Big Jobs, More Profit, Same Work!

Last time we looked at regular jobs versus one-time jobs.

Today, let’s talk about big jobs vs. small jobs.

Let me tell you a story…

For a long time, we were afraid to take on bigger customers. We got use to cleaning places for $250 to $500/month.

1. The profit margin on the jobs was good
2. We knew how to take care of them, and
3. We were happy just trying to get as many of them as we could.

We thought by getting a lot of these smaller accounts, at least all of our eggs weren’t in one basket. And there was some truth in that.

Frankly, there were lots of jobs in that price range, and we were glad to simply get as many of them as we could!

But, after a while, we began to realize

that starting a bigger job, say large $1,500- 4,500/ mo. job was not much more trouble than starting a smaller $250/mo.- $500 job.

By the way, does this sound familiar?

It should, because it’s similar to last time, when we talked about how it takes about the same amount of effort to start up a one-time – as it does a 5 night per week regular account.

Anyway, back to our big job vs. small job story, where Tony and I discovered that managing a bigger job, is not much more trouble than managing a smaller one.

Eventually, we began to understand that while the profit percentage (%) on the smaller job was usually much higher than the bigger one, the total profit dollars ($) coming in from the bigger account was usually greater, and, well worth any additional work.

In fact, to our surprise, sometimes it was easier to manage the larger account.

Why? Well, really several reasons:

1. Bigger jobs allowed us to offer “better”, more stable jobs.

For example, we might be able to give two people 3½ hours of cleaning three nights per week, at a big job, vs.just one person, a couple hours, once or twice a week, at the smaller job.

And for us, jobs with too few hours or too few days were hard to keep filled. Maybe, you’ve noticed the same thing.

So, with better jobs to offer our staff, our turnover was generally lower at the bigger accounts.

Plus, of course, keeping turnover down helps keep quality UP!

Nothing can wreak havoc on how a building looks more, than to have new people coming and going all the time. And while the quality goes down, the training costs and employee problems go up, up, up!

So, look at ‘casting your marketing net’ a little deeper to where the bigger ‘fish’ swim.

The bigger “‘fish’ may be just about as easy to catch, while giving you a whole lot more to eat.

You Can Do This, You Really Can!


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Hi Kellie, you've asked a good question. I should explain. Even though our cleaning company had years of experience and cleaned many buildings, for years, we would avoid taking on larger jobs; we were intimidated and afraid of whether or not we were 'qualified' and 'able' to compete to get them and then effectively handle the larger job with more hours, equipment, cleaning and supervisory personnel. But, we finally, started to try to take on some of those bigger jobs, even though it was uncomfortable, and it went well most of the time. But, for a brand new cleaning business with little or no experience, here are a few ideas that can help: 1/ If someone, at first, doesn't have any references of places they clean, some building owners 'appreciate, are open to listening to, and will sometimes consider hiring' a new cleaning business - where the owner is willing to share the truth of their situation, while also providing them with a list of personal and professional references from former/current jobs, people they know from business, church or charitable organizations who know them - and, are willing to 'vouch' for them. 2/Start with small accounts; this is what we did. I would go up and down industrial development roads in our area, and introduce myself one building at a time. These were typically not large jobs, rather 1 or 2 times per week cleaning, but were profitable, taught us a lot about the cleaning business and a start towards building a track record/reference list. 3/In my opinion, it can be ok to take on 'some' subcontracting work at first; cleaning for a larger prime cleaning contractor - as a way of gaining experience and knowledge. But, I caution cleaning business owners to make sure the prime contractor they'll be working for is 'legit' and that the job you're agreeing to clean for them will be profitable for you, while giving you or your staff a reasonable amount of time to clean the facility. And, we believe subcontracted work should not constitute more than 20-25% of the total work a cleaning business performs. Hope that helps and wishing you much success, Dan


Thanks for taking the time to write these. My question is. How do you approach these 'bigger fish' confidently when you have no experience with commercial accounts? Most companies want someone with experience already. Thank you.


Hi Gerson, thanks for your comment and question. To start – I’ll email you a FREE PDF copy of my book Discover the Guru in You. I hope you find lots of ideas and strategies to grow and manage your cleaning business! As I always say ‘ You Can Do This – You Really Can!’ There is a lot that goes into effectively growing in today’s janitorial service marketplace. To help, 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.

Gerson Roque

Hi guys, Do you have a beginner's guide for someone who is trying to start doing cleaning jobs. I would love some guidance.