Since 2004 we have been consulting with people who are starting a cleaning business. Here are the three top reasons people fail at their cleaning business.
The number one reason why people fail with their cleaning business is that they do not seek expert advice and mentoring. They assume they can figure out everything they need to know as they go. This may be possible, and it happens, but it is risky. For one thing, how do you know what pitfalls await you if you do not consult with someone who has done it before? The chances are that your business will run into the same traps and limitations, and that nine times out of ten, a mentor could have helped you from falling into trouble.
#1 - Do not seek the guidance of a mentor
Here is an example of a virtually impossible-to-predict obstacle, from the perspective of an inexperienced novice.
Let's say you decide to call your business Bob the Window Washer. You create a website and anticipate it ranking in the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Months later, you find out that all the top searches for “window washer” are for a software program called Window Washer that is used to keep Microsoft Windows program running smoothly. Check it out for yourself by searching Google for "window washer". This particular phrase has been used that way for ten years now! Had you consulted with us, we would have alerted you to that particular quirk of circumstances, and you could have avoided that pitfall by not depending solely on the term window washer to market your business online.
Which brings us to the second reason that people fail at cleaning business. Know what it is?
The main assumption that I hear again and again, is that I have to be competitive to get the work. There are so many cleaning services out there undercutting prices, that I will not get hired. This assumption is completely, maybe even devastatingly (for your business) wrong!
Here is a chart of the range of pay for having a house cleaned.
As you can see from the research, the low price is $100 and the high price is $300. I cannot tell you how many startup-clients we have consulted with, who just cannot bring themselves to charge over $90 - 100 for a cleaning, and that is the very low end!
You have to change your thinking a little bit. Think of it from a scale-and-systems angle. You cannot possibly do all the high-paying jobs that are available in your area, which means there is plenty of work out there. A solo cleaner working hard can only pull off two jobs per day. So, if the market niche is plenty big enough, then why would you waste energy battling it out at the low end of the spectrum?
Because guess what? The low end of the spectrum is where all the competition is! There is hardly any competition at the high end, which is why, when I was a pro housecleaner, all my first-class cleaning clients assumed there was simply a lack of supply of good housecleaners. Go figure!
Other reasons you will have a better experience at the high end of the pay spectrum:
Let's look at the low end the of the pay spectrum. The jobs are harder and the client is usually freaked-out about money. They are usually only hiring a cleaning-pro because they have no choice, due to their work-schedule and family circumstances. This client is stressed, which makes for a stressful working relationship. You are stressing-out as well, because you are not being paid enough and the work is harder.
Do not think in terms of needing every job. Use scale to your advantage. You only need to get the best jobs, so get in front of those potential customers, and not the stressed ones!
#3 - Laziness
Starting and running your own cleaning business is hard work, period. So many people think they are just going to put some flyers out, and do an excellent job, and the word will spread, and they will be booked solid. Hello! Reality over here...that is not a plan, that is a fantasy! You will need to treat your new business as if it is life or death, because it kind of is. You will need to put in eight- hour days setting up and promoting your business, until those eight hours are filled with actual jobs.
#4 - Trust
The main reason a client hires you is not because of your cleaning skills. It is sort of assumed that you know how to clean a house. You are hired because this person trusts you. If they intuit and sense that they can indeed trust you, then you will be hired, and they will keep you on if they feel that their trust is continually proved and earned by you.
Think about it. You are in their home, working in and around all of their personal possessions and often in close proximity to their children and pets. You are in their bedroom and bathroom, All the most intimate spaces of their lives! Sometimes far more so than even their friends or family.
How do you insure their trust?
The most important thing you can do to insure success with your cleaning service business is to educate yourself, by any means possible, about the cleaning industry, and by enlisting the services or mentoring of a veteran cleaning pro.