September is in the books. It's time for another business update. Afterward, I'll share a clip from our final coaching call from September to close out the summer. Now that October is here, it's time to crank it down! I have 4 months left to build and delegate my cleaning company before my self-imposed deadline of February 1, 2022.
I'm going to come right out and admit. I did NOT hit my goal for September and I know why. I got lazy. If you've followed this podcast since the beginning, I've been building my marketing machine using Google My Business, Facebook, and local networking. It's worked very well to the tune of $60,000 in increased revenues solo in 2020. I was working my marketing hard. My pipeline grew and I reaped the benefit in 2021. I hit my optimizer goal as a solo cleaner by January 2021 earning $70,000 profit on 2 days cleaning per week. I stopped marketing and simply helped anyone that found me through my marketing machine. This generated more house and office leads that I really didn't care if I got or not. Then June happened and I got A New Freedom Vision. I hired Coach Josh and it was time to scale my business with a team. I have shared with you that I built out a few systems over the summer including a hiring and payroll system, a financial system using Quickbooks Online, and a simple office cleaning training system. I also built my foundation with mission, vision, and values (see "Introducing the C3 Experience"). My cleaning business was now ready to grow with a solid foundation and the beginning of the systems that I'll need to support a $300,000 revenue business.
I had offices and house inquiries coming in, so I'd answer them and select which I wanted to bid on. I mentioned to friends personally and in network meetings that I was hiring and was referred a few people. I hired one of them. I was growing today off of yesterday's work. But I wasn't doing today's work by building my pipeline for tomorrow. We as entrepreneurs allow this to happen and don't realize it until your leads dry up. This happened to me in September. I realized it on my own and shared it with Coach Josh. By the way, I was supposed to complete his coaching homework to create a Project 100 in a week back in July. It took me 6 weeks to make this list of 100 offices I'd like to clean. Why did it take so long? I was arrogant thinking that I had a pipeline that I didn't see was drying up. This was my first major blind spot in September.
Coach Josh showed me my second major blind spot. It was my pricing. I'm charging too much! I teach the ISO Model for solo cleaners. The "O" is Optimizer and has the highest prices. I know and teach that you have to earn the right to charge Optimizer prices. I earned it in my New York business. When I moved to Pennsylvania, I tried to keep these high prices and got crickets. This was a wake up call to my ISO Model. You have to build the trust and credibility in your area before you can earn it. Therefore, I hit the grindstone and rebuilt my second business in PA and blew through each phase from Initializer to Stabilizer to Optimizer in 18 months to earn it a second time. The second blind spot was believing I was still an Optimizer as a business scaling with employees. I was not. Think about it. A solo cleaner with 8 offices, 6 houses, earning $70k on 2 days per week is amazing. But the same business viewed by my coach with over 100 accounts and over $1M in total revenues was just starting out. As a scaling business, I'm an Initializer again. Therefore, my prices for office cleaning must reflect that. Here's the good news. I can charge higher than the average office cleaning company starting out because I am excellent in networking, communicating, and cleaning.
Let me walk you through this blind spot #2 discovery. I was frustrated that 3 dental offices, 2 professional offices, and 1 industrial office that could have totalled over $7,000 per month in revenues and were a SURE THING all mysteriously vanished. Only one clearly said no. The others just moved on and found someone else. This humble pie forced me to look at the numbers. Here is what I presented to Coach Josh.
Josh heard this and asked what I was charging for the dental offices. He is an Optimizer in 3 niches (small medical, professional, and banks). I told him that my dental prices for 2,500 sqft offices was $800/mo and $1,300/mo for a 5,000 sqft office. He told me that if I would have charged $500 for the smaller ones and $800 for the larger, I'd get them all day. My closing rate would be high. My arrogant instinct is to split the difference and charge $650 and $1,100. Why? I feel that my service is that much better and it is. Here's the deal. What do I need right now? I need offices and employees. Josh explained that I can price a dentist office at $500 per month and staff it so the team member can earn $15 per hour. I'd still earn a nice profit and I wouldn't be cleaning it! He even told me that my quality of service could probably sell $600 and $900 all day. There's the blind spot. I'm an Initializer again. It's 2018 Pennsylvania all over again. I got mad at myself and determined to hit the goal that Josh was helping me set to close out the year.
Add 10 offices at $500-$600/mo and 10 employees. This would get me out of the field and get my income close to the $70,000 I was earning before.
I dug in and finished September strong on the pipeline side. Here's my list:
On the final coaching call of September, Josh gave me marching orders on how to approach the marketing of this list of 200 businesses. The advice is simple and effective. I am now building my pipeline again. I will add 10 offices this year and offer Initializer prices. I may be able to raise my prices slightly, but my goal is quantity right now. I can mess with pricing after this goal is met. I have embraced my true position as an Initializer again and I'm excited to be back in the driver's seat like I was 2 years ago when I started this podcast. Here's the clip of Coach Josh's advice to me!
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.