What kind of Car Do I Need for my House Cleaning Business?
The good news is that just about any working car that is clean will do the trick. Over the years I’ve had Hondas and those have served me well for house cleaning. You need enough space in the trunk for your cleaning supplies and if you decide to tote around a vacuum, you will want to be able to fit one in your car. I drop the back seats and lay a vacuum across the dropped space. Works just fine.
Other than that – any vehicle will do.
Your transportation is an extension of your company image – so you will want the nicest car you can afford that fits the house cleaning image. By that I mean, you don’t want to arrive for house cleaning in a car that is more expensive and luxurious than the cars your clients drive – this sends a mixed message that you are charging “too much” for your services. And you don’t want your clients to have to play “keeping up with the Jones’es” with you. They won’t hire you if they feel inferior to you.
House cleaning is a blue collar job – and like an actor, you want to show up in character, with the right clothes, the right tools, and the right type of car. Think mid-range $15,000-$30,000 (when new) compact or sedan, 8 years old or newer. Clean.
Upgrade Your Car
If your current car doesn’t fit that image – upgrade as soon as you can afford to do so. Your company vehicle will become a tax deduction – so keep track of all of your mileage, and if you are making a car payment, it is now deductible because you are using it for business.
If you are driving an old rattle trap of a car, consider trading it in for one that is not falling apart or is missing a fender. You don’t want your clients wondering about your safety, or your ability to get your fender fixed etc. Your clients hire you because they want to feel like they are in good hands, and you are going to take care of them. They do not want to feel like they are placing their home (their most valuable asset) in the hands of a dangerous person (driver) who is careless (the accident could have been your fault, and you don’t give a flip about the consequences, or getting it fixed.) How you take care of your own stuff sends a message of how you will take care of theirs.
If you are driving an old beat up car that is duct taped together and you can’t afford to upgrade it now – address it on your initial walk through. When you meet the customer for the first time, address it briefly. (You know your customers will be wondering about the type of person they are hiring,) and you need to answer that question in simple terms.
“I’m so thrilled to be cleaning your house, I’m working through some personal goals and one is to upgrade my car, so I’m so blessed you called me.”
Do NOT go into any more details than this, do not explain why your car is a piece of crap — and do not make your personal drama your client’s drama. (They don’t need to know your wife left you and all you got was this beat up car and hefty alimony payments. Don’t put your client in the position of playing your therapist. EVER.)
Unlimited Car Wash
Consider joining an unlimited car wash. I have my husband signed up at Autobell and my cleaning car is signed up at SamsXpress. Both car wash services range from $25 – $29 per month and offer unlimited drive through car washes. The cost is equivalent to one hour of my house cleaning time, and saves me far more time than if I were to clean the cars myself with a garden hose and a bucket of soapy water. Also the car wash places have a way to recycle the water they use so it’s friendlier to the environment than me doing it myself. Fortunately for me, the car wash I use is in the same parking lot as Walmart where I buy my cleaning supplies so it’s convenient as well.
However, when I arrive to clean a house – Any house, at any time, my car is sparkly — and it is a reflection of the services I offer.
I was cleaning in a neighborhood the other day and there was an independent house cleaner (not a franchised company) with a mucked up car, filthy and had misspelled window stickers advertising house cleaning. My first thought was this: “You can’t take care of your own stuff, how on earth are you going to take care of mine?” My first initial impression was judgmental – and inside could have been the most amazing house cleaner, but I was turned off by the first impression – and I’m rooting for house cleaners. I was on her/his side. Don’t be that guy or girl.
Take pride in your company image and the image of your car. It’s a cost of advertising that pays handsomely.