Customer Exit Process?

Just had a customer cancel their window cleaning maintenance service with us. We’re ok with it because they weren’t wanting to be fair regarding an increase in price after they drastically reduced frequency of cleanings. Anyway, this got me thinking, do you have a specific phrase or wording when replying to a customer that has dropped you? Specifically commercial or storefront? Do you have a process? Does your contract include any clause for when a customer ends services?

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I wish.

Why would you raise the price for fewer visits?
How come the price isn’t the same? I could understand if your going from quarterly to annual or something, was that what it was?

Storefront don’t deserve the time it takes to write the email.
Commercial stuff, I try to get to the heart of the matter and find out how I messed up. Usually, its some rookie mistake that I made or something.

Here’s an example;
I had a request for estimate for one pretty big property management company about 10 years ago that had about 15 properties on it. 8 of them were monster buildings, the rest were smaller buildings that can be done in about 4 to 5 hours with only one man.

So stupid me went and bid what I thought to be at the time a good price for the larger ones (at that time I was still new but able to do these jobs quite easily, but I wasn’t really breaking down the price, just pulling numbers out of the air and hoping I made out ok).

But for the small ones I gave prices as low as 300 bucks for these jobs!!

I ended up winning the RFP and they had me start on the large ones to test me out.(found that out much later)

I did ok, no complaints.

However, I got a call asking me to bid on the grand re opening of the Lily pharmaceutical building where they were remodeling and adding areas onto and into the building.

There’s a story about that on another thread, so if you wanna read it just do a search, but short version is I screwed the pooch big time, and lost all but the little jobs.

That crushed me.

I sent an email asking if she’d help me so I can improve because I really didn’t want to make her look bad and want to be the best in my field.

And she did. And I improved.

So, it depends what your goal is for the exit process. Personally, I’d like to make it so that I’m the obvious choice to take care of their building.

If thats yours too, just make it come from the heart and you’d be surprised what people will say.

Sometimes people don’t really want to talk on the phone about why you got the boot. Makes them feel uneasy sometimes.

I just get it into my head that its gone and its not coming back, then think, how can I keep this from happening again.

Turn those results into your written system for customer care or whatever position this falls under in your outfit.

FYI, the price in my opinion, should be the same if you clean it every day or twice a year. The time it takes won’t be that much of a difference really.


No problem Good luck !!

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Thanks for the reply. They did go from quarterly to once a year. And the cleaner that had them before me was a friend and give me the account when he had to move. But he charged way too low in the first place. I honored his prices though. I had also visited and help clean this place a few times with him. They were near some woods and some of the windows got pretty bad at times. So I thought the increase was justified. price is the only thing that changed and it is the only reason they decided to cancel. Nothing else that we did. But now you’ve got me second-guessing a little. should I reach out to them? What do you say in a situation like that without looking desperate or unprofessional?

:joy:. I couldn’t help but get an image of Liam Neeson and the movie Taken

“from quarterly to once a year” - you bet a price increase! anybody knows about quantity discounts, same deal and not necessarily tied to your_emphasized text_ your actual time savings, even though a once a year will take longer due to more dirt, more scrubbing more details. also lost time due to inefficiencies from not doing bldg. more frequently

“he charged way too low in the first place” - the real problem

how much is this job?

Honestly? I think you did right and wouldn’t do a thing but stick to your guns.

Quarterly to annual is ridiculous. That sounds more like a budgeting problem than your problem or a problem with your services.

Don’t let this one bother you. I’ve done the desperate thing tho as well (you didn’t) and really, I didn’t care. I have always hated and taken personally when I’d lose a building.

And 99% of the time it was not anything that had to do with me at all. But that 1 percent tho, good god I’ve called some stupid plays in my day looking back on things.

No, you did right on this call.

Exit strategies really should be stick to your guns, if your price is justified and you can’t go lower or you suffer then its not something you can do. If you have all you need insurance wise, employee wise or not, best tools etc and can’t possibly do the job any cheaper than never wrack your brain.

You’ve done what any SUSTAINABLE business can do and deliver the results they will sign off on and you can put your name to.

Add to it things to keep the door open for when whoever replaces you screws up, or when they sell the building, they may call you later by getting the referral from the manager who let you go.

Always be as professional as possible but leave it open for criticism so you can improve.

Tory, its just marketing/presentation/initial expectations with the qtly to annual

in my experience every PM has asked how much for this frequency or this frequency etc

if its in the initial presentation on file, it’s all there for them

if a one/best price on initial is given for “a” or “any” service then yeah, issues

half of this scenario just sounds like the typical cutting costs, or getting ready to sell, or the “who cares what breathing body is out here, we’re “auctioning off” our properties to lowest bidder and we planned on the same rate once a year, we have the leverage not you and we’re gonna prove it because you’re not gonna get a nickel more out of us and we could care less who you are”

power play money bullying is what is

more to conversation than care to write but it exists and it works for different rates

it has worked for me, I don’t mean its right for you, I get it

to everyone, overall though, when frequencies get reduced, there’s trouble of some kind brewing, that won’t end favorably somewhere down the line (turns into “we’ll call”, sold bldg., no budget and services discontinued, shopping for even lower bidders, etc etc,)

every customer is going to turn bad like milk turning sour, it’s not “if” it’s “when” - Dan Kennedy

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Yeah, I hear ya Bruce.
It kinda sounds like budget issues to me what happened to him.

Route and Commercial work has been the staple and bread and butter of my business. So I have dealt with many situations over my years in business where a customer will, for any number of reasons, decrease frequency. I became tired of playing the guessing game with every time this happened ( Why, What can I do, Do I increase Price or walk ? ) Questions like you are asking.

I finally said enough is enough and came up with an objective ( Proactive ) policy across the board for anyone who reduces services. It looks like this -
Weekly to Biweekly - 30% increase
Biweekly to Monthly - 30% increase
Monthly to Qtly - 30% Increase
Qtly to Semi A - 30% increase

Most ! Not all, but a high percentage, will either continue the service they have when they see their current per visit is cheaper or accept the increase. They key is YOU have the policy and YOU dictate how that works not the customer. You have the policy and they get to choose.


Oh, too, we have no " Contracts ". We have a quoted price and frequency agreement but they can cancel at anytime. If we were investing a lot of money to secure and do a very large commercial ( hiring for a job ) on an ongoing basis maybe, but we are routes and three level commercial so no need. Plus, in my opinion, a manager will have more flexibility to hire you if they do not have to sign a commitment to use your services for a set frequency over a predetermined time.

That sounds like a fair number 30%.

Wow! Thanks everyone for your response! Some very thorough and detailed replies! I’m glad to hear confirmation that it was them and not me and that some of you do have price increases for less frequent cleans. We’ll see what happens in the future. I have a feeling they’ll be back. If not, would any of you try checking on them in a year or so? Maybe less?

Personally, no. I wouldn’t. You won’t even remember them in a year and there’s a good chance they won’t even be managing that building in a year.

Where I am, I’ve never got a commercial job by calling them. Not one time. Maybe cuz I suck at sales pitch’s I don’t know. All I know is they’ve always called me.

Just make sure you’re easily found online and wherever they look for service providers. Over time you’ll get called again to give numbers for that building, you’ll already have them and just need to adjust them a little.

There will always be another job, bigger and better paying. Stay focused on where you are going, learn from where you’ve been.

You’re doing just fine as it appears to me.

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