How did I find my buyer? I had 6 months left at this point and no training system to train the buyer. Plus, I no idea how to move clients from me to them. This is where I was ready to hammer my list of 600 people in my phone I had generated scripts and was ready to start the grueling process of asking quality people if they were interested in an opportunity. I was overwhelmed as I had very little time. This is how it worked for me. I'm a Christian and I prayed about it. As I was driving to one of my houses one morning, the Lord clearly said inside of my ear. "Call Ian.". Ian was becoming a good friend and a new commander in the Royal Rangers ministry I had served for 6 years. He looked up to me as I was the Senior Commander. He was 26 years old with a lot of promise and potential ahead of him. I got to the house and I texted Ian. "Hey are you around today." He said. "Yeah call me." I called him and I told him this, which was absolutely true. "How happy are you with your job?" Backstory... I knew that he had been working for a tape manufacturer operating heavy machinery. He had also worked at the rail yard but always doing physical labor. He was beating up his body and was earning $17 an hour. As a single guy, he was profiting between $1,500 and $2,000 a month, but not really getting ahead in life. I knew that if he learned how to clean and saw the opportunity he could triple his income and have freedom. He wanted to do more Royal Rangers, but his job was also second shift, and often was hard for him to get to the church and serve the boys. I knew he could work two or three days a week and triple his money. Back to my question. "How happy are you at your job?" He said. "Well not that happy. Why do you ask?" I told him. "I'm going to move to Philadelphia." He was shocked and said. "Ken, you can't leave!" I told him. "God was calling me to leave New York and go back home to be around my family. I'm going to sell my company and I have a short list of people that I think would be great fits. You are one of them. On my way to work today God told me to call you." We talked about some details briefly over the phone. Then he confided and told me that he was just thinking about his future and setting up a 401k and retirement, but wondering if his job would help him get to the next point in life. He was excited about this opportunity. He asked if we can meet at Starbucks that Sunday. Side note. I was going through my third battle of Lyme Disease and was feeling awful. I showed up and essentially pajamas and slippers to the Starbucks on Sunday afternoon, feeling nauseous and wanting to vomit. I brought my notebook and sketched out my business. He had lots of questions and he kept me there for almost 3 hours. At the end I said. "Hey Ian crazy question. I'm going to Dallas for a cleaning conference. Would you like to come with me?" He had never been on a plane before and said heck yes! By this point, he had known the numbers of my business as I showed him the valuation. He knew the price at $79,500. I told him I would take any expenses that he incurred from the Dallas trip off of the sale price as a perk.
This podcast episode releases on the 3-year anniversary of the day I sold my first solo cleaning business. Over these 3 years, so many cleaning company owners have asked me how I did it. So many people told me that you can't sell a solo cleaning business because I just owned a job and a job has no value. I didn't believe them. I'm not going to start this story where it really started for me and that's where God put a dream and vision in my heart to leave Upstate New York and go home to the Philly Area. I want to confine this story to the "How", so you can see the practical steps I took.
Many of us are paralyzed by too many ideas. We get overwhelmed on which to implement, when, how, and most importantly, WHY. This metaphor is brilliant. I heard it from an Amway stage years ago. You can't steer a parked car and you can't park a moving one. The act of taking action is driving. A coach or mentor can't steer your action if you're not taking it. In fact, have you ever tried to steer a car while it's parked? The power steering is off and the wheel is extremely hard to turn. It's the same way with people. It's easy to turn when they're moving, harder to turn when they're slow and hardest to turn them in their parked. There are also people that don't listen even when they're taking action. They are like the car which loses its power steering on the road! That's not as bad as losing your power breaks, but it's scary. Some people are like that too. These people can be just as dangerous to themselves and their future as the ones that are parked and doing nothing. What about the other side of this metaphor? You can't park a moving one. You have to slow down and then stop the car before you can park. What does parking look like in a person of action? It's them slowing down to come into a mastermind retreat or a weekly call or a meeting with a mentor. They're slowing down from their action, parking, to receive new information. It might be pulling in for gas or getting their tires filled with air or their fluid levels topped off. They might be getting a repair or some maintenance done before they can get back on the road of action.
My Total Life Freedom local friends and local networking friend Eric Laylon intersect for a second episode. In "Don't Fight Google or Facebook, Fight for Lunch", my friend Eric Laylon from ReachLocal shared great marketing tips and stats on the digital giants. I followed this with a story of who paid for lunch. In this episode, I am copying the format!
As I sit down to record this podcast, I grabbed a Clif Bar from my lunch bag to further establish my point. Right on the label, it says this. "We're Planting 1 Million Trees." This is the mission of the Clif company to appeal to those that love and want to maintain our environment. How many people have never eaten a Clif bar that would buy it when they read this across the label in a store? That is exactly the message I'd like to share in this re-introduction podcast!
This statement will resonate with many of you. Do you have customers right now that you know are sucking the profits right out of your business? If you don't resonate, you will soon! I've been doing this solo cleaning ISO Model journey for 16 years as you already know. I would like to share 4 types or categories of clients to keep a pulse in your business.
Before you listen to this article, please check out my Carfagno Cleaning article, "Home Trends that Intersect with Cleaning". I credit my friend Mary Ann Alig of Fox & Roach Berkshire Hathaway Realtors for the content that drove this article and this podcast episode. Mary Ann shared 8 home trends that realtors are seeing for this new decade. Trends like these tend to change every decade and currently include barn vs pocket doors, white interiors, shiplap, matching furniture, accent walls, rose gold, open concept, and multigenerational homes. In my article, I showed how these trends affect cleaning professionals. I also hint to all business owners how important it is to know your industry trends so you can stay ahead of them.
I shared in my last business update that I increased the monthly service price of one of my commercial clients by $350 per month. Plus, I was on the verge of adding a new house and veterinary hospital as clients. The estimate with Melissa went well. She never had a house cleaning service before, so I eased her into it. I had her read articles from my website and was able to direct some of her questions to other articles I've written. This really increased my credibility before I even showed up at her home. During the estimate, I also pointed out things I liked in the house that I genuinely liked. I can't go into detail, but one thing was a wedding anniversary gift her husband bought for her. It was in their bedroom and I asked the husband for the website. He was pleased to oblige. I shared what we do for anniversaries and the honeymoon retreat location we go. He was thankful in return. That gesture between me and them build trust, but it was genuine. It wasn't mechanical. Look for opportunities to do that in your business. Make your estimate more than mechanical, but relational. At the end of the estimate I went through my availability and how the proposal process will go with the options I'll put together. She was very impressed. This customer found me through the marketing machine I've built through Facebook, Google My Business, my website, and in-person networking
The original "Pros of Solo Cleaning" was so popular that I ran a 'Best Of' replay recently. I covered 10 pros that are very persuasive if you're evaluating a cleaning business for yourself. Here are the 10 pros listed out. Check out the original podcast for the details of each pro.
The Smart Cleaning School Podcast helps cleaning business owners from start-up to the struggling solo to the striving seven-figure get SMARTER in their businesses, reshape their mindset, increase productivity, clear the overwhelm, and get clarity through SMART goal-setting & personal accountability. Ken Carfagno is a lifetime learner and teacher. His mission is to help visionaries make the impact they were meant to make.