Is YOUR Cleaning Business ‘in Budget’?

No doubt about it.

It sure is exciting to announce to the office that you just landed a new account!

Making a sale is, and always will be, a thrill.

But, there’s something just as important that you
don’t generally find people running around the office
boasting about – but they should.

And that’s getting and keeping those cleaning accounts- in budget!

That’s right, once you land an account, one of your
very first priorities should be assigning it the budgeted hours you used to determine the monthly price.

Again, those budgeted hours are the total hours per night you (if you’re cleaning the building yourself) or your office cleaning staff ( if you’re hiring an employee) can spend each visit to clean the account.

Bottom line:

Stay ‘in budget’ and you’ll be well on your way to making money consistently – month after month.

Start going ‘over budget’ with any regularity and you’re likely to be managing, staffing, cleaning
and inspecting an account where – you’re losing money!

It’s that simple and that important. Let’s take a look.

Any exceptions?


When you first start an account up, it’s normal to take longer to get it ‘up to snuff’ and for your staff to get used to cleaning it.

And even after you’ve had an account running smoothly there will still be nights, now and then, when you run over on your time for one reason or another such as a pizza party cleanup or preparations for a big VIP visit.

But those exceptions need to be just that – exceptions.

Generally, the hours should be pretty steady – right around the budgeted hours you assigned to the account.

You should consistently watch the hours you’re spending cleaning on regular basis and move quickly to investigate and take corrective steps if cleaning times start creeping up.

Those corrective steps can range from a conversation to remind the cleaning associate to ‘stay in budget’ to a complete re-training of the account to make sure everything is being done properly and efficiently.

It’s not as fun as landing an account – but it can be just as important and just as financially rewarding.

Ever heard the old saying ‘It’s not what you make – it’s what you keep!”

Well, today’s message could be expressed in a similar way, ‘It’s not the accounts you land, it’s the accounts you keep – in budget!”

Discover the Guru in YOU!


4 Responses to “Is YOUR Cleaning Business ‘in Budget’?”

  1. I would like to understand how you can take a building 18,000 sq.ft.medical; do a decent job cleaning, garbage, cardboard, confidential out, vacuum carpeting, stairs,cloth chairs, clean the pharmacy, wash windows in & out, keep the carpeting and upholstery cleaned, finish hard floors and do all of this 5 days a week furnishing everything for $2925 and paying a low wage of $10.50/hr.?? Oh yes; carry insurance and be legal????

  2. Boris says:

    If I do my job and the person who I cleaned for does not want to pay me, to whom can I go to and talk to and fix this issue? I live in Salem, OR.
    Thank you

  3. DLiebrecht says:

    Victoria, I agree. From what you’ve described, the price seems too low to me as well. I know it can be frustrating. Unfortunately, I’ve been in the same kind of situation where you’re tying to submit a serious cleaning proposal, one that lays out the duties and frequencies they need for the level of cleaning they want – BUT the ‘low balling outfits’ that dangle low price and empty promises of high quality can often ruin any chances for a legitimate cleaning business owner who is trying to make a reasonable price based on the hours neeeded to do a good job. So, I know how upsetting it can be.

    As you can tell, this is a sore spot for me as well. Probably not enough room here to go into this in detail, so, I’ll simply say, you have a right to be upset – because it’s darn right upsetting. And, I’ll simply encourage you to consider the following:

    1. Sometimes, if you are dealing with a reasonable building owner or property manager, you can discuss the situation, explain what you think is needed and why – and work with them to come to an agreement that balances the cleaning desired with the hours and price needed to support it.

    2. ABM – which stands for ‘Always Be Marketing’ – so that if this customer is not open to working out a reasonable arrangement, it may be best to find a number of others – who are. Hang in there! Dan

  4. DLiebrecht says:

    Hi Boris, you’re right – slow payment or NO payment clients can be frustrating and a significant financial problem. Probably not enough room here to properly and completely answer your question – but, here are a few steps to consider in dealing with slow or no payment situations:

    Slow Pay? 1.) Consider getting your invoices sent out and into your cleaning customers billing cycle as early as possible. 2.) Be sure to set your payment terms, list them clearly in your company forms/invoices etc and be sure to explain them to each new client as well. 3.) Consider offering incentives for quick payers i.e. 2% discound if paid within 10 days 4.) assigning of late fees on outstanding balances 5.) Sending written reminders/notices or conducting actual reminder calls. And, if, as in the situation you’ve described, everything above has failed to get results, i.e. NO Pay, then, you may want to consider:

    No Pay? 1.) suspending/stopping cleaning until payment is made. 2.) legal action ie. small claims court if available and appropriate or 3.) Use of reputable collection service

    Hope these ideas help! Dan

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