Did you know the type of car you use for your house cleaning business can determine whether or not you get the job? Ask a House Cleaner what to do if you have a crappy automobile. The House Cleaning Guru, Angela Brown gives you some proven facts about your ride and your company image.
Listen: What Your Cleaning Car Says About Your Company Image
Watch: What Your Cleaning Car Says About Your Company Image
Hi there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is the show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.
Today’s Question: What Kind of Car Do I Need for Cleaning?
Today’s question comes from a house cleaner who is just getting started in the business, she’s been in high school and so she doesn’t have a body of work. She doesn’t have a long resume, and she doesn’t have quality equipment. And she’s driving an old junker that her dad gave her when she learned how to drive. She wants to put forth the best image to prospective clients. And wants to know what role her auto plays in getting cleaning jobs.
Today’s Answer: The Car You Drive Is Part of Your Brand
Okay, so the wheels you drive are an extension of your business. It’s part of your brand.
Any Reliable Vehicle Will Do
The good news is that just about any working car that is clean will do the trick. Over the years I’ve had Honda hatchbacks 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.
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 coupe 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 expenses. 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 rattletrap 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.
Acknowledge And Move On
If you are driving an old clunker 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 on some personal goals and one is to upgrade my van, so I’m so blessed you called me.”
Do NOT go into any more details than this, do not explain why your buggy is a heap 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 auto wash. Everyone in our company has a monthly car wash package at either Autobell or SamsXpress. Both car wash services range from $25 – $29 per month and offer unlimited drive through cleanings. The cost is equivalent to, or less than, one hour of your maid service time. And the drive thru will save you far more time to clean than if you were to do it yourself 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. Check the internet for a local car bath service near you. Joining a car wash is also tax deductible since it’s a reasonable and normal business expense for maid services.
Now, when you arrive to clean a house – any house, at any time, your ride is sparkly – it is a reflection of the quality services you offer.
I was cleaning in a neighborhood the other day and there was an independent housekeeper (not a franchised company) with a mucked up wreck. It was 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.
Don’t Make Your Clients Compete With You
Now, the myth is that all house cleaners are broke and they can’t afford a nice car, but the truth of the matter is, there are house cleaners that are making six figure incomes, and they have Mercedes and Lexus’s in their driveway. However, you do not want to drive a Mercedes to a customer’s house.
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. They’re going to find someone else that’s in their comfort zone.
So, for house cleaning, and this goes against everything we’ve been taught as far as success goes because success is equated to having the Mercedes and the Lexus and fancy vehicles in our driveway.
Leave those cars in your driveway, and get a little car that you can use for house cleaning.
So, does your car matter?
Yes, it matters a whole lot. And so, do the very best you can to upgrade your image, but keep it in alignment with what is expected of the job.
Alright, that’s it for today. If you like this tip, please pass it along. Tweet it. Pin it. Post it. Share it. And until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.
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