Time to Change the Protocol!
The business week started out great. I recently upgraded one of my commercial cleaning clients by $350 per month. When I got the call at the Airsoft field about another veterinary hospital, I was thrilled. Yes, that's right. The Airsoft field. Here's a short bonus funny papers. My oldest son, Kenny, just 16 recently and we decided to do a birthday party for him. It involved 7 of his teenage friends, Airsoft guns, gear, a 3-hour battle at the Airsoft field, games at home, food (lots of it), cake, and presents. Due to shutdowns in December, we had to move his party to late January. It was well worth the wait. I decided to sacrifice my Honda Pilot over Teresa's family van. I took 4 of Kenny's friends directly from church to the Airsoft field. We met the other 3 there. I helped them get set up and left in the hands of the field referrees to play for 3 hours. I then went to the car to chill out, stay warm, watch from the parking lot, and get some work done on my laptop. While I was waiting, I got a call from a local veterinarian looking for cleaning. She told me that she used to work with Ruth at another hospital I clean. Ruth saw her post on the veterinary private group and proudly referred me. The first takeaway is that I am worthy of being referred. My work and customer service are excellent, which is why I was referred. Are you doing likewise at every house and office you clean? The call lasted for 20 minutes as we learned about each other's background. I learned that she had recently opened a new hospital after working for others for years and she invested heavily into cleaning using her staff (but they needed a break). She learned that I also cleaned for another vet. We worked out a few scenarios of how I could help. I even gave examples of how much I currently charge for other vets and how much it may cost her. She invited me for an estimate a few days later. That estimate went outstanding. We're working on a rotational cleaning schedule that I'll quote her several options for next week. Back to the teenagers... After the call, I realized something vital. My Pilot was equipped to seat 8, but not 8 with Airsoft guns and gear and certainly not 7 teenagers and me! I underestimated the choice of using my Pilot. I called Teresa for an audible. She drove over the field to drop off some gear that Kenny forgot and took most of the gear off my hands. The boys were so stoked after playing for 3 hours and ready for mass quantities of chili, candy, and cake. They were also filthy and muddy. This is where the sacrifice came in. My car still has mud marks all over the back seats, carpet, and vinyl trim. It's everywhere! The ride to our house was hilarious as myself and 7 high school boys cramped into my Pilot. We all joked it was like one of those clown cars in the circus. The rest of the day was great. I knew teenagers could eat, but even I was surprised when they ate an entire pot of homemade chili and like 3 bags of corn chips. My wife had designed "Minute-to-Win-it" games with ping-pong balls, dice, straws, candy, and other dollar store items for the boys to challenge each other. I was MC and scorekeeper. They needed one more player, so one kind teen allowed my 9-year-old son Kolby to be his teammate. Guess what?! Bryce and Kolby won! The night ended with cake, presents, man-hunt outside, and stupid YouTube videos The last boy was picked up at 8:30! Teresa and I were exhausted, but my son was happy and I got a new potential big client! The combination of this client and the increased one ends my commercial cleaning goal before I start optimizing
While I was cleaning houses on Thursday, I got a call from Melissa. She found me on Facebook and was very impressed. I used my phone as a filter and she invited me for an estimate the following week. Side note. I'm not able to be a member of the local mom's group obviously, but Teresa will post something every few months to keep my name relevant. I recently went on as Teresa and added a comment to a Facebook Live I did for the mom's group during the pandemic. I was honest and said it was me posting with my wife's name. Then I added an update to what I shared prior. This moves my video up to the top. It was strategic and it worked. Melissa saw that post and other things about my company, checked out my website, and called me. Melissa never hired a cleaning service before, so I educated her and pointed her to a recent article I wrote on my blog. She was thankful. This house cleaning client would be the last I can take before I start optimizing. I've not mentioned this twice. Here's what I mean. My ISO Model is a proven system to building and optimizing a solo cleaning company. I initialized in 2018 and 2019. I stabilized in 2020 and now I'm ready to optimize to $6,000 per month profit on 2 cleaning days per week!
I haven't talked about this much and I don't intend to on this podcast. The topic is taxes. I highly recommend hiring a qualified CPA to advise you on tax planning and preparation. I've used a CPA with a specialty in small business for the past 5 years. Before that, I hired bookkeepers and tax preparers to help me and file. But I've always had a third party stand between me and the IRS. They have to sign their name to my completed business and personal taxes and gives me a buffer to an IRS audit. This is wise and therefore I recommend it to each of you. I will share my process briefly. I've been doing my own books using Quickbooks desktop for 16 years (although I'll be switching to Quickbooks Online for 2021). I update Quickbooks every month and then reconcile at year-end. I print out my profit & loss statement and provide my CPA with all of the necessary documents for him to verify and file my taxes. I pay $350-$400 per year to file. This is cheap because I do the bookkeeping myself. If you hire a bookkeeper, your cost will be much higher. I've been working on 2020 taxes for a few days and wanted to ensure we show enough income to qualify for a mortgage in 2021. We're not definitely buying a home, but wanted to make sure we had tax returns, credit, and cash enough to buy a house if we wanted to. Therefore, I asked my friend and cleaning client Mike Thompson of Envoy Mortgage to review my prior year's tax returns and give me the magic number for 2020. In other words, I wanted to know how much income I needed to show to qualify for the mortgage. This is not a shady deal at all. Businesses are supposed to write off all business expenses. We can take all legal deductions to minimize our taxable income or we can choose not to take some to show a higher income. I wanted to know how much I needed to show. Mike helped and coached me through this process. My CPA then ran my returns and sent them to me to review. Mike Thompson gave me the green light and my CPA filed them. My taxes are done for 2020 and we qualify for a mortgage if we want to buy a house.
Let's close out this episode with the title story. I was cleaning for my friend Dennis Gehman of Gehman Design Remodeling and something totally awesome happened. I was vacuuming his wife's desk area when he tapped me on the shoulder Saturday late morning. "Do you like Mexican?" He asked. "Of course!" I replied. Then he asked if he could buy me and my kids lunch from the local Mexican place. I was so grateful and obviously said yes! He took our order and served us. We ended up eating lunch at the kitchen counter of his showroom that we were cleaning. It was a great conversation and we were so grateful to Dennis. This is the first time this has ever happened while cleaning a office. I have had homeowners make me lunches or breakfast and I've never said no. Three really cool things came from this lunch with Dennis.
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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.