What is a good amount of customers to have?

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by Tom Watson on September 13, 2011

This very question was recently posted on Cleaning 4 Profts Facebook page. I thought it was a great question. One that could be discussed in more detail here in the blog.

The answer to that question depends on many variables, but at the end of the day only “you” know the answer.

This is because your business is a reflection of you, not to mention your goals and objectives. Now once you factor in the fact that what is busy to one person is slow to another, you can see how hard it is for me to tell you how many customers is enough for your given situation.

With all that said, I’ll tell you what I do know.

Once you get started and begin collecting clients, you will go through an adjustment period so to speak. This is because each added customer brings on more responsibilities. So a good strategy will be to evaluate your “comfort level” regularly.

I would suggest you “re-access” how you feel about where you are in relation to your goals and objectives after you pick up each new batch of five clients. One thing to keep in mind during this process is the fact that not all customers are created equal!

This fact is one of the more fascinating aspects of owning a business. It’s kind of like inside information so to speak. Some customers will be easy as pie to work for, while others will be like a trip to the dentist.

What’s interesting is the fact that you would think the higher end big money customers would be the hardest to manage, but money has nothing to do with it. It all boils down to the manager who hired you, some are easy and some aren’t.

So this may mean your big prized account you net $1,500.00 per month off of is a cakewalk to manage, but the corner office that you only make a hundred bucks off of gives you $10,000 worth of grief. There is no rhyme or reason to it at times.

Another variable associated with this question is tied to income. It goes without saying that the more customers you have, the more you will earn. With that said, what you do need to remember is that there is no “average amount you make per account”.

Just like the people you meet in your life, each account is different.

This is because each client will ask you to perform a slightly different set of cleaning duties for them. While 90% off all clients share the the same responsibilities (trash, vacuum, dusting bathrooms etc…), they all have a different set of “pet peeves”.

Some managers are totally consumed with how clean the microwave is, while others could care less about the microwave but will freak out if they find a speck of dust on the back of the toilet. Crazy but true!

The moral here is the time needed to clean facilities varies greatly. So it goes without saying that your income from each will too. So if you are setting your goals about how many customers you wish to have, keep that tidbit of information in mind.

So if it happens that you are picking up nothing but low profit accounts at first, you will need a bunch of clients. On the other hand you may collect nothing but highly profitable accounts right off the bat, meaning you will reach your income goals faster than you thought.

For some perspective, I peaked at 72 accounts, which was a collection of both high and low profit customers. Many of these accounts had multiple locations meaning we were cleaning hundreds of offices weekly. This of course meant my sanity was compromised to an extent.

Though I did settle in and get used to it, not everyone may be up for so much work. On the other hand, maybe your goals are lofty and having even more accounts is what you seek. Either way, just get started picking up accounts and regularly evaluate where you are. The answer of “how many is good to have” will come to you as you gain experience over time.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brandon December 19, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Mr. Watson,

What kind of accounts would you categorize as the “bread & butter” accounts (5 days/week)?

2 Tom Watson December 19, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Hi Brandon! 3,5,6 or 7 day a week accounts are a good start. Ones that need MORE than just regular cleaning services are icing on the cake (one that need floor care, carpet cleaning, window cleaning etc…). Doctor offices fit this description well.

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