What to do when client pockets get tight? - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
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post #1 of Old 07-01-2008, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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What to do when client pockets get tight?

Greetings Everyone,

Within the last three weeks, I've lost two clients due to financial issues and many are constantly rescheduling. With gas prices on the rise and the supposed "recession," what are you all doing to mitigate this risk of loss in revenue? Has anyone else felt the consumer pinch?
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post #2 of Old 07-11-2008, 12:56 PM
 
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We've felt it, but you have to ride it out. I don't believe it will last forever.Great service is always required, but now more tahn ever, it must be a priority. People have to believe that your service is a necessity. You have to do a great job, every time. Respond to any complaints immediately, as during bad economic times, there will be more complaints.Make sure your clients can trust you, and your employees. Everyone is hearing about the crime rate going up, people need to be assured about their security.Run your business as you would want a business run that is performing services for you, and for God's sake, don't take this time to skimp on insurance, or your payroll. This isn't the time to take on 8 dollar an hour workers. If you can't pay someone decently, do it yourself.
Good luck-it won't last forever,and I believe things will be better at the other end of this mess.
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post #3 of Old 07-11-2008, 05:27 PM
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post #4 of Old 07-13-2008, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much! That was really helpful!
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post #5 of Old 07-13-2008, 05:55 PM
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Also, don't forget to take this "downtime" to revamp your business and find ways to improve. You can review your policies, do more one-on-one training, research ways to make service improvements/expansion, develop new marketing ideas...etc. Consider the downtime as a way to make improvements and you can't go wrong.

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post #6 of Old 07-30-2008, 07:05 PM
 
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I have felt the pitch too, I lost 1 customer due to job loss and out of good faith lowered his price and he still wanted to reschedule and he asks me if he could do every 3 weeks and i told him I would be happy to do but I would have to adjust his price to compensate for the extra cleaning needing to be done and he cancelled all together. I'm sorry but I'm not a coupon, Cleaning is hard work and I thought i was doing a good deed for job loss and it ended up that he appreciate it and wanted something for nothing.

The other cliet kept rescheduling saying her house wasnt dirty enough for me to clean, i figured it was b/c she was broke. Turned out when we cleaned her house after 1 1/2 it was filthy and realized she lied <no surprise> I told her there was a cancellation fee and she ended up cancelling service instead of paying $10 extra dollars. I gained more then the 2 I lost and they are not the type to say "my house isnt dirty enough" so you lose some, you gain some!
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post #7 of Old 11-28-2008, 07:20 AM
 
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Has anyone lost any customers lately due to economy or having a hard time gaining new ones? I recently lost one, although I figure she went with someone cheaper. I offered to lower the rate to keep her her as a customer but I doubt I will hear back from her.
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post #8 of Old 11-28-2008, 02:11 PM
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I'd say that it would be safe to say that everyone is feeling the pinch. With people losing jobs right and left, they are going into business for themselves doing house cleaning just to put food on the table. As such, the market is flooded with people hanging a shingle and undercutting the competition just to get a quick job. And for those doing the hiring, it's easier (but not wise) to go with a house cleaner that charges half of the price of a legitimate company.

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post #9 of Old 11-29-2008, 01:35 AM
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with that said - now is the time more than ever to educate the customer as to the downfalls of hiring a person who is new to the business, a person or company who is not properly licensed/ insured/ trained, etc.....
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post #10 of Old 11-29-2008, 06:37 AM
 
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People care too much about money right now then they do about training, licensing, or insurance. That used to work but at this time I don't agree it is the best method esp people like me that don't have a service/company or employees. I work alone so it is very difficult.
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post #11 of Old 11-29-2008, 01:21 PM
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In my close to 23 years in business I have survived a few recessions/ dot com busts/ etc… and I can tell you that while some consumers will seek cheaper help there are many who still seek out the most "qualified" help that their money can buy. I refuse to cheapen myself or my company by lowering my prices for the bargain shoppers as they will peter out naturally anyways because they cannot afford our services. Instead I concentrate on offering more value to my existing services to those who can afford our services in order compete. After all – why make a priority of those who do not prioritize you.
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post #12 of Old 11-29-2008, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t.peterson View Post
After all – why make a priority of those who do not prioritize you.
Very eloquent words! Makes total and absolute sense.

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post #13 of Old 11-29-2008, 06:22 PM
 
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I try to make a living not a business out of my cleaning service. I have put more effort into my work and rewarded my customers with extras such as coupons and freebies and such, I have also lowered my prices to "keep food on the table" judge me if you will but, I 'm also one of those people who are just trying to make ends meet and pay bills. I view my service differently then most of you do. This isn't a career for me and I don't see myself scrubbing toilets for the rest of my life. Some NOT ALL people just want someone to clean their toilets KWIM? without all the service contracts and what not that goes along with it. To each its own is what I always say!
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post #14 of Old 11-29-2008, 07:16 PM
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First let me clarify that no one (especially me) is judging you.

I do not understand what you mean though when you say - " I try to make a living not a business out of my cleaning service. I have put more effort into my work and rewarded my customers with extras such as coupons and freebies and such," If you are working at any level I would think that you would be as equally invested in your work as I am.

As far as service agreements - I think you are referring to contracts and we have never worked with those. However we do have company policies and we "agree" to do "X" for "$", since we put that all into writing we do call it a service agreement.

As far as making scrubbing toilets a career - I happen to enjoy good solid hard work - be it farming, cleaning stables or cleaning toilets. I have many other marketable skills and can easily get an office job or management job in a heart beat, I choose to work for myself and I choose to clean toilets* and homes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. (* yes! I work in the field each and every day even though I have employees - by choice)


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post #15 of Old 11-29-2008, 07:24 PM
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As I have always said to anyone who would listen...

"I scrub a toilet just as good as anyone else...and probably better!"

Torrey Shannon
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post #16 of Old 11-29-2008, 10:01 PM
 
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I would say that most of us are feeling a pinch because of the economy, but it is the same right now with any job, any career, any business. I for one view it this way, I provide a service that anyone can do, but noone wants to. Maybe we know a few tricks, we are probably alot quicker, we know what works and what doesn't, but it isn't brain surgery. With that said, I refuse to view myself as "just a cleaning person" My clients respect me, because I respect myself. I am a business owner. Maybe this won't be for me someday, but this day it is. Your comment about not planning on making a career out of scrubbing toilets, I see it like this, noone knows what we will be doing tomorrow, or in ten years, but any job, even scrubbing toilets is worth doing well, and I'm sure you do, but if you sell yourself short, then others will too.
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post #17 of Old 11-30-2008, 07:30 AM
 
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Ok, It sounded good in my head but I guess it didn't come out right on the post. I guess what I meant is that I like what I do(as far the actual cleaning), but I don't like the business aspect of it such as marketing, bidding, and what not. I started back in Nov, almost a year ago this week. Since then I've lost a partner and several customers. 1 year later I have 10 customers, not quite worth it! I've tried everything you can think of to do (reason why I joined these boards in the first place) spent money and time on marketing. Each and everytime I'm very confident in my efforts only to be let down by no reward. As for the judging part of it, the reason I say that is everyone is always against the non tax payers in the biz. I don't pay taxes, how can I on 10 customers and still make ends meet? I do however carry insurance but after losing the last customer I might be force to drop that as well. Everytime I got frustrated with no result I reached out for help and guidance, I put the good advice to work and no reward. I've done that so many times I have come to realize that obviously this isn't for me or that the area I target doesnt care about bells and whistles but prefers people who they just want to clean their toilets so to speak! (at a cheap rate) I did do service agreements in the past and saw good results form them. I know some of you are thinking I have a bad attitude, I don't have a bad attitude but I am in a grey area and have been in this area for months. The area of not going anywhere! I started out viewing my business as a business, but my view has changed to I'm just a cleaning lady! Legitimate business pay taxes and have employees right? I can clean, I enjoy cleaning and my customers that are loyal feel I do a great job, although they don't refer me! None of them ever have, which has always been a mystery to me! I enjoy cleaning, flexible schedule, decent part time pay so for what it worth I guess I have came to realize that It is what It is! Sorry I have rambled on and on.
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post #18 of Old 11-30-2008, 10:19 AM
 
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Melissa, I understand, trust me I do. You started your business, (and it is a business) on the cusp of the greatest economic disaster since the great depression. I think you should congratulate yourself on having the ten clients you have - that is no small feat in this climate after only a year. I know some who have none. When your small it is tough, and it's frustrating to be told to rework your business plan when you can't make your mortgage. I know that we have been at the point where we took part-time jobs to make ends meet for awhile, and went back to school- not so easy- I know, but you have to do what you have to do. Please know that you accomplished something that a great number of people wish they could, a great number of people that fail in a matter of months. As far as business advice, mine is small. For us the local Chamber of Commerce has helped us a great deal, but it costs money to get in, it may be worth it. I would flat out ask your clients to refer you, or ask why they haven't. Also we are having some luck with Gift Certificates for the holidays. They can at least get you in the door. Good luck, and I do wish you well, remember we are all somewhat in the same boat.
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post #19 of Old 11-30-2008, 10:35 AM
 
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Thank You so much for your advice! Very much appreciated. Gift certificates hasn't been sucessful been there and tried that too!
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post #20 of Old 04-25-2009, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melissa View Post
I don't pay taxes, how can I on 10 customers and still make ends meet?
1. I notice that when I press on your web address, it no longer exists

2. I saw on another thread where you said that you only accept cash

3. On this thread you indicated that you are not a business but a cleaning lady

I appreciate your honesty. Most trunk slammers are in denial.

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