A cleaner posted this response in a the Solo Cleaners Club free Facebook group that I manage after I asked why they were struggling to find clients as a new solo. "That’s the thing. I just started this year and have none. I used to clean for a company. They trained me and that’s when I fell in love with cleaning. I have nothing to help me gain anything, except for word of mouth, but no one is willing to give me a chance. I have a beautiful page full of everything I have to offer, before & afters, cleaning checklists, what to expect when you book with me. I have a new client welcome packet also informing of everything I offer. I include that I will occasionally gift holiday goodie bags, candles, and gift cards. I like treating people with hospitality and respect, I just can’t get in the door to show someone my quality. I feel like I’ve made the mistake of pricing myself too high." Here's my response publicly. "When your community feels your passion for cleaning half as much as you do...watch out!" Then I PM'd the company with this. "I wanted to personally reach out. It took a lot of carrots to share what you shared on the Facebook group. Would you like some help figuring this out (getting prospects to say yes to you)?"
Are wondering what that means? It took a lot of carrots? When I looked at what the voice-to-text transcribed from "It took a lot of courage", I edited it and laughed at myself. Then I said out loud in my office. "That's the podcast title. It took a lot of carrots!" Let's talk about carrots as you will be amazed how it relates to this woman wanting her business to grow.
1. Carrots endure – Most produce must be harvested before the winter so they remain edible. Did you know that the carrot has the power to freeze itself in the dirt? The dirt acts as an insulator. Simply cover them up with mulch for the winter. You can harvest them in the winter or in the spring and they will actually be sweeter! Carrots endure long, cold, dry seasons. Have you been through long, cold, dry seasons in your business where nothing seems to be happening? You will need the endurance character of the carrot.
2. Carrots are better cooked – Did you know that most vegetables are healthier raw? Not carrots. They actually release more beta-carotene when cooked. Beta-carotene enhances your sight, skin, and immune system. Carrots are better for you when they heated through cooking. Have you ever faced the heat and pressure of making your business work? You will need the heat-enhancing properties of the carrot.
3. Carrots enhance vision – As mentioned in the last one, cooking releases more Beta-Carotene. This enhances your vision. Have you ever gotten stuck in your business where you can't see the future? You need the enhanced vision that the carrot provides.
Reference: Simon Baynes Article
I didn't realize it at the time, but the AI of Facebook interpreted courage for carrots correctly. It does take a lot of carrots to win. You need to endure like the carrot to get through the winter. You need to release your best nutrition and results when under the hottest and hardest testing or when you're being cooked! You need to have better vision to see past this current setback to get to the ultimate goal. You need a lot of carrots. You also need a lot of courage to succeed too. No one ever said it was going to be easy. You will face challenges. You will face adversity. You will face your fears every single day.
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." – Franklin D. Roosevelt
You also need a lot of courage, so you can face your fears daily and win.
Let's get back to the solo cleaner who posted the comment in frustration about not getting any customers. I wanted to give my formal answer on my podcast so everyone can hear it. She knew her cleaning service was far better than others around her. She also recognized that so many others were pricing at $15 per hour and she couldn't compete with that! You're right! These cleaners are out there and you can't compete! I don't want you to compete. I want you to separate. Cleaning is a fast-growing industry. It's easy and inexpensive to enter. This brings in a lot of new cleaners. This is good. It brings in a lot of new cleaners that are not entrepreneurs or business people. This is bad. We want the industry to grow. Unfortunately, the same reason that makes it easy to enter this industry is the same reason the industry is being hurt. The cleaning industry is unregulated and does not require standards like other industries. Sure, the ISSA and BSCAI have standards and teach them. But it's not required to start a business. Higher standards and barriers to entry sift out the employees wanting a higher paying job (and so they start a business). Higher standards cause the start-up cost and formal training to take longer and cost more. Therefore, cleaning literally brings anything in off the street. Put a sponge, spray bottle, and mop in their hands and they're off making money. This has gone on for decades and will continue.
There is a way to overcome this. Have standards. Be a leader in your knowledge and expertise in how to clean and disinfect. Learn how to act and do business professionally. Invest in your business, get legit, build a brand. Be a Specialist. Get a reputation for doing and giving in your community. Learn how to network. Have passion for what you do and communicate it everywhere. Know your numbers and price fairly, yet still profitable as a solo and still profitable if you scale. Be a growth-minded entrepreneur. $15 per hour cleaning people are not any of these things. They will exist while the market and the opportunity is good. Once the economy starts hurting, $15 per hour will never earn a full time income for a solo cleaner. For certain, you can't scale a business on $15 per hour when that's how much labor costs are on the low side! Just let these cleaners alone. Don't compete with them. Their business model will not endure the winter like the carrot. It will not see a better future. It will not get better when cooked. Instead, focus on what you offer. There are plenty of customers that want a legit, professional, reliable, high-quality, and business-minded solo cleaner to service their family and/or business. They want a partner that they can trust to fix their problem. They will pay in direct proportion to the value they perceive the service is worth. That's what price is. Price is not arbitrary. Price and value are different. Someone will buy from you when the price is less than the perceived value. Your job is to create so much perceived value that the price is not an issue. The perceived value that I created in my first optimized solo cleaning business was 3-fold: Trust, the Cleaning Specialist, and Reliability. My customers wanted to live their life and not think about cleaning. I solved that problem. When they saw the three values that I offered, and then I priced to win, I got clients. Simple. So stop asking how to price. Ask how you can create the most amount of value in your community. If you can do that, the customers will come knocking on the door begging you to clean for them. $15 per hour non-businesses will remain among us as long as the industry is unregulated. That's fine. There are plenty of customers out there that want what we have to offer and willing to pay for it!
You just need more carrots!
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