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What Do You Begin With When Writing a Cleaning Proposal - Answer

The other day I mentioned that I took a Jeffrey Gitomer survey and posted the questions here.

If you chose answer #3 then you're correct! You should start your cleaning proposal with a paragraph about how the customer will profit from the use of your product (or service).

Why?

"The customer is only interested in how they profit. They are not interested in your goals or the summary of your proposal. And they are certainly not interested in a human-interest story. They want to know how they will win. If your proposal is written in that manner, you will win!"
–JEFFREY GITOMER, excerpted from The Little Black Book of Connections 

Did you get the answer right? Click on the comments link below to reply.


What Do You Begin With When Writing a Cleaning Proposal?

I was reading Jeffrey Gitomer's newsletter this morning and he had a survey about how you should begin your proposal. Lucky me, I answered right!

So how would you begin YOUR cleaning proposal?

1. With a summary of what you are going to cover. 

2. With a personal story about your love for the job.

3. With a paragraph about how the customer will profit from the use of your product.

4. With a clear direction of your goals and intentions.

Click on the Comments link below to post your answer and I'll post the RIGHT answer in a couple days.


What Email Address Do You Use to Communicate With Your Janitorial Customers?

Have you ever realized that your email address can 1) drive people to your website and 2) give prospects the impression that you're a professional business person? This is a strategy that many people fail to use or understand.

First, if you do not own a domain name for your cleaning business, then you need to get one now!  After purchasing your domain name, set up your business email, which will end with your domain name. For example, if your domain name is www.mycleaningcompany.com, then your email address might be something like, myfirstname@mycleaningcompany.com.

When you use an AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo or similar email address, all you're doing is giving those high-profile companies the free publicity you should be giving yourself!  Now that you have your business email address, start using it in all of your email and business correspondence. Many times when I communicate with someone, all I have is their name and email address. Well I can be pretty nosy, so if I see their email address is using a domain name like the one above, I usually go to the Internet and check out the website because I'm interested in learning more about the what person has to offer. It is so much more difficult to decide whether or not I'd like to do business with someone if all I have is a Hotmail email address.

Like me, many of your prospects will notice that you're using a professional business email address and will probably want to visit your website to check out your business so they can decide if they'd like to do business with you. Why not make it easy for them?


I Set My Price Too Low - What Do I Do?

A cleaning business owner asked the following question:

Q:  I've been cleaning a small office for almost a year now and I realize that I priced it too low so I need to bump up the price. How do I go about telling my customer? What if they have a problem with it?

A wise cleaning business owner offered the following answer:

A:  This is a pretty delicate topic. There are a lot of variables to consider. Every customer interacts with their cleaning contractors differently.

How is your relationship with the customer? Are they marginally happy with your service or thrilled with you?  What kind of increase are you considering (a big amount or a small percentage)? Are you willing to lose the account if they open it to bidding from other contractors? Do you often schedule "walk-thru's" with your customer to follow up on your level of service and to get feedback? If you do, that might be a good time to broach the subject.

Since you've been there less than a year, I wouldn't suggest trying to increase the price just yet. We seriously underbid our first contract by 1500 square feet but decided that we would take the "loss" and keep the account, since it was our mistake. After the end of the first year, we sent them a "Reminder Packet" that looked something like an initial bid packet. It reviewed our Cleaning Specifications List and our service agreement. We used that format to notify them that after the first of the year our new pricing structure would involve raising their prices. They didn't give us any problems at that time because they are very pleased with what we have done so far. Not every customer is that understanding, though. We're lucky to have them.

You really need to think it through and decide if raising the price so soon is really worth it and if you're raising it for the right reasons.

Another wise cleaning business owner offered the following answer:

A:  I would probably wait until you've been with the customer for a year. You can add a standard clause in your contract that you will guarantee the quoted price for a year but reserve the right to increase prices at that time.

Hopefully you've got a good relationship with the customer, because most won't have a problem with it if they like you and you provide good service. If and when you decide to increase the price, I would talk to your contact in person and also have a letter so they also have something in writing.

What do YOU do when you set your price too low? Click on the Comments link below to post your suggestions.


Do You Ever Make Drop-In Calls?

A cleaning business owner recently shared this success story:

"I had an appointment with a client to walk through a second office she wanted cleaned, but she did not show up. So I droppped into the office next door and left my brochure and business card offering my services. The young lady at the desk said that they have some one already that they are very happy with, so I walked out and continued waiting for my client. Thirty seconds later the same young lady came after me and asked if I could give her a proposal because they in fact are looking for some body else, so I did." (Apparently someone else in the office disagreed that they were happy with their current service).

"I got so excited that I walked into the next office and did the same thing -- dropped my packet and the man ask me right away how much I charge so I did my talk and we did a walk through. So I have two potential  costumers, plus my  regular client all in the same building...   All you have to do is drop in!"

When was the last time you made drop-in calls like this?


Are You Ready to Take On Larger Cleaning Accounts?

When most of us started our commercial cleaning business we started by cleaning small offices, maybe 2000 - 5000 square feet in size. Most of these offices don't need cleaning services very often, so we might go in once or twice a week, taking a couple hours to get the job done.

The good news is, this is a great way to get started in the business, plus this type of account can be highly profitable. Not to mention you don't have all your eggs in one basket so if you happen to lose an account it's not going to be devastating to your business, as it's fairly easy to replace an account like this.

However as your business grows and you start hiring employees, you soon discover that managing all these little accounts becomes somewhat challenging for a number of reasons:

  1. Employees may have to travel from one building to the next, which costs you more in travel time compensation and possibly gas expense 
  2. Employees may have to transport equipment since some offices don't have a storage room and it may not make sense to store equipment for a once a week account.
  3. It becomes more difficult to schedule employees to make sure all the accounts are cleaned at their scheduled time.
  4. It becomes more difficult to follow up on employees and accounts since they're scattered all around.
  5. It starts to feel as if that $250 a month account is just more trouble than it's worth considering the small amount of income it's generating for your business.

Pretty soon you start to think about getting larger sized accounts that pay more. A nice 15,000 or 30,000 square foot office building that is cleaned 5 days a week is starting to sound really good. And you're right!

By getting into larger sized buildings, you will quickly generate more income for your business (several thousand dollars per month versus a few hundred). Plus, you'll find they are actually much easier to manage.

  1. Your employee turnover will likely decrease because people like to report to one location for their shift rather than traveling from building to building.
  2. It's much easier to supervise your employees if you have perhaps 3 to 6 employees working in one building. There is more camaraderie amongst you and the team working in the building.
  3. As you grow your business, you'll be able to hire a supervisor to help you manage these larger accounts, enabling you to continue growing the business.
  4. Your cash flow will improve (provided your clients pay on time).
  5. You'll be invited to bid on more larger sized buildings, which will help your company to grow faster.
  6. Your personal income with increase along with the growth of your business!

Are you ready to take on larger accounts? Is the thought of taking on a large account of this size scary to you or are you up for the challenge? Post your thoughts by clicking on the Comments link below.