Episode 221 – How to Bid on Cleaning Jobs
Win MORE Cleaning Bids WITHOUT Sacrificing Profit
The Most Effective Way to Bid on Cleaning Jobs
Today Mike coaches Joseph Barnhardt, owner of Family First Cleaning Services . Joseph wants to know how he can improve his process when he goes out to bid on cleaning jobs and ensure he’s not underbidding or losing out on price.
It’s important to have a system when pricing out your services to ensure you’re profitable when you bid on cleaning jobs. But that’s not the most important part to ensuring you actually win the bid! There are several great programs and resources out there to help manage the technical aspect of bidding.
But even before you give a bid, there is a crucial step many owners miss that is definitely causing them to lose a bid on cleaning jobs or WORSE win a bid on a loser contract. We cover a ton of stuff like this in our guide on starting and growing cleaning companies.
RESOURCE ALERT: Check out this episode on Janitorial Bidding Software to make your life easier!
First and foremost, always be willing to lose a winner if that will keep you from winning a loser. This happens more often than not when you’re competing purely on price.
So how do you get out of the low price rat race?
The biggest mistake owners of cleaning companies make when going out to bid on cleaning jobs, is they don’t talk about budget at the right time. They either want to talk about it too soon in the process, or too late.
Bringing it up too soon when you bid on cleaning jobs isn’t appropriate, because you haven’t asked any questions, you don’t have any pain, or know what they really want. Ask too late and you could end up wasting a lot of time with a prospect who wants you to work for nothing.
KEY POINT: Timing is everything
Imagine you walk into a used car dealership that sells everting from Ferraris to Fiestas. The salesman immediately starts asking you what your budget is without even asking if you are looking for a fancy sports car or a minivan to haul your family around in. It’s likely you will make 2 assumptions right off the bat:
He’s not interested in helping you beyond making a sale and getting on the the next guy
He will find any vehicle that is at the very top of your budget and high pressure you into buying that regardless of your needs
Are you more or less likely to want to share what your actual budget is?
So, where do you start the conversation? – With pain!
The majority of cleaners out there want to talk about themselves when going to bid on cleaning jobs. “We are Green” “We clean better than anybody else” “This is why we’re the best” we, We, WE, WE US!
KEY POINT: Customers aren’t interested in you, they are interested in THEMSELVES
Going through the bidding process isn’t fun for them. It’s a lot of work, it’s a pain in the neck and the last thing they want to go through. That said, if they’re going through that process, there’s a pain that they are looking to solve. Very few of your competitors are going to discover that pain. If you can be the one to solve that pain, you are more likely going to get that bid. And here’s the kicker, it’s NOT by being the cheapest, but by being the only one to identify and offer to solve that pain for them.
How to Bid on Cleaning Jobs Discover more about getting Commercial Cleaning Contracts HERE
So many people think, “If I am the cheapest, I am going to solve their pain”. But that’s not their pain, they could hire a hobo for a nickel to do the cleaning but then when he steals or causes problems he’s not solving that pain at all. Of course price could be a part of the pain, but it’s not the main motivator.
If everybody wanted the lowest price, Mercedes wouldn’t exist, everyone would be driving a Hyundai. The goal isn’t to jam everyone into a Mercedes or Hyundai, the goal is understand their wants and needs and if they’re a Toyota guy, then by all means, offer them a Toyota.
The way you do that is to have the “Pain Conversation”first.
Here are some great questions to ask to get your prospective customer’s pain before you bid on cleaning jobs:
What do you want?
Why that’s important to you?
How does that affect you?
What happens if the carpets/bathrooms/offices don’t get cleaned?
What happened/went wrong with the last cleaners for you to call me?
How long have you been dealing with this?
How long have you been trying to solve it?
KEY POINT: Once you have their pain, now and only now is time to discuss budget
Ask them “What budget have you set aside to solve this problem?” After going through how long they’ve been dealing with their problem and how frustrating it has been for them, it’s going to be hard for them to say “I don’t know”.
In addition, if you don’t have the pain conversation at the beginning and you ask them for their budget they are probably going to lie to you. If they’re paying their current cleaners $2000/mo they’ll likely tell you $1,500 and try to get a discount!
Just by asking questions, listening and understanding what their pain is and what their business is like, your prospective customer is going to be much more confident that you can solve their pain.
KEY POINT: If you can demonstrate a clear understanding of their pain, they are going to assume you can solve it
You don’t have to tell them how amazing you are and all the things you can do.You just have to understand their pain better than anyone else. Once you have their confidence, you can now have a real budget discussion. This is also how you move from a sales position to a consultant position.
Finally, now that you have their confidence, pain and budget you can give a qualified bid for cleaning jobs. Often times you are going to give them 2 bids.
It’s common to have prospects who have champagne taste on a beer budget. They may give you a budget of $900 but their real pain cannot be solved at a $900 budget.
That gives you the opportunity to give them 2 bid options.
Give them a $900 bid and what you can do for that budget. Acknowledge their budget was $900, but be honest that it won’t solve the pain they described to you
Give them a bid that does solve their pain and acknowledge that it’s above their budget
“I realize this is $1,500(or whatever it really costs) and higher than your budget, but I am confident it will solve your pain. But you said your budget was $900 and I wanted to make sure I got that to you.”
KEY POINT: Re-stating their pain and acknowledging their budget reinforces the fact that you understand their pain and are really trying to help them.
The last piece to giving a successful bid for cleaning jobs is the bid package. Don’t shy away from infusing creativity to your bid package.
Most owners will have 2-3 pages of why they’re the best and how they change keys or legal jargon that isn’t really appropriate. (unless bidding some massive medical/government facility where it’s required)
You want a bid package that encapsulates what they’re talking about and sets you apart from your competition. If you only give one bid a year, it might not be worth it, but if you’re giving bids all the time, it would behoove you to create a system for bidding.
Here are some ideas to making an amazing bid for cleaning jobs package:
Can create a video custom for them saying how much you appreciated them taking the time to talk to you about their pain
Video testimonials of other customers recommending you to your prospect specifically
Include a guarantee with a gold stamp on it
Include your insurance
Buy a box from harbor freight, fill it with candy
Feel free to go crazy with it. None of your competitors are going to be doing that!
If you’re bidding a $1,500 0r $2,50/mo cleaning contract and they stay with you for a couple years that’s $50,000! You can absolutely afford to spend a little money putting together a package that is going to blow that customer away.
RESOURCE ALERT: Learn more about a Janitorial Bid Package HERE
RESOURCE ALERT: Here’s the box Mike Mentions on the show!
An awesome bonus about that Harbor Freight box is that it’s such a cool box that people keep it around for a long time. Inevitably someone is going to see it and ask about it, they’re going to tell them “You’re never going to believe the bid this guy gave me!” and tell a story about your amazing bid package. You may not get that bid, but you might get another customer through that one bid package and the story you give them to tell.
Now that you’re armed with the steps to getting your prospects pain and budget and have some amazing ideas for putting together a bid package, get out there and never bid on cleaning jobs the old way again!
Sadly, all good things must come to an end but Joseph sends Cleaning Nation off with a bang in the…
Best advice you’ve received either personally or professionally?
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in the cleaning business we can all learn from?
What’s one idea cleaning nation can put into practice to improve their business or their lives immediately?
Make a personal connection with your clients, let them know you care and be genuine.