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,


4 Responses to “Actual Steps Cleaning Business Owners Can Take to Deal with Low Balling Competitors”

  1. Ismael says:

    This is a great example on how to deal with clients who believe they can get a better cleaning company for a cheaper lower bid.

  2. LaRue Bird says:

    We lost our largest contract which we had for 18 years to a company who underbid us. Their bid was 28.5% of what we were charging. They lasted 30 days and then the contract was “awarded” to next lowest bidder. The last news I heard from this company was that they were getting very poor service from the cleaning service they now have. I feel that I was able to keep the contract for as many years as we had it because we truly gave them first class service. The managers, who had learned their lesson with “low bidders” wanted a company who would do what they said they would do, with no hassle. That is how I got the contract and kept it. However over the years, management changed and some of the new managers were eager to impress the upper management with their cost cutting actions. It was a tough to see an account which had meant so much to us and our employees go to a lower bidder, but we walked out that last day with all the employees of that company telling us how sad they were to see us go. As a matter of fact, I arranged to have a stretch limousine waiting outside the front door of the plant and our employees were greeted as they exited with a red carpet, red roses and candy and were taken to a great steak house for dinner and then driven home in the limo! Yes, EVERYONE in that plant either saw it happen or heard about it!
    A year later we were called back and basically “given” their newest plant because the President of the company had requested our service!!! So, good jobs get you good jobs! Good quality does win out most pf the time.

  3. DLiebrecht says:

    Larue, thanks for sharing your story! I must admit I’ve never heard of a cleaning service exiting a facility on the last day of cleaning quite in the way you’ve described. I was glad to hear all the hard work and commitment you and your staff put in to delivering quality cleaning at a fair price ultimately paid off – in getting ‘called back’ by the company’s President to clean their new building. Good for you and your people! Dan

  4. DLiebrecht says:

    Hi Ismael, thanks for your note – and glad you found the video valuable. Wishing you much success in your cleaning company. Dan, CleanGuru LLC

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