Yep, I'm Screwing Myself Here - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
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post #1 of Old 12-22-2014, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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Posts: 37
Yep, I'm Screwing Myself Here

Getting my first few clients from flyers and just wanted to say that I'M SCREWING MYSELF ON PRICE.


It's a GREAT thing!

Basically I'm underbidding everyone and doing my first jobs at way less than I'm worth.

But for anyone out there that thinks this is a bad move, it's not when you are first starting.

(Did this about 5 times with 5 different business ventures over the past 10 years and was able to end up charging 3-4 times more than my competition once my name was established)

I decided to go the "Hey I'm branching out on my own and REALLY want your business and referrals, so just know that this price is lower than anyone will get in the future...."

Anyways, that's business when starting out:

1) Give more.

2) Receive less.

3) Build a reputation, then charge more!

Thanks for reading - time to get dirty now

- Mike

Last edited by NewCleaningBusiness; 12-22-2014 at 02:51 PM.
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post #2 of Old 01-11-2015, 05:35 PM
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I've never purposefully underbid. If anything, it creates doubt in the value of your service. Why do they need to know that you're starting out? It's frankly none of their business. Not only that, but people only see your lack of experience as leverage to barter you down further and/or attempt take advantage of you.

And when the customers who got you to clean at a GREAT rate refer you to someone based on the dollar amount, or want you to return, are you really going to say "sorry, I'm so popular now that if you want me back I have to charge more this time"? Weird.

In fact the more I charge, the more business I receive. And the better customers I attract. My biggest pain in the ass customers are hyper focused on the cost. My best customers understand the good ol' motto "cheap labour isn't good, and good labour isn't cheap" - they appreciate the work we do and understand why it costs what it does.

I would focus on making your business unique. Stand out more professionally above the competition, use better equipment, do something a little special (we leave tea & chocolate with our thank you notes after every clean), market yourself a little differently. It costs very little and allows you to charge a premium.

ETA: there is no reason why you can't build your reputation WHILE charging more. Anything less is money flushed down the toilet.
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post #3 of Old 01-13-2015, 12:01 PM
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I completely agree! Building your reputation is much more valuable than initial profit during start-up.

When my wife and I were in the biz, we built a reputation FIRST with some very wealthy clientele, cleaning their homes. As our customers got to know us (our dependability, our high standards, etc.) they referred us to their rich friends. With each referral, we were able to charge a little more, until we were making $50-60 per hour (sometimes more).

It was a slow process, but getting your foot in the door is more important than trying to force it open.

You can read our story here: cleansweepbookDOTcom (sorry I can't use links yet). Thanks!
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post #4 of Old 01-13-2015, 05:00 PM
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Here is how it went down. Although I warned against it, he quit his job to start the cleaning business which meant he had no money coming in. It was about 1 week before Christmas and out he went. He had to take these kind of jobs in order to make money to eat I'm guessing.

I tried to tell him that although a person can get jobs during the holidays, they won't be the 'good' type of jobs that are mentioned above. They will be the cheap people that don't last long.

On the other hand, I guess the cheap people are good to gain experience with. Now when he goes to get real clients he has the knowledge to clean.

Hopefully it all works out for him. It's not the way I would have done it but it's not the end of the cleaning world to do it that way. It is now January and hopefully his business model has changed and he starts getting better and higher paying jobs.
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post #5 of Old 01-15-2015, 03:32 AM
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underbidding is not the way to go. instead, it can cause issues such as clients expecting cheaper prices all the time. Clients will tell their friends about your cheap services and they will expect the same thing as well. It's better to have fairly high but competitive prices and focus on marketing with a different strategy
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post #6 of Old 01-15-2015, 09:44 AM
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That wouldn't be 'marketing with a different strategy'. Price is not the way to market at all. If you meant model his business in a different way that doesn't give low prices then yes, I agree. But if a business markets with a price, they most likely are not making much money.

But I will say that if I didn't have any money and was hungry I'd do an 8 hour cleaning job for $50. I know this because I was once there. It's not the end of his world. He can go from no money to buy a Dr. Pepper this year to ordering room service and paying $14 for a Dr. Pepper next year if he works hard. It's all about moving forward.

I'd rather be a straight forward person with a low price rather than one of those bait & switch guys that screw people. He will either learn to be a straight forward person with a HIGH price or he won't make much money in this business. On the other hand... some people like working 8 hours for $50-$75 and are happy.
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post #7 of Old 02-03-2015, 08:40 PM
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I disagree...but agree with Sprint93 Everybody knows you have to build your reputation before you can charge big bucks. Sure enjoying "NewCleaningBusiness" 's Theatrical Performance before us knows EXACTLY what he's doing..helping sheepish ones like me jump over that there hump.

Last edited by Roxy; 02-03-2015 at 08:46 PM.
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