t's getting harder and harder to update you on my own Carfagno Cleaning when every time I go to lunch with Total Life Freedom Philly, the lunch gets paid for with varying level of mystery. In the last installment, "Audio Alibis", the "Benevolent Benefactor" of lunch #3 was revealed. We already know that the Pastor aka John Stange paid for lunch #1 and the prestigious Law Firm of Carfagno & Carfagno had to file the second lunch into the cold case files as "Unsolved Mysteries". The TLF Philly bunch met up for lunch #4 this week. I will report exactly how it went down. But first, let me give a short update on my other business, Carfagno Cleaning.
I've shared our family dream and how our cleaning business fits into it, in the episode "Two Questions to Grow Your Network". Just to refresh you, I've been solo cleaning for 17 years. I teach how to optimize your solo cleaning business. I optimized my first solo cleaning business in New York to $55,000 profit on 2 days per week cleaning, then I sold it for $80,000. I grew another solo cleaning business in the Philly Area from 2019 to now. This one is earning me $70,000 profit on 2 days per week of cleaning. I have precedent and could sell it again. I could keep doing it and be happy with that type of profit and schedule. Or, I could delegate and scale with employees. What's the right answer? It's simple really. Start with Why as Simon Sinek would say. Our Why is time, money, and location freedom so our family can create more memories together locally and visit all 50 states for our homeschool. Our near term dream is a month-long trip to the Gulf Coast of Florida in February when it's cold in PA. How can I make that happen? We would need money saved up to pay for the trip and we'd need to delegate our cleaning business as selling it by February is not an option. As I think this through more, we need to increase our revenue by $5,000 per month to account for the cost of employees and to have enough cash for the trip. That's it! We need to increase our overall corporation by $5,000 per month. Our corporation, Carfagno Cleaning has two businesses. One is the local Philly-based cleaning company that I've been updating you about throughout this podcast. The other is the Smart Cleaning School, which is what you're listening to right now! I can add $5,000 revenue monthly through increased cleaning and / or increased paid clients in Smart Cleaning School. It's that simple. In 2021, I am pushing hard to increase revenue in Smart Cleaning School and Carfagno Cleaning, while hiring and training to delegate the cleaning.
Now that you understand our vision and goals, this will make sense. I received 5 leads for cleaning this week. 3 were for recurring houses, 1 for a recurring office, and 1 was a 1-time job. When I got the leads, I felt overwhelmed as I don't have the space to take anything else on right now even though I have a goal to increase revenues. My wife and I went on a walk to talk about family and business. That's where we figured it out. I contacted all of the leads and informed them that I cannot accept new clients at the moment as I'm building a Waiting List. 3 of them understood and went another direction. One house is owned by the doctor of a veterinary hospital that I clean. She is a great client and I knew this would be a great house to take on. She was appreciative and understanding of my waiting list. Since I had nothing to lose, I texted with her a few times to get some basics on the house. I gave her a ballpark price quote. She was fine with the prices and wanted me to do an estimate. The estimate went extremely well. Here's my gameplan (and I share this for other optimizer's to get into my head). I will send her prices that she already expects. They are Optimizer prices, way higher than some of my current houses. This one house would equal the annual revenue of two other houses that I don't want. If she says yes, I'll send price increase letters to 3 houses to raise them to $200 per visit. My other 3 houses will get price increase letters with no increase. Out of the 3, I expect 2 to fire me. Here's the cool part. I'll increase my revenue with 1 less house and more free time to build Smart Cleaning School.
Lastly, the office that contacted me is in my niche and close to an existing office client. An HR manager from a CPA firm found me through the chamber and was referred to me by another CPA that I don't even know. I've been very active in my chamber and local networking groups to teach and educate on podcasts, newsletters, marketing, facilitating Zoom webinars, teaching about cleaning, etc. The CPA firm had a cleaner before the pandemic, but lost them. They filled in with a firm employee to help them with extra income. That hasn't worked out, so they found me. My website was very professional. The HR manager said this. "Ken, we were very impressed with your website and were sure you were the right fit. Plus, it looks like you're on a waiting list, so hopefully we can work something out." This was music to my ears. I booked the estimate for next week. This would be a perfect fit and would add $600 - $1,000 per month of the $5,000 in revenue we need to hit our goal.
Okay, without further delay, I know you don't care too much about my cleaning business. You just want to know what happened at lunch and who paid? I'll keep this one short, but trust me, that is no indication of how epic the end of lunch was! TLF Philly met for a second time at City Works in King of Prussia, PA. The Usual Suspects were there. The Pastor (John Stange), The Loud and Balder Guy (John Schuchman), Innocent Emily (Emily Brunner), The Absentee (Brad Imming), The Cleaner (myself), the Newer Newbie and Early Bloomer (Melissa Bloom), and our New Yorker guest, the Throat Puncher (Dennis Clarke). The Loud & Balder Guy had been thwarted to buy lunch twice in a row and both dramatically awkward. He arranged the venue and time, refusing to share the location until 24 hours prior. Innocent Emily and I were the first on the scene as the others were stalking a local author as he signed his new book at the local Barnes & Noble. That local author was none other than The Pastor. His book is the double meaning title of this episode, "Dwell on These Things". We'll come back to that! Emily and I exchanged greetings and proceeded to the hostess station. I said. "We're here with the John Schuchman party." She replied. "I don't have a reservation under that name." Emily and were confused. "It's a hard name to spell. It's S-C-H-U-C-H...". This didn't reveal a reservation. I smartened up. "Can you check under Emily Brunner? How about John Stange? Brad Imming?" Nothing. We thought that The Loud & Balder Guy may have tried something sneaky like using a different name. That's silly. I put in a reservation under my name and we waited.
A few minutes later, the others trickled in. Loud & Balder came out from the restaurant. "Our table is ready." Emily and I exchanged suspicious looks and went with it. There are only two details of lunch worth mentioning. During the ordering, the waitress asked if we wanted separate checks. In unison, we all said. "One check!". Midway through lunch, The Pastor disappeared for a while to use the bathroom. We were all deep into conversation and didn't think much of it. Then Throat Puncher stood up with his camera and was snapping pics of the Pastor at the bar. He appeared to be putting wallet away. Throat Puncher declared. "You're busted." But as The Pastor got closer, we could see that the only thing in his hands were a stack of napkins. That's odd. Why would The Pastor get napkins?
At the end of lunch, tension filled the air. Loud & Balder had a look of supreme confidence. Her Innocence was smiling with Early Bloomer. The Absentee was laughing about being a Millenial even considering anything covert. I was resigned to sit this one out and see what happened. I've already revealed the benefactor of lunch #3 and felt good about it. And Throat Puncher had his fist cocked and ready to take out whoever tried anything suspicious. Let me play this scene Matrix-style by slowing it down to 10 frames per second. The waitress brought the check toward the table. We all stopped to look toward her. Loud & Balder's face confident and ready to accept the payment receipt. I watched his face. It was cool, pale, ready to declare victory. But then Mr. Anderson learned how to avoid the bullets and the Agents face contorted in surprise. This contorted face was Schuchman. I can still see it in slow motion. His face color changed from pale to light pink to light red to maroon as the waitress dropped the payment receipt in front of The Pastor. John Stange grabbed the pen, signed a large tip, and paid for lunch. Just like that, it was over. The 4th TLF lunch was paid for. Twice by The Pastor, Once by The Cleaner, Once by the Underground Christian Illuminati Hat People, and None by Loud & Balder, John Schuchman.
After the lunch payment, Loud & Balder's face slowly returned to it's pale color as he threw up arms in stunned disbelief. "I had it all worked out. I made the reservations and pulled a Ken." I replied. "What reservations? Emily and I tried to find your reservation." "I used Mark. I pretended to be you and said that I did this before and was able to pay for lunch via the phone. They took my reservation. They took my credit card and assured me that it would be taken care of." Of everything Loud & Balder just said, Emily and I said. "Wait, Mark. You used an alias?" He defended his position. "It was the only way I could pay for lunch!" Meanwhile, The Pastor was just shaking his head and said. "It wasn't supposed to happen this way." All attention moved from Loud & Balder to The Pastor. "They were supposed to take my payment and not bring the check to sign in front of everyone." This is where the atmosphere changed and the once pleasant game of 'Who Paid for Lunch Clue' turned into 'Don't Let Schuchman Pay for Lunch Clue'. It was at this point that the rest of the TLF Philly table got involved. Questions flew. Mystery abounded. We all thanked The Pastor for his generosity. Then we asked how he did it. Keyser Soze walked off the scene, limp and cripple slipping away to fast walking, knowing how he pulled it off, yet not revealing to anyone else his methods. Thus, the Law Firm of Carfagno & Carfagno closes the case of lunch #4. The guilty has been convicted of 1st degree generosity (which is pre-meditated payment of lunch with intention to thwart John Schuchman). The accomplice to the paid lunch is unknown. The witness on the stand, Loud & Balder stepped down shaking his head at another failed attempt to pay for his friends lunch. The Absentee was selected to reserve the next lunch and the mission is clear. Do not let Schuchman pay for lunch. We shall see how that goes down in July.
I hope you enjoyed the 6th installment in the Who Paid for Lunch Clue Series. As you can tell, I've had entirely too much fun making these. I want to thank each of the TLF Philly members for allowing me to use their real names and that includes Mark! You are all great sports and it's been a blast hanging with freedom-seekers with big hearts to give. Lastly, I want to give a raving endorsement for John Stange's new book, "Dwell on These Things". I am a few chapters in and love the book. It's a simple, yet an effective message that is broken into 31 days to show you how much God really loves you. I hope you check it out.
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.