Here is the results of my survey of my clients. I asked them what they look for most in a window cleaner. You might be surprised by the results
Quality of work
Not one manager said price was the number one factor. One Subway owner said that consistency is most important and then price. No one else even mentioned price as number 2. Nobody else even mentioned price as a factor
What does this mean to us? We have to stop worrying that we will lose jobs on price alone. Sure we can’t be going after poor commercial, the same as you can’t expect success cleaning windows in a trailer park. Stop worrying about lowballers, stop worrying about raising your prices.
Change your marketing, on your website, in your spiel, focus on your reliability, and your quality. Provide testimonials, or references if needed. Never let your work slip.
Learn to price well, don’t feel you need to be cheapest. Price jobs to make money.
Stop worrying about your prices, and focus on your consistency. It’s not alright to skip cleanings, be consistent. Also use the best cleaning techniques available, and do simple things like adding soap when needed or changing your rubbers.
I don’t know Mike. I understand where you are comming from but the problem I have with this is there are two points that they will never be able to know about the cleaner/company until they hire them. Every time I walked into a store front to get business the main thing on their mind was price and price only. They have no idea if you will show up on time, every time. They have no idea of quality unless you clean one of the windows in front of them. If you do, I hate to say it but fact is most WC’er’s are going to do a great job when they know someone is watching them and the gig is on the line. It’s those 5th and 6th cleanings where people get lazy and slack off. So the example window cleaning will only go so far. But if it gets you the gig then great. I agree with you 100% on pricing jobs to make money, thats why I don’t do store front. The time needed to build up a route that is worth anything is to long. Besides there is a company here who has it on lock down. Once a cleaner starts to pull their business from them, they offer free service for a period of time (shortest I have been told is 6 months). I have thought about giving it a go. But well see.
Sometimes, in those situations, extreme offers may work, so that they can have an opportunity to be impressed with your workmanship and service.
I’ve done that here for significant commercial clients, but not for the little ones. As for the “free service for 6 months” thing from your competitor, how in the world do they NOT go BANKRUPT with craziness like that?
I agree with Paneless…offering 6 months of free service?? you’d have to be making alot of money elsewhere to do that! One thing I do to offer a bit extra to my clients, to keep in the good book as it were…is i have customer appreciation months from time to time where the inside window cleaning that month is on me. this only applies for one free window cleaning per month on that month as some of my jobs are in and out every week!
I find it is especially nice to the jobs where the client seems to not be able to afford the insides cleaned very often, so ill make my appreciation month somewhere in between, and it helps keep the windows looking good, and a smile on their faces. As far as i know my main competitor for storefront does not offer this.
I see where you are coming from too. We all feel insecure sometimes about pricing at the level we want. We sometimes feel we got to blurt out a lower price to seal the deal.
I think most people think we are being honest with them. If they see you dress well, have professional equipment. Speak with respect and kindness to the manager. Than you are already miles ahead of many other cleaners. They respect you already. If you say that you clean X store down the street and you’ve been cleaning it for X years than most except the most jaded of people will believe you. Most people are trusting, except when it comes to their mechanic or politicians.
If someone is really anal than you can provide them references (not usually necessary).
If it’s a neighbourhood you regularly work in, chances are, they’ve seen you before.
I would feel a little disgraced to have to clean in front of them.
Perhaps we need to speak about other things before we mention price, We can mention we will be there every week, I am in the area on this day, I’ve been doing it X years.
If people are only concerned about price, then as much as we want the job, they are not worth it. There is an expression that the cheapest customer is the most expensive. If they really want a low price they will make you slave for it. Or at least ask you to do all these extras for them and expect it for free.
Anyhow, as you can see I’m long-winded in my replies I think most customers are concerned about quality. Most times I start off, the customers like, are you going to come every Tuesday, sometimes once or twice or three times, because they hate irregularity.
The time needed to build up a route that is worth anything is to long. Besides there is a company here who has it on lock down. Once a cleaner starts to pull their business from them, they offer free service for a period of time (shortest I have been told is 6 months). I have thought about giving it a go. But well see.
I would hate life if I offered free 6 month cleaning. I already hate to be underpriced. Imagine Juggernaut, how miserable you would feel driving out to one job, or doing a job among others and getting nothing. There is nothing to stop them from quitting with you later. A cheap customer is a nightmare.
Eric: Sometimes If I’m in a good mood, I’ll do that too. However I would only offer inside window cleaning for free is if I was “overcharging” them, so to speak. I’m thinking if I charge $10 for a extremely small job (within a dense commercial route) (a window and a door)then I might offer to do the inside window for free.
All: Let’s not forget what the customers are saying, price is not number one, it’s not even on the list. If you are going after the affleuent customers, feel confident with your prices, and charge well.
Remeber, if you are going after a McDonald’s or Arby’s or Rug store then of course they might worry a lot more about price. But if you focus your commercial efforts around a posh restauraunt, or finer commercial establishments you can charge a premium, if you offer reliable, high quality service.
Dont worry, Im not headed for North Bay… a little too far for me…
And regarding McDonalds, dont fool yourself.
McDonalds franchisees are amoung the wealthiest people in any area. Recession-proof business, HUGE returns.
$50,000/week is the norm, so dont assume they’re looking for the cheapest. I know some guys who have some sweet McDonalds window cleaning clients. And many of them are very stylish restaurants, very modern.
Kind of the ‘new look’.
I’m not disagreeing with you (I dont think), your comment simply caught my eye…
Yeah I picked McDonald’s out of a hat. They’re not “poor”, although McDonald’s aint what it used to be. They posted their first loss a couple years ago. I consider the new food stores that are doing really well as being Subways. They’re popping up everywhere. I have no stats on how much their franchises make, but it’s a popular restauraunt.
I’ve seen the same things Ilaczko has. [B]Employees do most McDonalds.[/B]
I think my brother cleaned (or still cleans) one McDonald’s franchise (of the new look, a silly look, not many seats, and half of the seats are outside) but many others are filthy. Perhaps it boils down to what type of general manager each has.
Often when there is a large pool of minimum wage workers, that are trained to clean. Often the manager tells them to clean the windows. That is why I find lower end restauraunts more challenging to get at the prices I charge.
I have had a few that wer most concerned about price, but I have had more of my storefront managers ask me about consistency and quality, when first talking to them. They have had WC’ers come in work for 6-9months then disappear, they want someone you will be here for a long time, and be here every time they are scheduled, so that they (the manager or owner) doesn’t have to worry about the windows.
I went back and looked at my route customers and over 60% of the manager/owners had me come clean their house after I started doing their business. Quality does matter to them.
[SIZE=3][FONT=Calibri]I’ve been cleaning 3 of the 6 McDonald’s owned by a local franchise, but that always stops in the Fall/Winter months. They always tell me that their sales decline significantly during those months, so they drop all ‘non-essential’ expenses.[/FONT][/SIZE]
[SIZE=3][FONT=Calibri]They always come back in the Spring, but the sad part is the employees don’t touch the windows at all. [/FONT][/SIZE]
[SIZE=3][FONT=Calibri]I stop by each of them once a month or so just to confirm that no one else has taken the job. Believe me, their windows are filthy. Sad thing is that two of the three are the new design. They’ve spent millions to build fancy new stores, and then they let them get trashed. [/FONT][/SIZE]
Thank goodness Paneless your not coming to North Bay!!! id have no chance against you in this town!! Although I try to bring some of the things you’ve mentioned on the forums into practice and reaping the rewards myself. much thanks for some great ideas!
As far as McDee’s I am actually putting together a proposal for the 3 McDonald’s in the area. I have put together these for businesses regardless of if they have a window cleaner or not at the moment.
Back the offering a free inside window cleaning mikep>> i only do this maybe once a year…and i only offer it to smaller storefront jobs. the larger ones i will throw in a sign cleaning or something that won’t hurt the wallet too much for me but will keep them smilling.