The Mailbag Volume 7: Answering some common questions about the cleaning business…

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by Tom Watson on January 7, 2018

The New Year brings a new edition of “The Mailbag”. I hope you get some valuable tidbits that you can use in some small way.

This is the 7th time for this format (Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3, Vol 4Vol 5 and Vol 6). Each time I briefly address some questions I get via email. Let’s get started.

Common Questions about the Cleaning Business

I heard the Sanitaire SC785AT is being discontinued. Should I still buy one if I can’t get parts for it down the road?

You absolutely should get them while you still can. Retailers still have them on Amazon at unbelievable prices. The vacuums last several years on average at a very lost cost per unit. In my experience you can beat them to death and yet they still keep working. If I still had my business I would be stocking up on them so I had cheap, reliable vacuums for the foreseeable future.

What three pieces of advice would you give someone just starting out?

This would be my mindset…

  1. Believe you can succeed and you will.
  2. Make no excuses as you go forward.
  3. Take action each and every day.

I’m starting my cleaning business, but I’m only 22. I am afraid that people won’t hire me because of that.

Don’t worry about your age. No one will care. You could be 75, or you could be 19. Look professional, come up with a plan to solve their problem then deliver on what you promise. That is all anyone cares about.

I have an employee that calls out all the time. What should I do?

That’s up to you. All I can say is people who were unreliable didn’t work for me for long. I was looking to run a “well oiled machine”, not a business where I had to scramble every day to fill jobs for those that found another excuse to not come in. Some excuses are valid and that’s life. You have to adjust to that. But some abuse the system.

This will always be an issue as you grow the business. And it’s tough to completely eradicate (that will probably never happen). But review WHO you are hiring and be CLEAR on the expectations. Hiring those with stable work histories will go a long way toward solving this (though those people can be hard to find sadly).

What one book would you recommend to a beginner?

A book titled “The Magic of Thinking Big“. This is my go to choice because it shows you the path to success in not only your chosen career path, but in your personal life too. I got a lot out of this book after reading it. I still have work to do (it’s a life long process of improvement), but it gives me a clear path to follow.

Can you make good money in construction clean-up type work?  

Sure… lots of money to be made there if you spend some time focusing on that type work. I did pretty well over the years. Many jobs were small, but I also had my share of larger jobs too (as in several thousand bucks for a few days work). I cleaned new construction of commercial properties and residential high-end homes too. I even did some municipal work as well. A little of everything.

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