This week started with content batching. Batching is an optimizer's tool for ultra productivity. Every month, I create blogs, podcasts, and videos for Carfagno Cleaning and Solo Cleaning School. It takes a ton of time to do each week. I used batching in my cleaning business and in other areas of business over the years. When Teresa's mom was available to watch the kids overnight, we jumped on the opportunity and grabbed a hotel for the night. I got so much done as I batched blog after blog after blog. We also enjoyed time together, so it was a win-win. The following day, I rented an office from my MCBA friend Vernessa Hopkins. Vernessa owns H3 Business Services in Harleysville, PA. The office was perfect and I was able to record all of my podcasts for the upcoming month. My batching goal was to invest a few days and dollars to complete all of my content for a month. I accomplished that! Please keep this in mind. The portion of my batching that related to my solo cleaning business was a small part, so it may not be necessary for you to batch your content. However, you may start sending out newsletters a few times per month, maintain your website, and repurpose content to Facebook and Google My Business. Batching would be a great idea for you at that point.
I've been tracking each of my offices from Saturday to Saturday, so I know how long they are taking. Plus, I've made changes to get faster. Over the weekend, I had a difficult email to send. One of these office cleaning clients took me longer because of paint speckles and glitter on the floor as well as increased kitchen areas. I knew I'd have to say something or scope creep would get me!
[Before continuing, check out the bonus video, "How do I Deal with Scope Creep" on the Solo Cleaning School YouTube Channel. You'll learn how easy it is for your clients to unintentionally take advantage of you.]
When the scope of work increases over time, it causes our cleaning times to increase. The great majority of cleaning companies will NOT raise the price as the scope changes so slowly they don't notice it. Not me! I recognized the potential Scope Creep setting in and knew I would have to send a difficult email. I used the sandwich technique with praise and gratitude in the open and close of the email. In the center, I laid out the areas where the scope has increased. Then I shared how this affects my company. "I clean five offices every Saturday right now. I'm in the process of adding more as well. So when one office starts taking me longer, it ends up costing me money. I'm sure you understand!" Then, I offered possible solutions which either forced them to take ownership and have the staff do more end-of-day cleaning or I would submit a new proposal with higher prices for the increased scope. I was nervous about the outcome as it was surely possible to lose the client, but I had to do this. It's my business and I must run it like one! Fortunately, they responded with consideration and we worked through the solutions together. Ultimately, they decided to take ownership for one portion. The other part, where they've added more kitchen appliances, we decided to alternate half-and-half each week. They gave a little and I didn't raise my prices. It also raised my image of trust and professionalism.
Let's close this update out with a few interesting mental breakthroughs from my networking group in-person meetings. First, I realized something very important about attending a networking group. Attending develops trust and referrals. But it also gives you a broad network of business professionals across many industries that you know and trust. You get content outside of cleaning that rounds your knowledge out and makes your own content of greater value. It allows you to refer your friends to your clients. I've only been in these groups for 10 months and I can refer businesses from just about every major category. Plus, I can learn from each and share content with my mailing list and clients to help them. It's awesome! Secondly, I was talking with Andrew Rumbold about deductibles for general liability, homeowners, and auto insurance. He gave me an excellent rule of thumb that serves as an update to "The Stuff I've Broken". Andrew says not to file a claim unless the damages are double your deductible. For example, a homeowners claim once will raise your rate. Multiple homeowner's claims can lose your insurance and make it hard to get a new policy. Personally, I had a business liability claim on a scratched end table of $2,000 versus my deductible of $500. That's a 4 times scenario and worth the claim. It was my first claim and my policy did not go up, so it was a no-brainer. I had mentioned in that prior episode that I would have paid out-of-pocket up to $600 or $100 over my deductible. Now that I heard Andrew's rule of thumb, I would pay upwards of $1,000 out-of-pocket before I file a claim.
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.