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post #1 of Old 02-22-2008, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
Cat
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Stand by your prices

T,

I'm not sure which section this belongs in (sales & marketing or business). Feel free to move it if necessary!

As a new owner of a cleaning service, I can tell you first hand that you will run into people who believe that maid service companies should clean their homes for slave wages. I was really tickled recently when a wealthy woman, living in a million dollar home, was "shocked" at my quote. As it turns out, before her "housekeeper" went into the hospital with cancer, she was paying the poor woman $35 cash every other week to clean her 2,500 square foot home.

I guarantee you that the woman was only doing surface cleaning. My guess is that the woman would go in, dust a few items, half-way scrub a few floors, run the vacuum for a few seconds, and rush out of there with her $35 cash. No way was a thorough cleaning taking place---not of a 2,500 s.f. home. I guarantee you that there are dustbunnies all over the place. The baseboards are filthy, and so on.

But the wealthy woman is not the only one who does not understand why they have to pay good money to a house cleaning service. Many, many people call cleaning services with a price in their mind. My guess is that in their mind, they are going to pay $60 tops to have their 1,500 - 3,000 square foot home cleaned. So when you give them the actual charge, they try to explain to you that, "But you won't have to clean the closets, though" or..."But what if I only want x,y,z rooms cleaned?"

Don't negotiate yourself into a poor house with these people. That's the first REAL lesson I have learned thus far. I see how back-breaking this work is. I've gone out and supervised my workers. Checked first hand on the superior, professional quality of their work. And quite frankly, I'm not charging enough!

My ladies are outstanding. Their cleaning styles are different but they compliment each other well. They offer superior service. I pay them well and they deserve every dime, and then some.

When you are a new business, you could be tempted to lower prices some just to earn the new client. Don't do it!

IF your business is set up right, you have liability insurance to pay. You have Workmans Comp insurance to pay (very expensive). You have to pay your workers. You have advertising fees to pay which are ongoing. How are you going to earn a profit if you are charging people dirt cheap prices? You won't, and that's why 50% of the maid service companies that started this year will be out of business next year this time.

Final note: Plumbers and electricians have a base fee that they charge simply to enter your home. They often fix the problem in less than 30 minutes and charge you a minimum of $160+. Yet, they have exerted not nearly the type of physical labor that a cleaning tech utilizes in cleaning homes. My computer technician charges me a fortune every time he fixes my computer. Yet, he exerts very little labor---not compared to what maids do. Those women and men are twising, turning, bending, getting on their knees, lifting, moving...all to satisfy a customer.

Why is it that people don't mind paying electricians and plumbers, etc., but don't want to pay maid services? Be willing to say "no". And feel good about it!

That's my word of advice for the day (as someone spanking brand new to this!). This article came to my mind to write as a result of me consulting with my mom. She has never steered me wrong. She told me to set a base price (the lowest we'll charge, regardless of size of home) and stick with it!

Thanks, mom!

Write the vision and make it plain: http://maidservicecoaching.wordpress.com/
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post #2 of Old 02-25-2008, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Okay it happened to me again today.

A few days ago a woman filled in a quote form and emailed it to me. I sent her a quote (with the understanding that once I see the home, I can give her the definite price).

She contacted me today and tried to make a difference in squre feet of the home and "liveable space".

Hmmmm......

We are talking about a difference in about 200 s.f.

I told her that the price would be the same---and possibly even higher depending on the condition of the home when I come out to look at it.

To stay in business, it's best to become good at dealing with people who don't want to pay the price for good service. It's frustrating but it's part of the real world of the service industry.

The woman may or may not call me back. If she doesn't I'm fine with that because I just booked two more today! And that's how I look at it.

Write the vision and make it plain: http://maidservicecoaching.wordpress.com/
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post #3 of Old 02-25-2008, 06:33 PM
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A tried and true way to verify square footage of a home is to use www.zillow.com

I verify all square footage through this site. Many of us use it. I'd recommend doing that instead of going by the word of a client.

Secondly, if a client wants to "remove" rooms, are you going to allow it? I often adjust the square footage if there is a series of rooms that won't be done. That's what it sounds like she is doing is making a request for less space to be cleaned.

The way I see it, prospective clients are not "disposable" at any time, whether you are busy or not. I tailor our cleaning to meet anyone's needs, but I don't defray their cost unless they do less cleaning in the home. I try to let the client decide what they can afford and what they are willing to give up to meet our prices.

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post #4 of Old 02-25-2008, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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Readers,

A word of wisdom and warning about Zillow.com

It's a good website and a good source.

However, it is very much flawed.

Case in point. A woman requested a cleaning of her home. She did not know how many s.f. were in her home.

I went to Zillow and they indicated 924 square feet. Because the home was up for sale, there were pictures on the website. But I could not make any determinations about the home based on the pictures.

Following my gut, I went to see the woman's home in person (nothing beats an on site estimate if possible).

Her home was a good 1,500 square feet!

Lesson I learned was that if a client does not know the square footage, personally go to the home. Don't rely on Zillow. Had I done so, I would have given an incorrect quote and the home owner would have been disappointed at the price difference from the original quote and actual quote.

Oh, and I plugged the square footage of my own home into Zillow and it was off by about a thousand square feet.

Write the vision and make it plain: http://maidservicecoaching.wordpress.com/

Last edited by Cat; 02-25-2008 at 06:48 PM.
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post #5 of Old 02-25-2008, 06:54 PM
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Zillow has been right on the money every time for me and for many others, as evidenced by the use of a measuring tool. Unless there have been home improvements (additions, etc.) then the sq. footage is correct on the site.

I have a client that shows 890 sq. ft on his home but he is building a second story on it. It's a good 1600+ sq. ft now. Sounds exactly like the estimate you did...they had a second level added on.

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post #6 of Old 02-25-2008, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Again,

Folks, don't trust Zillow alone. Try your best to go out to personally do an estimate on site.

The home I went to had had no additions on it. It was just wrong. I have no idea the percentage of times it's wrong, but humans are in-putting the squre footage information and humans make errors.

My husband, for fun, plugged in his uncle's address. His uncle lives in a gigantic mansion that's a good 7,000 square feet of liveable space. Zillow had the home estimated at 3,400 square feet. Clearly, the estimate difference between those two house sizes is huge.

I'm simply saying be careful. Zillow is sometimes right but it's sometimes wrong. And giving someone an estimate based on that can cause some issues.

Write the vision and make it plain: http://maidservicecoaching.wordpress.com/

Last edited by Cat; 02-25-2008 at 07:05 PM.
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post #7 of Old 02-25-2008, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat View Post
Again,

Folks, don't trust Zillow alone. Try your best to go out to personally do an estimate on site.

The home I went to had had no additions on it. It was just wrong. I have no idea the percentage of times it's wrong, but humans are plugging information in and humans make errors.

My husband, for fun, plugged in his uncle's address. His uncle lives in a gigantic mansion that's a good 7,000 square feet. Zillow had the home estimated at 3,400 square feet of liveable space.

I'm simply saying be careful. Zillow is sometimes right but it's sometimes wrong. And giving someone an estimate based on that can cause some issues.
Cat,

As I mentioned above, you would verify with a measuring tool. That means you go "on site" to do that. Re-read what I have said.

I agree it can be wrong and even gave an example in my own experience with the second story addition. That doesn't make ME wrong for suggesting it in the first place.

It's a tool. It's a good tool. Use it wisely...like any other tool.

Torrey

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post #8 of Old 02-25-2008, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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Bringing the thread back to its intended purpose...

Debbie Sardone often speak of the "price only" customer. I've encountered a few of them thus far.

One of them in particular had been paying a "housekeeper" to clean her home for dirt cheap and I thought the poor woman was going to faint when I gave her my quote.

Many folks out there are accustomed to paying low, low prices to people off the street who are not registered businesses but who have a pail and some rags and soap.

They pay cash to these people and no more than about $35, regardless of home size.

I hate to say this, but I'm encountering that issue more in the wealthy neighborhoods than in the middle class ones. Don't be afraid to say "no" because you will find 10 more to say yes.

Write the vision and make it plain: http://maidservicecoaching.wordpress.com/
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post #9 of Old 02-25-2008, 07:26 PM
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If I remember correctly, your site demonstrates that your business focuses just on wealthy neighborhoods in the DC/MD area. How are you hoping to overcome that issue with the wealthy clients you seek?

I am happy to share some tips if you wish. I am sure there are a few of us willing to help with that issue.

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post #10 of Old 02-25-2008, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TailoredMaid View Post
If I remember correctly, your site demonstrates that your business focuses just on wealthy neighborhoods in the DC/MD area. How are you hoping to overcome that issue with the wealthy clients you seek?

I am happy to share some tips if you wish. I am sure there are a few of us willing to help with that issue.
I'm not really sure what your issue is, but I've asked you to leave me alone.

Please leave me alone.

Thanks

Write the vision and make it plain: http://maidservicecoaching.wordpress.com/
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post #11 of Old 02-25-2008, 07:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat View Post
I'm not really sure what your issue is, but I've asked you to leave me alone.

Please leave me alone.

Thanks
Cat, I have been here for quite some time and participate in as many threads as I can. I offer advice, seek wisdom, and hope to improve my own business and yours in the process. I have a genuine desire to give good information if I feel it is worthy to share for all to see.

To ask me not to post in any thread you participate in is not appropriate. This is a public message board. Anyone can post anywhere, and the content is meant to help. I felt I was helping.

But here is where I am concerned. I have reviewed your site tonight and realize that on at least two pages, you INSTRUCT your potential clients to use zillow.com to verify square footage. I find this a bit disconcerting that you will denounce zillow (and my advice) simply because I was the one to give it as evidenced in this thread. You promote the use of zillow.com on your own site! How is this possible that on here you will say it is unreliable and unworthy, yet you use it as a tool and provide a direct link to those who visit your site? You've questioned my advice, yet give the same advice elsewhere. This, to me, is a direct relation to your desire to diminish me in some way and undermine any advice ever given to anyone. I don't know why.

I don't know if you are just having a bad week, day or what...but I wish you would realize that people are not out to "get" you.

Torrey

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post #12 of Old 02-25-2008, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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I am going to ask you again. Please leave me alone.

Write the vision and make it plain: http://maidservicecoaching.wordpress.com/
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post #13 of Old 02-25-2008, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat View Post

I hate to say this, but I'm encountering that issue more in the wealthy neighborhoods than in the middle class ones.
This is where I was hoping to give advice. Sorry to "bother" you by participating and asking if you would like some tips on how to overcome this issue. If you can't use the advice, perhaps someone else may.

That's okay, though.

Torrey

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post #14 of Old 02-25-2008, 08:41 PM
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Very non-confrontational person here...but...I am tired of hearing about this Sardone woman.

I can do a google search and find multiple sites that say what I want them to...positive or negative regarding starting & maintaining a cleaning business.

And I'm equally p*ssed at posts on this thread that are confrontational and attempt to negate or criticize advice from established forum members who have "positively' contributed in the past.

If posting is to remain positive, then stay flipping positive when wording messages and receive our "constructive" comments as such...otherwise, move on. I have been here for a while and neither condone, nor will accept, the underlying negative tone (masked as positivity).

Consider the thread topic??? You Can't start a business for under $100...Don't believe the Hype? I did And am successful!!!

sorry cat, just the way i see it all...

suzi g

Last edited by suzikg; 02-25-2008 at 08:58 PM.
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post #15 of Old 02-25-2008, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by suzikg View Post
Very non-confrontational person here...but...I am tired of hearing about this Sardone woman.
Then you won't want to follow my thread then cause I plan to keep uplifting her. She's taught me a great deal and it's inapprpriate for you to tell me who to uplift or not to uplift---especially on my own thread that I started.

Quote:
And I'm equally p*ssed at posts on this thread that are confrontational and attempt to negate or criticize established forum members who have "positively' contributed in the past.

If you are purporting to be positive, then stay flipping positive and receive our constructive comments as such...otherwise, move on. I have been here for a while and do not condone, or will accept, the underlying negative tone (masked as positivity),
You certainly are free to start a thread to voice your gripes. If you see darkness in light, I have nothing to do with that. The purpose of THIS thread though is to talk about potential customers who don't want to pay the price quoted.

This thread has no other purpose. And again I plan to continue to mention Debbie Sardone so keep that in mind before opening any thread I start.

By the way, readers. Debbie's website address is www.bucketsandbows.com

Everyone has the right to choose a mentor. She's mine and no one has any business telling me who I can mention, especially on a thread I started. Her teaching of the "price only" customers is what is helping me to deal with the ones I'm encountering.

To keep this thread on track, everyone. The purpose of this thread is to discuss clients who don't want to pay. This thread is not here as a "free for all" to start an attack on me. Start a separate thread for that, please.

Write the vision and make it plain: http://maidservicecoaching.wordpress.com/

Last edited by Cat; 02-25-2008 at 08:57 PM.
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post #16 of Old 02-25-2008, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suzikg View Post
Very non-confrontational person here...but...I am tired of hearing about this Sardone woman.

I can do a google search and find multiple sites that say what I want them to...positive or negative regarding starting & maintaining a cleaning business.

And I'm equally p*ssed at posts on this thread that are confrontational and attempt to negate or criticize established forum members who have "positively' contributed in the past.

If you are purporting to be positive, then stay flipping positive and receive our constructive comments as such...otherwise, move on. I have been here for a while and do not condone, or will accept, the underlying negative tone (masked as positivity), nor the inconsistencies of some of your advice...You Can't start a business for under $100...I did

sorry cat, just the way i see it all...

suzi g
Suzi,

Knowing you for a long time, I know that you are probably one of the least confrontational people I know. Now that's not bad...what I mean is that you are very even-keeled and have a cool head about you.

Sometimes I am not as good at it, but I remain positive even in the turmoil of many circumstances. Having overcome many trials and tribulations regarding my personal life in the last couple of years with helping my husband recover from his injuries (and finally getting to where I can focus on what *I* need to do for myself), I wish success on everyone. I see how hard people work to get to where they are and where they want to be. I see my own husband do it. I see my family do it. I see my peers do it. I hope to inspire them in the process. I hope to engage in meaningful conversations, and life is TOO SHORT to dwell and hold grudges. I feel this is a grudge from a month ago, and I have apologized for it enough. I was trying to show the "reality" of something. Lord knows I know reality and will admit my own mistakes. Just review any of my posts. LOL

I've worked VERY hard to get to where I am, but I realize I have a very long way to go, even at this point of "success" in my life. Nothing is ever "done" or "perfect".

I hope that this issue is resolved soon. Your advice and insight is always appreciated. Thanks for being an inspiration for me as well.

Torrey

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post #17 of Old 02-25-2008, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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PURPOSE OF THIS THREAD:

This thread is here to discuss clients who don't want to pay the price.

If you have any other topic, please start your own thread and discuss it there.

I'm asking that my thread not be derailed and that I not become the target of an attack in my own thread that I've started on the topic of clients who don't want to pay.

If it continues, I'll ask a moderator to lock this thread and I'll attempt to start over and see if it happens there also.

Write the vision and make it plain: http://maidservicecoaching.wordpress.com/

Last edited by Cat; 02-25-2008 at 09:06 PM.
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post #18 of Old 02-25-2008, 09:14 PM
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Then you won't want to follow my thread then cause I plan to keep uplifting her. She's taught me a great deal and it's inapprpriate for you to tell me who to uplift or not to uplift---especially on my own thread that I started.
You often speak of owning things around here. Cat, this is a PUBLIC message board, shared by all. Nothing is "yours" to have. Not "your lurkers", not "your thread"...it's all here for us to share and learn from. Like I indicated before, if *I* were to deem "ownership" of anyone here, it would be very condescending to the readers and I appreciate the participation of everyone here. But you are selecting who is allowed to post in "your" thread as it is...and a reader indicates they wish to see less in each thread about the same thing and you get offended that they "dictated" something to you. Sometimes some of the best advice is from people who see things from the outside.


Quote:
You certainly are free to start a thread to voice your gripes. If you see darkness in light, I have nothing to do with that.
Oh dear. Suzi is one of the most positive people around these boards. Just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't mean they are "negative" or see darkness everywhere. I believe you were saying that about me as well and using name-calling to exemplify this (boo-bird). We are not negative people...It just means we may have an opinion that you don't agree with.

Quote:
The purpose of THIS thread though is to talk about potential customers who don't want to pay the price quoted.

This thread has no other purpose.
But it also promotes your mentor, vehemently...read on:

Quote:
And again I plan to continue to mention Debbie Sardone so keep that in mind before opening any thread I start.

By the way, readers. Debbie's website address is www.bucketsandbows.com

Everyone has the right to choose a mentor. She's mine and no one has any business telling me who I can mention, especially on a thread I started. Her teaching of the "price only" customers is what is helping me to deal with the ones I'm encountering.

To keep this thread on track, everyone. The purpose of this thread is to discuss clients who don't want to pay.
And to promote your mentor, it seems. Let's be consistent at least!

Quote:
This thread is not here as a "free for all" to start an attack on me. Start a separate thread for that, please.
No one attacked you. Not I, not Suzi...not anyone. We've just called out the bad behavior and asked for it to stop.

Let's get back to a good and POSITIVE discussion, please.

Torrey

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post #19 of Old 02-25-2008, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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I'll try it one last time:

The purpose of this particular thread is to discuss clients who don't want to pay the price.

T, if you see this thread. Feel free to lock it up. And I'll decide whether or not re-start it and see if this happens again. Thanks,

Cat

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Last edited by Cat; 02-25-2008 at 09:18 PM.
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post #20 of Old 02-25-2008, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat View Post
PURPOSE OF THIS THREAD:

This thread is here to discuss clients who don't want to pay the price.

If you have any other topic, please start your own thread and discuss it there.

I'm asking that my thread not be derailed and that I not become the target of an attack in my own thread that I've started on the topic of clients who don't want to pay.

If it continues, I'll ask a moderator to lock this thread and I'll attempt to start over and see if it happens there also.
Cat,

Getting back on track, absolutely.

I asked if you were willing to adjust the price if the client requests less rooms to be cleaned. Is that an option for your clients?

I shared that it was in my case. I gave reasons why.

Please share.

Torrey

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