A cleaner posted this response in a the Solo Cleaners Club free Facebook group that I manage after I asked why they were struggling to find clients as a new solo. "That’s the thing. I just started this year and have none. I used to clean for a company. They trained me and that’s when I fell in love with cleaning. I have nothing to help me gain anything, except for word of mouth, but no one is willing to give me a chance. I have a beautiful page full of everything I have to offer, before & afters, cleaning checklists, what to expect when you book with me. I have a new client welcome packet also informing of everything I offer. I include that I will occasionally gift holiday goodie bags, candles, and gift cards. I like treating people with hospitality and respect, I just can’t get in the door to show someone my quality. I feel like I’ve made the mistake of pricing myself too high." Here's my response publicly. "When your community feels your passion for cleaning half as much as you do...watch out!" Then I PM'd the company with this. "I wanted to personally reach out. It took a lot of carrots to share what you shared on the Facebook group. Would you like some help figuring this out (getting prospects to say yes to you)?"
I am excited to share this clip from the Solo Elite Membership! A few weeks ago, I ran my first Zoom call for the members to meet each other, dive into a topic, and ask questions. It was a great call. Afterwards, I pondered the idea of sharing a portion of the call with my podcast audience.
This one is short and sweet. Would you like to see the ISO Model play out in a common question I am asked? This question comes from my brother, who is starting his own solo cleaning company. He asked me this. "Ken, what would you do if a customer is only willing to hire you if you will clean for them on Fridays?" I answered him and then said. "Thanks for the podcast episode!"
There is an emerging Mindset Series that started with my interview with Coach Josh called "The Value of Coaching" and followed up recently with "Are You Truly Coachable". I spoke from the position of being coached for over 20 years and being a coach myself for the past 7 years. The topic today is a major pet peeve and a classic tell-tale of someone UNcoachable and UNteachable. It's when I hear the words "Yeah, BUT..."
This may be one of the most significant episodes of the Smart Cleaning School Podcast. Let's recap for the newer listeners. I have run cleaning companies for the last 18 years in both Upstate New York and the Indian Valley of Pennsylvania. I struggled like you in my first solo cleaning business from 2005 to 2008 as an Initializer. I worked like a madman like you as a Stabilizer from 2009 to 2014. Then I OPTIMIZED my solo cleaning company into a business that provided my family full-time income through part-time cleaning without the drama of employees. I was cleaning 2 days per week and keeping $60,000 profit per year. 90% of our clients were residential. This 13-year period created the ISO Model, which stands for Initialize, Stabilize, and Optimize. I was the boss and could control my schedule. I had freedom and it was awesome! But I had no roadmap for others to also follow!
This is a great follow up to "The Value of Coaching with Josh Melton". Josh has been coaching me through Marco Polo in 2023. I ask him questions and he responds. I am very coachable, so the content of my questions evolves over time from basic how-to questions to leadership and how my coach thinks questions. My goal is understand the Mind of Josh. How would Josh handle this situation? I have learned and grown as a student because I apply and take action on what Josh teaches me. I take notes on how the situation went and what I could have done better. The business improves. Do you see what I've done. I never have to ask Josh the same question twice.
"If you ever see someone standing alone, go over and talk to them." Steven learned this from his grandmother and it has helped him become a great people person and networker.
I want to start by giving credit where credit is due. I had the opportunity to connect with my friend Cristal Bosser of Mommy Maids 24-7 serving the North Port / Sarasota Areas of the Gulf Coast of Florida. She was giving me feedback on the Solo Elite Membership that I'm constantly improving and drove home a point that I needed to share! Thank you Cristal!
This episode released almost 2 years ago to the day! I was still doing house cleaning and transitioning Carfagno Cleaning to Carfagno Commercial Cleaning and the C3 Experience! We were preparing for our maiden journey to Florida for the month of February 2022. I am not wired to have trouble saying no. But many have that challenge. It's in their personality. In this Best-Of episode, I share a conversation between my daughter and I. I had just turned down a residential client and she couldn't believe it. "How could you say no? I couldn't do that!" I taught her about the 4 personalities in the DISC Assessment. I am a mix of 'C' for Conscientiousness and 'D' for Dominance. Neither of these personalities struggle with saying no. We struggle with a host of other things, but not that. I explained to my daughter that she is a 'S' for Steadiness. S's are people-pleasers and have a hard time saying no. DISC puts out statistics that 69% of the general population are S's! Furthermore, I collect applications and DISC assessments for prospective solo cleaners to work for our company. 75% of my applicants are S's! I know for a fact that saying no is a big problem. I want you to listen to this episode and the follow-up to move your business forward big time!
Are you a solo struggling like my daughter in saying no? You need to see why this is hurting your business. You need the ISO Model and the Solo Elite Membership! You can optimize your solo cleaning business to earn full time income through part time cleaning without the drama of employees! Get access to this game-changing training for only $57 per month or $597 per year in the Solo Elite Membership atsmartcleaningschool.com/elite. Members get access to the full ISO Model Course to optimize your solo business, plus access to the Solo Elite Community, bonus podcast content, access to private coaching and additional courses at 50% off! You can also sample the membership with our brand new "Backstage Pass", which is found at smartcleaningschool.com.
Learning how to deal effectively with other people is one of the Solo Elite 4 Fundamentals. People skills is a broad term tossed around. What does it mean? In my opinion, it's the ability and skill to effectively build relationships with other people so that they know, like, and trust you. I want to focus on one people skill today. It's responsiveness. How responsive are you to customer inquiries and complaints? If you have employees, how responsive are you to their questions? What about your personal relationships? How responsive are you with your spouse, children, parents, siblings, close friends, church and other acquaintances? What boundaries do you have? What standards do you have? I'm going to focus this episode on helping you develop a single boundary in your communication and responsiveness. Are you always available in your business 24/7? Do you have an off switch or a boundary for personal time? What is an appropriate reply time? Let's dig in!
I teased this episode in the previous one, so here it is! Did you know that your good name can be good marketing? I want you to think about this. How many companies do you buy from on the name alone? Have you ever hired a babysitter or other service provider in your home because they come from a good family name? How many times have you done the opposite when the company or person in question has a poor name and reputation? I work very hard to add value everyday to our good name. The Carfagno name means something to me. We are disciples of Jesus. We are hard workers. We are honest. I could go on and on. What are the values you add to your good name? I encourage you to develop these in your home and with your family. Transfer these values to your kids.
This was one of my favorite episodes to create. It gave me a chance to research more of my family lineage and share one of my favorite bible verses. This teaching is foundational in my home and I wanted you to all hear it. This replay is intentional. The next episode takes the good name to another level. Did you know your good name is good marketing? You will. Re-listen to this one first!
I shared this exact post in a free Facebook cleaning group and thought it valuable enough to include on the podcast. Here's the post.
I'm new to this group but not to cleaning. I love this industry and helping newbies. I see pricing posts all the time and wanted to share some insights that I just shared with another member on her private question. The question goes something like this... "Is this price too high, too low? "People are so cheap. How do I get them to value what I do as a professional cleaner?" Here's my response that will help you overcome these pricing objections. It's not your price. It's your process. When people ask for price first and quibble over price first, one of two things is happening psychologically.
I have a heart to help everyone who wants to start a cleaning business and optimize as a solo. I have found this to be a great strength and weakness. In two recent scenarios, I have learned that while helping one I'm hurting another. I'm going to teach the destructive mindset in each of my two recent scenarios.
If you've been following this podcast for any duration of time, you should have noticed a major shift in how I am teaching. I have organized my content for helping side hustlers, startups, and solos around 4 basic fundamentals of success: Financial, Mindset, Strategic, and People. I highly recommend that you check out the previous episode to gain the perspective I've learned on why so many of you are struggling. It's called "Why Side Hustlers, Startups, and Solos Struggle".
I recorded this training for the 2023 Maid Service Success Summit
Fundamental #1: Financial
Start with the Stats!
I have a friend, whom will remain anonymous. I won't share their full story, just the high level. Let's call her Jill. Jill ran a very successful and profitable solo cleaning business in Florida. Hurricane Ian pummeled her area and completely wiped out everything Jill had. Thankfully, her family was okay. But not her house. Not her vehicles. Not her business. Jill invested years to build and it took a few days for a natural disaster to destroy. What could Jill have done differently? Not live in Florida? I suppose. But that's her home. Here's the good news. Jill has a great mindset to grow her cleaning company. She is resilient and determined. She grew it back. What would you do if you lost it all? Would you be like Jill or would you give up?
I recently revealed the "The 4 ISO Model Fundamentals " as Financial, Strategic, Mindset, and People. It doesn't matter whether you own a solo cleaning business or a catering company. If you want to grow your company to create the life you've dreamed of, you'll need to master these fundamentals. I am not a caterer... obviously. I can't coach caterers. I can't coach photographers or digital agencies or doctors. I'm a 16-year solo cleaner that has optimized 2 solo cleaning companies to over $50,000 profit per year on 2 cleaning days per week without employees, subs, or drama. I've successfully sold one solo cleaning business for $80,000 and I've successfully scaled another solo cleaning business to allow my family to go to Florida for the month of February the past two years. I have mastered these 4 fundamentals for winning with a solo cleaning business and therefore, I am highly qualified to be your coach if you're looking to master your solo cleaning company.
Pricing questions are one of the most commonly-asked in Facebook cleaning groups. The post usually goes like this. There's an image of a house or details of the house or office. It is followed by "How much should I charge for this?" The only question I have seen more often in the last 7 years on Facebook is this one. "How do you clean this?" and there's a picture of something.
My sister Jenna is doing amazing in her career so far. She just finished a few rotations as a traveling nurse and is currently working on her Nurse Practitioner license. She just got back from a 2 week trip to Europe and has saved a ton of money. I'm such a proud big bro. She visited our family in Sarasota, FL this February when we were escaping the cold Northeast winter along with my mom and step-dad. It was a great visit where we checked out multiple Gulf Coast beaches, sunsets, kayaking in the mangroves, and Jake's amazing ice cream (shout out to Jake in Siesta Key)!
I used to watch the show, "Cheers" as a high-schooler. I didn't much care about the bar scene. I just loved the stories and the camaraderie and collection of people. They were all so different, yet they bonded every night after work.
I've been teaching the ISO Model for optimizing your solo cleaning business for years now. I'm noticing a theme emerging from the countless coaching calls, hang-ups and challenges of my students, and keys to success. What causes the winners to win and whiners to whine? In this episode, I will introduce the 4 ISO Model Fundamentals to prepare the soil. Over time, I'll follow-up with individual episodes on each fundamental.
I've been looking forward to doing this sales pitch episode for WHY you need to start a solo cleaning company. I have no idea where you are right now as you listen to this episode of the Smart Cleaning School.
James Harper was the host of "Two Cents Worth" and Angel Sandoval was the host of the "Sales Rehab" show. The two shows focused on sales and personal development and actually competed against each other in a productive way. James invited Angel to be a guest on his show and a friendship was formed. They decided to join forces under the common belief that 'Sales Saved My Life'.
I am an active member in my local Chamber of Commerce and have been since joining in October 2019. Check out one of my first episodes from Dec 2019 called, "I'm the Only Cleaner", where I shared my initial impression of joining my first-ever chamber in 15 years in business at that point. Also check out the episode, "Get a Name for Doing", where I was mentored by fellow chamber member and leadership coach Ken Byler of Higher Ground Consulting. Ken taught me how to add the most value to the chamber and make the greatest difference. Ken was SO right. I dove in right away and was able to make a big difference during Covid. I developed a reputation and name for doing. I've never taken my foot off the pedal in my goal to get a name for doing and adding value. Last fall, I joined the Membership Committee and immediately helped them determine how to have greater impact with the current membership as well as how to add more. I suggested that we, the membership committee of 8 members call the entire membership of 300 to connect with them and ask them some questions. Here's what we asked.
"Helping cleaning professionals make the impact they were meant to make."