The Time-Price-Quality Connection in the Cleaning Business

How can independent cleaning businesses respond to the empty-promising franchises and national cleaning management companies who threaten to take some of their best, oldest and largest customers with their slick marketing and low-ball prices?

Well, frankly, they need to have an ‘answer’ to this question from their customers:

“Why should I continue to do business with you when I’ve got your competitors promising me fantastic cleaning at unbelievably low prices?”

Well, each independent cleaning business has to answer that question for their individual company. But, in the end, the answer has to make one thing clear:

How you are different from your competitors, and how that difference benefits customers by delivering them more value, better value. It needs to make sense and it needs to really matter.

For example, let’s say a building owner asks why they should stick with me, rather than switch to one of my aggressive pricing, over-promising competitors.

Rather than begging them to stay out of loyalty, pleading with them to stay because we’re ‘bonded licensed and insured’, or worse yet, out of fear, and in a knee-jerk reaction, weakly negotiating with them to stay, by saying we’ll lower our price to whatever price the ‘other guy’ is offering, – what if I said the following, instead:

“Mr. Customer, I understand what you’re asking, and I understand your reasons for asking it. It’s tough out there and if there’s some way you could save a bunch of money and still get good cleaning – I realize you have to consider it for the sake of the building you own or manage. It makes complete sense.

But, you know me, and I’m here to tell it to you straight. I’m proud that you’ve been our customer for quite a while now; you know that, and I would never do anything to jeopardize the trust you have in me.

Now, I know how long it takes to clean this building properly three nights a week. I can show you based on the cleaning you require and the frequency of that cleaning, plus our experience in handling the cleaning for some time now, how long it takes to perform that work properly.

And I want you to know that we can always work together to reduce some of those duties if you’d like to in order to lower your monthly cost.

But, whether you decide to change the duties or not, I want you to know about some of the powerful systems in place which allows us to make and live up to a number of important guarantees, about how we get and keep your building looking good. These are the ‘things’ that make us different and bring our customers value.

You can see the results in the appearance of your building and hear the results in the comments from your employees and tenants.

I’d like to review just one of those important guarantees today.

Now, we know from work loading this job that it takes approximately 6 hours every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening to clean your building properly. And our experience in cleaning your building over the last year confirms this time.

As you can imagine, that time can vary, let’s say, 10 or 15 minutes one way or the other, based on conditions; one night we may save a little time, other nights we may need to take a little longer, for example, if there’s been a ‘pizza party’ to clean up after, that kind of thing, but surely, not by an hour or two.

Now, I’m sure you’ve heard about cleaning companies that promise the ‘moon and the stars’ when it comes to cleaning and for a low price too. But when it got right down to it they did little more than empty the trash, put out some toilet paper and, if you’re lucky, run the vacuum a little – basically a ‘trash and dash’. It’s amateur stuff, but it happens all too often.

Well, frankly, that’s not us. That’s not what we’re about. I know what you need and my job has always been to make sure you get it. Not once, but all the time.

Which brings me to the system and the guarantee:

We check the amount of cleaning time you get each visit and we make sure every week you get at least the total weekly budgeted number, no less, in actual cleaning hours, or that week of cleaning is FREE.

That’s how committed we are to doing right by you. We make sure you get what you need the first week – and every week.”

Now, how’s that for an answer to the question, “How are you different?” or “Why should I keep doing business with you?”

Independent cleaning business can once again become the strong presence in the marketplace they once were, but only if they begin to take strong proactive step to offer real answers to address the very real problems faced by today’s customers.


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