Who You Don’t Want To Clean!

Today, let’s talk about deciding who you don’t want to clean …and why.

Let me tell you a quick story,

When Tony and I first started we would do nearly any kind of cleaning, and some things that weren’t really cleaning at all.

Let’s see, we:

-stripped and waxed retail stores,

-resealed concrete in a commercial laundry,

-opened up a reception hall for weddings, and oh yeah, hooked up the pop canisters too,

-mowed the front lawn and took the trash to the curb at a small neighborhood office

So, as you can see, we were running around doing a real “hodge podge” of things.

Frankly, it wasn’t

going so well.

We couldn’t seem to grow because we had our hands “full” just trying to keep up with all the different kinds of jobs we had going already.

We were running as fast as we could, like “hamsters on a wheel in a cage”; not getting anywhere, until…

We decided we’d had enough.

We made an important decision. We decided who we didn’t want to clean – at least, a list of the kinds of accounts we didn’t want to go after in the future.

Nothing less than twice per week.

No one-time only jobs.

No jobs where all we do is the floors.

Nothing where we can’t get a key to get in and out.

Nothing that can’t be started until very late at night.

No odd-ball jobs not relating to cleaning.

No more!

Those were some of the ones on our list, as I recall. Your list may be completely different but you should have a list, probably written down… but a mental list at least.

It is NOT laziness, or an unwillingness to help a potential customer.

It’s survival! You simply cannot afford to everything to everyone.

And, frankly, the sooner you decide what the rules are for doing business with you, the better.

I know that might sound harsh. This is hard to do for many of us.

We’re taught from when we’re very young to help anyone, anyway we can, anytime we can. So it’s hard to get your “head around” this idea of limiting what you’ll do for potential customers.

But you have to do it, if you ever want things to run smoothly.

You shouldn’t have to run around frantically having to change everything about your company, just so you never have to turn down a prospect – no matter what they need.

You deserve better, and frankly …so do your customers.

Put another way, just because someone says they need cleaning doesn’t automatically mean they’re the right customer for you or frankly, that you’re the right contractor for them.

Focus on a specific type of customer, and you stand your best chance at becoming a specialist at providing “their kind” of cleaning for “their kind” of building.

And then, with a new focus on a new, tighter target market, you might finally have a chance to “delight your customers” and “have a life” outside of your cleaning company.

This approach can allow you to focus your marketing and selling efforts at one, or at most, a few types of niches.

But don’t you lose out on jobs this way?

Yes, by deciding what you won’t do, you will be turning down work. It’s the price you pay for getting focused on the kind of work you want to do, so you can create the kind of life you deserve!

Don’t get me wrong.

It may take you a while to make this change over to servicing only places that fit into your new, tighter, target market – or, you may simply decide to hold onto all of your current accounts, no matter what kind they are, forever, or at least until you’re able to replace them with enough profitable ones from your NEW niche.

Plus, to be fair, we make, and have made exceptions too.

For example, even after we decided on who what kind of cleaning we wanted to avoid – we still provided early AM day porter services, clean plants, and even pick weeds for some of our clients.

BUT, and this is important, it’s one thing to agree to pick a few weeds once a month for a $2,900/mo. account, and quite another, to be mowing the lawn every week for a $165/mo. account.

AND, it’s one thing to clean artificial plants occasionally for a large 5x/ week facility for $4,700 per month., and quite another, to have to figure out how to get a floor crew to show up late at night at a small hair salon, to buff the floors 1x/ week for – $165 per trip.

You get the idea.

You Can Do This, You Really Can!


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Thanks Maurisa, glad you find my posts helpful/valuable. Wishing you all the best! Dan

Maurisa Alexis-Louis

Love the information and knowledge you share, it's priceless. Experience is the best teacher and I learn something new every time I read your blog, I am committed to staying in my lane whatever that may look like!


Sam, you're welcome, and thanks for your note! Your 1/'thinking things through', 2/'deciding on a plan' and then 3/'implementing it' --- sounds like the same approach Tony and I used. No guarantees of course, but like you - we we're willing to take these steps (and risk) in hopes of making our business better moving forward. Wishing you, your team and your family all the best! Dan


Hi Dan, thanks for this article. I did same thing last year ending, and begun enforcement early this year. Honestly, its feels good to have some extra time to do some other stuff like spending time with family rather than running like a chicken whose head has been chopped off. On my list, I included customers who gave me at least 5x in a month especially on the same thing even after I've personally gone to resolved it. And also any customer whom I gross less that $70 on 1x week service of less than 3k sq ft. The bad part of this is our revenue reduced after letting go some of these customers. For my business as of now, we are not taking new clients until end of 2nd qtr of the year. Bu then, we would be done with the prunning and strategically ready for new business. Again, thanks for all you do.