When opening a new cleaning business, you might be tempted to offer group rates, or discount cleanings. There are pros and cons to this approach. You might flush out a lot of jobs fast, but will these customers hire you on a recurring basis for your regular fee? Some might. Others will drop you like a hot potato after the discount cleaning.
Discount cleaning services online
How they work: Consumers sign up to view deals close to home or in other cities across the globe. The wide-open marketplace offers savings on everything from haircuts to picture frames, mani/pedis to language lessons. Offering cut-rates is a bit risky for any cleaning professional who is attempting to grow their business.
So the question remains: Is it wise for a new cleaning business to offer discounted service? First, the pros:
Presenting a cleaning-business discount campaign on a site such as groupon or livingsocial can give your fledgling business a jumpstart. It's exciting and motivating to watch as your ad attracts new customers. Because your ad links to your business website and Facebook page, you can receive a spike of traffic, resulting in widespread exposure to thousands of potential customers. If you ever doubted that you would find your customers out there, putting an ad on one of these discount websites should prove to you that your service is in demand.
Now for some of the cons: Bargain shoppers do not a business make. Your cleaning service is brand-new. You need customers who will hire you on a recurring basis. These people are interested in forming a business relationship with you for the long-term. Deal-hunters are often the cheapest bananas in the bunch. And that can be frustrating. They sound like nice people when you first meet them. But then after you have labored to spiffy-up their messy habitat, which hasn't been cleaned since 1972, they will shut the door and forget your name.
You might get a rush of cleaning jobs all at once. Not a bad problem to have, generally speaking. But what happens if you have not yet created a marketing plan, or you are still working at your day-job, and now you have a whole mess of cleaning jobs to do? Will you be able to maintain your initial excitement while working nights and weekends for the next six months – and for half (or less) of your optimum price?
Some people might get frustrated. You might, you might not. It depends on your situation, your temperament, and your motivation, to mention just a few factors. Bear in mind that you cannot really afford to get frustrated in front of your customers. You are the one offering the amazing deal, right? And they are innocent consumers just looking for a terrific price on a cleaning. If you can't handle working for pittance, then don't promise the moon. Set parameters and spell them out in the fine print. Set your rate at a number you can live with.
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Have a marketing strategy
This instance you will benefit from having a strategy for short-term and long-term growth, and a systematic marketing plan.
Think in terms of upscaling your business, instead of discounting. That way you will attract customers you know are looking for a responsible cleaning service that can commit for the long-term. It helps you both. They benefit from not having to look for a new service, and you benefit by having to continually look for new business.
It is fine to get some startup work going by advertising with the online discount sites. However, the best strategy for sustainability is to charge a fair price, one which enables you to make a living. That is why you started this business in the first place. Upscaling requires a lot of upfront work on the marketing end. You must flyer, do good work, and ask for referrals. Trust this process. In the end, you will have a more sustainable model and your business will thrive.
Another idea for finding upscale neighborhoods: check out the real estate websites Zillow and Trulia, to get an idea of home values in your area, and flyer the best neighborhoods. Like my grandmother used to say, the dust settles in the first-class seats just like it does on economy.
Starting up your cleaning service can be a nerve-wracking affair. This is especially true if you are new to running your own business. The learning curve is pretty steep, everything is new to you, the context and the content. Rejection feels harsh. Even a mild form of it can thoughtlessly crush the butterfly of your new-business hopes. Here you are putting one foot in front of the other, and then your mom or your BFF raises an eyebrow and looks at you sideways, and your self-confidence drops out the pit of your stomach.
Seasoned pros will tell you to hang in there, that even when self-doubt threatens to undermine your every step, you will overcome them if you stay focused. Learn to be like a martial artist, exuding confidence in your own abilities. Trust in your commitment to excellence. Brush away those annoying little gnats of self-doubt.