Posted / 14th October 2019
You can feel the itch – it’s time to grow! You’ve got clients coming out of your ears and phone is ringing off the hook. Finally, you’re ready to expand.
However, it’s crucial that you get this part right. Many successful cleaning businesses have stumbled at the first hurdle by not being mindful of these mistakes…
- Not charging enough
It might be tempting to undercut your competition, but if your competition is a one-person-band and you’re running an office and a team of ten… guess who’s missing out?
Your overheads must be included in your prices – so make sure you’re very familiar with the maths. A solo cleaner might use the clients products and probably only needs to run their car as an overhead – for you, it might cost £30 just to have cleaners arrive at a job. This is because, as a business owner, you’ll be paying higher tax, office rent, mileage and equipment inventory.
Remind yourself that you’re not going after the same clients as the cheaper options out there. You’re scaling and growing because you’re a small but mighty professional outfit – that’s what your ideal customer is looking for. Everyone has their own niche, undercutting doesn’t help when it comes to growth.
- Tweaking prices
As you grow, your prices might have to as well. Never make the mistake of charging different clients different prices – never let a client influence your pricing. You don’t need to land the job so desperately that you’d risk ruining your reputation.
Imagine if two of your clients saw each other in the pub and ended up discussing their wonderful new cleaning service – only to find that one if paying 10% more than the other!
Imagine if you gave someone a reduced rate, then they went all around town referring you – at a reduced rate. You’d be stuck with your current pricing forever!
Develop a pricing structure, raise everyone’s prices at the same time, don’t waiver for anyone.
- Lack of consistency in methods
Your method is your blueprint, your calling card, your unique selling point. The way in which you and your team cleans is part of what encourages clients to recommend you.
“They always leave the bathroom until the end, so it’s still smelling beautiful when I get home”… “They always stack the dishwasher and leave a mug, spoon and tea bag out for me”.
These unique touches are what keep recommendations flowing in. The same goes for products. Clients will get used to the smell of certain products, changing them might change the experience.
So, how to you develop consistency? Through training! When you onboard a new cleaner, ensure that they’ve not only had industry training, but company training. Explain how your company likes a house to be left, how you want surfaces to be cleaned and the process you expect everyone to follow. Remember, this isn’t the same as cleaning your own home – the process is different and must be adhered to.
- Mistakes: Products
On a similar note, another reason that potentially fruitful companies fail is because of minor mistakes. Cheap cleaning chemicals can be too harsh, using the wrong spray on the wrong surface can have devastating consequences and knocking something over due to poor processes can ruin a reputation very quickly.
The only way to try and avoid these things happening is, again, to appropriately train your staff. Allow newbies to shadow one of your trusted team members, offer revision sessions on help and safety protocols and support them in learning about new products – even offer them some to take home and test out!
Make sure that all of your team members have a staff booklet that summarises their responsibilities and training. Be an approachable boss and encourage them to call if they ever have a question – a few seconds of advice is worth it if it could potentially protect your reputation.
- Not planning for the unexpected/emergencies
Weather happens, people get sick, people’s children get sick, clients have emergencies etc. It’s important to have processes that protect the business in case of any of these events. Make sure that all your staff aren’t 100% booked 100% of them, just in case someone needs to cover someone.
Instigate a cancellation policy. It’s up to you how much you want to charge and how much notice a client needs to give before cancelling. It’s common practise to forgive the first cancellation, but charge thereafter. Work out what works, financially, for your business and make sure that your team are aware too.