Episode 186 – Keeping Your Residential Cleaning Business Competitive with the "Big Guys"mod tempor
Can YOUR Residential Cleaning Business Compete With Franchise Cleaning Companies?
Episode 186 Charlotte Mendez The Cleaning Genie
In today’s blog/podcast Mike talks with residential cleaning business owner Charlotte Mendez. Charlotte owns The Cleaning Genie and wants to know how to compete with the big franchise companies. Mike starts by covering the two main types of franchises in the cleaning business
Option #1- The franchisor provides owners with systems and processes and charges a monthly franchise fee. The owner is responsible for finding customers as well as billing and collections. This is more common in the residential cleaning business.
RESOURCE ALERT: For an example of this type of franchise set up, check out this FREE podcast featuring David Luke, owner of the Two Maids and a Mop franchise
Option #2- The franchisor gets all of the customers and handles the billing and collections. The franchisee just handles the cleaning. This is more common for commercial cleaning businesses. The fee the franchisor chargers is typically higher.
RESOURCE ALERT: For more on how this type of franchise works, check out our podcast with special guest Steven Coade, owner of AMC Commercial Cleaning. PART 1 and PART 2
Independant commercial and residential cleaning business worry about how to compete with franchises. Funny thing is,franchises often struggle with how to compete with independent cleaning business owners. Franchisees have help with systems and processes, but they have to pay the franchisor a percentage of sales. This can cause higher prices and/ or lower margins.
KEY POINT: The grass is always greener where you water it- focus on the business you are in!
Charlotte expresses concern that franchisees don’t have to pay Workers Compensation insurance. Mike explains that franchisors are actually more likely to follow the law than independents. Even if the franchisee is doing all of the cleaning themselves and don’t require workers compensation insurance- they can only clean a very small amount of accounts by themselves. This means they can’t provide much competition.
One of the ways to maintain margins and be competitive in both the commercial and residential cleaning business is to select your customers intentionally. Owners of cleaning companies complain “My customers are too cheap. They won’t pay decent prices. They will leave me for someone who charges less”
SPOILER ALERT: YOU get to pick your customers!
If everybody made every decisions based on lowest price luxury cars and nice restaurants wouldn’t exist. Different customers want and need different levels of service. Some do only want the lowest price. Don’t target them as customers. Others want and require specific things.
Be clear on what your unique selling proposition is and focus your efforts on customers that value that level of service. Sell to customers who already understand and value the services you offer. Don’t try to convince someone who doesn’t value what you do to become a customer.
We all walk into the car dealership wanting the lowest price… Until the salesperson shows us the car with leather, sunroof, and the awesome stereo system. Don”t focus on price. Show your customers the benefits of working with you and your company.
Here are some of the ways you can differentiate your cleaning business from your competition:
Picture ID for your employees
Surprise and delight items
Notice I did not include “better cleaning”. Many commercial and residential cleaning business owners assume that people want “the best cleaning”. They focus on communicating to their customer that they “clean better than anyone else”. There are two problems with this:
Everybody says the same thing- your message gets lost.
Very few (if any) customers true pain is the “best” clean. They want the level of service that works for them.
In the commercial world, a medical facility has a very different definition of “clean” than does a restaurant a child care center or lawyers office. For all of you residential cleaning business owners, a young family with two dogs and no kids has a different expectation of clean than does a single professional or a retired couple.
KEY POINT: There is no “right” level of clean or way to clean
Let’s sum up:
Both franchises and independent commercial and residential cleaning business owners have unique opportunities and challenges.
If you are constantly getting that you customers are only interested in the cheapest price you probably have the wrong customer.
Often, when the customer tells you that they want the cheapest price it’s because you haven’t educated them on value
The “best clean” means different things to different people.
Before we call it a day, let’s give Charlotte a chance to share some of her wisdom gained as a residential cleaning business owner in the…