I hear this statement so much in the cleaning groups. It sounds like a great problem to have, but in reality, it's a defining statement. Let me give context to the people asking it. They are called solo cleaners. I was one for 16 years. A solo cleaner starts out super excited to make money for their family. They love cleaning and can do it as a side business. As they get better and their name gets passed around, they start adding more and more customers. But here's the problem. A solo cleaner has a limited number of customers they can work with. Even the most efficient solo cleaner even has a limit. For fun, let's create a solo cleaning robot named Bob. Bob doesn't sleep and is able to clean 3 houses Monday to Friday during the day and 4 offices each night and 8 on Saturday and Sunday. Bob is a machine, literally. He cleans 15 houses and 36 offices every week by himself. If each house and office is worth $150 per clean, Bob is creating just under $400,000 in annual revenue and approximately $350,000 per year in profit as he doesn't sleep or eat. All he needs are the supplies and insurances to do the work. This is absolutely ridiculous. No one can work like Bob. I just wanted to show you that a solo cleaning robot could earn $350,000 per year. But he couldn't earn any more. What if Bob was reprogrammed to need sleep? He would tap out around $175,000 or $200,000. The point is simple. There is always a limit in solo cleaning. Most solos out there are no where near Bob. Does that strike a chord? Are you working like crazy and have no more time to take on more customers. Congratulations! You've hit the wall. So what are you going to do about it?
I would like to share an exchange I had with a solo cleaner in a free Facebook group. She hit that wall and asked the obvious question. "Do I hire employees or take on contractors?" This is simple logic. There is no more room for customers. Therefore, I need others to help me clean so I can make room. I answered her question with this. "This is not meant to frustrate you, but I don't think you're asking the right question. You're assuming the next step is hiring and building a team. I advise solo cleaners literally all the time in this same place. First of all, congratulations! You've reached the limit of your ability to clean. That's admirable. Answer these questions with your husband. (1) Why did you start a cleaning business? (2) What is your big goal with the company? (3) What are you willing to sacrifice in order to achieve your big goal? This got her thinking and opened her eyes to the most common response. She was being reactive to her business. She had filled up her schedule and had no more more. New customers wanted her time. They were leading her business instead of her. I want her to stop and think. Why did you start the cleaning business? What do you want it to provide for your family? Is it doing that for your family? Why not? Do you think hiring employees or bringing on subcontractors will solve your problem? By asking yourself questions, you put yourself back in the driver's seat of your business. You see where you are and the possibilities of where you could go. You may have to endure difficulty and sacrifice to get to the next level if you choose to lead your business that way. Hiring and building a team requires a foundation, the ability to delegate, the faith to invest in others and automation tools. You are making a decision to grow the right way for the right reasons to make a difference in your family and community. Do you want that? If so, then I'd answer her question this way. "Don't use contractors! Build a team with employees and treat them amazing." On the other hand, you may decide that you don't want to deal with employees. You were asking this question about hiring because of fear and you thought it was your only option. It's not!
Okay, Ken. I'm listening. What is the other option? Let me be clear. Hiring is a great option if that's what you want and why. It's the only way to earn what Bob the Robot earns and beyond. J. Paul Getty said it this way. "I'd rather earn 1% off 100 people's effort than 100% off my effort alone." I think Mr. Getty would still think that even if he was a robot like Bob! Did you know that Mr. Getty was the wealthiest man in the world for a decade? Hiring and creating duplication is amazing. It's not for everyone. This is definitely an option for you burnt out solo cleaner. Let me share another. You can optimize like I did as a solo cleaner twice. I was no Bob, but I did earn between $60,000 - $70,000 profit per year cleaning 2 days per week without employees. I worked hard for 2 days for sure, but then had 5 days of freedom with my family as well! I have done this with 2 different solo companies in 2 different states and 2 different decades. Ken, how did you do that?! Ummm... Listen to this podcast. Go to the beginning and press play. I explain everything! I'm not going into the details here. I just wanted to breathe life into the solos out there. You do have choices. You can lead your business. In fact, that's the best way to run it... with you as the leader, not other people!
Did you like this episode? It addresses a common solo struggle. Check out this episode that addresses another. I am new and my first clients don't pay enough. How do I get them to pay me more? It's called "Get a New Bag of Lemons".
Check out my interview with the CBF Founder, entitled "A Buffalo Charges the Storm with Debbie Sardone". Debbie is offering free consultations to listeners of this show through the Smart Cleaning School Resources Page at smartcleaningschool.com/resources to see if CBF could be the right solution for you.
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.