Big Jobs Big Money 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.

Please leave your comments below. Thanks, Dan

20 Responses to “Big Jobs Big Money Same Work”

  1. Adam Frye says:

    Just want to say thanks for sharing your business wisdom

  2. Peter Kenjosian says:

    What you say is true, but pay attention to the actual “cash flow”. Sometimes a larger accout may stretch out the payment another 30 days or more, and that will seriously affect a bank account.

  3. Courtney says:

    I have a question, how do I determine how much I pay a worker per hour

  4. DLiebrecht says:

    Hi Courtney, thanks for posting your comment! You’ve asked a good question, but as you can imagine, there are a number of factors that go into responding to it properly and completely such as 1.) What is the ‘going’,competitive wage rate for p/t or f/t cleaners in your area 2.) What pay rate do you feel you need to offer – to attract and keep employees in your city/town 3.) What pay rate helps you bid competitively? 4.) What pay rate helps you bid profitably? I would encourage you consider these questions as you set about determining the pay rate for your cleaning associates. Hope this helps!

  5. Brandon says:

    Good morning. i’m just getting started with my cleaning business but i have a few questions. 1 How do you find out the going rate for my area? 2 Whats the best method of aquiring accounts? anyone feel free to answer please.


  6. DLiebrecht says:

    Brandon, thanks for your note! You’ve asked two very good questions, but as you might imagine, how to price (bid) jobs and how to market your cleaning services are BIG issues.

    I wish I could give you a quick, one or two sentence answer, but ‘pricing’ and ‘marketing’ involve a number of important factors and ‘moving parts’ – each of which need to be well thought out and reviewed to arrrive at a useful answer. For example, we prefer workloading janitorial/office cleaning jobs to determine bid prices vs. relying on one-size-fits-all ‘going rate’ estimates.

    So, I would encourage you to check out the resources we offer on our site that answer many of the questions we hear most often from our members. Plus, you can contact our office directly at 888-531-4878 M – F 10 AM – 6 PM EST to find out more about the books, tools and coaching resources we offer. Thanks! Brian

  7. Shonna says:

    I am a smaller company located in a small town about 20 miles from a bigger city. Most of my work right now is residential customers and even those are hard to aquire because of those who do it as spare income. This is my fulltime business/job. My question is how do I market to get the better more consistent jobs and how do I bid to get in on the offices and bigger local commercial jobs the larger chain companies seem to have. I hear over and over how their customers are unhappy about the services they are receiving.

  8. DLiebrecht says:

    Hi Shonna,

    Thanks for your note! You’ve asked two good question, but as you can imagine, they are not only big issues, they may in fact, be two of the biggest challenges cleaning businesses face today. And, quite a number of factors go into responding to it properly and completely.

    However, in an effort to not ‘dodge the question’, I’ll share the following brief explanation of the overall marketing and bidding processes we recommend and teach:

    1) Marketing to get more consistent jobs starts with creating a list of targeted prospects representing as close to your ‘ideal client’ as possible. The next steps include indentifying the decision maker(s), creating a set of dramatic differences/comparative advantages (we call them Measurable Guarantees of Performance or MGPs)of doing business with you vs. your competition – and then finally, crafting and consistently delivering compelling messages based on the MGPs to your target market on a regular, scheduled basis.

    2) We offer an online and mobile software program called CleanBid, to help maid services and janitorial businesses bid on both residential and commercial cleaning jobs. Plus, we offer a FREE 30 day trial membership for all new members. You can watch a series of free demos/videos showing how it works at CleanBid.net!.

    Shonna, I hope that helps! We have other resources on our site that answer many of the questions we hear most often from our members – or you can contact our office directly at 888-531-4878 M-F 10 AM – 6 PM EST to find out more about the books, tools and coaching programs we offer. Wishing you much success! Dan

  9. Marcus Tukes says:

    I’ve always thought on big jobs cause just like u said the bigger fish to catch the more there’s to eat. And less employee problems.

  10. DLiebrecht says:

    Marcus, thanks for your note. Wishing you much success in your janitorial business. CleanGuru LLC

  11. Pamela W says:

    Big jobs are great to have but how do you handle the expensive insurance requirements that you must have before you even receive the contract. All large commercial bids require you to have general liability with an umbrella attached, workers comp. million dollar car liability, and of course all jobs require you to be bonded, some even require you to have a performance bond. Thanks Pamela.

  12. DLiebrecht says:

    Hi Pamela, thanks for your note. It’s true, building owners and property managers generally require contractors performing work (i.e. cleaning, lawn care etc.) in their bulding to show proof of current insurances such as liability and worker’s compensation. However, rather than a financial burden, this is actually a good protection for all parties – contractor, customers and employees alike. We encourage commercial janitorial business and residential house cleaning/maid service companies to carry all necessary insurance protections and to determine their bid pricing based on incluing them as a part of their standard expenses. Hope that helps, Matt, CleanGuru LLC

  13. Troy says:

    They only draw back initially for going after the bigger jobs is the overhead required, ie payroll, supplies ect. If you land a big contract and suddenly have to come up with thousands in payroll in a couple of weeks, that could be a problem if you do not have the funds, especially if the account does not pay for 30+ days.

  14. CleanGuru says:

    Troy, thanks for your note. You’re right, being able to handle initial start up costs for everything from supplies and equipment to payroll is necessary and can be a challenge especially to smaller cleaning businesses that may struggle to get access to the needed funds. Matt, CleanGuru LLC

  15. Adebanjo Gbenga says:

    I am a newly incorporated cleaning company, how may I source for client in both Domestic and Commercial Cleaning jobs. Please I need help. Thank you.

  16. CleanGuru says:

    Hi Adebanjo, thanks for your note. You’ve asked a good question, in fact, it’s one of the biggest hurdles new janitorial cleaning businesses face.
    Here are a few strategies we think are particularly important and you may want to keep in mind as you begin to grow you domestic residential house cleaning as well as commercial cleaning businesses:

    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, office, retail etc)

    2. Once, you determine who you want to clean, we suggest building a list of companies that meet that criteria by using, for example, an online business list service.

    3. Next, we suggest identifying the decision maker. 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. See S.M.A.R.T. call at CleanBid.net resources (videos/email).

    4. We recommend you create and follow a pre-scheduled list of marketing steps which you may include sending 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.

    5. Maybe most important of all, we believe creating a powerful message, including Measurable Guarantees of Performance, and proper formatting of the necessary elements of an effective marketing piece are some of the most important, yet challenging, parts of the process. We worked hard to make sure our marketing message was much more powerful than ‘We are bonded, licensed and insured.’

    As you can imagine, there is a great deal that goes into effectively implementing the steps and strategies above, but I hope you find the information provided above useful.

    Wishing you much success in your cleaning business,
    Clean Guru LLC

  17. Paul says:

    This info is so true…I know I just need to hear it more than once! We have a very solid foundation of smaller accounts… I’ll be bidding on my largest account tomorrow morning which I will need to hire 5 full time people! Freaking out and excited at the same time!

    Thank you for your tips. Very good information!

  18. CleanGuru says:

    Paul, congratulations on how far you’ve built your cleaning business. I can relate to the fear and excitement you’re feeling as you look at new, more challenging projects. Hope you have a great year! Dan, CleanGuru LLC

  19. Wade says:

    Dan, I must tell you, I’ve been in the cleaning business for 20 years, I’ve known others in the business, I’ve read books, articles, attended classes, etc….through all of that, I really tend to agree with the things you teach over my other sources.

    We’ve clean everything from a 1500 s.f. bank to a 400,000 s.f. office building. We’ve taken on accounts with 12 locations that required a $150,000 initial investment. At the end of the day, we believe, the best type of accounts are the “owner occupied”, 3 to 5 time per week, 10,000 to 20,000 s.f., general office building.

    This type of facility isn’t so large that you have the $0.05 per s.f. guys bidding. You can charge a respectable rate. With it being owner occupied, they tend to care more about the condition of the facility, not just the bottom dollar, although cost is always a factor.

    I always tell people….1)stay away from property management companies, go with the owner occupied. 2)stay in the 10 to 20k range, you can charge a descent rate, pay a descent rate, staff it pretty easily and pay off your initial investment in four to five months. 3)don’t give into the temptation to compromise on your pricing, you’ll always regret it. I know it’s difficult when one is first beginning because you want a new account so bad. Now, I might add here, that if you need to clean something today so you can eat tomorrow, you may have to compromise a little. I’d just say get through that season as quickly as possible and then stick to your guns.

  20. CleanGuru says:

    Wade, thanks for your note and kind comments. You sound like you’re on the right track to me and your strategy is very much the same as ours was. Wishing you MUCH success, Dan

Leave a Reply


"What real users say..."

© 2007 - 2019 Clean Guru LLC, all rights reserved
CleanBid is a registered trademark of CGDL, LLC
Privacy Policy | User Agreement | Sitemap
Hide me
Sign up below to join my eNewsletter
Name * Email *
Show me