Here’s a question that’s been bugging me for a long time.
What can independent cleaning business owners do when a current customer calls to say a competitor has offered to do their cleaning – for a LOT less than you’re charging.
Well, to begin with – the following strategy assumes your current price reflects a reasonable profit and is based on properly calculated cleaning times. That said, I think the first thing you should consider doing is – thanking your customer for bringing this situation to your attention.
While no one wants to hear bad news, it’s better to get a chance to discuss it and deal with it – than end up finding out too late – after they’ve made a decision to drop you and
give the low-balling competition ‘a chance’. Your customer may think there’s no harm in seeing how the cheaper priced guys can do…
Your job is to make it very clear there’s a very real chance of ‘harm’ from using low-balling cleaning contractors. Unless there simply flat out guesses, which is even worse, most low ball prices come from using ridiculously low cleaning times assumptions.
You know there’s no magic to cleaning, that it takes real work and that – low ball prices based on low ball times – lead to lousy cleaning.
So, what actual steps can you take to make this clear to your client? Well, you can:
1) explain the very real connection between cleaning times and cleaning quality. You could go on to
2) explain in detail how you calculated the actual cleaning time needed to keep their building looking good – and,
3) how you not only budgeted those hours to your cleaning staff and trained them how to use the time, but, also
4) how you watch the hours worked each visit to make sure they consistently get the cleaning promised.
5) THEN, ask them whether the person who offered this low price explained exactly how the price was determined and how many hours of cleaning it was based on?
That is where, as they say, ‘the rubber hits the road.’ Desperate competitors who land cleaning jobs with low ball prices often have little plan other than – bid less than the next guy, and figure out how to make money at that low ball price- later.
Unfortunately, ‘figure out how to make money later’ generally means – cutting the time (hours) the staff has to clean each visit.
Your job is to identify this weakness and help your client see the negative consequences it could bring – before they act on it.
You Can Do This, You Really Can,