Why I Fired My First Client
This statement will resonate with many of you. Do you have customers right now that you know are sucking the profits right out of your business? If you don't resonate, you will soon! I've been doing this solo cleaning ISO Model journey for 16 years as you already know. I would like to share 4 types or categories of clients to keep a pulse in your business.
As I've shared in previous Carfagno Cleaning updates, I just crossed from Stabilizer to Optimizer in my solo cleaning business. This is exciting as I can now go 100% toward my 2021 SMART goal of a $6,000 profit per month business cleaning two days per week! As I've stated of the 4 types of clients, there have been 2 of the 15 clients I have that fit the latter categories. One is a housecleaning client that is low-paying and high-drama. I did not get rid of this client as a Stabilizer as I needed every dollar for my family. However, I'll be doing price increases in mid-to-late 2021 and this client will be one of the ones getting a large increase. I'll make sure to have a house on the waiting list that is high-paying and low-drama ready to replace them. The other client is a commercial client. It's a much tougher one as it's a low-drama, high-impact client. I'm cleaning for autistic kids in a school setting. But it's also low-paying. I've done all I can to optimize and speed up this job to no avail. It was one of the first offices in my Stabilizer growth in 2020 and I underpriced it. Had I priced it correctly, I would not have gotten the job. No matter. I was able to earn $500 per month for over 6 months. I've known that a substantial price increase was coming to this client and it was sad. To compound this matter, I got some great news. I've shared that my company has gotten into the jet stream of the local veterinary hospital tribe. I've been hired by two and submitted a third proposal last week. The doctor replied to my proposal this week with this. "Thank you for the detailed proposal. I'd like to start with Option 2 as soon as possible." Option 2 is for $975 per month and it's biweekly. This great news immediately sparked calendar controversy. Adding this office every other week would overwork me and my two kids legally and physically for our weekly Saturday office cleaning schedule. Something had to give. I was either going to put this client on the waiting list and find a way to fit them, eliminate another office client, or hire someone to help. At this point in time with my goals, I came up with the best solution. I would fire my $500 per month low-paying, low-drama client. I ran this decision scenario past my wife and board of directors (Total Life Freedom Mastermind). All were in agreement with one caveat. I help other cleaning companies through my Smart Cleaning School and one cleaning company is local to me. Give her my client.
I reluctantly made the phone call to the school and spoke to and the super-sweet lady who's been my point of communication. I shared my struggle and limitation, along with my proposed solution to refer another cleaning company that I trust. It was hard, but the phone call went so well. She was disappointed but extremely grateful for my professionalism and the full month's notice I gave. This would give her the opportunity to find a replacement including interviewing the company I referred. Here's the part that really got me. I was referred to her school by a friend locally. This friend never told her that I owned a cleaning service, rather that I consulted cleaning companies. She wanted me to come for an estimate to look over the school and give a quality recommendation for which cleaning service to hire! When she found out that I also owned a cleaning service, she felt like it was serendipitous and a slam dunk. Therefore, when I called to resign from cleaning duties and pass on a recommendation, it literally put me in the exact spot she was expecting 8 months ago! It's amazing how these things work out. Everything worked out amazing. I gave up $500 per month for a weekly cleaning for a $975 per month biweekly cleaning. That's a HUGE optimizer step and the first major one in my new solo cleaning business. Before I move on to the next part of my business update, I have some advice. Tonight, write out your clients and label them into the four categories I've outlined. This will be very helpful as you prepare to optimize your business.
Over these last few weeks, I also sent out a house cleaning proposal to a potential high-paying, low-drama client. We'll see. The last update I'd like to share is super exciting. There are many Optimizer Tools in my ISO Model. One of the more overlooked ones is your cleaning system. I've been perfecting mine for years. However, I've mostly done houses and small offices so I've not considered my vacuum attachments and mop heads until now. With the addition of vet hospitals and large area hardwoods in bigger houses, I wanted to try out a few new pieces. I bought a 24-inch flat mop head, which is 8 inches wider than my current one. I also bought a 20-inch hardwood floor vacuum attachment, which is also 8 inches wider than my current one. I was eager to get new cleaning times for each new tool, which is only possible because I track everything in my business! Here are the results! The mop head saved 20 minutes of a 90-minute job! That's a reduction of 22%! In the second usage at the same location, it saved 35 minutes or 39%! The vacuum attachment saved me 20 minutes on a 90-minute vacuuming job. That's 22% as well. Combined, these two tools cost me $125 and have gained me a ton of time. That's not a cost at all. It's an investment.
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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.