Friday, 26 February 2010

The Time-Price-Quality Connection in the Cleaning Business

How can independent cleaning businesses respond to the empty-promising franchises and national cleaning management companies who threaten to take some of their best, oldest and largest customers with their slick marketing and low-ball prices?

Well, frankly, they need to have an 'answer' to this question from their customers:

"Why should I continue to do business with you when I've got your competitors promising me fantastic cleaning at unbelievably low prices?"

Well, each independent cleaning business has to answer that question for their individual company. But, in the end, the answer has to make one thing clear:

How you are different from your competitors, and how that difference benefits customers by delivering them more value, better value. It needs to make sense and it needs to really matter.

For example, let's say a building owner asks why they should stick with me, rather than switch to one of my aggressive pricing, over-promising competitors.

Rather than begging them to stay out of loyalty, pleading with them to stay because we're 'bonded licensed and insured', or worse yet, out of fear, and in a knee-jerk reaction, weakly negotiating with them to stay, by saying we'll lower our price to whatever price the 'other guy' is offering, - what if I said the following, instead:

"Mr. Customer, I understand what you're asking, and I understand your reasons for asking it. It's tough out there and if there's some way you could save a bunch of money and still get good cleaning - I realize you have to consider it for the sake of the building you own or manage. It makes complete sense.

But, you know me, and I'm here to tell it to you straight. I'm proud that you've been our customer for quite a while now; you know that, and I would never do anything to jeopardize the trust you have in me.

Now, I know how long it takes to clean this building properly three nights a week. I can show you based on the cleaning you require and the frequency of that cleaning, plus our experience in handling the cleaning for some time now, how long it takes to perform that work properly.

And I want you to know that we can always work together to reduce some of those duties if you'd like to in order to lower your monthly cost.

But, whether you decide to change the duties or not, I want you to know about some of the powerful systems in place which allows us to make and live up to a number of important guarantees, about how we get and keep your building looking good. These are the 'things' that make us different and bring our customers value.

You can see the results in the appearance of your building and hear the results in the comments from your employees and tenants.

I'd like to review just one of those important guarantees today.

DAN LIEBRECHT is Co-Founder of Clean Guru LLC and the CleanBid Online Program. Along with his business partner Tony Dietsch, Dan built a successful janitorial cleaning company. He has authored numerous articles about the cleaning business, including an in-depth look at janitorial bidding software published in a leading industry periodical.