Need some advice on getting clients (Cleaning)

Discussion in 'Sales, Marketing & PR' started by Amazin, Feb 15, 2011.

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  1. Amazin

    Amazin UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    Greetings everyone. I enjoy spending time on this forum. I think its gold and I appreciate all the helps I received since I joined this place and would like to return the favour in the future when I have something to offer.

    I'm in the process of setting up a cleaning business at the moment (don't want to work for anyone else). My idea is to start off domestic, then commercial. Been doing lot of door knocking around Leytonstone/Leyton area so far. I have to say it is not a good area for getting clients. Many just can't afford it. (I charge £12 per hour, some were expecting £5 per hour:eek:).

    Few people I spoke to told me I should try local businesses. I don't know how much I should charge them and I'd expect most business already have a cleaner. So can I get them? I can only think of 2 reason why looking for another cleaner. A:they are not happy with their current cleaner, B: I can charge less. I'm planning to do some cold calling tomorrow to see what happens.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011
    Posted: Feb 15, 2011 By: Amazin Member since: Mar 24, 2009
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  2. Mattlock

    Mattlock UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    120 22
    I think the way things are , maybe drop your prices a little ,suck it and see, you can always put your prices back up when things start rolling
     
    Posted: Feb 15, 2011 By: Mattlock Member since: Jan 10, 2011
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  3. popunder

    popunder UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    I suspect businesses would only take on someone who had all the relevant insurances in place, otherwise they're liable if you injure yourself on their premises, and they'll want someone to sue if you accidentally burn down their office. You should even have insurance to clean other people's homes to be honest, but businesses will be more strict about wanting to check.
     
    Posted: Feb 16, 2011 By: popunder Member since: Mar 5, 2008
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  4. SEO Lady

    SEO Lady SEO Small Business Specialist in Somerset. Full Member - Verified Business

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    I had a domestic project last year and I used a local cleaning contractor and he charges me £10 an hour.

    Perhaps you could charge lower if the customers provide their own cleaning products? I understand the price of these has to be absorbed in your rate.

    Also, add your business to Google Places for free.
     
    Posted: Feb 16, 2011 By: SEO Lady Member since: Aug 28, 2009
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  5. bf220

    bf220 UKBF Contributor Free Member

    66 2
    Rubbish. If you win it on price, you'll lose it on price.

    Get yourself uniformed, get insurance and most importantly be confident. You want to win customers / contracts because you come across as professional, reliable and competent. If you win bids purely on price, you'll never get your rates back up.

    How about an ad in local newspaper and maybe see about getting a logo designed so that advert / uniform / van stands out.

    Best of luck
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
    Posted: Feb 16, 2011 By: bf220 Member since: Dec 22, 2008
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  6. Amazin

    Amazin UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    I think you're right. I definately don't want to brand myself as cheap. I do have public liability insurance and I do believe I can do an outstanding job.

    I just phoned a solicitor's place asking them if they need a cleaner. The woman told me they are paying £8 per hour. (I hope she's telling the truth). I have to say I'm disappointed by that. I was expecting something like £11-12 per hour at least. She took my details and I told her I will go in to drop in my business card later. Do you think I might be able to negotiate the price up bit?

    I got a friend who's a manager at Ladbroke's and he told me they are paying the cleaner(or the cleaning company) £15 per hour without equippments provided.
     
    Posted: Feb 16, 2011 By: Amazin Member since: Mar 24, 2009
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  7. gemd89

    gemd89 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    My friend has a cleaning business and offers laundry services - she charges £7.50 per hour and is unindated with work - she did try working for an agency but for every hour she did they took £3, they charged £10 so she was getting £7 per hour - i think she stopped on principle of them taking such a large cut.

    Gemma
     
    Posted: Feb 16, 2011 By: gemd89 Member since: Oct 3, 2009
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  8. bf220

    bf220 UKBF Contributor Free Member

    66 2
    Unless they are unhappy with their current cleaner, absolutely no chance.

    She probably is. I think you're problem is your trying to compete with (sorry to stereotype) a wee old woman thats happy doing 12 hours a week for some pocket money. Good money in that instance but its never going to be feasible as a business.

    Chances are that Ladbrokes are working with a national company and put a £500k (guess) contract out to tender to maintain all of their buildings.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
    Posted: Feb 16, 2011 By: bf220 Member since: Dec 22, 2008
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  9. gemd89

    gemd89 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Netmums is a great resource for finding cleaning work and so is gumtree - but lets face it cleaning is usually the easiest business to start just to do a few hours as you dont really need skills to be one that way anyone can enter the market, charge what they like and be happy on minimum wage and probably just be happy to have a job while we are still in recession and times are tough.

    Gemma
     
    Posted: Feb 16, 2011 By: gemd89 Member since: Oct 3, 2009
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  10. thegriffin2

    thegriffin2 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    I am not in cleaning but sales is the same principle.
    At the moment you might have a handfull of happy customers, I would ask the friendly ones for good references. Also I would ask them if they had any friends or family who they think will like your service.
    This way you wont have to reduce your price as you are being recomended and most people will be happy to recomend you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
    Posted: Feb 16, 2011 By: thegriffin2 Member since: Nov 24, 2008
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  11. Amazin

    Amazin UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    I think I just made a mistake by making that call unprepared. Now I can't ask for more if they decide to use me in the future. My idea is to charge at least £12 per hour so that when I take on employees. I can pay my employees £7 per hour. I really don't like the idea of paying as little as possible.

    Thank you Gemma, a friend of mine once told me the same thing. Barrier to entry is very low. Not everyone want turn it into a cleaning business though. I think few weeks ago someone posted on gumtree that he/she is willing to do it for £5 per hour. It annoys me when I see that. I think I must've knocked on about near 1000 doors now and still not a definate yes. Maybe need to improve my sales tactics.
     
    Posted: Feb 16, 2011 By: Amazin Member since: Mar 24, 2009
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  12. Amazin

    Amazin UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    Posted: Feb 16, 2011 By: Amazin Member since: Mar 24, 2009
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  13. Katy Radcliffe

    Katy Radcliffe UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    I did some googling for cleaners in London and I was shocked at the prices they're charging. I can understand a sole operator choosing to work for peanuts, but I've seen agencies that advertise £8. Considering the cost of living on London, that's really quite low.

    However, I think there is a pretty large pool of people willing to work for very little money in London.

    I'm charging £10 an hour in Dumbarton, Scotland, and getting it. Some of my competition charges £12 or more. Since I'm new, and since I'm a sole trader who can make a good profit at £10, I'm charging this for now. Later, when my schedule gets a bit fuller, I'll start testing the market by quoting a higher price.
     
    Posted: Mar 6, 2011 By: Katy Radcliffe Member since: Jan 25, 2011
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  14. Katy Radcliffe

    Katy Radcliffe UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Would you like to expand upon that? How does it work? How are potential customers identified and targeted? Have you seen this work for other cleaning companies?
     
    Posted: Mar 6, 2011 By: Katy Radcliffe Member since: Jan 25, 2011
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  15. patientlady

    patientlady UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Try and get a couple of jobs for letting agents, say one commerical and one domestic. Get friendly with the lettings manager and wait for the leads...
    If others are charging £8.00 and you wish to charge £12.00 then you need USP's. Work out what they are and sell in on these. Convenience, insurance, fully trained staff, supervised staff, spot checks, child friendly, pet friendly, referenced staff and so on...;)
     
    Posted: Mar 7, 2011 By: patientlady Member since: Aug 25, 2009
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  16. Janebert

    Janebert UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    109 24
    I think you need to decide whether you're going to focus on domestic or commercial. I suspect you'll get higher rates working in commercial - and the work will ironically be easier.

    I'm one of the directors of a residents management company, and we employ cleaners to clean the communal areas of our flats. It's really easy work and they get paid £36 to basically sweep and mop floors in 3 blocks which (so I'm told) takes about an hour. You might consider going down the route of working for managing agents and/or residents management companies. You might even consider care homes etc. as well.

    Also, if you're planning to expand to take on employees, have you thought through whether this is a life you'd enjoy? I imagine your whole life would then revolve around logistics, payroll, staff issues and legal matters - you would have to become a manager, administrator and marketer, rather than a cleaner.

    There aren't too many USPs in cleaning I wouldn't have thought - it's fairly commoditised. Granted, some people will offer a better service than others, and some will have all the requisite insurance etc, but I suspect there's a ceiling on the hourly rate you can charge. Also, some people won't be that bothered about stuff like insurance - most particularly domestic customers.

    I imagine the way to make the real money in that industry is to either build up a big organisation and basically become an agency OR to sell cleaning products and info products on how to clean your house. OR to specialise into something like carpet cleaning and upholstery cleaning.

    Please don't fork out for any cold calling or telemarketing just yet (if ever!). It sounds to me as though you're still working on your target market and proposition. Until you have that nailed, then I wouldn't advise any big spending on marketing campaigns.

    HTH,
    Jane
     
    Posted: Mar 7, 2011 By: Janebert Member since: Nov 19, 2005
    #16
  17. Amazin

    Amazin UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    Its good to see my thread is alive again.:) Don't be fooled by the expensive/rich image of London, it has some of the poorest areas in the whole country. The problem is as someone already pointed it out: I'm competiting with foreigners or anyone who just more than happy to clean to make a living. Many of them only charges £7 per hour.

    Interesting, I might look into that. quick update: I got 3 client so far for domestic clean and an estate agent who asked me to do a one off cleaning. I think I knocked about over 1000 doors now and 100s of cold calls. Not exactly a good ratio but I had few missed opportunities so I feel I need to improve my sales tactics. Some people were semi-shocked when I told them that I charge £10 an hour.

    One of my friend suggested the idea of being an "organic cleaner" where I only use traditional cleaning method and environmental friendly approach. I'm not sure if its practical. Perhaps I should try the "naked cleaner" idea instead:D

    I've contacted lots of estate agents, solicitors, accountants and surgeries. It has been disappointing so far. They tend to use third companies for that and sadly I'm not a company:mad:(not yet)
     
    Posted: Mar 7, 2011 By: Amazin Member since: Mar 24, 2009
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  18. virtuallysorted

    virtuallysorted UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    632 183
    I'm your target market - I hate hoovering, I work lots of weird hours and the house is a mess, my husband works from home a couple of days a week and makes even more mess. We have the most amazing cleaning lady who absolutely is the backbone to the whole thing - she's not the cheapest but she does three things which make her outstandingly brilliant:
    - she turns up when she says she will
    - she tidies whilst she cleans, but doesn't move stuff - we haven't lost anything since she's been working with us.
    - she's really careful not to let our cat out - sounds silly but I've fired a few people over this because saving a couple of quid an hour is just not worth having a squished kitty.

    I'd suggest targeting wealthier areas around you - and putting adverts where they are likely to see them - so in newspaper deliveries (friendly newsagents will usually do this), on noticeboards at extra-curricular activities, asking gardeners/childminders/people who already work with these people etc to recommend you.
     
    Posted: Mar 7, 2011 By: virtuallysorted Member since: Jun 29, 2005
    #18
  19. Stretchy

    Stretchy UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    4,454 1,403
    Quick question to anyone who is thinking about starting a cleaning business, or who is running one but needs more work.

    If there were a service that you could use that would get you enough work to work full time for your chosen hourly rate, how much would you pay for that service?
     
    Posted: Mar 7, 2011 By: Stretchy Member since: Jun 11, 2010
    #19
  20. Katy Radcliffe

    Katy Radcliffe UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    90 11
    Um.... let me think... I suppose I would have to compare it to the cost of advertising, and how much I would have to spend on that in order to get up to a full schedule.

    What would the service be? I work hard to brand myself as my own business. I wouldn't be happy as a "Dial-a-Maid" warm body who just shows up where I'm told to go.

    However, if an agency quoted £12 or whatever to the customer, and let me have £10 of it, and that kept me busy, I think I'd be pretty pleased with that. At the same time, I'd be thinking... "why shouldn't the client give ME the full £12 an hour?" Employees poach clients (and clients poach employees) all the time based on that reasoning. ;)
     
    Posted: Mar 7, 2011 By: Katy Radcliffe Member since: Jan 25, 2011
    #20
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