7 questions to ask prospects before giving them a quote

People are busier than ever and some prospective clients seem to only want one thing from you—a quote for the amount you’ll charge. One of the cleaning business owners that I’m coaching said that she frequently gets text messages asking “How much do you charge?”

I recommend that you never text back an amount, but call them back to get the following questions answered. How are you going to know what to quote without knowing more about the situation? Since they sent you a text, you know their phone number, so pick up the phone, give them a call, and introduce yourself. Then get into the details.

Things to ask before providing a cleaning quote

  1. What part of the city do they live in? You want to be sure that you service their particular area before you continue the call.
  2. Is this a one time clean or are they interested in ongoing cleaning? If it’s a hard job and a one time shot, you can quote more for the job than if you’re going to be cleaning on a regular basis.
  3. Ask if they are getting ready for a special event or occasion. Do they need a move out clean? If so, you probably won’t get another shot at cleaning for them and it’ll probably be a bigger effort than a regular clean, so don’t lose money on the job if they’re moving away.
  4. How soon do they need service? If it’s tomorrow, you’ll probably want to add a rush charge. If it’s next week, you have more flexibility with your scheduling and staff and can charge less.
  5. How many square feet is the home? How many bedrooms, bathrooms, people living in the house, and pets do they have?
  6. Do they have hardwood floors?
  7. Any other special circumstances?

The point of this call is to gather enough information so that you can provide a quote that makes sense for your business. Another benefit is that it conveys to the client that there is a whole lot more to cleaning than just how cheap you are. As you go through this list, you show how knowledgeable you are about all the aspects that they wouldn’t even think about.

For example, say it’s a move out clean. You can tell them that if they’re satisfying the requirements of a contract you’ll need to do a complete top to bottom clean, tackling the inside of drawers, washing baseboards and doors and cabinets, hand-cleaning light fixtures, vacuuming the blinds. You go through a list of items that they didn’t even ask for, to let them know what you believe that they need. Suddenly they realize that it’s a much bigger job than just having one person show up with a vacuum tomorrow. They will value your expertise and you can price your services accordingly.

But do not provide a quote until you get what you need out of them. You are not competing on price, so you must get across the feeling that there is a whole lot more involved than just how cheap you are. If I can’t create that impression on the phone, then I’ve lost the job… unless I’m the cheapest. You have a conversation to demonstrate that you really know what you’re talking about. If the customer has been calling around and just getting price quotes from people, they may start to question whether those other services really know what’s involved in their request, because they didn’t ask the detailed questions that you covered.

Let the prospect know all the things that you traditionally do when you provide a particular type of service, whether it’s for them having a party or putting their house on the market or getting everything ready as they prepare to go into surgery. Once you go through your complete list, they know it’s going to be a bigger job than the three hours they had initially thought. The customer is more likely to say yes to your quote after you detail out all the things they didn’t even think of.

This is just a sample of the kind of help I can offer in my 16 week Cleaning Business Fundamentals course. My course is a no-holds-barred program to teach you how to get out of the field and what the right way is to add customers and staff quickly. For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss whether my course is a good fit for you, simply fill out my owner’s survey and I’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk.

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