearer. To summarize this process I’ve broken it down to only 3 steps.

1 – Create an imaginary waiting list. What I mean by this is simple. When you are on a sales call, at some point early on in the process make mention of the fact that if your company is chosen, they would more than likely need to wait several weeks before service can begin. Even if it’s not the case!

Why would you do this?

Well the answer is pretty simple. First off, you add an element of “scarcity” to the sales process. By telling the customer upfront, that no matter what they will HAVE TO WAIT to get service, you also are subliminally telling them that “others” have chosen your company. This helps to validate in their minds that you are a solid company. After all, if there is a waiting list, you must be good.

To drive home this point consider this example. Two restaurants are side by side in the center of your town. One has a line out the door for dinner, and the other is empty.

Which one do you chose?

I know the answer for most of you. The BUSY one. Why? Because if the place is packed, most people think the food must be good. What do most people think of the other eatery? Food is lousy! Case closed.

The second thing that happens when you tell potential clients they may have to wait is this. It tells them you are not desperate for their account. This is something that really works to your advantage.

Why? Well consider this thought process. It could be because when they sense your desperation, they will do two things.

A – Ask themselves why you are so incredibly desperate. They may think you will say and do anything to get them to sign on the dotted line.

B – They will use this desperation against you. How will they do that? Perhaps by suggesting your prices are too high. A savvy customer will always use your desperation in their favor. This is because if they see a way to save themselves some money, they will utilize whatever tactic necessary to gain an advantage.

Now lets move onto the next step for staying booked solid.

2 – Never stop marketing. Earlier I said we were so busy I couldn’t keep up. Why was that? My phone certainly was not ringing of the hook with hungry potential clients for no reason at all.

The reason was because we were working our tails off marketing the business. That phone was busy ringing because of networking, using some direct mail, going door to door in office parks, visiting real estate offices and handing out business cards at a dizzying rate.

Keep in mind that this does not have to be hard “back breaking” work. You just need to always be on the lookout for business, and take advantage of the opportunities when they pay you a visit. No more no less.

Now lets discuss tip number 3 for staying booked solid.

3 – Charge more for your services! I know…this sounds kind of counter intuitive, but the concept is pretty simple. This is because people subconsciously know that quality service doesn’t come at bargain basement prices.

My theory on the topic goes like this. The reason the potential clients are calling me for cleaning services in the first place is because they were let down by their last cleaning company. Odds are the last company they had were of the bargain basement variety.

How do I know this?

Because that’s what most cleaning companies are. They try to cut the legs off of their competitors by lowering their prices so low that a good job could ever be done for that price. By being different in price, it shows you know the “value” in the service you provide, and need to charge accordingly for it.

Also, by the time you enter the picture, the customer just wants the first normal looking, normal acting, make sense person they can find. If you can be that person, you get the job. Price doesn’t matter at this point many times, they just want their problem solved NOW! It’s that simple.

This “secret” to booking clients is not that hard to pull off, so make use of it to your advantage. If you do, you’ll never have any problems making your phone ring and keeping your cleaning company busy.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 carma March 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm

wanting to know what are the top 10 questions to ask residents to get them to choose my company for maid service in there home.try start my maid service for the first time.Please give any advise

2 Tom Watson March 29, 2011 at 4:12 pm

To answer that question you need to ask yourself what are the top ten reasons you are different than everyone else. Once you have ten good reasons why people should choose you, then you know what questions to ask the customers. Some examples may include:

100% Money Back Guarantee
All staff are uniformed
We complete background checks on all employees
We have a 50 point checklist for every home we clean
We use green cleaning solutions
We use dedicated personnel (same people to clean each week)

The list could go on and on…and only you can know how you are different…hope that helps

3 MARY June 23, 2011 at 8:19 pm


4 Tom Watson June 23, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Hi Mary,

I’m happy to hear you are making use of what we have available and thanks for the kind words (and I’ll make sure we discuss the mechanics of cleaning per your suggestion). You picked a very profitable business to get started and I wish you the best of luck. Keep us posted on your progress as you move along.

5 Doris October 2, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Hello mr Tom, I am so happy with your website. I have gotten some nice tips to start my own cleaning business. I have been strogling about how to start my own cleaning business again.One of the the problem I am having is how to give the right estimate.I was in the cleaning business before in Calgary , but now I live in ottawa, and I most say that I made good money with the little customers I hard. I have been wishing to start my business in Ottawa for almost two years now, but it been difficult for me, because I do not know where to start from. please I need your help. Thanks very much for the opportunity you’ve given others to learn from your knowledge.

6 Tom Watson October 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Hi Doris!

What I would recommend is for you to start the education process ASAP. For
instance, I have a 9 part (one per week) newsletter geared just for people
who are having issues starting out (you can sign up here:

The newsletter “Beginner” series are nothing more than short and to
the point lessons that cover the general outline of what you need to
do to get started.

Next, I would recommend that you supplement that newsletter series
with some time perusing my site. You need to learn as much about the
cleaning business as you can before spending any money. Luckily for you, my
site is loaded with free content.

I encourage you to visit the blog section of my site
(, then the podcast area for
audio lessons If you have any
specific questions about certain topics, just ask via the
contact form.

For step by step instructions, my course
( would
be a tremendous help. It will easily save you ten or twenty times more than
it costs.

I think that is enough to get you started for now. If you have any
additional questions, just contact me and I’ll point you in the right

PS…keep me posted as you move along.


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