I don't proclaim to know all the answers. My M.O. is to listen more than I talk for two reasons. For one, I can learn from anyone. Secondly, I am emotionally sensitive and want to hear others speak so I can try to relate to them or possibly find a way to help them. This is my nature. Why did you just say all of that Ken?
Recently, I was perusing the posts, questions, and problems of residential cleaners in my friend Angela Brown's Professional House Cleaners group. By the way, if you haven't heard Angela's double interview on the Smart Cleaning School, you NEED to! This Moment with Angela Brown & Snag Success with Angela Brown
I've followed Angela's group for 8 years and will stop by from time-to-time to comment on posts to help others. At least, that's my goal. As in other free help groups, I see a common theme of posts. About 80% of the posts are from newer cleaners asking how to clean, what to use, how to deal with people, and how to price. 10% are strategy questions and 10% are wins from members. Don't quote my numbers. It was a guess from experience. I don't enter into the majority of the posts, rather focus on the business strategy and people issues. I believe these are the most important to building a successful company.
On my recent perusing of posts, I noticed a pattern of common questions and issues that I've listened to over the years. Here's a few from residential and a few from janitorial.
"My customers don't respect me as their cleaner and they won't pay me what I'm worth."
"This one customer is constantly watching me clean and timing me."
"I have a few customers that constantly reschedule or cancel service. How do I tell them this isn't okay?"
"[They post a recent text thread from a high-drama client and vent.] This customer is complaining again..."
"They want me to use their cleaning products and vacuum cleaner. How do I tell them I use my own?"
"I get a customer complaint every Monday morning about something little that was missed in their office."
"One of my customers keep asking me to do extra things not in the contract or cleaning arrangement."
"Just because they pay a lot of money for their cleaning service, they feel like they own me or I work for them. I don't like getting bossed around!"
These questions are all pain points for cleaning business owners. I have personally experienced each of them over my 18 years in the industry. I am empathetic and recognize these issues for what they are. It is high-drama. Period! I did a fun episode called "Why I Fired My First Client", where I divided all of our clients into 4 groups - low-paying & high-drama, high-paying & low-drama, high-paying & high-drama, and low-paying & low drama. When you hear these listed out, it's obvious that we want the high-paying & low-drama and don't want the low-paying & high-drama. It's the other two groups that cause us so much grief.
That's why I responded the way I did recently to multiple posts with the same answer.
"When you NEED clients badly, you take whatever you can get. Here's what I recommend. Get out there and add, add, add. Get UNNEEDY. Then you can start dictating your terms!"
My message was simple. You have high-drama in your business and probably low-price. You can either continue to deal with it and continue to get overwhelmed and frustrated. Or, you can grow up and realize that you don't have a good culture fit. The lane that you want to drive in and the customers that you want to serve are out there. You just have to go and find them. Analyze your business by looking at your best clients. What is similar in their demographics, psychographics, etc. Add more of these! Who are your worst clients that are causing all the grief? What is similar between them. Remove them. How do you do this. You need to create branding, marketing, and messaging that ATTRACTS what you want and REPELS what you don't want. All successful companies that I have ever studied do this extremely well.
Let's go back to my response. I notice that people that complain about the wrong clients all the time are NEEDY. They are not able to fire those bad clients because they need the money or they need the clients for their employees to have somewhere to work. They are dealing with the drama to keep the bus moving along. This is terrible strategy. My solution is simple. Get UNNEEDY. There are plenty of great customers that are great for you. Get a pick-axe and mine for the gold. Go get some new clients. Add, add, add... When you do, you won't even come close to attracting those wrong clients because you'll sniff them out before they ever show up in your business. That's what I mean by 'you'll be able to dictate your terms'. You choose exactly who you serve. When you hire, you choose exactly who is on your team. It's called culture; the culture of a winning team. Get one. When you do, you won't be needy. You won't allow drama to happen and you will remove drama in your cleaning business.
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