Question for the interior cleaning biz's - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
 
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post #1 of Old 02-14-2007, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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Question for the interior cleaning biz's

For anyone reading, my company handles exterior cleaning and restoration. Every spring we see ten guys that jump on board thinking its easy money (the only way I identify these guys is by the unpainted, unlogo'd, ten year old pickup with a Home Depot pressure washer in the back and a bunch of empty bleach bottles ) The lure of low startup turns every dissatisfied hourly worker into a would-be business owner. They usually make it one season and out.

I can imagine house cleaning is far worse. With no disrespect meant to anyone, I would guess many unemployed housewives with no idea how to start a business let alone what it takes to sustain one, get on the internet, buy some cleaning supplies and a vacuum and away they go.

Do those of you with established operations get hurt by the influx of fledgling cleaning services? What do you do to separate yourself from the crowd? Is there enough money out there that you can turn down a certain type of job to leave for the newbies?

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post #2 of Old 02-14-2007, 09:57 AM
 
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For anyone reading, my company handles exterior cleaning and restoration. Every spring we see ten guys that jump on board thinking its easy money (the only way I identify these guys is by the unpainted, unlogo'd, ten year old pickup with a Home Depot pressure washer in the back and a bunch of empty bleach bottles ) The lure of low startup turns every dissatisfied hourly worker into a would-be business owner. They usually make it one season and out.

I can imagine house cleaning is far worse. With no disrespect meant to anyone, I would guess many unemployed housewives with no idea how to start a business let alone what it takes to sustain one, get on the internet, buy some cleaning supplies and a vacuum and away they go.

Do those of you with established operations get hurt by the influx of fledgling cleaning services? What do you do to separate yourself from the crowd? Is there enough money out there that you can turn down a certain type of job to leave for the newbies?
I am a Newbie Company my wife lost her job and I have wanted to open a business for the longest time. Now I have the ability to open one. We have had two clients. So far in the last two weeks. Which is not bad since I haven’t used any paid advertising yet? I worked for someone that owned a cleaning business and since then I have wanted to open one. I don't think that just because you do not have the knowledge of how to run a business that you will not succeed you have to have the determination, the will, and you have to want to learn even if it is the hard way. I have no option but to succeed. Your correct I did just go to home depot to by my products to be able to clean at least to get our feet wet. Most start ups don't have the capital. I would suspect that must people on this forum when they first started their company they did not know everything that this job was going to in tell.
I am the say person that needed help on that 3200 sq foot house. The guy wanted us to clean the house for 75-85 dollars. We went ahead and bid normally so we gave him a bid of 120 dollars we knew that you would not accept that so what I am getting at is as newbie I had to turn a job down. I was not going to make 13.33 an hour to clean someone’s house.
I like your topic I hope more people responded I would like to know what other people think of us newbie’s.
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post #3 of Old 02-14-2007, 10:29 AM
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Hi Ken,

I am off to a meeting soon so I will make this a short answer - Am I hurt by the influx of new persons in the business? That is a 2 fold answer that goes like this - If they come in with at least a small glimmer of understanding of what it takes to REALLY Run a business and they get insured and pay their taxes, ect then NO I am not hurt, because they are going to price their jobs in order for their own survival. However, that is not the case with a large majority of the cleaners, who will undercut the pricing with little regard to themselves, their clients or the industry. Price conscious clients will often try one or two of these cleaners before resigning themselves to the fact that they are not capable of the fact of being able to provide quality service for the rates that they charge. Therefore ultimately IF I wait long enough even those customers will come back to my services dispite the fact that I charge premimum rates.

The problem lies in the fact that recently due to press that cleaning is "The Industry to get rich quick" there has been a larger than usual influx of the fly by nights. This makes the waiting process a slightly longer one in some cases and many of the newer legitimate companies and persons are unable to survive the wait.

(Ramosjg - to you I say- do it right from the beginning and hang tight. Quality always rises to the top)
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post #4 of Old 02-14-2007, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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I hear you, T, and I have the same philosophy. The part timers are actually the worst of the bunch. That's not to say all part timers are bad, only the ones that adhere to the following mentality..

I had a customer I serviced three years ago. The price for his service was $800 and we had it done in about five hours with three guys. Genius that this guy was, he calculated material cost of $150 and figured my labor cost was maybe another $150. He must have commented ten times how he wish he made $100/hr and that he knew doctors that didn't clear that much etc.. genius had no idea what it truly cost to run a business. Sure enough this bozo starts a "pressure washing" company on the side. His marketing was targeted directly at me (Don't pay the ridiculously high rates the pros will charge you.. pretty clever, huh?)

He made $40K per year at is full time job and lived modestly so I guess he figured he could charge half of what I was charging doing weekend jobs and make just as much as he made working all week. He was a complete hack but it took a year for people to figure that out and he drove rates down because if nothing else the guy was an aggressive marketer. Long story short, he ended up leaving a pile of oily rags under a deck and they caught on fire and the deck was destroyed. NO INSURANCE. He was operating as an unregistered sole proprietor so whatever meager net woth he had was wiped out.

Now I didn't want that to happen to the guy but this whole diatribe is just supporting what Theresa just posted. Do it right. Don't undercut services because you think you can live on less. Don't think that a valid sales pitch is "we don't have the overhead of the bigger companies so we can charge less" You'll either be just another statistic or a paid employee that calls him/herself a business owner.

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post #5 of Old 02-14-2007, 03:27 PM
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Long story short, he ended up leaving a pile of oily rags under a deck and they caught on fire and the deck was destroyed. NO INSURANCE. He was operating as an unregistered sole proprietor so whatever meager net woth he had was wiped out.
I cannot tell you how many people who I have spoken to that have had some sort of contractor do something similar and then just slink off and disappear when it comes time to man up and pay for the damages!!!

I would like to start a campaign to aggressively take back the word "Professional" for any industry. I suggest that we all stress to anyone who will listen that the word professional should not be used by persons who are not licensed, not insured, not properly trained, etc.......

Don't get me wrong you can call yourself a cleaner, a pressure washer, a ditch digger, etc..... all you want, Just don't call yourself a "Professional" unless you meet all of the criteria

I will gladly mentor anyone who is desiring to do things right. I will help you from scratch to success never considering you a competitor, instead a friend as long as you are interested in doing it right. However, you will see the wrath of "T" if you skimp on the rules and bring down the industry

Theresa
A "Professional" Cleaner
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post #6 of Old 02-15-2007, 06:14 PM
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Not sure that those newbies take any business from us but certainly do a number on what we can get in compensation. Sort of like the kid in class that always thew everybodies grade by getting 100% on the test. It seems that the lowest priced workers have an effect on the Full Market Value we can get.

Example--- In some areas, the lowball price for a house wash might be say $150, so the highest guy in town might be able to get $500. However if there are lowball guys in your town doing houses for $89, the high guy is lucky to get $250.

This is where I see a newbie with little knowledge of marketing/selling or simple business math will come in and sell based on urealistic numbers and throws the curve for all the rest of the Professionals.

Our cleaning service doesn't produce the margins that our Pressure Cleaning does because the Home Cleaning industry is older and has had more time with prices being driven lower and lower. It is just a matter of time and the Pressure Cleaning Industry will see the same. The better Chems and proccesses are only enabling the lowballers to cut prices even more. As soon as some of my competitors here learn how to clean as fast as me, they will cut thier prices and try to work on volume.

It is present in commercial janitorial already. They bid with low margins and hope for high volume. All the while, paying thier help low wages.

Michael Kreisle, First Choice Power Washing LLC
Lexington, KY 859-983-5955
We own and operate a great Cleaning Service in Lexington KY as well as provide
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