Ask Steve

Ask Steve: How Can I Land the Real “Big Jobs?”

"It never hurts to ask."

man cleaning carpet low moistureSteve,

Have you ever heard about carpet cleaners getting huge commercial jobs such as skyscrapers, airports, arenas (just imagine cleaning all those upholstered seats!), cruise ships, etc? I was just wondering since we drove from Boston to Galveston this weekend and saw lots of huge buildings. I was talking to the wife and both of us were dreaming of possibly having a business that can do such big jobs!

I did talk to a janitorial maintenance guy at the Boston airport on a different trip and he said they have a big walk behind machine. It sounded like hot water extraction since he said “water is sprayed down onto the carpet.” (Guy was basically clueless!)

-Baffled in Boston

P.S. Steve, someone is cleaning these huge places, why not me? My Cimex is ready and willing to go to work!

Well Baffled, you will never know until you find out. So the fastest, easiest and certainly the quickest marketing you will ever do is to pick one morning a week to make 15-20 sales calls. I called this my “dedicated sales morning” and I let nothing interfere with it. So how should you do this very special morning?

Simple! Just dress up, take some business cards, suck it up and walk into these places and ask to speak to the person in charge of their carpet cleaning maintenance decisions.

The very worst they will give you is a big resounding "no" and you are out of there and on to the next one. Total time invested? Maybe 20 minutes.

Now if you are smart you will plan your day geographically and cut your driving time. Set a goal of 20 cold calls during the day. A negative reaction (such as “We already have someone”) will be the usual scenario. But every so often (at least once a day) the manager will say, "Can you give me a proposal?" Bingo!

Once you have their interest, offer a free demo and always, always, always give them three options on your proposal, as in a one-time cleaning price plus at least two different frequencies on contract cleaning at a reduced rate. That Cimex isn't making you any money sitting there collecting dust!

NOTE: For my free manual on how to sell, price and run a commercial “encapsulation route,” just write me at and put the words “ICS encap route” in the subject line.

You know, Baffled, as my mother always used to say, "It never hurts to ask." And as my son occasionally reminds me, “Dad, are you falling victim to ‘Paralysis by analysis?’” If the average carpet cleaner could just remember to live by and put into practice these two sayings, they would have so much more regular commercial contract work!


P.S. Here is one way to break through on the big public accounts such as hotels, airports and universities. Before you try to see the decision maker, tour the location (if it is open to the public) on your own ahead of time looking for problem areas. Then take photos of them and insert these photos into a short e-mail introducing yourself and explaining that you can solve these headaches for the property manager. Send it off and follow up with a phone call or personal visit. Remember - it never hurts to ask!

 NOTE: 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 eNewsletter every Thursday. Register to receive it by clicking here

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to i Cleaning Specialist Magazine.

Recent Articles by Steve Toburen

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

The 2014 Experience Conference and Exhibition

A look in photos at the 2014 Experience Conference and Exhibition, which was held from April 24-26 at the Embassy Suites Convention Center and Spa in Frisco, Texas.

1/27/15 2:00 pm EST

Grow Your Business and Improve Operations with New Payment Technology

Attend this free webinar to learn how new developments in payment technology can help you close more jobs, increase upselling opportunities and improve operations.


The winter slow season is a great time to pursue commercial cleaning accounts and stay busy. John "the Hitman" Braun solicited questions from thousands of cleaners across the country regarding their questions on commercial cleaning accounts and answers them in this episode of the show.
More Podcasts

ICS Cleaning Specialist Magazine


2014 Nov/Dec

The Nov/Dec ICS features content on how to get better meter readings, a roundtable on truckmount development, neighborhood marketing and more. Also included is the annual Buyer’s Guide and Directory.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Janitorial Work

In addition to residential and commercial carpet cleaning, do you do any janitorial work on the side?
View Results Poll Archive


The Carpet Cleaner's Book of Unlimited Success! (ebook)

Don’t worry about the recession or about your competition.  Now you can be the owner of over 400 ways for carpet cleaning professionals to make more money and get more jobs!

More Products


Director_Buyer.jpgThe premier resource and reference guide for the cleaning and restoration industries.

Click here to view


facebook_40.png twitter_40px.png youtube_40px.pngcrc logo


Truckmount.jpgEquipment listings and specifications from the leading industry manufacturers.

Click here to view