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Competing Against the Low-Ballers in the Cleaning Industry

Lately we've had a lot of subscribers tell us they're struggling with having to complete against people who enter the industry and low-ball prices to get new accounts or to steal accounts away.

One subscriber asked: "How can we as business owners compete with such companies who are out there low-balling us and having all these workers that are most likely illegal and are being paid probably pennies on the dollar. What can one do to avoid this?"

Another business owner made this suggestion: "I had to have a long talk with myself on how to keep my prices where they are (somewhere in the middle), and still get the jobs. So what I did was to include with all my bids a copy of my license, bond and insurance, with all my bids, and a note saying that this is for their protection as well as mine. I ask them to get this information from anyone bidding against me to protect themselves from any problems. You know what? This is an easy way to weed out the LOW BALLERS as they cannot provide this information. I have been winning a few more bids by doing this.

And my friend, Dick Ollek, author of Selling Contract Cleaning Services 101, offered this advice: "I think it is also very important to determine the types of accounts you really want to focus on. There are much easier accounts to clean than restaurants and at higher profits. Determine what you are good at, focus on how to secure those accounts, market yourself as a legitimate, bonded and insured professional company and you will get business. There will always be those contractors who low ball and always be those customers who buy their service. Focus, Focus, Focus. Become an expert in a niche market. Amazing how much fun and how profitable it can be."

We are all facing tough times right now, and dealing with the low-ballers is one battle you may be facing. What are YOU doing to compete and WIN?  Please post your comments by clicking on the Comments link below.


Rick Crombie

I totally agree with the first comment. Explain to them the benefits of choosing a company that has all the proper insurance and then politely explain the consequences that can happen to them should they decide to choose someone who doesn't have it. And make sure that they should ask to see it in writing and not just accept a verbal statement. Some times a little education is all they need to sway them.

Erica Castano

We actually are gathering information to write an article that that will provoke thought as too how much they are saving by going cheaper. Stats show that lawsuits are at an all time high and many are looking for the easy "slip and fall" to generate money for themselves. We also just implemented showing the insurance and bonding certs to people. We are not having as much of a problem with competitors low-balling as with out of work people just cleaning for min wage just to make $$ which is so sad.

Stephen M. Harrelson

After years in the cleaning business, I've found that personal contact and customers as partners in the cleaning industry is key to being successful at warding off attacks in the area of low ballers. Your company needs to provide service of value , but be seen as part of "their" operation. Regularly scheduled P.R. visits ,during the customers business hours , allows you to become involved in and with the "Customer" , You then are preceived at a "Solution" and not a "Problem". If the only time you see your customers is when there's a problem , YOU are preceived as a Problem. However, if you handle the small issues and do what you say, very seldom will you lose an account to a low baller! SMH

Jean Hanson

Stephen - you nailed it - "If the only time you see your customers is when there's a problem , YOU are preceived as a Problem. "

That's such a true statement, especially in the cleaning industry.


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