I love my business; I’ve had some of the same clients for 14 years and they’ve paid me tens of thousands of dollars for the services we provide. One of the things that make this office cleaning business a success is that we choose the businesses we market too. There are some clients we DON’T want, and you shouldn’t either.
Here’s how I helped one of my book buyers avoid the client he really didn’t want.
“I went to do an estimate for a restaurant that is about to open and I’m stuck in pricing it. The basement is about 650 sq. feet and has an unfinished floor that needs to be vacuumed, mopped and possibly cleaned with degreaser. The top entrance floor has 120 sq. ft. of tile floors, 210 sq. ft. of wood floors and 270 sq. ft. of tile floors in the kitchen that may need degreaser also. It also has 2 bathrooms and 1 small room where they wash the mops and put a mop and broom that needs cleaning (the sink, the small floor and the walls). How would I begin to price this? I think it’s about 1230 sq. ft. in total. Where do I begin, besides knowing the square footage?”
I replied, giving him instructions on bidding the job.
Terry wrote back,
“Thanks for your encouragement. What about if the basement space cannot be done in a standing comfortable position? I have to bend over to do it because of the low ceiling and they want the walls also vacuum and washed.”
MY reply was as follows:
"Are you sure you even want to bother with this job? One of the things I suggest in my book is deciding on your ‘ideal’ customer. This doesn’t look like one to me, BUT, I took some really crappy jobs in the beginning just to get started.
Here’s what I’d do: pick a figure, any figure that you feel is right to do the job, bid the job based on that figure. If you get it, fine; if not, great - it wasn’t worth doing any way. Use your time to get the small office accounts. It’s clean work, pretty standard rates per square foot. You sell ‘you’ as a hard working, “I care more about doing a good job than anyone else” kind of guy. It’s a lot more fun than near slave labor conditions in a restaurant basement."
"Thank You. I agree with you. Just writing the proposal made me depressed."
For Terry and anyone else who wants to start a business:
1. It takes effort. That’s why most people don’t become successful.
2. Not everyone wants your goods or services, but enough will.
3. Building your business should be a pleasure. Yes, you’ll work hard, but never take on work that demoralizes you. Life is too short.