How to add more revenue (and profits to your bottom line) by adding different services

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by Tom Watson on October 27, 2013

When starting a cleaning business many people focus their time and energy on either the residential or commercial markets.

The residential side of the cleaning industry is all about cleaning houses and the commercial side is centered on cleaning business properties.

Some even choose to clean both types of properties when getting started. In a sense it doesn’t matter what direction you take as there is a ton of money to be made in either market. It really just depends on your personal preferences as a business owner as to what you actually clean.

A common question. A simple answer.

Once you start collecting customers and the money that comes with them you start asking yourself the following question… “How can I make even more money?” The answer for many people is pretty simple. Just get more customers!

While there is nothing wrong with that answer – in fact I think that’s a great idea that you should always be pursuing - there may be an answer that is even MORE POWERFUL that you may be over-looking. It allows you to grow SUPER FAST if done correctly!

For those of you who wish to expand your business one of the fastest and least expensive ways to do so is by simply adding more services to what you already do. If you think about it for just a moment, it makes perfect sense.

If you are even a remotely established business, odds are you have a stable base of clients. Whether you clean residential or commercial doesn’t matter in the least. It all boils down to the fact that you have customers who TRUST you to do what you say you will.

If they TRUST you they will SPEND freely

Though starting a business has many elements, the biggest one you need to bust through is the trust barrier. Once you “break through” the road gets much easier to navigate. This means if they trust you to clean they will trust you to do a whole bunch of other tasks too!

So what other kind of tasks are possible? Well… the sky is the limit on that one! You could add floor-care services, carpet cleaning, window cleaning, tile & grout cleaning among many other possible options. The only barrier in most cases is a little bit of education and a few bucks.

As far as the education goes, each of the services I just mentioned is extremely easy to learn. No extended class room training is required to get started. Odds are at most you’ll need a little hands on training at a seminar and some practice on your home or your family / friends place. That’s it!

As far as the financial side goes, these type services range from super cheap to moderately expensive. With that said, even the more expensive options don’t really have to be all that “expensive” if you play your cards right.

The options. The costs. The advantages & disadvantages.

When most people think about adding different types of services they generally think it must be hard to do. This isn’t really the case. Like I already mentioned, most new services can be learned rather quickly and without mortgaging your future. I’ll quickly review some affordable options.

Window cleaning - Entry costs of roughly $100 to $300 depending on requirements. This has to be one of the easiest services to add to your cleaning company. Whether you own a residential or commercial company this would be a perfect fit.

The PROS are the extremely low start up cost and potential for high earning from doing something as simple as cleaning windows. I’ve had window jobs that averaged anywhere from $175 to $350. I’ve even had jobs where I charged the customer over $1,000!

The CONS of window cleaning would include the necessity of climbing a ladder from time to time and increased insurance costs. The possibility of injury for you or your staff would also be a concern. You would also need a collection of ladders if you did this work regularly (to handle the different situations).

An Unger window cleaning kit will hardly break the bank if you go this route. I’ve purchased a few of these kits and have found them to be very durable. One or two ladders with needed ladder stand offs would get you started.

VCT Floor-care services - Entry costs of roughly $1,000 to $2,000 depending on requirements. This service is a better fit for commercial as it’s geared towards that market. This involves stripping and waxing floors as well as other remedial services (buffing, wax top coating to name a few).

The PROS of VCT floor-care is the fact it’s rather easy to learn on the whole. It’s also rather inexpensive in relation to how much you can earn performing this type work. Small jobs can run from $450 to $700 for just a few hours work to well into the thousands. My very first job was over $1,751 (over ten years ago).

The CONS are the fact that the cost of the equipment can be considered steep (by beginner standards) and the fact you’ll need a van or large truck to transport the equipment around. This work is also physically demanding at times plus this work tends to be done late at night or on weekends (which some people won’t like).

Standard equipment you’ll need would include a floor machine and wet dry vacuum. This is in addition to the mops & buckets, wax and stripper, floor pads and other smaller items a specialty janitorial retailer offers.

Carpet cleaning - Entry costs of roughly $1,500 to $3,000 for a portable unit ($20,000 plus van for truck mounted system). This service goes just perfectly with any type customer. Houses provide welcome retail type pricing while commercial offers steady contract type work.

The PROS are numerous for this type work. Extremely high income can be achieved with either residential or commercial properties. A two person crew working in harmony can bring in large amounts of income. Small jobs can easily bring in $250 to $450 in as little as an hour or two. Commercial work can easily average $500 to $1,000. Work over $1,000 is common when marketed properly.

The CONS are the larger costs associated with this type work. Portable units will be fine for smaller jobs, but fall short for larger ones. Also portable units will be frowned upon (on the whole) by homeowners. Truck mounts are expensive and require regular maintenance (which can be pricy as well).

You’ll need a portable carpet machine (plus cleaning wand) to get started cleaning carpet. Needless to say you’ll need various cleaning solutions and accessories as well. These can be found online or at a local janitorial cleaning retailer.

Tile & Grout cleaning - Entry costs vary from $400 to several thousand depending upon technique used. A special tile & grout “cleaning wand” will cost only a few hundred but it will require connection to a high powered portable carpet cleaning machine or truck mount system. A stand-alone portable unit can run a few thousand bucks.

The PROS include the high income potential that comes with offering a specialty service. This service is flexible in that you can market it to both residential customers and commercial clients. Bringing bathroom tile, many hard surface kitchen floors and even countertops and showers back to life is a great selling point. Jobs can average $250 to well over $1,000 each.

The CONS include the cost of the equipment to an extent plus the fact this this type work is not in demand as much as the other services we’ve outlined. You’ll also have to do a little more homework as each type of surface will require a slightly different approach when cleaning.

You’ll need to purchase a tile and grout wand / machine of some kind to get started. You will also need different cleaning solutions depending upon the surface you will be required to clean. Once again these can be found online or at a local janitorial cleaning retailer.

Now you know why I’m a big fan of adding new services to what you already do! While I don’t suggest you rush into something too fast, it’s definitely something for you to consider. Think it through and decide if it’s for you.

When I was new I probably rushed into adding new services a little too quickly. Instead of doing one thing “super well” (like the normal cleaning duties) I jumped the gun a bit and set myself back somewhat.

If I had it to do all over I would make sure I had the basics down. To me the “basics” mean keeping my regular customers happy and being able to duplicate the process of hiring and training staff. From there I would add one service at a time until I had the basics of that down pat as well.

I’ll wrap this up by asking all of you this… What service do you think you will add next? What are your fears about it? What questions pop into your head when you think about doing it? I look forward to hearing what you all have to say. Leave your thoughts, fears, questions and comments below!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Glenda October 28, 2013 at 8:50 pm

I am thinking about adding carpet cleaning services. We currently do small carpet jobs. But we’re looking into purchasing a truck mount. My fears, is getting a strong marketing campaign. What pops up in my head, Investing into a good truck and mount.

Thank you
Glenda Lee
All Pro Janitorial Service

2 Tom Watson October 28, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Hi Glenda! Lots of money in carpet cleaning, both commercial and residential. One company you may want to consider is Jon Don (http://www.jondon.com/equipment-accessories/carpet-cleaning-equipment/truck-mounts-1.html).

I purchased my truck mount from this company. I also purchase lots of other stuff from them too. They are WORLD CLASS in terms of customer service and support. What’s cool is that when you buy a truck mount from this company you get a weeks worth of training on how to market the carpet cleaning services. It called “Strategies For Success”.

I’m pretty sure they threw it in with the purchase of the truck mount. But even if you had to pay for it, it’s the BEST WEEK you’ll ever have learning about the business. Five full days of training that is just incredible.

As you can tell… I’m a HUGE fan of this company. I even had the privilege of meeting the founder of the company. Anyway… they have many educational training sessions scheduled throughout the year. They are all worth the money in my opinion.

3 Brandon November 29, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Hi Mr. Watson,

I have a quick question that I wanted to ask you. Say for instance if you don’t have the skills or knowledge on cleaning carpets, but a potential commercial cleaning client contacts you to inquire if you professionally clean carpets or not. Since I don’t have the equipment or knowledge about that particular segment of the cleaning industry, would it be smart if I just pass this work over to a sub-contractor that knows what they’re doing, and reap a percentage of the profits? Would that look unprofessional to the commercial cleaning client? Thank you in advance.

4 Tom Watson November 29, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Hi Brandon! A lot of people do that. There are pros and cons… you do get a percentage for just setting it all up, but YOU DO bear the responsibility if the vendor does a poor job (so choose WHO you do business with carefully).

The cons are you are the point man if things go wrong (as I mentioned) and generally customers do frown upon those type arrangements if they find that out (no always, but in general). With that said… there is nothing really wrong with it so you just have to decide whether or not the reward is worth the potential downsides.

5 Brandon November 29, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Great insight Mr. Watson, thank you! Is cleaning carpets usually a difficult skill to master? I wish I had the skills right now to do different carpet cleaning jobs on my own because that would really increase my profit margins…

6 Tom Watson November 30, 2013 at 6:56 am

Hi Brandon! Cleaning carpets is VERY easy to learn, and you’ll have no problem getting good enough to clean your customers carpets. A company called Jon-Don has training classes year round at different site across the country.

Very affordable and HIGHLY recommended, these are something you should consider. I’ve been to quite a few and have learned a lot at each. They provide tons of hands on experience plus you get written classroom training as well. Learn more here… http://www.jondon.com/how-to/seminars.html

7 Brandon November 30, 2013 at 9:57 am

Thank you for the recommendation Mr. Watson!

8 Tom Watson November 30, 2013 at 10:01 am

No problem Brandon. Happy to help.

9 Frances Caraballo December 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Hello Brandon. I am so grateful that I have come across your site. It is incredibly informative. I am starting my residential and commercial cleaning service and don’t know too much about the business aspect other than cleaning. I do have some fears, approaching and speaking to customers. What do you suggest? How should I approach or how do I pitch my customers?

10 Tom Watson December 3, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Hi Frances! Odds are… the potential customer won’t really know what you know and don’t know. Honesty, they don’t care about that on the whole. The only thing that matters is do they TRUST you to do what they say.

As to how to pitch.. there really is no pitch. Your goal is to BE YOURSELF at all times. Don’t try to be someone you are not, as the customer will see right through that. They want a real person that doesn’t come across as a used car salesman (someone who would say ANYTHING to get the deal).

11 Maria April 28, 2014 at 6:43 am

Hi Tom. When was unemployed I started a house cleaning business. I was cleaning by myself and I guess I’m so detailed oriented that I ended quoting the job too low and giving too much. Now, we have bought pressure washing tools to begin promoting this business. Would you give me advice about what products are best for concrete yellow/black spots removal? What about soft wash technique? What about roof cleaning? Tile grout cleaning is something we will want to add, but the equipment is too expensive. Is it a good idea to rent it? Is there any training? I’m located in Orlando Florida.

Thank you for your recommendations.

12 Tom Watson April 28, 2014 at 9:58 am

Hi Maria! That is a common issue (doing too much). Think of customers like your local car wash does. They have pricing for economy, more detailed, and the SUPER DUPER clean. Each is priced accordingly. Anyway… We’ll have posts coming down the road that tackle some of those questions, so stay tuned!

With that said, a company called JonDon has training for the tile and grout, and they have a Tampa location.

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