How much free service would you offer to gain 1 new customer?

How much of your time would you give to gain 1 new customer at your regular price?

For Store front wed give half an hour… Nothing for residential… Unless it was gonna be a huge job.

My initial question might not be clear enough so I will rephrase this.

If someone gave you a referral (that you’d perform at regular full price), what would be the most amount of (service) time you’d give back to the original referrer?

I’m also talking mostly residential.

Oh I see… Sorry I misunderstood… I would say 0

I wouldn’t trade time for referrals. It’s just not a very convertible currency, since I don’t charge for my time. If somebody asks for a discount, I’ve been known to offer $10 for each referral who books a job. I wait and cut a check [I]after[/I] I do the job though. Referrals who don’t book are worth nothing to me. I always make sure my customers understand that.

I guess if you were going to convert it, it’d be about 8-10 minutes of work. And I wouldn’t dare offer a customer that!

I see where you are going, I have tried this type of stuff for referrals. It sucks.

I get way more referrals being “a great guy” and doing a good job over an offering of my time/service.

Time is very undervalued with most people. It is the only thing we can’t get more of, so it is priceless in many ways. I can spend a dollar and get two back… I spend an hour and it is gone forever!

I would give 0 time but 100% effort

I agree! I have been know to wash a mirror or even take the trash out for a senior, but never for a non-paying customer. If they want to see your work they can go check out the windows of the person who refered them. Now i do free estimates but that is a whole different topic.

BV rephrased the question:

we give our customers $25.00 off their next cleaning on any referral.

After examining various promotions offered by competitors in my market as well as my own promos, I noticed a definite trend. And that was some sort of [I]‘give back’[/I] program to customers who give referrals that turn into real jobs.

Some promos involve gifts or discounts off future cleans while others offered a free cleaning after so many referrals.

I was just curious how some of you felt about giving up either your time or money (in way of some gift item) in order to gain new customers. Which do you value more, time or money or are they the same thing to you.

Paneless gave away a computer last year to one of his customers that booked a job during a certain period. That’s quite a lot of money to spend on a promo for this kind of business I think but he says it brought in a tonne of money during that time period so I guess for him it was a success.

I’ve heard others mentioning on this forum that they’ve raffled off/donated free window cleaning for charity and as a promotion so there is an example of giving away a lot of free time.

I’m just trying to look at promotions at different angles. (and thinking out loud). Thanks for your responses.

Sorry I miss understood the question. all my customers that refer someone to me will get a 10% discount on their next cleaning provided the referal gets their windows cleaned.

he said it turned out ok and not likely to do that type of promotion again.

Try doing it yourself (on a smaller scale) and see if you can get a good system in place.

Have any of you just asked for referrals?.. it works

I do this sometimes…

The manager was not yet fully convinced yet, so I told here I would do one Inside and Outside window for free so she can see how it looked. She liked it and on we went.

Sometimes it works and other times you cleaned an In & Out for nothing…that’s the only thing I do for free.

I’m afraid you are reading too much into my thread. This is not about “how to get referrals” it’s about what you are willing to give up to attract new clients.

Donate a free window cleaning for charity. (your time) Good PR and you may keep the client for the future.

Advertise that you give away a free cleaning after X amount of referrals. (again, your time) They may not give you a referral in the end for whatever reason but still hired you because you were offering to give something back.

Main point is, when a customer looks at Company A versus Company B and sees one offers a bunch of promotional incentives and the other one doesn’t, how will this influence their decision?

you assume that they need a bribe. You assume that giving away a window cleaning to a charity is yummy to them. You base that on what? I would not be any more interested in your service for that, why would I?

The PR is not that easy. Who is giving you press for this?.. it is not exactly Extreme Makeover.

Advertise a free cleaning for referrals? I hope you are not talking about advertising this to people who do not know or have used your service. That would be silly. If I have not tried your service how can I honestly feel good referring you to someone I know? (I do have an angle I use in some of my ads that works almost the same)

Offer them what they want (clean windows that they did not have to clean) in a compelling way. Gimmicks are very tricky. I have failed with many on my existing clients, imagine to those that do not know and like me!

Try the charity, try a tech device, try a Target gift card, try the referral thing, try whatever. Then come back and tell how well it did.


Stop telling me I’m assuming this and assuming that. I’m just pointing out what I’ve seen others doing out there including some folks on this forum. I’m not saying any of it works in gaining new clients. I have no personal examples to draw upon.

The closest I’ve come to any of the ideas mentioned is giving away a gift card as a thanks for a referral but I would never say it has worked for me in gaining a new client.

I simply put out the question to see if any of what I’ve seen out there from competitors (promotions) actually work with some of you guys.

I’m with CFP on this one, I work hard, deliver an excellent service, and go the extra mile sometimes. That’s my investment for referrals.
They’ve had an awesome experience dealing with me, and if they refer me to their friends they are doing their friends a favor, not to me

Probably a little arrogant, but that’s the way I see it.

You are not being arrogant. You expressed your opinion on giving something away for free. You don’t like the idea, great.

I don’t like the idea either. CFP was correct, these ideas suck. I just took offense to his telling me that I’m making bad assumptions by implementing all these ideas. I"m not implementing all these ideas but I see it everywhere and in every industry. I wanted others opinions on it.

I see window cleaners giving away gifts and free cleanings (free time).
I see car companies giving away free gas.
I see furniture companies giving away free HD Televisions.
I see lanlords (in Toronto) giving away free ipods just to sign a 1 year lease.

The only purpose of this thread is to get an idea where marketing promotions were going based on the current economy.

I here yeah, but are any of these things working for the people you see advertising it? Buying a couch and getting a free love seat is great, but how can we use that in our business…

For us to give away stuff not relative (I feel) would not work. A couch and love seat make sense, buy a computer and get a free led monitor makes sense, buy 3 shrubs and get one free makes sense, buy a pizza at regular price and get the 2nd for $5 makes sense.

To give away an ipod for window cleaning/referral or give away anything non-relative (I feel) causes a disconnect with the consumer/customer and the offer… no matter how seemingly great the thing is.

I don’t know. I’m just seeing it more and more. In the case of Paneless, (I wish he would add his thoughts) his iMac computer giveaway promotion ended last Oct 2007 but a picture of the computer and it’s winner still dominates the home page of his web site. The wording in the promotion states “The only window cleaning company willing to give something back to it’s customers.” So it exactly describes what I’m seeing all over.

Like I mentioned, I offer a gift card (for various products/stores/gas) as a thanks for referral but I’m certain no one has actually used that as a deciding factor for hiring me in the first place.

On an interesting side note. Honda announced it’s recent earnings and they are the top out of all the car manufacturers. But their sales are not incentive based. They simply have the right product (smaller vehicle, reliable plus choice of hybrid) at the right time.