Have I stolen your Money?

Is a trend or just a coincidence, in the last 2 months I have lost nearly $4,000 a year in 5 stores to national management solutions type companies. They promised the chain of stores easy management of window cleaning and lower cost. That means I would have to cut my profit from accounts I have serviced for years, [B]if I even get offered them back to me,[/B] or loose them to someone willing to settle for less and split the profit with this lower price national marketeer.
Have you guys seen any of this lately? Is it a new trend?
I have in the last two years been offered a Coach, Brooks Bros, and an Ann Taylor from some of these national companies. I had to agree to their below market pricing, and jump through the paperwork hoops, IVR call ins, and the usual COI, BWC, and Million dollar vehicle Insurance proof to get the $30 a month account that should be priced at $45. But I took it to keep someone else out of my area.
[B]So now look at me, I may have taken your $45 and turned it into my $30.
Are we going backwards?
Am I bad?
Talk to me WCR fans[/B][B][SIZE=“4”][B][/B][/SIZE][/B]

I personally am not a big fan of national service type companies. Way too much beauracracy, paperwork, waiting to get paid, blah blah blah. The national providers have zero loyalty towards you the contractor, and will settle in a heartbeat for the next poor schmuck who comes along and underbids you by a couple of bucks. Unfortunately though, people like yourself are willing to take the work for one reason or another.

Kinda sucks man. Funny tho I don’t have those problems w/ resi and neither would you

Matt, it all comes down to what you think your time is worth.

If you’re happy doing a $30 job in the time it takes you right now, then go for it, good for you. No one can tell you if you should feel bad dropping your price from $45 to $30 but you.

Do they care who you are? [B]No[/B].

Will they be loyal to you if someone cheaper comes along? [B]No[/B].

Should you focus more attention on residential? [B]Yes[/B].

Mr Art,

How do you handle the winter months. Esp in the NE?

I am fortunate enuff to have Dec.-March off(took me awhile to get here). Not by choice but that is the time I focus on my image, details, clients, etc. to have(hopefully) a smoother upcoming year. Seems to get crazier as the years pass.

Yes, I’ve rarely if ever had an account from a NSP that is near my average profitableness when it comes to commercial accts.
I do have to say that Great American Window Cleaning company is pretty user-friendly anyway.
I cut myself off from NEST a year or two ago. They red tape you into oblivion and one hand is clueless as to what the other hand is doing. Maybe they’ve changed, but they pay stale peanuts to their contractors. You could only hope your competition is gobbling up these jobs so you can spend your time actually making a good living.

Thats experience talking. Thanks for your time Dan

I’m not a big fan of Corp or national chains either. Mainly because of what exactly is happening to you. Or when you lose one, you lose them all. I would rather have 400 different stores than a couple dozen sister stores. Just for this reason alone.

Well said.

Mom & Pop’s are where the gold is at.

I hear it from my boss all the time: NEST, American Seaboard, etc are a nightmare to deal with. They’ll drop us from a store then call us back a year later!

I had clean way call yesterday, lenscrafters, i asked how much and they said 25 bucks and 30 day pay, i said i needed 35, she said 28 i said find someone else…usually i just tell them something high and they choke…got one guy in the market who will do it for that and the trouble just cause he has 10 or so! if everyone would quit doing it(national maintenance companies )they would get the point and go out of business.

That company you are talking about also requires you by contract to forward all large chain store inquiries to them. If they find out you are servicing one you can be in for a law suit. I did not sign that contract cause I felt it was only in that companies interest. The only thing I would have gotten is a few cheapo accounts and no response when questions needed to be answered. It’s funny cause you see a lot of people on this board talking about not lowering their price in order to get the job but I saw quite a few of them on that bidding site. What’s also funny is I was to bid on one of the locations and when I got there and saw the 100 windows plus I decided I was not putting in for that gig for $30 plus the $50 awning cleaning. You are hurting your self in the long run cause rarely like in government do you ever see a chain store ask for an increase in the price. What you can expect is a request for bid at a lower price in the future. I stay away from store front. I have 1 account with a large chain. It’s at the same location of the 100 plus window store. My contract with the management is for 5 years signed by corporate and everytime I send an employee it’s a minium $1500 charge. They are happy to pay if for nothing else reliabilty. If I had decided to sign with the national I would never have been able to talk to the other large chain store. I make more money heading over to that location in one shot then I would have in 3 visits to the other store. I also found it interesting those bids were opened in the winter months where it’s more likely to get bidders who are dieing for work from the winter slow down. Thus dieing to just get gigs.

Yes, I have lost some business to national Management Companies who sub everything. I try not to take on those type of accounts. Usually the price is beat down so low you lose money doing them. If I have something nearby and can schedule the work efficiently, I will do them only if I can make money. I am very upfront about that. Some don’t want to chase after a different company every 2 or 3 months because of low and slow pay, and you can negotiate a deal. But anytime I take on some kind of national or chain outfit, I do it assuming I will only get their money for a short time and I don’t count on it in budgets.

Sorry guys I just re-read my post and did not want to lead anyone in the wrong direction in regards to my contract. I made a typo my contract is for $150.00 not $1500.00 sorry. Did not mean to mislead anyone into thinking there are store fronts out there spending that type of cash. I’m sure there are but I have never seen one.

I am a newbie but these companies will ditch you in a heartbeat. I used to do service work for one of the big coffee drinking places. I was just a tech. My boss made a deal with their service company for a certain price. They wanted you to have 1,000s of parts on hand and wanted you to call in when you got there and call in when done. Come to find out they would not pay for the time for me to travel to the store. If anyone here has ever worked as a service tech on a hourly rate you know that you charge for the time it took you to get to that location. If you are happy then cool but be warned. These people would ditch their mom for a dollar.

isn’t selling a product or service far below it’s market value to gain control of a market breaking the anti trust laws?
I’m betting some of these companies are borderline on breaking them. I bet one call to a state attorney gen would put a stop to a lot of them offering window cleaning for next to nothing.

what happens is they gain control of a market, they run everyone else out of business then raise the price on the stores. (that’s an example of breaking the anti trust law known as predatory pricing)

one sure fire way to stop all of this… everyone turn down their offers. they’ll be forced to hire full time employee’s and they’ll find out why we charge what we do.