Carpet Cleaning Business Management

Building the Job Ticket - Part III

August 16, 2011


“With money in your pocket you are wise and handsome and you sing well too.”
– Yiddish proverb

We are all in the same boat. Like other businesses, carpet cleaners have been slammed lately with increased competition, declining revenues and much higher fuel and supply prices. But your “secret weapon” is that you can easily increase the amount of each job ticket.

In my May “To Your Success” column, we discussed “pre-orienting” your customer on all the additional services you offer. (Your customer can’t buy more if they don’t know about their options!) Far too many times, a ten-year or longer client would say to me, “Hey, Steve, I didn’t know you carried ScotchGard. How much extra would that be?” Well, duh! Shame on me!

Last month we reviewed the old maxim, “Friends buy from friends.” So I shared the philosophy of Value Added Service along with a grab-bag of tips on how to make a Cheerleader out of your customer based on how you deliver your great cleaning job. Cheerleaders not only sing your praise from the rooftops, they also happily buy more from you while you are in their home!

But let’s finish up this Building the Job Ticket series by focusing on the single easiest, fastest and most profitable add-on sale for carpet cleaners: “reapplying” a carpet protector finish. Here is a grab bag of protector tips:

"Reapply" the Carpet Protector

Never “apply”, always “reapply”! Or you can use the equally effective “renew”. Both phrases recognize that over time carpet traffic (abrasion) will reduce the effectiveness of the mill applied protector. By using the word “reapply” you subliminally emphasize the importance of “renewing” the protector!

As it happens, I’ll be sharing how to “Double your Carpet Protector Sales” on the ICS panel at the Connections Convention in Las Vegas at 1:15pm on Sept. 7. (Until then, a free step-by-step carpet protection sales script is available at http://tiny.cc/SFSscotch.)

Splash the Protector Logo Everywhere

Once again, your customer can’t buy if they don’t know. So piggyback on the national advertising and brand awareness of your carpet protector product by putting their logo on your vans, uniforms, paperwork, advertising and most importantly, your web site.

Reward Your Employees - And Yourself

At an applied cost of 3 to 4 cents per foot and an average price of 15 cents per foot, you have a huge profit margin to work with. So be very generous with your techs when they sell carpet protection. I suggest slightly increasing your protector pricing, and then double the typical 10 to 15 percent technician commission. Trust me, a 20 to 30 percent commission will motivate your techs, and you’ll make more money too!

I also kept a mental record on my own sales efforts. Every week that I personally booked over $1,000 in protector sales meant Sioux and I would enjoy a really nice restaurant on “date night”!

Note: Never allow any high pressure sales tactics in your customer’s homes.

Give Your Customer Multiple Opportunities to "Say Yes"

Stop depending on an already running behind tech to sell carpet protector at the end of a rushed job; it isn’t going to happen! Instead, program in many chances for your customer to approve the protector application right from the get-go. Here’s how:
  1. Offer protector as an option on your Web site booking form. (Many homeowners love the quick and anonymous aspects of online booking. Check into this feature for your web site.)
  2. Bring up carpet protection during the initial phone call booking the job. (Give your phone person a small 5% bonus on his or her booked protector sale.)
  3. When you send the home owner their confirmation email include a link to your Web site page explaining carpet protector features and benefits.
  4. Price and demonstrate how the protector works during your pre-inspection of the carpets.
  5. Train your technicians to “no-pressure sell” the protection option during the cleaning.
Note: Each time you bring up the protector option and the customer wavers toward saying “no” just quickly “fade away” by saying, “Why don’t you wait and see how the carpet cleans up and then you can decide on reapplying the protector?”

Just "Ask For the Order"

The No. 1 reason your company doesn’t sell more protector (and make more money for you!) is because your employees (and you!) are not even bringing the option up to your customers!

We Sell What We Believe In

Let your employees apply protector free when they clean their own carpets. Nothing is more powerful than a tech weighing in with just how great his or her own carpets look after protecting them.

Allow More Time on Each Job

With the wisdom of hindsight I now recognize I ran my employees ragged. Cramming in too many jobs means burned out techs, unhappy customers and lost opportunities for high profit up-sells. I challenge every SFS class to book one less carpet cleaning on average each day and double their tech’s protector commissions. The results are in: Happy, relaxed, better-paid employees, delighted customers and a much more profitable company due to not leaving money on the table at each job.

Train Your People to Demo

Customers love a “show and tell.” So if the homeowner is unsure on the carpet protector just ask if you can show them how the protector works over their kitchen sink. There will usually be a used coffee cup in the sink so sprinkle a few drops of coffee on to a pre-treated “blotter card.” The coffee will soak into the untreated side while you just rinse it off of the treated part of the card. The result? Another job ticket built up with a protector sale!

Note: Another great sales tip? Do this blotter demo by drawing a line across the card with a yellow hi-liter. Then just rinse the card off and like magic the hi-liter stain will disappear from the protected side of the card!

Offer a Free 12-Month "Spot and Spill Warranty" on Every Protector Application

Your customer’s biggest Unspoken Question (and fear) is “Will this protector actually work?” If you give a free warranty with the protector you are “putting your money where your mouth is” and adding credibility to your offer. Even better, you now have a “time-dated urgency” reason to motivate your customers. You can gently push the homeowner to have their carpets cleaned and the protector reapplied 12 months from now by saying, “Mrs. Jones, we just wanted to remind you that your free Spot and Spill Protection Plan is almost out of warranty.”

Note: John Mapes of EcoSteam in Sycamore, IL has a great way to reach out to carpet retailers using the free 12-month “Spot and Spill Warranty” concept. I recently shared John’s idea at http://tiny.cc/SFSmfw.

Now more than ever, business is tough. But you can choose not to participate in this “Great Recession.” How? By “Building the Job Ticket” on each and every job when you “reapply” the carpet protector.

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