When you start your own cleaning business you will be competing against other cleaning businesses. No news there right? That’s how it works.
However this does scare a lot of people as they make the assumption that the other companies are super human in some way, and can’t be beaten just because they are established.
Of course that belief is not true in any way shape or form. As I’m fond of saying, just by doing a handful of things better than the competition you will probably leapfrog ahead of them in no time flat.
How to differentiate your cleaning business
Getting business when you are new to the game revolves around many different elements, but we will touch on only one for today. This one is quite important and you will have issues getting accounts if you drop the ball here.
So how is this done? Well it comes down to this… You need to find a way to create SEPARATION between YOU and your competition. Essentially you have to provide at least one clear reason WHY the potential customer should choose you. The more reasons you have the better, but at least one.
If you don’t stand out from the other companies THEN YOU ALL LOOK THE SAME. When all the cleaning companies vying for the same account all look-alike you know what happens? The potential customer generally falls back to who’s the CHEAPEST.
Now that is NOT something you want to happen! The cheapest guy may get the job, but odds are the profit margins are skinny. The smaller the margins the more accounts you need to earn a living, so your goal is to get accounts with better margins so you reach your goals faster.
Now how do you create that separation? The easiest way is to just highlight how you will SOLVE their problems. The VAST MAJORITY of all problems in the cleaning business can be SOLVED by…
- A LASER focus on quality control.
- A HIGH QUALITY training program for new hires.
- Regular INSPECTIONS.
- Being FULLY insured and bonded.
- Having a high-level CONTACT person available to solve emergency requests.
- PERFORMING background checks on new hires.
- All staff WEAR ID BADGES or company shirts.
The goal for you is to HIGHLIGHT how your company is different! As you can see, if you create sales letters, flyers (commercial flyers or house cleaning flyers) and brochures that bring out the features in that list YOU WILL STAND OUT.
The great part about that list is NONE of it is all that hard to pull off. It’s not expensive either! Quality control is FREE (you just have to follow through on it). A training program is JUST YOUR TIME spent personally getting a new hire up to speed.
Inspections don’t cost a dime, you just need to show up and perform them. Insurance is required and bonding is a nice low-cost touch. An entry-level background check on a potential new employee cost’s less than $20.00 many times.
Finally ID badges can be made with a simple kit you buy at the local office supply store and shirts, though more expensive serve as free advertising as staff wear them outside of work as well. As you can see this approach DOES NOT have to cost an arm and a leg.
When we first started our company we did everything on that list to make ourselves stand out from the rest of our competitors. Like I said, the more you stand out the better you look in the eyes of the customer.
Another way we made our company stand out was to get a little more insurance than the average cleaning company. It actually came up by accident as we initially had just basic general liability insurance.
We got a call for a big construction cleanup job, but the catch was you had to have a million dollar insurance policy. So we called our agent and he said it would only cost a few hundred more for the year if we upped the policy (which was EASILY covered by the construction job we landed).
So we purchased the extra insurance and PROMOTED that fact at every chance we had! WOW… a MILLION DOLLAR POLICY sure does sound pretty when the topic comes up with a customer. Are you insured Mr. Watson… YES, with a MILLION DOLLAR POLICY SIR. WE STOOD OUT yet again!
So let’s say you go for an estimate after sending out some info. You know this company has a problem BECAUSE they are taking bids to REPLACE the poor soul who is dropping the ball.
In most cases like this you will be able to find out why the last company is getting the boot. Normally you can just ask the following question: “How is your current cleaning company letting you down?” Most people open up and spill the beans about what they either are doing wrong or have done wrong since being hired.
This data is EXTREMELY important because they are TELLING YOU what you need to do to earn their business. Normally the reasons are quality control related as I mentioned earlier. Now all you need to do is CRAFT YOUR PROPOSAL in a way that ADDRESSES their concerns.
You’ll do that by making mention of one or more of the ways YOU ARE DIFFERENT. Perhaps in the cover letter you could REINFORCE the fact you will perform regular inspections, send your insurance info over upon request or whatever you think will create that separation you need to stand out with this particular prospect.
You could then combine that approach with offering a big discount incentive for new accounts (25% to 50% off first full month of cleaning). This will just give even MORE weight to you and your company. This may seem like a lot, but the long-term value of the customer will make it well worth it.
Now it goes without saying that if you make promises (LASER focus on quality control, regular inspections etc…) you BETTER follow through on them or you will be toast just like the last company. I’ll wrap this up by asking you to work hard at making your company different from the rest. The more SEPARATION the better!
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