THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF CLIENTS AVAILABLE IN THE RESIDENTIAL CLEANING SERVICE ARENA-THOSE WHO NEED REPEAT SERVICE AND THOSE WHO NEED ONE TIME CLEANINGS
BUT WHICH ONE IS THE BEST TO GO AFTER?
Owning a service business is one of the most difficult businesses to manage with consistency. The key reason for this is the inconsistent business that you have each day. In a retail store you have no idea how many people will walk in so you have no idea what would be the perfect staffing level for that day. This is even a problem for the emergency room in a hospital. In the residential cleaning business we can control this variable by building a repeat client base. How fortunate we are for that aspect of this industry. There are 13 other key reasons why building a repeat client base is of value to you:
- Less suspicion of theft from your cleaners
- More referrals
- Less frustration from drivers being lost
- No marketing costs after first clean
- Know the home, key location, pet’s names and habits, etc resulting in less errors
- Larger and/or more frequent tips for cleaners
- Physically less demanding on cleaners
- Consistency in budgeting
- Consistency in staffing levels
- Client is more forgiving
- Ease of payment collection (info on file)
- Key on file allows easy scheduling (8-5)
- More sanity for owner of cleaning service
If you decide that you want to specialize in repeat clients then everything that you think, do and say needs to be driven by that thought. ‘The Secret’ has some merit when it talks about your thoughts drawing to you what you get. Start up companies, especially, are challenged in this area. Start up companies rapidly run out of money so they become driven by money rather than their mission of securing repeat clients.When they get a new prospect on the phone their first thought is how they can convince the prospect to buy lots of ‘add-ons’ so they can get a big check and pay some bills rather than being driven by their mission of getting this prospect as a repeat client. Everything you do must be driven by repeat clients; your advertising, your website, your testimonials, your pricing, your added benefits, your specials, etc. Do lots of networking because networking usually brings you repeat clients. Selling apartment complexes usually brings you one times.
For most repeat clients this is not their first rodeo. Listen to the client and make using your service ‘user friendly’ for them from the start. I always started by asking if they have used a cleaning service before and if they were interested in repeat or one time service. If they have used a cleaning service before I would ask them if they wanted to hear what we did or just receive a price. All cleaning services offer very similar services so after the price I would just point out what we did that differentiated us from our competitors. That, in itself, differentiated us from our competitors. Most of our competitors insisted on doing an in-home visit. Repeat clients loved the fact that they didn’t have to waste an evening getting a quote. After all, they are busy people or they wouldn’t need us. Obviously, I did all of my quotes over the phone.
If the client was interested in repeat service I would not charge more for the first time in. I considered any overage of time we spent there as my advertising cost. After all, there would be no more advertising costs for this client so it was worth it to make a little less profit the first time in. That differentiated me from my competitors a lot and would normally secure the sale for me. I also offered one periodic task with each visit, starting at the second visit, which was included in the price of our repeat service.This was another huge differentiator from our competitors. End result, we had 754 repeat clients when I sold my half of the business. Obviously, these things did work.
Last, once you get a repeat client be sure to invest some effort into keeping them. Be sure you are on time for the first appointment. There is nothing more important than this. Chances are they left their last company because they were never on time. Call after the first and third appointments to be sure everything was great. If you were not able to get a client repeat the first time it is absolutely mandatory that you call the one time client the very next day to see how the service was and try to get them repeat.Offer them some money back if they go repeat. Do whatever you need to do to get the client repeat. Your profitability, longevity and sanity are going to be based on this effort.
- Building A Business Model Based On Repeat Clients