Want the Same Old Results? Use the Same Old Approach
August 10, 2011
An area that is often overlooked is that we need to be as profitable as we can in order to be able to re-invest in our company as well as provide for our families and plan our retirement.
The goal of all of us as small business owners is to have an enjoyable, highly respected, established company that continues to grow each and every year. Perhaps an area that is often overlooked is that we need to be as profitable as we can in order to be able to re-invest in our company as well as provide for our families and plan our retirement.
The application of carpet and upholstery protectors, when implemented, will make a dramatic difference to the overall profitability of your business. I know it did for me. I have been in business since 1993, but it wasn’t until 10 years into being an owner/operator that I started regularly advising my clients of the benefits of having their carpets and upholstery protected in high-use areas.
Looking back on it, I think a couple of things held me back. Not a sales person by nature, I wasn’t completely sold that it worked so I didn’t think my customers would pay for the “add on”. Additionally, it is another step that will increase the drying time. I had it in my mind that it was unnecessary and wasn’t about to push a product on my clients that I didn’t believe in.
In 2001, while taking an IICRC approved carpet cleaning class I met Steve Marsh, the instructor and I started to view my business differently. While not only learning the material needed to pass the test, a seed was planted as to the benefits of carpet protector.
Yeah right; as I mentioned earlier, I’m not about ready to push this “add on” onto my customers. But that seed was planted and a friendship/mentorship with Steve Marsh was formed.
The following year I took a class given by Craig Jasper that stressed the importance of protectors for your customers and for our profitability. Perfect, a win-win! However, it wasn’t until the following year that I started to finally implement what I already knew. See Steve had phoned me to ask if I would join him and a handful of others cleaners to gather once a month for a mentorship/coaching group. Thankfully, I agreed.
During that time, I learned how to breakdown your business, dissect it and analyze it. It was discussed that protector sales should account for 10-15% of your gross sales. Steve had also demonstrated the difference in carpet that was protected and those with no protector, by soiling both samples, then spot cleaning both.
The difference was dramatic as those samples with protector cleaned up with ease. Perfect! We can provide a great service for our clients, produce great results for them, and be more profitable. In 2002, my protector sales were a whopping 2.5%. Time to implement! In 2003. those sales increased to slightly less than 10%. By 2004, an increase of 17% was seen. Finally, off and running!
I finally decided to take on the role as an advisor for my clients as opposed to a sales person. I advise for the restoring of protector primarily in high traffic areas as the protective coating wears off by foot traffic and improper spot cleaning by the consumer. The fiber manufacturers indicate that after two years there will be a significant loss of the original protector, especially in high-use areas. Therefore, carpet protector should be reapplied annually. A living room that gets walked in twice a year? “Not necessary, Mrs. Jones”
I fined tuned my protector profits by purchasing the protector (DuPont Teflon Advanced) in bulk quantities to insure the lowest price as possible through my supplier. I often would purchase 20-25 cases at a time. By leaving shoe covers, and discussing with my clients which rooms need to be put into use first, air movers are brought in to help alleviate the issue of longer drying times.
The use of a battery operated sprayer, dedicated to carpet protector only, made application easier and faster. The company provides brochures for your clients, and we also hand out a newsletter that highlights the benefits of carpet protector. I often will test a high traffic area by using an eyedropper with water in order to see if liquids will bead up for the required 30 seconds or so.
My repeat clients virtually 100% of the time will leave it up to me in regards to if and where the protector needs to be restored. A new prospect may be slightly hesitant if she wants the protector or not, but the aforementioned brochure and newsletter are handed out in order to plant that seed. Also, on our invoice, we have a section for carpet protector, and if declined, we note as such in the proper area. Not a problem, but Mrs. Jones will see on her invoice that protector was advised, but politely declined. By building up the goodwill and trust of your clients, there isn’t an issue of restoring the protector in areas that will not benefit their carpets performance.
Since implementing this system in 2003, the changes have brought in an excess of $150,000 in revenue. It all started when that seed was planted back in 2001.