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New Cleaning Account + Bonus Building

Earlier this month I wrote a follow up to a previous post. As you can see, getting new cleaning accounts is often-times due to perseverance and constant follow up. When I went to bid on the new building, she asked me to go ahead and bid on their other location so it ended up being two bids in one!

If you remember from my first post, I'd tried to get this account for several years, however they were happy doing their cleaning in-house. When they built the bigger building they realized that it was finally time to outsource the cleaning so our perseverance paid off but it took a while, so remember to keep plugging away and re-visit  buildings you may have called on before. You never know when they might have a management change or a building change that might affect their cleaning service.

The end result is that we got both buildings. We were also just awarded another building as a result of a speed networking event, so we just took on three new buildings in one week!  Need to get a couple new employees...:)

Do Your Customers Refer Your Cleaning Business?

One of the easiest ways to gain new cleaning accounts is through referrals. In my last post I mentioned how one simple referral from a speed networking event led to a new account. What's even better is when existing customers happily refer you and become your cheerleaders.

So are your existing customers referring your cleaning business? If not, then you might want to ask yourself some questions:

  • Do your customers like you? If you don't have a friendly relationship with your customers then you're probably not going to get referrals from them.
  • Can your customers depend on you? The more dependable you are, the easier it is for your customers to refer you.
  • Do you have a good track record? People will refer you if they have good history of experiences with your cleaning service.
  • Are you an expert in your field? People like to refer their friends and colleagues to experts - no one wants to work with a novice who's still learning their craft. Learn all you can about your industry and become an expert in your field.
  • Are you a valuable resource for your customers? Can your customers call you up if they have a problem and know that they can rely on you for a solution?
  • Do you give referrals to your customers? Try giving your customers referrals. You'll not only impress them, but they'll think of you when the time is right for them to refer you.

Follow Up to Speed Networking Lead

Last month I mentioned that I attended my first speed networking event. I did get a lead at that event, and after making a phone call I was able to set up an appointment with the decision-maker for a telecommunications company. She asked me to give her a bid, but explained that they weren't sure when they'd be able to make a change because they had a person cleaning in-house who would be leaving eventually, but they didn't know when.

Today I received a phone call asking me when we can start. They're ready to make the change and are ready to sign the contract!  So we start in two weeks...:)

Build Your Business by Offering Green Cleaning

As more and more people become consious of preserving our environment, we've noticed that prospective customers take notice when we let them know that we use "green" chemicals. People who work in office environments are also aware of the dangers of poor air quality in buildings in which they work. No one wants to work in a building that is potentially "sick".

The Office of the Federal Environmental Executive has information on contract language, implementation guidance, case studies, links to products and services that have successfully been used by others, and expert contacts. You might want to check out this site if you'd like to learn more about offering green cleaning products and services in your cleaning business.

Using Craigslist to Find Cleaning Clients?

I read an article last week about a carpet cleaning business that placed an ad at Craigslist to see if he could pick up any clients. The ad included a photo of the carpet cleaning machine they use, and one of a living room showing a clean carpet. Then he listed the phone number and link to his web site. Now he's reporting that he gets about 90% of his business from Craigslist -- Wow!! He said he started getting about 15 calls a day (he's in New York City, BTW).

One thing to remember about Craigslist is that each listing lasts just one week, so you have to re-post your ad every seven days. If you go to the website, you'll see major cities listed, so if you want to try it, go for your local area.

Has anyone else ever used Craigslist to advertise their cleaning business? If so, I'd love to hear about it. Click on the Comment link to share...

Chamber Networking Works!

When we were getting started with our second cleaning business we joined our local Chamber of Commerce. I remember attending our second lunch event and after introducing myself to the group (everyone stands and says their name and company), a woman tapped me on the back and asked for a business card. There was a speaker at the time so I never got a chance to talk to her.

I saw this woman at a couple events after that and she mentioned that she's in charge of Human Resources at her company and that they needed someone to clean their offices, but she wasn't in a position to make the change yet.

A couple months later she called me up, asked me to bid on the building and we got the account. During the time she first asked for the card to the time she asked for the bid, I tried to engage her in conversation to get to know her, rather than trying to sell her on our services. After all, I already knew she was interested, I just needed to build a relationship with her so that when the time was right, she would know that I was the one she wanted to work with - no on else. And that's exactly what happened!

Now this wasn't a large account by any means, but after a few months they decided to move to a larger building, which more than doubled our monthly invoice. Shortly after that, she asked me to bid on their corporate office. So an account that started out around $200/month is now about a $3000/month account!  Not bad for not having to do any "selling" to get it!

Follow Up to Previous Post

I really pays to keep following up. Back in December I mentioned we got our foot in the door on a credit union. I did a follow up call this week but the person I needed to talk to was in a meeting so I left a voicemail message. My timing must have been right on because his assistant called me back to set up an appointment to talk about cleaning their new building. I'll be meeting with him this coming Monday.

Hopefully we'll not only get the account but the construction clean-up too! I'll keep you posted...

What Does Your Environment Have to do with Success?

When I talk about your environment having to do with being successful, what comes to mind? A fancy new desk in a great big office?  Well that would be nice, but it really doesn't have anything to do with becoming successful in your cleaning business, and it's not the type of environment I'm talking about.

If you want to create a success environment for yourself, you first have to start with having an attitude of success in your own head. From there, you need to create an environment filled with people who understand and support you.

Let's start with creating an attitude of success in your own head. People who are successful in business have a positive attitude and look at challenges as opportunities. When just getting started in business it can be very easy to get discouraged, especially when you're constantly hearing, "I'm not interested", when trying to sell your services. But this is when you need that positive attitude the most.

Have you ever heard the phrase, "like attracts like"?  This means that if we have a negative attitude, we'll attract negative situations and people into our lives -- people who say things like, "I'm not interested", for instance.

Think about the people around you -- family members, friends, co-workers. Are they supportive of you? Do they encourage you?  Have you ever started the day with a great attitude, and as soon as you meet up with a friend who's having a bad day, all of a sudden your day goes down hill too?

What do you think would happen if you got rid of all the negativity in your life and started hanging around people who think what you're doing is wonderful and encourage you to fulfill your dream of having a successful cleaning business?  How do you think your situation would change?

I'll guarantee (from personal experience), that if you start by having the right environment in your head, and then slowly start creating the right environment in other areas of your life, you'll see a noticeable change in your momentum and in the success of your cleaning business.

All You Need To Do Is Ask

This week one of our members at emailed me to see if we had a Restroom Checklist that could be posted on the back of the door so employees can check off each task. We don't happen to have such a checklist, but I replied to him letting him know we'd create one for him. Today my assistant came in and we discussed what we wanted the form to look like and what needed to be included. We ended up creating 2 forms!  One for once per day service and one for a day-porter type situation where they need to check off the list several times a day.

Now all I need to do is tweak the forms she created and we can get them uploaded to the site for all of our members to download!  This has happened a few times -- if our members can't find something they need, then we make it for them!  Just one of the many benefits of joining our community...

Referrals from Support Team

We had a meeting with our attorney today to sign some papers for a real estate transaction. Our attorney happens to be a talkative guy, so we naturally got to talking after the business was done. He's been trying to get me to join BNI for quite some time now, and I let him know that I finally joined, although with another group - not the one he belongs to. As we talked about the group, he asked questions about our cleaning service, like "do you do construction clean-up, and what other services do you provide?" After telling him more about our business, he said, "jeez, I can really send some business your way!"

Our cleaning company just so happens to clean the bank next to his office, and he mentioned that he's met the new general manager and he'd be happy to take us over to introduce us. We have a person we deal with, but the bank was just sold, so it's a good idea to meet the new management so they can put a face to the company name. I'll be taking him up on his offer.

You never know where your next customer will come from, so it's always good to just talk to people and continue building those relationships. I'm sure our attorney will now be a great source of referrals for us.