No excuses – Why your cleaning business is stuck

Last week I was talking to a business owner and was amazed by how many excuses he had for why he couldn’t move his business forward. When I was speaking with him, I realized that he was all about CAN’T, instead of listening to my suggestions or asking how to make a change. I personally don’t understand the word CAN’T—it’s not in my vocabulary. If every problem you have is blamed on other people, or you can’t find a solution because you can’t do something, you are never going to move your business forward.

Here are a few of the excuses he gave me. Do any of these sound familiar? Be honest with yourself, and don’t hold yourself back!

Excuse #1: I can’t pay my employees more and I struggle with high turnover. I pay them all I can afford to pay.

You need to charge your clients more so that you can pay your staff more. No one will want to work for a lower than normal rate. You will always have high turnover if you don’t pay your employees enough.

Excuse #2: I can’t charge more because clients won’t pay higher rates.

When I asked him what his conversion rate was on clients, he said 80%. That’s unusually high, and that tells me that he’s not charging enough. He was shorthanded from all the people quitting who didn’t want to work for him, but he couldn’t service all the demand because he wasn’t charging enough, and had excuses for not charging more. The demand was unusually high, meaning he had wiggle room on prices.

I told him that he needed to do more marketing so that his phone would ring more often and to quote higher prices but to keep his staff busy. “Give your employees more hours and raise their pay—spend more on marketing and your phone will ring more.”

Excuse #3: I can’t spend any money on marketing

I asked how much he was currently spending on marketing and after a bit of calculation, he figured about $500/month. But this wasn’t driving enough work to keep the 5 people who were working for him busy.

So what was wrong with his marketing? I dug a little deeper and found that he’s spending his money in the places that attract customers who want the lowest price (like Thumbtack or Yelp). He’s marketing to the wrong people and spending a lot on low-cost/low-return marketing. It turns out that someone had suggested that he use Google AdWords but he said it was too expensive. What were the results when he tried it? It worked, it did crank out a few customers.

How is marketing expensive if it works? If it generates new customers, it also gives you an opportunity to retain those new customers as recurring clients. That is long-term, permanent money in the bank.

You can’t afford NOT to spend money on marketing. If you don’t, your business will dry up and you’ll be so desperate for customers that you’ll price your services too low.

This is just a sample of the kind of help I can offer in my 16 week Cleaning Business Fundamentals course. 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.