Actual Steps Cleaning Business Owners Can Take to Deal with Low Balling Competitors

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,



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Hi Santiago, thanks for your note! You're right, it's a challenge to learn how to effectively compete in today's janitorial service marketplace. We would be happy to help in any way we can. We do offer software to help cleaning businesses grow; including bidding, invoicing, inspecting, scheduling, timekeeping and inspecting. You can sign up online for a FREE 30 day trial membership at or give me a call M/F 9/5 and I can help get you started. Look forward to talking to you, Matt, CleanGuru Support 888-531-4878 And, below are some marketing strategies/ideas to keep in mind anytime, but maybe most of all, when in the early years, when you’re getting started: As you can imagine, it’s a good idea to have an detailed marketing strategy with multiple steps that build one on top of the other to attract clients to CALL YOU, to ask for a bid! However, your specific question was on marketing and growing your cleaning business, and in that area, here are a couple ‘keys’ steps: 1. Decide on who you want to clean. Rather than a broad, shotgun approach, we suggest cleaning businesses target a certain type of building or customer ( i.e. medical and professional offices that require 3-5 nights per week cleaning that can be performed in the evening after 5 PM.) 2. Once, you determine who you want to clean, we suggest you build a list of companies that meet that criteria. There are many ways to do this. For example, online business list sites can be helpful in doing this. 3. Next, you can call each location to determine the name of the person or persons responsible for hiring the cleaning service at the buildings on your list. 4. Then, we recommend you begin to send a series of powerful direct-response marketing pieces to the attention of the decision maker (the person in charge of hiring the cleaning service) at the businesses on your targeted list, following a preset schedule.

Santiago Rosas

My question is that what can you do to stay afloat, when you are competing against these large cleaning companies and they manage to swallow a lot of the cleaning business. Thanks


Hi Dorah, thanks for sharing your comment. We have an effective and easy to use bidding software which you may find very useful for quoting. You can try it for 30 days for free. Let me know if we can be of any help or answer any questions you have. Matt, CleanGuru Support


Quoting is the problem im encounting mostly and the how to keep my cleaning file ready.