The Art of the Barter
In my last Carfagno Cleaning update, I shared about my honeymoon getaway with my wife, my grandfather in the ICU, and some wins in my solo cleaning business. I've already shared a "Tribute to My Father" in a previous episode as well, so you know how that ended. I have a few other updates from this week in business.
As I've shared previously, Matt and Laura are a young family with a small child and both working full time. They have kept up the cleaning of the home, but it's getting overwhelming. They've never hired a cleaning service, so they turned to Dr. Google for the answer. Google lead them to my company, Carfagno Cleaning, only because I focused on it this year. Check out "Google My Business Rocks". Matt was highly impressed with my Google profile and called me on the spot. I answered this call while on my honeymoon. Normally, I'd let it go to voicemail, but I was answering everything due to my grandfather. Matt had some basic questions, so I referred him to my website. He pulled up the site on the spot and said. "Wow, you're legit! This is a great website." These are great responses and as you can imagine, increased my value to Matt. He wanted to know about the basic models of cleaning, maid verses cleaning services, costs of each. I referred him to the article I wrote on the question. This impressed him even more. Then I covered some of the basic FAQs from my website over the phone. He booked me for an estimate on the spot and was already talking about hiring me. I did the estimate this week with Matt and Laura. It was fun as they were so engaged. They loved how I customize a home into options to make my higher-end service affordable to everyone. As I left, I promised an email proposal with cleaning options by the end of the week and I met that promise. They are most interested in monthly cleaning. They are a perfect fit and would be the final house I need to complete my 2020 goal for houses. I did want to share this direct feedback to you, my podcast listeners, from Matt and Laura. Remember, they are a young 30's ish couple with two incomes, a dog, and a baby. "We love how you customize our house. When I heard that over the phone, I felt confident we'd get an excellent cleaning at a price we could afford. We knew you were legit and have passion for what you do."
A few weeks ago, I received an inquiry from Erin. She is a local realtor referred to me by my BIB friend and realtor, Mary Ann Alig. She was the selling agent for her niece and nephew and wanted to gift a move-in cleaning to them. There wasn't a way to see the house as it was under contract until the house closed. Therefore, I pulled the real estate listing online and looked at the 50+ pictures to give Erin a ballpark price estimate. We went back and forth until we agreed on a price of $350 and booked it for Thanksgiving week. When I showed up at the house, I conducted my formal walk-through estimate to negotiate a final price and cleaning list with Erin. I never compromise on bathrooms and kitchen deep cleaning, so this portion came to $250. Then I figured out how much I could do in the 10 rooms with only $100 to work with on our pre-agreed-to price. It worked out to about 10 minutes per room based on my formulas. Thus, I proposed a detailed deep cleaning on the bathrooms and kitchen surfaces (outsides only) and a quick dust, vac, and mop of the rooms for $350 to hit the goal. Erin still wanted the inside of the refrigerator and cabinets done. Here's how this went down.
While I looking at the pictures a few weeks ago for my ballpark price, my wife was also looking as we're in the market for a house in the coming year or two. We both liked the home, but what really caught her eye was this cute rolling butcher block style rolling island in the pictures of the kitchen. Our kitchen is large, but there is no island and my wife and daughter run out of space to work. When we saw that rolling island in the picture, it gave us an idea. I looked some up and they cost between $200 - $600! Wouldn't you know it... I forgot about the island until I got to the house. The sellers left the island along with other items to the new buyers. While talking to the realtor, I noticed the island and just asked. "Where do you get islands like this? My wife wants one." They said. "You can have this one!" The realtor and Aunt to the buyers threw in. "We'll give it to you in exchange for the refrigerator deep cleaning." I have done bartering many times before. I cleaned a monthly house in New York in exchange for their leather sofas. It was a $1,000 set that I got for $200 worth of cleaning. I have either bartered or received for free, a dining room set, a washer and dryer, a ping-pong table, and other furniture, toys, and clothing over the years from clients. It's a "Pros of Solo Cleaning" I did not put in the original episode! This rolling island was worth at least $200 and my refrigerator deep clean service was $100-$125 or an hour of my time.
Erin and I went into the back patio to discuss and struck a deal. I would do the refrigerator in exchange for my wife's Christmas gift and Erin added the cabinets for $50. My son and I cleaned this house for the entire afternoon and hid the gift in the basement. Erin was so impressed with the work that she gave me a Google review! 5 stars!
Bartering is an awesome pro of cleaning. In fact, my friend Debbie Sardone has written a whole book on the topic called "Barternomics"
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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.