Market Size for Cleaning business? - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
 
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post #1 of Old 04-10-2016, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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Market Size for Cleaning business?

My wife and I own a residential cleaning business in Longview Texas. We have been plugging away for about 4.5 years now. And after this time we are starting to question the validity of having this kind of a business in a market where incomes and home prices just are not very good.

The reason we started the business thinking we could really own the market since MM was the ONLY actual service (insured, bonded etc) here. Well, we held the number 1 rank on Google for 2.5 years for "House Cleaning Longview Texas" and all the variations of that. Ran various newspaper ads. Even have a colorful car that can be seen from 450 feet away (not kidding).

After this time. We are starting to think there is not enough "target" demographic here to support the business. As in not having to do our own labor. Which is about the business we got. Enough for 2 people. Us. But, of course the point was to grow and have crews. We have never come close to doing that. We even won the 2013 Angie's List Award for quality.

After crunching the numbers there are only about 8500 homes in the area (within about 30 miles) valued at $200,000 or more (that's a lot here). And about that many people making $75,000 or more. And only 800 people making $200,000 or more income in Longview. Yeah. 800.

At what point do we realize this market in general does not support this kind of business? At least at actual residential cleaning prices ($45, $50, $60 a hour).

Oh. On a side note. Several franchises have come. Lasted 6 months. And left since 2011.

Any thoughts?

Larry and Debi
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post #2 of Old 04-27-2016, 11:42 PM
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As for your question, I think you already know the answer. If you want to do this, you need to move to the big city. And if you want to be the most successful you can, you need to move so you can service the Plano, Frisco, McKinney area.

You have your wish... you are the big fish in a little pond. Now move to the big city where even the little fish make great money!

Speaking of money, you might want to do a few calculations. I know a lady in Nashville, Tn that has 5 cleaners and charges $40 an hour. At the end of the year, a 1 man band can make more PROFIT than she does because the 1 man band can be picky. The lady in Nashville needs a lot of jobs and can't be too picky about who she takes on as a customer. The 1 man band can be picky. The 1 man band wants those 2 hour $140 houses where the lady in Nashville has to jiggle her prices, worry about how her girls are cleaning. Did they steal anything? Are they going to show up today? All the worries. You 2 can bring in an easy $1500 a week, take a 2 week vacation, work 6 hours or less a day (if you work 8 hours a day you could make $100,000+ a year).... you can work with no stress and be happy.

Make sure you think about what you want because you might get it.... your first wish already came true.... you OWN your market.... and now you want more. You're not happy that your wish came true. The grass is always greener. Or as they say in Canada... the snow is always yellower. Sorry, I just made that up. lol
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post #3 of Old 04-28-2016, 07:43 AM Thread Starter
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We appreciate your answer. And yeah, we agree with you. This place has just run it's course. We are trying to establish a presence in our "sister" city which is Tyler Texas. However, there is more competition there. But, it gives access to another 10,000 homes valued high. Course, with more competition comes making it harder to break into that top 10 on Google. We're riding in that 12-15 range on the second page over there. We get some trickle quotes out of Tyler. But, nothing major yet.

I believe ultimately you are correct. We're looking at Prosper Texas. Which is north of Frisco and growing. A lot like Frisco did 15 years ago. Upscale, high incomes. And there are a ton of places north of there for "regular" folks to live.

Thanks for your time,

Larry
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post #4 of Old 04-28-2016, 02:26 PM
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The average income in both is about $44,000. I'm very familiar with the area. We sometimes go to Lone Star Speedway, we know Sam & Lisa the owners and Darin their right hand man. If you put both cities together you really still don't have much.

Prosper is right where you need to be. But you're worried about something that is no longer a worry when it comes to your website. The thing that matters most nowadays with your website is content. If you have a good website you will rank high.

As for your website, I don't know what the www is but when I type in House Cleaning Longview Texas the only thing that comes up on my screen is Merry Maids.

I now see the problem. You don't even have a website. You have a blog. Atleast that's all that is ranked... and not very well at that. You need an actual website and SEO that has nothing to do with Blogger. Blogger is not a place to build a website. You're not even on Google maps so it seems as though not much SEO at all?

Let me send you a pm in a little bit on some things you need to do when you move. While I have a rated xxxxx mind, you should think of another name for your company. I like it but I'll bet you it turns more potential customers OFF than on.
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post #5 of Old 04-28-2016, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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I actually have some background in HTML and website construction from my corporate days. Honestly, we have used blogger (We also have a domain name that forwards to our website) because it's frankly easier to do quick updates on it.

As far as Google presence when I look at my Google Search console information I show we hold a minimum of a top 10 rank (top 5 mostly) under Longview, Hallsville, Kilgore area for House Cleaning (variations of as well) and Maids (variations of as well) for each town. So I am not sure what you looked at. I show us ranked number 4 under "House Cleaning Longview Texas" right now. There are some "ads" ahead of us. Again, I agree making a "official" non-blogger website needs to happen. But, because of our ranks I have not put it as a top priority. As part of using that Google Search Console I also verified the site and it is supposed to become ranked on Google maps at some point.

I did start the process on a "official website a while back". I halted because of the potential of a move to a new location. We also have a "Tyler" website storefront as well. And we got a car wrap about three months ago. That has not shown any life until the last 2 weeks. And I pulled 3 quotes from it.

Anyway, the business name. We changed it about 3 years ago (for about 9 months) fearing exactly what your referring too and we changed it back. Our current clients were furious over the scrapping of the DDH name. Many hired us because of the name itself. However, I have told my wife I believe it ultimately alienates us from half of anyone looking for cleaning. So I agree with you. Although, my wife wants to know. In the Dallas area would the "Debi Does" not pay off more? My wife is named Debi by the way. Lol. We LOVE that name. I had a couple marketing guys tell me that it is pure gold. But, we're in the Bible belt. So I have always contested the name hurts us more than helps us. And it may hurt with attracting higher class business.

A lot of great input from you.

Thanks,

Larry
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post #6 of Old 04-28-2016, 05:00 PM
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I'll pm you in a minute lol

Did you know that 95%+ of what marketers do never make any real sales that equals money. Most of their stuff sucks. Do you know what google thinks you are? A realtor. Everytime I type that name in it takes me to realtor sites. And then I saw the picture of the wrap... it does look like a realtor. lol

Ask your wife this.... if she was a 32 year old mother to be would she want a car parked in front of her house that says what yours does? Now think about this.... if you was a 32 year old single guy what do you think might be an 'add on' to the house cleaning? Even if every females was ok with it, I think it will cause some problems with the males. You have to remember... guys think about 1 thing. So if they hire your company and you send a girl or 2 to that guys house, the guy might at the least be thinking of an extra service. I know I would be. I love boobs... show me some boobs every week and you could come clean my house weekly as long as the lil woman ain't home is what I'd be thinking. You and I are males, we know how we think. Females don't understand that Jeff Foxworthy is right when he says we are only thinking of 2 things. I'd like a beer and I'd like to see some boobs. Maybe a 3rd.... maybe more than boobs if possible.
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post #7 of Old 04-28-2016, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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We actually use guys to help us clean houses some as well. Hmmm. That's tough. Especially, considering the investment we just made in that car. A lady booked with us yesterday and loved the name. And she works for the school system here as a big wig. lol. We even clean for a assistant principle of one of the local elementary schools. You know something even funnier. We clean for two pastors and 1 church. Lol.

But, I agree. I think where it hurts is with wives. At least the majority of them. And of course we do not know it. Because they just would not inquire to begin with. I feel like the husband goes "we can let them clean". And the wives go "not a chance". And it ends there.

Larry
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post #8 of Old 04-28-2016, 08:54 PM
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This is just me..... would I look at it as an investment or something that is keeping me from making money? I'd look at it as something that is keeping me from making money. Anyone that has been in business for any amount of time at all has blown perfectly good money, if it was me, as Dave Ramsey says, I'd look at it as stupid tax. I know I've paid plenty of stupid tax myself but the trick is to know when to fold them.

So you use 100% males and will always use 100% males? If not, then it doesn't matter if you use 20 males and 1 female.... I almost guarantee that what I said above will happen to that 1 female. I've been in this business many years, I've seen it all even without a name like that. But if you always use 100% males.... the odds are probably in your favor. Schools and churches are where lots of things take place.... watch the news.

I hope it all works out for you and things go perfect, ya never know.
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post #9 of Old 04-29-2016, 06:14 AM
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Re: Market Size for Cleaning business?

The necessary qualifications depend, of course, on the type of cleaning service you decide to start. But for any type of service business, you need a determination to make the business work, a willingness to please the customer and the dedication to provide a thorough cleaning job.
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post #10 of Old 04-29-2016, 07:46 AM Thread Starter
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Well, I probably should have said yesterday that since I originally posted this thread a couple things have happened. As I stated in the beginning my wife and I had done the majority of the labor. Which of course we have always known limited us.

I had to find out just how much. We have a automated quote system on our website. So I audited last year through March 2016's quotes. What I did not realize was exactly how much not hiring help has set us back even in and around Longview.

Particularly, the amount of one time deep cleans we passed on. It was over 30. Simply put if we have 5000 square foot in a day we were already cleaning then you know a 3000 square foot deep cleaning is not getting serviced.

I guess I should have also said that we hired two employees since I started this post. And I have a third on the hook. The goal is to

1) cut back some of our own labor just for the sake of lasting physically
2) be able to service most jobs that roll in

Then I found because we were both full time college students last year we also passed on most recurring cleans. Sure I had "room" for about 3 houses. But, I did not have room for the "initial" cleaning which we all know lasts much longer.

We have used 1 employee in the past. Our dollar per hour skyrocketed. Because I put them doing floors. And we felt a lot better physically.

We have been scared of hiring in the past. But, ultimately after doing the numbers even after paying labor we left A LOT of money on the table.

So the choice was. Let's hire. Make a real push to get in the majority of quotes. Fact is I found that our lack of business I believe was our fault.

As for the business name. We got a record 8 quotes in one day last week. 3 from the car. All of my current clients adore the name. So I do not know what to think about that for sure. I do think with some people it hurts. Fact is I am not sure we'll build lasting rapport with the people that get offended by it frankly. Our clients are doctors, principles, pastors, surgeons, etc. And some working class families with good 2 incomes. So someone likes the name. Fact is we can not afford to change the name after having the car done just 6 weeks ago anyway. That was a huge hit for us.

Or we never really truly know what this area can truly do for us. I believe what happens is our quotes comes in spurts. We may get 5 quotes in a week and then not another one for 3 weeks. And that's a LONG 3 weeks.

And when you go 3 weeks without a quote we panic. At least I do. So the slow business has ultimately been on us. I tend to believe.

I appreciate everybody's feedback of course. Thanks for the time

Larry
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post #11 of Old 05-01-2016, 10:49 PM
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Not sure if you received it or not but I did pm you. What are you doing for advertising?

I might know of atleast 1 you might be missing. Just today, Sunday, I had 14 new people want cleaned this week. On week days I usually get about 5+ new people. Let me know what you are doing and I might be able to ramp up your quotes. If you want to pm me instead of having it here, I'll be on the lookout for it.

Also, great for you two for being in school. What are you taking? My nephew and his wife just graduated from TCU and I am helping her start a school of music. While I won't be involved in the music part, I did play saxophone for 9 years.

Last edited by sprintcar93; 05-02-2016 at 01:03 AM.
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post #12 of Old 05-03-2016, 12:23 AM
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Hello?

(((((cricket))))) (((((cricket)))))
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post #13 of Old 05-03-2016, 05:32 PM
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Apparently everything that was said in the 1st post is now not true and business is overflowing. That's great. Hopefully they make as much PROFIT as I have. A few new customers and hiring a worker or 2 only means 1 thing to those of us that have been in business for awhile... it means now you need 30 more customers and 3 more workers in order to need 30 more customers after that and then 10 more workers to cover the ones that quit. Atleast, if you ever want to make any money to do anything with. Younguns always know better than that us veterans. Let's see what their net worth says in 20 years. Hopefully it has them up over $1 million.
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