Practical Marketing Solutions: If You Can do it, They Will Come

July 20, 2001
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Are you in the “yes” business? It’s worth taking a few moments to reflect on this question. Marketing yourself has as much to do with what you can do for your customers while you’re at their location, or through special requests, as it does with advertising your services. I call this being in the “yes” business. Being in the “yes” business means that you can offer your customers a variety of skilled services over and above carpet cleaning. It goes beyond cleaning to other ancillary services, as well.

Each time you can say “yes” to customers’ requests for additional services, you increase your profits and reinforce a relationship that virtually guarantees repeat business, because you have become more valuable to them. It also generates new business through the most cost-effective advertising medium of all ― Word of Mouth. You’ll be amazed how fast word will spread about your capabilities. Being able to say “yes” is also crucial to your survival as a viable company because it will put you way ahead of the competition that can only provide one or two services. People like convenience and competence. They don’t want to have to search for, and make arrangements with, two or three sources to take care of cleaning related needs. Be their all-in-one source, and soon you’ll be in such demand that you will either be turning business away, or expanding to deal with the demand for your services.

What Are These Other Services?
Upholstery Cleaning. Many cleaning professionals shy away from it because of the “horror” stories they’ve heard. Most of those stories result from lack of proper training, or failure to properly apply what was learned. I can’t think of too many easier profit builders as upholstery cleaning. You can assess the furniture condition during your pre-inspection walk-through of the areas to be cleaned. At that time you can recommend that you do one or more pieces of upholstered furniture in addition to the carpet cleaning. You save travel, fuel and set-up/tear-down time because you’re already in their home or place of business. You have nothing to lose by asking for the business and much to gain. If your day is already booked, simply make an appointment to come back on another day.
Hard Surface Cleaning. Patios, driveways, walkways, garages, ceramic floor and bathroom tile, stone fireplaces, all need cleaning. Most of these require the high pressure of a truck mount. Don’t get trapped into thinking of your truck mount as only a carpet-cleaning machine. Instead, think of it as a multipurpose power source whose capabilities include: pressurized hot water, dispensing cleaning solution, providing vacuum capability, water pumping capability, and containment of waste water for proper disposal. When you add a hard surface cleaning wand, brush, or spinning tool, you can effectively clean inside and outside residential and commercial hard surfaces. By cleaning and at the same time recovering (vacuuming) the water, you can clean inside homes, businesses and garages without flooding the area being cleaned.
Wood Surface Cleaning. Until recently, the only way to make a scuffed, scratched and dirty wood floor look good again was to sand it to down to the bare wood and re-apply any one of a number of available coatings. This was messy and time consuming. Today, there are mechanical and manual methods that simply prepare the very top layer of the old coating to allow a new layer of coating to be applied. What’s more, the new generation coatings dry to the touch in about the same amount of time it takes a carpet to dry.

Carpet Repair & Spot Dyeing. These two services are a bit more specialized, but very profitable, especially with apartments and private residences. I know of one cleaner who can’t charge more than $40-$50 per apartment in his market. However, he rarely walks away with less than $100 per unit, and often considerably more, because he also does minor repairs such as re-taping seams, replacing a loose tack strip, reapplying a portion of loose carpet to a tack strip, repairing or replacing a small section of carpet in the middle of a room, dyeing stains, etc.

To be sure, you need to know what you’re doing. However, an investment in training is an investment in profits, and the training for everything mentioned in this article is readily available nationwide.

The alternative to not learning new skills is that you cannot offer additional services, and will have to say “no” to customers’ requests. You reduce your opportunity for growth and increased profits. You also reinforce a general perception of inability, or at best, limited ability on your part as a professional cleaner. Perhaps the worst blow of all is when your customers hire someone that is in the “yes” business to clean their tile or upholstery. Who do you think they’ll call for their carpet cleaning next time?

Having the capability to provide multiple related services not only provides increased income, but also income security and, perhaps most important, positions your company as the more professional one to deal with.

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