- THE MAGAZINE
“Change is inevitable – growth is optional.”
It was Ralph Bloss who coined that phrase and it couldn’t be more relevant to a lot of cleaning companies out there today. That’s not to say that many carpet cleaners are still thriving in their markets by performing nothing more than the same services they originally began with, but in a world and an industry that’s constantly on the move, new services and add-ons can be something worth exploring. After all, the best-case scenario is adding more revenue and further establishing yourself as the leader in your market.
With that being said, here’s a look at some additional services that might be worth considering for your business:
If you ask David Hart, Founder/CEO of RAMAIR, he’ll tell you that duct cleaning is the fastest growing segment in the cleaning industry, as homeowners are becoming more and more aware of indoor air quality and potential contaminants that can cause harm. He says it’s a $4 billion per year industry – and a largely untapped one at that.
“It’s so under saturated that industry professionals have estimated that there are about 50 carpet cleaners in an area per one duct cleaner,” he says.
And the potential profits make adding duct cleaning as a service to your cleaning business even more enticing. For instance, the typical charge to clean an air handler is anywhere from $45 to $65, about $35 each per return duct and $25 each per supply duct. So if you’re cleaning a home with 2 return ducts and 14 supply ducts, you’re looking at an additional $450 in revenue. And that doesn’t even include dryer vent cleaning – another service that can be accomplished with duct cleaning equipment – which can yield about an additional $100.
What’s more is that portable duct cleaning equipment comes with reasonable price tags in terms of investment when compared to other popular add-on services. And in addition to offering duct cleaning as a service to your current clientele, referral partnerships are there to be made with HVAC companies, real estate agents, home inspectors and home builders.
But just how difficult is duct cleaning? How easy is it to learn? How simple is the equipment to use?
The aforementioned are all questions that a cleaner needs to ask themselves before adding on any service, let alone duct cleaning. And as Hart will tell you, “If you can clean carpets, you can clean ducts.
“When you’re cleaning carpets, you’re dealing with pH, temperature, you’ve got fiber content, you’ve got different kinds of stains, you’ve got different solutions that react to different fiber and react to different stains. There’s a lot of science to carpet cleaning. But duct cleaning, it’s basically taking a dirty tube and turning it into a clean tube.”
Duct cleaning has the potential to be low-risk, high-reward. So would there be the commitment to promoting it and performing it well in your cleaning business?
Bio-cleaning – or crime scene cleaning, bio-hazard cleaning and trauma cleaning, as it’s also known – isn’t for everyone. But the fact is that someone has to do it.
Could it be you?
“A lot of people think, ‘Well I’ll get a bucket, a little bit of bleach and a rag and start washing it and that will be the end of it,’” says Patrick Paluga, Alliance Biohazard. “They don’t anticipate all the other things that are entailed in crime scene cleanup.”
Things like ensuring you have the training to successfully complete a job. Or things like knowing what PPE you need to wear, such as bio suits, gloves, eye googles and a respirator. In fact, Paluga says that many amateur bio-hazard cleaners actually leave more infectious materials than they take out, which creates a whole slew of problems.
Another problem that Paluga sees in the field is people not knowing where to get bio jobs.
“They may not have a problem getting that first job, but after that, how do you keep work coming in, what do you do to set up a connection so people know how to find you?” he says.
That’s where networking with entities like police departments and other emergency responders comes in handy. Even trucking companies have been good referral services for bio companies, as many natural deaths and suicides often occur in the cabins of semi-trucks.
So while bio-hazard cleaning might seem like easy money, you need to not only be prepared to professionally handle some of the scenes you’re going to encounter, but make sure you have the proper training, equipment and PPE to safely and effectively do the work.
Of all the add-on serves that you can add to your cleaning company, leather cleaning might be the easiest to integrate. For starters, the up-front costs are small – all that’s really necessary are buckets, a brush, chemicals and taking the time to attend a class so you know how to identify the different types of leather and how clean each type properly.
Secondly, it’s recommended that consumers with leather furniture have items cleaned professionally at least once every 18 months, which makes it an ideal up-sell when you’re in the home cleaning an applicable customer’s carpets. Keep in mind that people love their leather furniture and want to keep it looking nice and new.
And lastly, leather cleaning has the potential to yield a very high return on investment. For instance, one type of leather – Nubick – is very expensive, which means cleaners can charge premium prices for cleaning such furniture. It’s not uncommon to make several hundred dollars for about an hour’s worth of work cleaning a Nubick piece of furniture.
If you clean in middle class and high-end neighborhoods, chances are you’re walking by leather furniture while you’re dragging the hose and cleaning wand around. Why not try to capture some of it? If you know what you’re doing and you perform the service well, you’ll not only add revenue to your company, but score brownie points with the customer too.
Furthermore, you might even consider taking your leather cleaning service a step further and adding leather repair or restoration. All that’s need is the proper know-how and a color repair kit. And while it can take a lot of practice to truly master leather repair, due to the demand for this service and the lack of people performing it, many cleaners have found they can charge high prices for this service as well.