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
I also completed the proposal for a new veterinary hospital. It was super difficult to create this proposal as the client wanted many details covered in the hospital that I don't normally do in the recurring service. Therefore, we worked out a list of these details and I balanced them evenly between 4 rotating visits and offered prices for weekly, biweekly, and monthly cleaning. She was very thankful with my detailed proposal and options.
I talk about the power of networking and serving others locally in podcasts. Let me give you a few examples of how I did this with my chamber recently. First of all, I serve my chamber. I'm still considered a new member of the chamber and they utilize me to help the newest members learn how to use the chamber effectively. My chamber president trusts me and knows I communicate well, so he has hand-selected me to be an ambassador to the these new members and make the chamber look good. Last week, I completed my 3rd webinar welcoming newbies. Secondly, I look to build relationships in my chamber. I had a chance to grab breakfast with our chamber president, Steven Hunsberger. It was such a fun conversation as always. I was sharing the work that I'm doing as was he with the Chamber. Plus, Steven really helped me with some questions I had on investing and real estate. He's so smart and I appreciated his counsel. Somewhere in the middle of our breakfast, he shared a story that is the title of this episode. Steven pointed to a table and said. "10 years ago I had breakfast with Doug Clemens of the Clemens Food Group. One thing he told me that day that really got me upset, but I can't stop thinking about it ever since he told me. Get comfortable being uncomfortable." We talked about this for a little bit of breakfast and it's so true. We only grow when we're uncomfortable. And by definition, if you're not growing you're dying. You never stay the same in life. Nature never stays the same. It's either moving up or moving down. Therefore when you're comfortable, you're not growing which means you're dying. The people that are staying comfortable are slowly descending over the edge of the cliff without knowing it. The people that remain uncomfortable are always growing, always climbing. They'll reach the heights of success. No matter who you are in the cleaning industry as a solo or a team company - don't get comfortable. You may have an optimized solo cleaning business making $75,000 a year on two days a week like me and think you can just let it glide. You cannot. It will die eventually if you don't get uncomfortable and continue to grow it. You may be an absentee business owner with a $2.5M company making $400,000 per year without having to show up more than 5 hours a month. Don't get comfortable or that too can die. What does being uncomfortable look like? Search within and find the things that scare you and DO THEM! My friend Michelle Williams who runs Shadow Powers Podcast has a saying called "Do What Freaks You Out". This discussion with Steven at breakfast really got me thinking to challenge myself. What can I do today and tomorrow to be uncomfortable. That's what leadership is! Doing it yourself and leading others to be uncomfortable so they can grow and have a better life. Steven shared one more thing with me that was amazing. Our chamber is now publishing a new magazine, "Indian Valley Today". It's informational on the local municipalities, along with chamber member business updates. I learned that the chamber showcase that I was featured on is not taken advantage of enough. Our chamber just merged with another and now has over 400 members. Steve, our president, maintains a mailing list of over 2,500 with an industry leading 40% open rate. My showcase interview was therefore opened up by over 1,000 people last summer. That's why I got 2 new clients from it! I'm sure glad that I build relationships and serve my chamber!
Sticking with the topic of being uncomfortable, I have been publishing articles for my cleaning website and sending them out to my network. These articles are frequently asked questions and I dive into difficult questions like raising prices, where I clean and where I won't, and charging by the hour. One of my commercial clients named Tom always replies to my email newsletters with great feedback. Well, I saw him at his office over the weekend and he said this. "Ken, I get tons of email like everybody else. I look forward to yours, open them, and read them. I love how you tackle hard questions. I have to admit. I am learning from each one and it's helping me become a better business person. You should do coaching in your industry!" I thanked Tom for his trust in my cleaning company and for being such a great support to my business. It was so reassuring because it takes guts for me to write these articles. It takes guts for me to share my inner thoughts with new chamber members. It takes guts to do much of what I've done to grow my business as much as I've done these last 12 months. I've been comfortable being uncomfortable.
I have one in-the-trenches thought to share with you before I close. I had a particularly difficult 9 days in cleaning, where I did a deep cleaning on Friday, offices Saturday and Sunday, another deep cleaning all day Tuesday, houses on Thursday and Friday, and 7 offices on Saturday. It was a very lucrative 9 days, but tiring. It's unusual, but I'm looking to save as much as possible to buy a house this year for my family. I remember Thursday morning at 10 am after finishing my first house. I said this to myself. "1 house done out of 14 total buildings to clean over the next 3 days." It was a difficult 3 days amidst the 9. I just wanted to convey to you that I understand. If you're cleaning right now and you're tired, I get it. I've been there. If you're wondering if you'll ever get ahead, I get it. I've been there. You will if you whistle while you work, take advantage of the learning time you have while you work, and go after your goals to keep you motivated.
Check out the Solo Cleaning School tab of my website to access free resources such as the "Solo Cleaning Startup Guide" and "How to Earn $100 Per Hour Cleaning Houses" Masterclass. Also, you can sign up for a free coaching call with Ken to ask your questions and access the ISO Model Course and more for $50 per month in the Solo Cleaning School Elite Membership.
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.