If you are a cleaning professional and interested in a cost calculator for your cleaning service website, here are a few factors to consider.
Lets first consider the pros and cons of using a cleaning quote calculator.
Some people do not want to fill out a form on their phone, they would rather just click on the phone number and talk with you.
Automation of processes can be a huge benefit to both you the business owner and the client but sometimes the solution is to a problem that does not exist. When a programmer sees a process that needs to be automated they often assume that there is a problem with the existing process and they see a profit in convincing the business owner that automating that process will make them more money. But keep in mind, they do not run a cleaning business! And the money that will be made is likely by them for getting you to adopt the automation.
Here are some issues with relying solely on a house cleaning cost calculator to set your residential cleaning price.
Is it always a good idea to automate a process if you can? Not really. Here is real life example that I hear all the time as a professional cleaning service consultant. You get the form and have already issued an automatic quote via your website form based on the "data" that was entered into the form. You may have already taken payment as well. Ethics about taking payment before you have performed the job aside, let's look at some common issues with this automation.
The job is not as described
You get to the job and there is a ton of clutter, there are pets and kids (None of these aspects are on the form) and the home is extremely dirty and requires a deep cleaning. They did not check deep cleaning on the form because they do not want to pay for one, but how are you going to do a good job if you only do a routine cleaning instead of a deep cleaning which is what is needed? They may think that you did a bad cleaning job, but that is because they choose to "believe" they did not need a deep cleaning because the form allowed them to believe that and they just checked off what they wanted, not what was needed.
You get to the job and it is 2,000 square feet, not 1,500 square feet, that is a big problem for you. And by the time you figure it out, they have been believing that they are only going to pay amount 'A' but you are now going to have to inform them that they have to pay amount 'B'. Had they called you and you did a walk through (then using the calculator as a part of the whole process) then you would have had an accurate quote PLUS developed a relationship with the client and made notes about any red flags of the site or client. They would have an accurate quote and you would be confident in performing the job on time and on budget.
No red flags
No red flags are going to present themselves on you website cleaning cost calculator. Maybe you notice a pile of collection notices on the office desk, that's a red flag! There is an array of signals that you can record when doing a walk through that will not show up on a cleaning cost quote generator.
These are a few of them:
Issues with forms on device browsers
We want to believe, even assume that online forms always work. You may be alarmed to find out that online forms do not work 5% of the time! That is a big fail rate for a small cleaning service business. Why is does that happen? Because more and more devices are using more and more browsers and apps to communicate data between them and the complexity is growing (not shrinking). There are more things that can go wrong in the linear chain AND on multiple levels. There can be issues with the ISPs, the device settings, the apps on the device, the browser and the website server - where the cleaning service form lives.
A phone call works 99.9% of the time...a form 95% of the time, that difference in probability will cost you thousands in lost opportunity. If you miss one job due to a bad cleaning service form submission, that could have been a client for 5 years at $240 per month, that is $14,400! Do not be so easily enamored by the automation technologies that are always being "hyped" to make our lives easier. Would $14,400 make your life easier? I think so, even just a one-time cleaning of $240 is not something you want to miss out on with your cleaning service business.
You will get an increase in cancellations.
Why because you are just a stranger, you are just a web form! Why would anyone feel bad about canceling on a cleaning cost calculator? But if they meet you in person, in their space when you do a walk through and spend time with them, then they definitely feel obligated and will think 3 times before they cancel on you. Remember how much that cleaning gig can be worth? $14,400! I think that is worth you doing a walkthrough. You will likely get 3 referrals from that gig as well over that 5 year period so it is really worth much more. From that perspective, automation is not helping you much at all!
A cleaning quote calculator impresses the visitor on your website.
That is likely true, but keep in mind, what does not impress them is to find out later that they need to pay more money or that they filed out the form inaccurately. You are setting an expectation when you give a fast quote online, that it will be that price - period. You have not even met this person yet, which is a huge downside to automation. If you automate the initial quote and the payment in advance then you run the risk of either possibly having to perform the job for too little pay (if the quote is off) or to ask for more money. When you do a walk through and give an in-person quote, you can give a range of costs and qualifiers and sell yourself and your services. Do you really think a form is more impressive to them than that?
You can learn more about bidding tactics on this website.
Using a calculator with commercial cleaning
This is really not a good idea. I have consulted thousands of cleaning services since 2004 and trying to automate the process of quoting a price for a commercial cleaning space is problematic for many reasons. It is fine to use a cleaning service request form to get some basic information before you call the lead, but beyond that you should establish a personal relationship with the decision maker on site or at least over the phone.
You can learn more about this on our cleaning advice blog.
Is there a place for a cleaning service
Yes, it can be a handy tool along with other tools to set your price and to make the process for your potential client more pleasant. A cleaning price calculator is a useful tool for you, but only if you use it as an integrated tool along with other processes and tools. Do not think of it as a substitution for giving on-site bids but as a tool you use during the onsite bid to help you hone in on your price. It is fine to have the cleaning cost quote calculator on your website, but do not give a price or book the gig automatically without talking to the client first. Think of the form as an invitation to start a dialogue on pitching your cleaning services. If you have to do so on the phone that is still better than just flying blind with simple data. There are questions you can ask on the follow-up call that would not work on the form such as how many kids do you have and how old are they? Why not put that on the form. I have seen this done and the form becomes 5 - 7 pages long and that is not convenient for the client at all. That kind of question seems invasive on a form. People are naturally much more uncomfortable and untrusting of A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) than they are with an actual human being.
The best outcome is to get the data from the price quote generator form through your website and then call them to follow up and schedule a walk through estimate process. This is a standard process with other professionals such as Real Estate agents and mortgage lenders.
You should have a simple form on your website which leads to a call and conversation and then a much more advanced cost calculator that you use during the estimate process.
The Clean Up Now System has bidding tactics and tools that are integrated into a system that you can use to optimum effect with the best possible outcome.
Creating a price calculator
Can you create your own price calculator to use for your business? The answer is yes but it is a steep learning curve and it will cost you between $25 - $100 per month. Yes, per month, that calculator starts to become very expensive the longer you use it. The personal walk through costs you very little (20 minutes of your time), the calculator cost you thousands! If you only need one or two form designs every few years, this is not a logical option. It will also take between 10 - 20 hours to build the calculator/ generator form and it is a frustrating process for most cleaning service owners. Unless you are a geek at heart, do not go down that path.
Hiring a professional to build a cleaning quote calculator
I inquired with 3 different programmer services to build a cleaning quote calculator and the bids ranged from $350 - $1200. That is a lot of money for such a minor tool that is not necessary at all.
DIY calculator Creators
You will need a cost quote generator/calculator that can handle calculations, conditional logic, and data encryption. There are only a few companies doing this as of this date (3/2018).
This is Russian company. It is located in Moscow. I had to find the address on the license agreement page. They are owned by Ucoz Media LLC. You will need to sign up for a free account and learn their building system architecture. There is a monthly fee to use the forms. I tested out the demo builder. It is a drag and drop builder. It is very attractive and seems adequate, as well as fairly easy to learn but I could not find any videos on how to use it. It seems to be designed to use with their other web services such as uCoz and uKit, but also works with Wordpress, Joomla and Drupal architectures. It should work fine with our Clean Up Now System website designs.
This Columbia, SC company was launched in 2013. I am currently designing some quote and cost calculators using this architecture. You can create documents from the data submitted to the form. You can save and resume the form at a later date. It has all the standard tools such as calculations, conditional logic, and data encryption. You can create multiple page forms which would be helpful for a full-service cleaning company. You can accept payments in the form and collect signatures.
It integrates with Zappier for webhook applications and automation which is the main reason I am testing it out for the Clean Up Now System.
This is the most affordable service. It is located in the Netherlands. It is mostly for Square Space websites. The website is the most bare-bones and only seems to have one person behind it. They are more focused on capturing a visitors interest and keeping them on your website. They mention nothing about conditional logic and data encryption, but it is probably a part of the system. If you just want a simple form to lead to a follow-up call, this would be the most cost-effective route. It does not have the more advanced tools that the others do.
In closing, a cleaning service cost calculator can be a handy tool for setting your cleaning service price, especially when integrated with other tools in the estimate process, but it should not be used as a substitute for a more holistic and effective bidding approach.