When there’s so much competition in the house cleaning business, what do you do? How do new businesses rise to the top of the cleaning industry?
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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
Too Much Competition in the House Cleaning Business
What do you do about too much competition in the house cleaning business? All the house cleaners right now are scared, because there are a lot more house cleaners on the market than there have ever been before. “Oh, no. What do we do now?”
Just stop for a second and think about what that means because right now there is a lot of business to go around. There are 74 and a half million households in America, and you can only clean so many of them.
So, there’s lots and lots and lots of homes. They’re building new homes every day; they’re building apartment complexes and condos. The list goes on. So, there’s a lot of business.
Really Great House Cleaners Rise to the Top
But I want you to be aware of the fact that really great house cleaners rise to the top. I’m going to go back for a second, I grew up on a farm, and we grew up on dairy and cow milk.
And part of cow milk is cream, and cream separates from the milk, and it rises to the top of the jug. So, the farmers will take a ladle and they scoop out the cream off the top of the milk, there are about three or four inches of cream on the top of the milk.
They scoop that out and they put it in a separate container, and they sell the cream as a premium product. So, it’s part of the milk, but it separates, and it becomes a different product.
Now what’s cool about the cream is there’s something magical about homemade butter made from fresh cream, or whipped cream for hot homemade apple pie, or homemade ice cream, or cheese. You can make so many amazing things with cream. It’s a premium product. So, there are people that are willing to spend $3 or $4 on a gallon of milk, but the pint itself of cream is also about $3 or $4. So, you can get a lot more money for the premium product, which is the cream.
House Cleaners Act Like Milk Sometimes
The reason I bring this up is that as house cleaners, there are house cleaners that act like milk, and there are house cleaners that rise to the top of the profession and they are like cream. What does that mean?
What that means is you do things as a house cleaner that other people are not willing to do, because lots of house cleaners are average, at best and they do average types of cleaning. They are okay, they’re not spectacular. And sometimes they have things that they do that are regular but, it’s nothing to brag about.
So, if you are a company to be bragging about, you are a premium product that will rise to the top. So, “How do you do that?”
A Lot of Cleaning Owners are Worried About the Pandemic
So right now, we are going back into a lock down, because the pandemic is acting up again. And there are a lot of house cleaners that are worried that their business will be taken away. So right now, more than ever, you need to get your standard operating procedures in place.
And what that means is you need to sit down at a desk with a pen and paper or with a smartphone or a computer, however you take notes, and figure out what you’re going to do that’s a little bit different than all the other house cleaners.
It’s the simple things, but they are simple things consistently done over and over and over again that make you rise to the top. So those are things like showing up on time. And you go, “What showing up on time? That’s just obvious, right?” It’s not obvious. There are a lot of house cleaning companies that will give you a range and they will show up whenever it’s convenient for them, instead of when it’s convenient for the customer. And you would think that that would be a very standard thing, it’s not a standard thing at all.
Some House Cleaners Come When it Isn’t Convenient
What happens is you have homeowners that are going to take their kids out for a little bit while the house cleaner comes, so that they are not at home and in the way when the house cleaner comes to clean.
But if the house cleaner doesn’t show up on time, now the kids are all antsy and they’re all ready to leave and go to the park and the house cleaner’s not there. And so, there’s no point taking them to the park now, because, by the time the house cleaner gets there, they’ll be back from the park.
So, it inconveniences the homeowners during this new and weird pandemic where people are at home and they’re going to try to work with the house cleaner on their level. But if they don’t show up at the right time, when they said they’re going to be there, it messes with everything. So, it’s little things like that.
Every Company Should Have Standard Operating Procedures
Now, standard operating procedures. Every company should have them. If you don’t have them, you should have them, because that will make you rise to the top. Now at Savvy Cleaner, which is a training program that I have, we have 22 standard operating procedures that we do at every single house.
And they’re little, tiny things, but the customers recognize them because the customers told us these were important to them. And because they’re important to them, we do them at every single house.
Standard Operating Procedures are Not Big Things
They’re not big things. It might be like folding the toilet paper to a V. Well, the customer walks in and they see that, and they say, “Oh, my house cleaner was here.” It’s a quick reminder that we were there. Little, tiny things in the home.
But what happens is, if I were the house cleaner and I get called out because I’m sick, or I have another appointment, or there’s a family emergency and I’m not able to be there, they can send another house cleaner in my place that does the exact same 22 things in every single house.
This is where the magic happens, as the homeowner comes in, they look around the house, they didn’t know I didn’t show up. Somebody from the company showed up, but they did the exact same 22 things.
Standard Operating Procedures Help You Rise to the Top
All of a sudden, your standard operating procedures have helped you rise to the top. You have set your company aside from all the other house cleaners, where everybody has their own different way of doing things. Then the homeowner comes in and they’re like, “Hmm, was my house cleaner even here today?”
So then you don’t ever want a customer to say that. Instead, you want the customer to come in and look around the room and go, “Well, of course, absolutely, it’s the same exact cleaning I got every single time.” It’s the consistency that allows you to have a premium product.
Now, the cream does not taste like vanilla, it tastes like cream. Because you’re going to make cheese with it, or you’re going to make whipped cream, or you’re going to make ice cream. There are different things that you’re going to do. It doesn’t always need to taste like vanilla.
You Don’t Want to Go Too Above and Beyond
So, you don’t want to go so far above and beyond that it’s just something so different. You want to create a very consistent product that customers can do a variety of different things with. Or you have a customer service where your program fits into a variety of different types of homes.
It’s just a very consistent package that you offer. Just like the cream, it’s a premium product, where the customers then can use it in a variety of different ways, or you can recommend it to a variety of different homes or different families.
You can recommend it to your friends or family. So, you want to be that premium product that rises to the top.
There are a Lot of So-So House Cleaners
The difference in this market is this. There are a lot of so-so house cleaners that are good, but not great. And they won’t be here in a year from now. They might start a business today. They’re not going to succeed for a variety of different reasons, but one of them is, if you just do average work, you’re going to have an average business.
And it probably won’t sustain you for the long haul. But if you’re a company that rises to the top, you’re going to get a lot of referrals. you’re going to get ratings and reviews. You’re going to get happy customers that will never go away, and they won’t let you quit. And so, you will have a business that keeps expanding and duplicating.
The businesses that rise to the top are the companies that never look back. They have more business than they can possibly handle in a lifetime. And they keep expanding and expanding and growing because they’ve proven that they have a system that works. So, in this pandemic, don’t be scared of the competition, because there really isn’t a lot of competition. There are a lot of house cleaning companies out there. But check this out, there’s not a lot of competition.
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