This may be one of the most significant episodes of the Smart Cleaning School Podcast. Let's recap for the newer listeners. I have run cleaning companies for the last 18 years in both Upstate New York and the Indian Valley of Pennsylvania. I struggled like you in my first solo cleaning business from 2005 to 2008 as an Initializer. I worked like a madman like you as a Stabilizer from 2009 to 2014. Then I OPTIMIZED my solo cleaning company into a business that provided my family full-time income through part-time cleaning without the drama of employees. I was cleaning 2 days per week and keeping $60,000 profit per year. 90% of our clients were residential. This 13-year period created the ISO Model, which stands for Initialize, Stabilize, and Optimize. I was the boss and could control my schedule. I had freedom and it was awesome! But I had no roadmap for others to also follow!
Our family wanted to go back home to the Philly Area. We sold that optimized solo cleaning company in 2018 for $80,000 with a 2-year owner-finance payback contract. This provided around $2,000 per month income from a business we sold to get us up and running in the Philly Area. I had freedom and it was awesome! But I had no roadmap for others to also follow!
I started the second solo cleaning company before the pandemic in 2019. I got involved in local networking and joined the Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce. I also launched this podcast in October of 2019. We grew through the pandemic as my business model moved from 90% residential in NY to a 50/50 split in PA with commercial. I cruised through the ISO Model in 18 months to $70,000 profit per year on 2 cleaning days per week. I did it again and much, much faster! I had freedom and it was awesome! But I had no roadmap, just a podcast for others to follow!
I rebranded in the September 2021 to Carfagno Commercial Cleaning and the C3 Experience! I had the mental, time, and money margin to invest into the proper systems for hiring and building a team. I made a ton of mistakes. I studied leadership as my primary role shifted from cleaner/salesman to leader. The C3 Team has grown to 10 part-time team members 18 commercial locations. We are about to cross $200k in revenue for the first time. Our next goal is 32 locations in the niche of professional, financial, and medical office spaces under 25,000 square feet in the Indian Valley. This will likely be around $350k revenue with around 20 total team members, 2 field supervisors, and a field leader (operations). I work from home and barely clean except to cover or onboard a new office. We went to Florida the past 2 Februarys as a family. This is a new level of freedom and it is awesome!
I recently recorded podcast episode #400! And guess what?! I have a roadmap now! It took me 18 years, 2 optimized solo companies, selling 1 and scaling 1 to extract the path to success and freedom for a solo cleaner. In my experience coaching solos over the past 7 years, I have noticed that solos feel so low. You struggle with the 2 UNDERS and 2 OVERS. You feel Underpaid, Underappreciated, Overworked, and Overwhelmed! Does that sum it up pretty well?! It doesn't have to be that way. You can have freedom as an optimized solo cleaner. In other words, you too can earn full-time income through part-time cleaning without the drama of employees. You just need a roadmap to get there! It's called the Solo Elite Membership Roadmap.
I'm going to walk you through the 9 boxes of this roadmap that takes you from startup to freedom.
You start out with a dream and a Why to have your own business as a cleaner (because you like cleaning or value the potential). However, there are 4 killers that cause startups to struggle. They are the 4 Fundamentals of the ISO Model and Box 1 of the roadmap: (1) Financial, (2) Mindset, (3) Strategy, and (4) People. I help you overcome these 4 hangups first. Before we launch your solo cleaning business, we can install your Box 2 ISO Model Systems so you can see your pathway ahead. This includes your financial system (understanding your numbers, how to price), basic cleaning system (what to use and why), and strategic ISO Model System (scorecard and tools). If you don't want to grow, refuse to read personal development and business mindset books, insist on charging by the hour, make up your plan as you go, or think you can do it all from the safety of your keyboard without becoming a giver in your community... This is not for you. For the rest of you, it's time to launch in Box 3. Complete the Quickstart 5, which includes (1) setting up your DBA (or corp), (2) bank account, (3) basic liability insurance, (4) cleaning supplies and equipment, and (5) take action to overcome your fears. Go clean for 5 customers for $500 and 5 reviews. You are now INITIALIZED!
Now that you've started cleaning and the fear of starting is gone, let's install the necessary systems in Boxes 4 – 6 to make this a profitable company without employees. First, you need a marketing system to attract the RIGHT leads. Second, you need a sales system to convert these RIGHT leads into GREAT, HIGH-PAYING clients. Lastly, you need a cleaning system to understand the Science, Art, and Health of Cleaning. This will turn you into a cleaning specialist, getting more out of your marketing and selling systems. You must do these steps in order. Do not say yes to every prospect and customer, fill up your calendar with low-paying jobs, and be UNDERPAID, OVERWORKED, and OVERWHELMED. This is the Valley of Despair for the solo cleaner and it sends many into the world of scaling and team-building from a position of weakness with NO margin and way too much emotion! This will doom you to failure and you'll be in the cleaning groups asking endless questions on how to hire. Stop that! Learn how to say NO and say NOT YET. As you STABILIZE, you will learn to identify the RIGHT customers to say yes to. If you get stressed, can't say no, and can't help adding helpers or employees too soon, this roadmap is not for you. All others will become professional, business people that happen to clean versus cleaning people that happen to do business. You will attract great clients and STABILIZE your solo cleaning business.
It's time to get busy! Do you remember when I said to build slowly and learn to say NO?! It's time to flip the switch in Box 7. Take what you've learned and work like crazy. Take the right clients and work whenever you need to with the single goal of 120% Peace Factor (earning 20% more than you need to live off). Go get it done! If you don't want to do the work and think this is the time to hire, this is not for you. Everyone else... this is where it gets exciting! It's time to play the Optimizer's Game! You've fixed the money problem and have financial margin. You are not UNDERPAID anymore. But, you are cleaning a lot and quite possibly OVERWORKED. Install the Optimizer's Toolbox in Box 8 to increase your profit margin, reduce your family budget and delay gratification, increase the average price of your customers, speed up your average cleans through the use of productivity tools called the Optimizer's Toolbox. Set 90-day SMART goals with accountability around your time and freedom. How do you define freedom? I defined it as 2 cleaning days per week and earning at least $60,000 per year profit without employees. You may define it as 4 days cleaning and earning over $100,000. You may define it as cleaning 2-3 hours per day while your kids are at school and earning $40,000 – $50,000 per year profit. You define your own freedom and use the Optimizer's Toolbox and the Solo Elite Membership to get you there! You are now fully OPTIMIZED and it's time to enter Box 9 to enjoy your freedom. You have earned your chance to STAY an optimized solo cleaner like I did for over 4 years. Keep growing. Keep adding better clients. Keep optimizing! You have mental, time, and financial margin and you can now build a team from a position of strength. Go ahead and SCALE your solo business into a company with employees that earns you the next level of freedom. I have started this process and on my way! You can also decide that you want to move on from cleaning and SELL your optimized solo cleaning business. It's an asset worth money. I sold mine for $80,000! These are the 3 S's of the Solo Elite Roadmap once you've optimized your solo cleaning business. I have done all 3 before I created this roadmap, so now I can teach you!
I'm not sure where you are in your solo cleaning business as you listen to this. You may be thinking about thinking about starting but don't know where to start. You may have already begun, but you're afraid to make the mistakes that most make. You may be an established solo cleaner with a full schedule of clients, but you're in the Valley of Despair I mentioned. You might be a seasoned solo cleaner with decades under your belt. Where ever you are, this roadmap will get you to your goal of freedom. So let me ask you. Which box are you in? Which do you need to go back to? Which did you skip? If this podcast episode is speaking to you, I want to personally invite you to join the Solo Elite Membership. You can optimize your solo cleaning business to earn full time income through part time cleaning without the drama of employees! Get access to this game-changing training for only $57 per month or $597 per year in the Solo Elite Membership at smartcleaningschool.com/elite. Members get access to the full ISO Model Course to optimize your solo business, plus access to the Solo Elite Community, bonus podcast content, and 50%-off access to private coaching and additional courses as member perks! You can also sample the membership with our brand new "Backstage Pass", which is found at smartcleaningschool.com.
"Helping cleaning professionals make the impact they were meant to make."