Ask Steve

Ask Steve: What Can I Do to Generate Regular Cash Flow?

Busy in summer and dead in winter? Here's tips on how to combat that.


I’ve been in this business for myself about seven years. In the summer (like now) I just get slammed and life is good! But then winter comes and things can get pretty slow!

So Steve, can you give me advice on how to get out of this “feast or famine” business model? It seems like the worst of both worlds. For example, I have barely seen my own kids in the last two months and while I’m making serious money we both know this is no way to live!

Steve, I do a good job on carpets, am clean-cut and have good communication skills. People like both me and the job I do. But it just seems I'm missing something on getting regular cash flow coming in consistently.

I don't, however, have any formal sales training and I never went to college. Could that be my problem?

Thanks for any help you can give me.

-Bummed in Baltimore


Wow, I feel your pain, Bummed. And yes, this is a very common problem for carpet cleaners. This up and down lifestyle adds enormous stress so let me give you some ideas…

1. Develop regular, contract commercial work with a signed “service agreement.” And no, properly presented contracts will not intimidate your commercial clients.

(NOTE: For my free 16 page “How to Sell Commercial Cleaning” just e-mail me at and write in the subject line “ICS Commercial  Selling.”)

2. Implement our "stay beautiful" pre-paid residential maintenance program. (Just imagine clients paying you every month for work you don’t have to actually perform for six months!)

3. Start doing fire and/or water damage restoration. I have mixed feelings on this one, Bummed. You don’t say what size operation you run. But when it is an owner-operated business, handling water and fire losses 24-7 can be a real challenge.

NOTE: Ironically enough, Bummed, due to the eventual success of our restoration division we actually made more net profit in the wintertime than in the summer. Of course, we hit our credit line a lot harder in the winter but if you are properly pricing your restoration work that should not be a problem!

4. Get the law of large numbers on your side. So when you are not actually cleaning carpets, your job is to be out there face-to-face selling your services. This will be much more effective than staring at your phone all morning willing it to ring!

HINT: Big Billy Yeadon always says to make your marketing funnel wider. You’ll do this with always selling to everyone. In fact, Bill says to set the goal of handing out 20 business cards every single day!

5. Get frugal. Hey, if you are making really serious money (and you don’t have employees to worry about) just hang on to some of it and then coast during the winter! Spending a few care-free winter months in Cabo San Lucas sounds good to me!

P.S. Please implement the ideas in the “Commercial Selling Special Report” above, Bummed, and then get back to me. And be sure to forever ban that ugly little voice in your head that says you are a loser because you didn’t go to college. While I greatly respect education (After all, I’m Director of Training for SFS), some of the most successful people in our industry never went to college!

However, this doesn’t take away the urgent need to educate yourself. And that is just what you are doing now! So keep on keeping on!

 Steve and ICS want to consult for you! For a personal reply write Steve HERE with your questions, problems, struggles and challenges!  Your help is on the way! A new “Ask Steve” will debut in the ICS eNews every Thursday. Sign up to receive it here

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