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EXECUTION Starting A Cleaning Company

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tapelessfiddle

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Apr 30, 2017
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Hey everybody,
Earlier this month I got inspired by Nzott and his thread
NOTABLE! - [Progress] Growing a Cleaning Business
Which lead me to this gem as well by localcasestudy
https://www.reddit.com/r/EntrepreneurRideAlong/comments/tltuy View: https://www.reddit.com/r/EntrepreneurRideAlong/comments/tltuy/day_26_from_zero_to_website_launcha_recap_of/

And I had read this thread a while back (which really got me to see the light) by IceCreamKid

I have cleaned homes in the past to pick up a few extra dollars but it was never my main source of income. Now have a family member who has been cleaning for a while now and I will help them out sometimes or pick up an extra job from them. They are great at what they do but would like to make a little more. I combed through localcasestudy and Nzott's threads and combined a lot of the best pieces of their information together and made a sort of rough playbook as something for me to follow. I had many idea's from reading IceCreamKid's thread a few summers ago. I'm from the trades world, trying to get out of the rat race now. This is something new for me but I am going to document it here, write how everything is going and hope it goes well. Here's the first step I'm starting with.

1.Business Basics

Type: Service Business
Industry: House Cleaning
Name:
Area: 20 Mile Radius of
Frequency: Weekly, Bi-Weekly, Once
System Overview:

1.The customer goes to my website and books my service.
2.The website reserves date & time and brings customer to check out & pay.
3.Hire a team of 2 independent contractors or 1 all star to perform the work.
4.Look at the review & any testimonial from the customer after job is done.
5.Split the payment with the independent contractor.
(Move to full time employees eventually for legal reasons. Fine line between subcontractors and employees in the IRS’ mind. Not worth the business risk as things grow)

Initial Start Up Items Purchased:
Domain Name & Hosting ($18, Annual)
WordPress Website Ecommerce Plan ($557, Annual)
WordPress Booking Plugin ($TBD, Annual)
WordPress Website Design ($400)
Business Number & Call Forwarding ($20, Monthly)
Quickbooks Essential Plan ($20, Monthly)

I want to start with an owner mentality from the get go. It might sound weird, but the actual cleaning aspect of the business is such a tiny component that it’s completely unnecessary to spend any time on before starting, this is where I had gotten stuck previously. Studying how to create and place systems in the business is really what I think will separate us from any competition quickly.

How The Business System Works:
1.Pairing up Clients with Independent Contractors
2.Splitting payment the contractor.
3.Doing this for weeks/months straight.
4.Slowly building a base of recurring clients. Start to raise my prices. Rinse, repeat.
5.Before long, l hope to be able to pay someone else to sit & do those tasks.

I will post step 2 once I have figured a few more details out it will be a more explained business overview.
Thanks
 

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tapelessfiddle

tapelessfiddle

Contributor
Apr 30, 2017
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New York
Step 2 is a an overview & mash up of the info copy and pasted from the previous threads I mentioned. I added in a few personal notes as well.

2.Business Overview

How the business works:

1.The customer goes to your website and books your service.
2.The website reserves date & time and brings customer to check out & pay.
3.Hire a team of 2 independent contractors or 1 all star to perform the work.
4.Check the review & any testimonial from the customer after job is done.
5.Split the payment with the independent contractor.

(We do a follow up email after each cleaning that rates our service. Good, Bad, or OK. Anything that isn't rated Good, gets a phone call.)
(Move to full time employees eventually for legal reasons. Fine line between subcontractors and employees in the IRS’ mind. Not worth the business risk as things grow)

My part of the business:


1.Advertising/marketing & other methods to get client to book on website.
2.Schedule job with independent contractor.
3.Confirm clients online booking day, time & payment. Send them email.
4.Confirm & pair up independent contractor with client.
5.Collecting payment & paying contractors after job is completed.
6.Hiring & interviewing contractors before giving them a job.
7.Putting systems into place & documenting for future use.
8.Accounting/books & keeping track of invoices, payments & receipts

Work on building a base of recurring clients to slowly raise my prices. Then rinse & repeat. Doing this for weeks/months straight. In time you'll be able to pay someone else to do these tasks. So you can go work on something else & let this business grow until you return.

Goal is to dig deep and get to the point where you’re generating enough business to keep yourself busy a few weeks out. Once you’ve done that, hire someone to do the work for you and become a full time sales person for your business. Once you’re nearing full capacity with your hired guy, hire another and work to keep him busy as well. Eventually you hire a salesperson to handle that aspect as well and become the manager of it all.

When the business can support it, hire a full time administrative assistant to take over everything. Your goal is to be able to hand them a binder or send a link to a google doc with everything they need to run your business and off they go. It's easier said than done, but the first step is to free up your time to allow you to focus on this. For me, that was getting away from answering the phones as quick as possible.

Ideal Business Set Up
People needed in this business:
Client - Looking for house cleaning.
Cleaner - Looking to take on more jobs.
Marketing - Confirms online bookings, handles leads & sales, marketing/advertising. (website, google ads, seo, facebook, instagram, craigslist, angieslist, thumbtack)
Manager - Answering the phone. Handles leads & sales. Managing scheduling & cleaners. Hiring & interviewing.
Owner - Manages accounting/books, putting systems into place, looking for ways to increase profit/grow the business. Collecting payments & paying cleaners.

Client-Looking for a house cleaning online, finds our website, books us.
Cleaner-Looking to take on more jobs.
Marketing
(solo or combined position)
-Confirms online bookings.
-Handles leads & sales.
-Marketing/advertising (website, google ads, seo, facebook, instagram, craigslist, angieslist, thumbtack)
Manager-Answering the phone.
-Handles leads & sales.
-Checking the email.
-Managing scheduling & cleaners.
-Hiring & interviewing cleaners.
-Customer Service.
Owner-Putting systems into place.
-Looking for ways to increase profit/grow the business.
-Manage & stay on top of everything, accounting, marketing and general operations.
(when the business can support it hire a full time Administrative Assistant to take over all the owner responsibilities)

2 Options When Starting

1.Working In The Business Daily:

It’s definitely not easy starting out, but the goal is to dig deep and get to the point where you’re generating enough business to keep yourself busy a few weeks out. Once you’ve done that, hire someone to do the work for you and become a full time sales person for your business. Once you’re nearing full capacity with your hired guy, hire another and work to keep him busy as well. Eventually you hire a salesperson to handle that aspect as well and become the manager of it all.

Being a technician is fine as long as you are 100% determined to exit that path as soon as it's reasonable to. It's incredibly easy to get trapped because you're making more money than you would be otherwise. My best teams clear $1500-$1700 per week. It's hard to go from making $1500/week to making $300 because you hired a full time team to take over the work. But, doing so allows you to grow well beyond that.

2.Working On The Business With A Daily Job:
There's no reason you can't operate this with a full time job. When you start out, your phone isn't ringing off the hook, there's not a pitfall of issues to deal with day to day, it's sporadic. No reason you can't follow up with clients on your lunch break or have a well timed visit to the bathroom.

Marketing channels like Thumbtack can be done entirely from your phone. You can program automated responses that can be sent out to inquiries within 5 seconds or receiving the notification. Being a technician with a full time job is far tougher. You'd have to schedule yourself exclusively for nights or weekends. It's possible, but not what I'd recommend.

Thanks guys. Just got paid today & am finalizing details for the website right now. I'll be ordering everything tomorrow and do a write up with step 3.
 
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MHP368

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Interesting, I follow overthink acadamey and rohan gilkes on facebook , it'll be interesting to see a business evolve . I'll stay tuned, seems like you've done your due dilligence too.
 
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tapelessfiddle

tapelessfiddle

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Apr 30, 2017
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Thanks, I will check them both out.

3.Website
Home Page:
Requirements:
-sophisticated design
-elements of trust
-booking calendar
-list of services
-payment option
-nice pictures
-1 or 2 paragraphs
-contact info at bottom
-service within a 20 mile radius of our location
-when booking a day & paying include “note that price can be subject to change depending on condition of residence”

About Page:
Requirements:
-build in a bit of emotion
-show that we're real people (and cool at that)
-show that we are people that folks would love to do business with
-a video possibly. Something quirky and fun.
-some interesting info about the people at the company
-something unique about the business
-reasons they would like to do business with us (guarantees, testimonials, etc.).
-less "about us", and more about "why us"!

Checkout Page:
Requirements:
-keep it as simple as possible with any communication in short bullet points, and even that I try to keep to a minimum
- remove all barriers so folks would feel comfortable booking and paying online. So no captchas (yes, I've seen captchas on checkout pages before)
-no fancy things to divert their attention, nothing that will get in the way of the sale
-when at all possible have everything on ONE PAGE!
-some symbol that shows checkout will be safe
-a mention of your Guarantee Policy
-a short testimonial

Typical website trust elements: Safesite Secure Checkout, Verisign, SSL Security, whatever applies that won't break the bank. It could just be the paypal logo with the security associated with Paypal checkout.

Original Email To Fiverr.com Freelancer:
Hi, I need a website design & set up. Got time? It would just be like maidsinblack.com (same general design) but instead it will be for cleaning. It will be called *****.com). So I'm going for a similar sophisticated look for a residential cleaning service. I think I would like the elements to be in the same general places as maidsinblack.com if possible, this might make it easier. I have already purchased domain name & hosting, Wordpress ecommerce plan and woocommerce booking with payment features that is to be installed on the home page. I am thinking about just keeping it to 3 pages, Home, About & Check Out. The only issue would be finding ways to make the look and feel a cleaning site yet keeping the sophistication. I know you'll make it awesome! What price could you do this at? If you need I have more notes & specifics. When could you get started?
Thanks

Original Thought Was:
(You could go crazy here, but at this point, all I really needed was: Paypal checkout form, Contact form, Get a quote form)
-I am thinking 3 pages, Home, About & Checkout.
-I have a Wordpress ecommerce plan which has a booking system with payment features integrated within from woo commerce. Can you install on home page?
-Add discretion note that price can be subject to change depending on actual condition of residence.
-Optimize home page with ad copy, pictures, appearance of trust & security
-Typical website trust elements: Safesite Secure Checkout, Verisign, SSL Security, whatever applies that won't break the bank. It could just be the paypal logo with the security associated with Paypal checkout.
-set up about page with pics maybe a video of people
-add a testimonial widget to bottom of home page
-20 mile radius but will consider traveling further, depending

Made a few tweaks, found a designer on fiverr last night who can do this & payment has been made. Just have to sit tight for 12 days & until then take care of what I can. Step 4 is coming up
 
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Vadim26

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Following!

Curious to see if you follow through all the 26 days, and where would you be.
 
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tapelessfiddle

tapelessfiddle

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Thanks guys!
Figuring this out as I go. If somebody has any feedback or recommendations I'll take all that I can get.

4.Developing A Customer Service Mindset
Think companies that are known for ridiculous service. That's what I'm aiming for. Is the customer always right? No! Actually, quite often the customer is wrong. But what I have to do is treat them like they are right. Even if it means us going back to clean the top of the fridge even though they TOLD us not to clean it.
"That's okay, what time can we get there?" Even in cases where it’s not our fault, I’ll pay the money to make it right with the customer. Because at the end of the day, customer service is marketing! You have to build ridiculously AWESOME customer service into the fabric of the company to sustain it.

When there is a problem at a job, the money I spend on a free cleaning to make things right with the customer will come back through happy repeat business and referrals from them. It's money spent to save us bad reviews (which can crush your business), and keep our customers happy. As far as I'm concerned, money spent this way is worth multiples more than if I were to spend the same kind of money on advertising. We do a follow up email after each cleaning that rates our service. Good, Bad, or OK. Anything that isn't rated Good, gets a phone call.

I think this also goes to show the importance of delivering an insane level of service to each and every client. Your growth is in keeping these people. If you just look at them as a single transaction, and not a lifetime of value, you'll stagnate. That's where I see a lot of other small businesses come up short. They'll bicker with a client over $50 additional item, make that $50 but lose a recurring client. Instead, I'll throw in that $50 item no questions asked, but educate them on why we charge what we charge and how it allows us to provide an incredible level of service with each visit. Now I have a recurring customer who will make up for that $50 over and over and over.

Client Relations (How to Handle Complaints, Disney Style)

1. Take Ownership
- Never pass the buck. Your sole purpose in life in this moment is to solve this customers issue. Doesn't matter if you personally will be the decision maker, or not. You'll be the one to get the answers and solve the problem and ultimately deliver the solution and follow up to make sure they are happy.

2. Hear them out - Keep your mouth shut. Any time they pause, count to 3. Make sure they are done venting before you respond. People like to be heard. Be their sounding board.

3. Empathy - Never assume the client is lying or over exaggerating even if they are. Put yourself in their shoes. This isn't just saying you understand where they were coming from, it's mirroring their emotions and matching their tonality. If they are loud and angry, be loud and angry as you say "That's completely unacceptable, I'd never want that to happen to me. There's simply no reason for it. Oh I'll get this fixed alright, you better believe it.". If they are nice and reserved, but you just dropped the ball with this visit, match that soft voice and say "I know how important it is to me when I get the same service time after time. I love seeing the same smiling face each week, and understand we let you down. I want to make it up to you any way possible" - This is where client relations usually falls short. Call a big company's phone support and you'll hear in the most robotic monotone voice "I am sorry for the inconvenience, I can definitely help you out with that problem you are having". It sounds completely disingenuous and just eats at you.

4. Apologize
- If you're the business owner, it's your fault no matter what, so let them know this. Even if it's a blatant mistake by an employee, tell the client it's on you, and you should have trained that employee better.

5. Resolve - Use these exact words, "What can I do to make this right". 3, 4, and 5 all come in quick succession. Match and mirror the client, let them know you sincerely apologize and need to make this right, and finally ask how you can do so. Our offer is always to come out and re-clean at no cost. Or, we give some money back. Worst case, we give all the money back and I send a hand written letter and small gift.

6. Diagnose and Correct - Once the client interaction is done, work backwards to find out the root reason why this mistake occurred. Put a process or system in place to make sure it doesn't happen again. It's important you do this without pointing any fingers.
 
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Here

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Nice. I've been thinking about doing this for handyman work. Trouble is that I live in an ethnic community and people tend to hire through word of mouth rather than online.
 
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tapelessfiddle

tapelessfiddle

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Apr 30, 2017
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This one's brief

5.Understanding Customers

The easiest and quickest way to understand our customers and their pain points is to read reviews online of other cleaning companies, they don’t have to be nearby. Write down a list of all the worst complaints and 1 star reviews you can find. Put a list together and note common themes that keep coming up.

Review that list of and make it a point to create a company that is not built around those things. Listen for common complaints and issues that arise when meeting new clients or even old ones and make a note of them. Solving the customer’s problem is the most important thing we are trying to do. That is only possible if you know exactly what the problem is not just kinda sorta. Always be listening
 
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tapelessfiddle

tapelessfiddle

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Hey guys,
Sorry for the delay, had some family staying with me.

6. Logo, DBA, Facebook

This is what I had in place before I even started with step 1.

Logo - I had helped my family member create a logo for local advertising 2 years ago. It was $50 on fiverr.com and felt good enough to use then. This is the logo I am going to stick with instead of spending for a new one or updated version at this moment in time. You definitely want to make a good choice here and make sure you aren’t breaking the bank. There are many freelancers out there who can provide you with a good quality product without breaking the bank.

DBA
- We have our DBA filed with the county ($20) and all the proper licenses in check to do business where we are. The next step in time is going to be looking at taking turning this into an LLC. Don’t know enough about that yet, will have to do some homework. For starting a DBA I;d recommend calling your local county offices and finding out what paperwork you need for what you are trying to do in your location & any licenses required.

Facebook
- I created the facebook page and that was when the logo was purchased. It wasn’t used as a marketing or advertising machine. Maybe 1 or 2 facebook ads I used in the past just experimenting. Facebook’s main purpose for me was for people to see our likes and reviews. Over that course of time we have gained 20 reviews and 50 likes, so we aren’t starting with nothing here. I’d recommend this as one of the first things you can do to get your name out there.
 

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Erikguest

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Dec 31, 2019
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Hi .
Everything looks good in writing until you’ll get to the point when you won’t be able to hire contractors or they will screw you with no show.
Thumbtack, Facebook ads etc have a lot of competition and lowest prices I saw so far.
Determine your pricing. Flat rate or hourly rates? Do you know what to use and what not to use on surfaces? Customers will f with you if your team scratch or damage surface, break items etc.
I own profitable cleaning company that operates in 3 cities but right not I have to work myself and not take any customers because I can’t find reliable, good employees. I wanted to quit this business 25 times. My schedule is full.
Making this a business needs an investment, making this a job does not
 

sparechange

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Check out men in kilts, not literally...... but yeh, they are a massive company in Canada that started super small, awesome story behind it.

Suggested read is E-MYTH, it really applies to this type of business. (Working on your business rather than IN IT) Good luck!
 
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tapelessfiddle

tapelessfiddle

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Apr 30, 2017
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Thanks guys, appreciate the advice.
Definitely looking to turn this into a business & not a job. Willing to put in all the time needed.
Going to pick up a copy of E-Myth.

7.Pricing Mindset

If you position your offering as a premium service with enough value-added components for the client, you can charge what you please. Just be ready to adjust to what's happening and don't try to hang on to a price that isn't working. At the end of the day the pricing decisions are in your hands and if you position yourself well, those pricing decisions are largely independent of what the competition is doing.

The goal is to win business early with low pricing a service that knocks it out of the park. Build up a loyal base and slowly raise prices until you're a premium service in your market. The price seekers will fall away and you'll be left with valuable high paying clients.

Find as many value added components as possible to justify your charge:

1.Money Back Guarantees

2.On time Service

3.Special customer service components-Online Booking and payments, etc.

4.A gift with each service (small & if possible)

5.Charitable/Environmental action like Organic disposal.

6.And just plain old premium branding, convenience, and peace of mind that clients will get dealing with us.


You want the clients that view it as a luxury item. If they don’t, you’re fighting every husband wife couple with a mop and bucket. The barrier to entry for cleaning is insanely low. You have to be above this level in order to make any money. Otherwise, you’ll be busy and broke. In the mind of the client, the price you charge suggests the quality of service they will get.

Fewer clients base the buying decision on price than you would imagine. If they're paying to have you come to their home, many would rather pay a premium price that comes with doing business with a reputable company with well-trained and professional employees. The goal for you is to pay your teams well. In order to do so, while still making it worthwhile for you, I have to charge a nice premium on top of this.

Oftentimes, you can go back to the client and explain why it's taking longer and renegotiate price. If you're delivering a quality service and they can see that, they'll work with you. If they feel it's not, they'll whine. Sometimes they'll whine regardless. Worst case is you were way off and the job took hours longer than anticipated, or you even had to return the next day to finish because of how long it's taking.

You take the loss, learn from it, and move on. In cleaning, that potential loss is at most a few hundred dollars. We're lucky in that regard. Large building contractors often run the risk of being off by tens of thousands that they may not be able to collect on.
 
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tapelessfiddle

tapelessfiddle

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Apr 30, 2017
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Playing catch up, 2 a days for some time here.

8.Figuring Out Pricing & Value
With the website I want to go after clients that are NOT shopping based on price. I just need to set my price, ignore the competition's pricing and make my decision:

1.Figure out how to accurately estimate/quote jobs.
2.Find out how much I could & needed to make per cleaning.
3.Figure out how much to pay contractors and what they needed to make.
4.Create value that justifies the price in the clients mind.

I have cleaned a few homes & had an idea for pricing going into this. I based my prices on my local market, home condition and first hand experience. At the end of the day I figured I have to be ready to try different price points, and can’t be afraid to raise prices if I think the market can support it. When it comes to paying contractors I have found this model to be the one that looks like it would work the best for my business.

-$30/Hour per Team
-Individuals, split job payment.
-Quotes flat rate based on bedrooms and bathrooms.
-You can add items a la carte. Things like inside the fridge, interior windows, etc.
-With that flat rate, we include 1 kitchen/dining and 1 living room. Half Baths are same price as full.

Kitchen/Dining & Living Room Included
PriceDeep CleanBedroomBathroom

$125
$25011
$140$28012
$150$30021
$175$35022
$200$40031
$225$45032
$250$50042
$275$55043
Add On’s
PriceService
$40Interior Windows (per floor)
$40Interior Walls (per floor)
$30Laundry (folded & put away)
$25Inside Stove
$25Inside Fridge
$20Add Full Bathroom
$20Add A Room
$10Add ½ Bathroom

We are trying to combat being locked down with a check box people are required to select that essentially lays out that the price they see is subject to change based on what we find when we actually come to the property. It's said in nicer words, but that's the gist of it.

Easiest way is to figure out your prices is to copy pricing in your market. Call a competitor and ask their pricing. Charge the same then deliver a better service. Every 6 months or so, increase pricing across the board. Not drastic, but $3-5/hr or something like that.

From Nzott’s Thread - “Think we started at like 30-35/hr per cleaner. We do 45-50 now.”
 
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Erikguest

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Dec 31, 2019
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I agree about pricing and service offering. You don’t have to offer low price.
What customers value is:
1. Reliability. If you show up every time and don’t have an excuse that the crew was on the way but their car broke down then you will be valued.
2. Good cleaning products, clean rags, clean and disinfected sponges.
3. Price your services according to what you would like to be paid, your cleaners to be paid and expenses for your ads. Run specials mid month. You will get business every end of the month and beginning.
4. Know your business. If customer will call you and ask you questions to which you don’t know answers at the end of the conversation they will say “I have 2 more companies to get quotes from”.
5. Good luck
 
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tapelessfiddle

tapelessfiddle

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Apr 30, 2017
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9.Finding Independent Contractors

How do we find that crucial first team? There are folks out there that are very very good at what they do. If they are in lawn care, or cleaning, or car detailing, they are masters at their job. They understand their work, are friendly and open with clients, and know how to instill trust and confidence with homeowners they meet face to face.

What they are NOT good at is : marketing, seo, adwords, branding, web strategy, web analytics, conversion optimization, copywriting, and all the things that lends itself to finding more clients. That's where we come in. Now all we have to do is find team member zero, explain what's in it for them, and get this bad boy moving. This is how:

1.Start with asking neighbors and friends for their cleaner. When you contact them it will be a much easier sell to say “Hi, my name is Mike, your client Lorna on 3rd ave, yes with the large tree in her front yard, she says you do a great job and recommended that I call you about getting you some more clients.” Sold!

2.When when you find your first person, ask him if he knows anyone. He will. Trust me!

3.If you don’t know anyone that knows someone that provides the service you need (which I find hard to believe, last resort is craigslist). Now Craigslist isn’t bad, it helped me a lot, but I would definitely start with finding someone within your network.

Don't overthink it. Post an ad on Craigslist offering cleaning at $20/hour per cleaner. Post 5 more like it throughout the day. Field the one or two calls you get from this and get a job scheduled for tomorrow. Head to the Craigslist jobs section and post an ad hiring cleaning teams for $30/hour.
Just have to get started somewhere sometimes.

Cleaning teams purchase their own supplies and cover the cost. It has to be this way for them to be considered Independent Contractors. Cleaners are texted days before & head to the scheduled job from their house. Small team of two with 3-5 great references but no knowledge on how to market and grow their service, are what we are looking for. Teams of 2 tend to be very profitable over a single cleaner. I would prefer teams & always want to try & hire people in pairs. Family members, Husband/Wife, Mother/Daughter, etc. Required that one has a vehicle in order to become one of the teams we use.
 
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tapelessfiddle

tapelessfiddle

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Apr 30, 2017
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This is where I'm at right now, step 10. Put an ad out yesterday on craigslist looking for people to clean. Received about 10 responses so far, emailed them back and am trying to schedule when to meet up in person and conduct some interviews. Waiting for my website design to be finished & that should be by tomorrow or thursday hopefully. Then I can expand my marketing efforts. For now, just advertising on craigslist once weekly ($5), each post has produced a job but there is a lot of tire kickers out there to sort through.

10.Interviewing & Hiring

Google is your best friend for any product or technique question. There’s a ton of forums out there to learn ways of doing things as well.

What the basic overall process looks like:

1.Fill out a form & make some type of system to weed out candidates.
2.Few things I want to know; experience, do they have a partner, do they have a car, can they pass a background check, etc.
3.Schedule initial interview to discuss in greater detail.
4.Those I like I arrange a trial cleaning at my own apartment or a friends place. I'm looking at how they carry themselves and their interactions with a client on site. Never tell them it's the owners home they are cleaning.
5.Meet up at coffee shop to bring them on board officially and cover expectations and how we operate day to day.

What I want before I'll even consider candidate:
1.Have some experience (1 - 10 years)
2.Has a cleaning partner
3.Has a car (Or partner does)
4.Has own cleaning supplies (Or willing to get them with list from me)
5.Authorized to work and speaks English
6.Able to pass background check
7.Has smart phone & can text

Step 1:These are fairly difficult economic times for a lot of people. So after I post a craigslist ad looking for teams, I get quite a few folks responding. Here's how to go from screening responses to finally securing a new team. It takes a little while, but the time spent being patient with choosing folks will save a lot of heart-ache in the long run.

Like everything else, it's just simple and straightforward: I make a little spreadsheet with everyone's email address, contact number, location, and a column with a rating number from 1 to 10, 10 being someone that I'm really excited about.

People that get 1's typically respond with something like this:
1.I'm just looking to make some extra money
2.I'm only available on Friday afternoons and Saturday morning
3.I have no experience, but I've cleaned my own home
4.Their email just seems unprofessional and carelessly done.

People that get 10's typically respond with something like this:
1.I used to work for "insert large cleaning company" but have since moved on to take on my own clients
2.I've been working in cleaning for the past 5 years and am just looking to expand
3.Include references without being asked for them, and just project an air of professionalism in their response.
4.I have someone else that I work with.

Step 2: At this point I would have narrowed my list down probably by half and start to reach out to folks.

Step 3:
Set up an in person meeting, usually at a coffee shop or something like that and spend 30 minutes or so just having a relaxing conversation. This is where I get a better picture of the person and describe in greater detail how we operate.
In my initial meeting & discussion, I'm just trying to get a feel for their character. (Would this be someone that clients would feel comfortable coming to their home over and over again?) Do they bash an old employer, talk about some government funded program they are taking advantage of, talk about some lawsuit they are involved in. This comes out over the course of normal conversation.
I'm providing details about how we operate on a basic level, but more so just letting them speak. I get a general gut feeling from this and if there's even a hint of bad, I move on. Reason I'm looking specifically for bad things is because it's easy to show up and act like a saint for a quick interview. I need to tease out any negative item before either of us wastes our time further.

Step 4: Set up a cleaning. I'll them come to my home or a friends and clean one room or two to get an idea of their work. I'm looking at how they carry themselves and their interactions with a client on site. Never tell them it's the owners home they are cleaning if it is.
It'll costs about $30 each time I do this, so it's in my best interest to screen carefully before we get to this point. Obviously I'm judging their timeliness, attention to detail and overall ability to clean. More so, I'm seeing if they work with a sense of purpose. Do they take pride in performing the job well. This comes out better if they don't know you are the owner.

Step 5: Lastly, I'll schedule a phone call or coffee meeting where we go over specifics and sign documentation or arrange to sign documentation, that officially brings them on board. Nail down expectation, how jobs are received, how they are paid, etc.

In the future I’d like to then email them about an hour long video for them to watch at their leisure that presents who we are as a company, where we are going, how we are going to get there and where they fit in to all that. This piece is more important than you may think. This exercise alone I feel would provide a lot of clarity. Putting it on video allows to deliver a concise message to each and every new hire that I can simply reinforce day to day.

Step 7:
I'll send them out with my most trusted individual to one job and get feedback from how they do.

There are no guarantees, but I'm learning quickly not to cut corners with this. These folks will be the face of your company and almost as importantly, will be folks that you will have to be interacting with almost daily. It's not worth the stress to have someone that is a pain in the a$$ just to deal with even if they are the best employee.
 
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tapelessfiddle

tapelessfiddle

Contributor
Apr 30, 2017
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11.Rewarding Good Work

Always remember, they don't give a shit about you or your goals. They give a shit about themselves and their family. That's how it should be. You as the employer need to find a way so that the things you care about and the things they care about are aligned.

Open dialogue with each and every person that works for you. Find out what their goals are and align their day to day tasks with how they will attain those goals. People find comfort in knowing they are being heard & taken care of in some way.

For example: Maybe they fell on some hard times and racked up some credit card debt that they don't see a way out of with their current pay. Set up a plan to tackle that issue using a bonus structure for doing well in their job. I give cash bonuses if teams get Yelp reviews that specifically mention that team member by name. I give bonuses for up selling our services and bringing in new business. If you align your goals with theirs, they're much more likely to stay the course.

You would think with starting a business, the most difficult thing would be finding new clients. Nope. The most difficult thing in all of this has been finding good people to do the work. I’d say probably more difficult than finding clients.

So after I’ve gone through, weeded through the candidates and found my people, I need to know how they’re doing. But more important than that if they’re doing a good job, I need to find out which teams & individuals are doing the best jobs vs their counterparts.

I know that I have to figure out who my best teams & individuals are, and do it quick. There are folks that are kinda okay, folks that are good, and folks that are superstars. We had to let go of the “kinda okay” folks and try to find ways for the good folks to improve. But the super stars? They need to become the face of the company. They are the top dogs out in the field everyday representing you & themselves.

So here’s my plan:
I let the teams know that folks who did the best jobs made more money. No, not that I paid them more per job, but they will get more jobs. They get first dibs at jobs. They get our most important jobs. They get the jobs with the best tippers. They just made out better. So my teams & people are incentivized to do a great job each and every time.

The more they do excellent work.. The more jobs they’ll get. The more jobs they get the more money they make, but this flow of jobs could slow down if the quality of work slows down. So at the end of the day, our teams compete internally based on quality of work. In the past I also offered a reward / gift for team or person to get us a review from their client, $50 or a gift card usually.

How to figure out who the best workers are:
I know, most folks will say, send out customer surveys. But ask yourself, when was the last time you filled out a survey from a company? I needed to find a way for clients to quickly and easily rate the team.

I found this idea and plan to implement it:

A simple email that goes out after the job and all the client has to do is click a face to rate the team. There’s 3 type of smiley faces, one sad, one okay, and one smiling.The ratings then accumulate on a page for that particular tea.So at the end of the day there is no guess work. You could now see through the results that 88% of this certain team’s clients loved them.

I can then compare this simple metric against other teams. In no time I can know who my superstars are. They are rewarded with more clients, the company gets better reviews, clients get superior service, fewer teams to manage, more referrals and faster growth. The cream of the crop teams making the most money, this concept is important now because it will be one of the pillars of the business.
 
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tapelessfiddle

tapelessfiddle

Contributor
Apr 30, 2017
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Website design is complete just ironing out a few small details. Starting to learn more about google ads & am now working on setting up a campaign, gathering keywords & creating a spreadsheet. Have a couple interviews set up for tomorrow. After posting a craigslist hiring ad got 11 responses back, now to just weed through them & find the best ones.
12.Testimonials & Reviews

So to get clients I need testimonials. But to get testimonials I need clients. How do I get around this problem? Note, this problem actually becomes larger when we think of it in broader terms as well. I don’t have this problem because I already have reviews. This is how to go about getting them when you are just start.
How can we make folks comfortable and show them that other people already like us?

There are a couple solutions to this problem, but rest assured that it is a critically important problem for your entire web presence. At the end of the day, followers and fans (probably 75% of the answer to the "Do people already like us" question) are things that can be bought. And many startup firms buy them. What you think about this is fine. At the end of the day you have to do what you are most comfortable with. Just note that you will have to pivot and come up with strategies to grow fans and followers that could actually become your clients at a later date.

If you can get even 3 solid reviews you'll be good. Even if you have to offer 3 free services to friends and family to get started in order to get some reviews and it will pay off. The goal should be to start working on gaining facebook likes and testimonials. You can get creative and reach out to friends and family and ask them for a like, ask people in another group you are apart of for a like. There’s no shortage of ways to go about this. I choose to only accept reviews for actual work completed, you can handle this however you want.
 
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tapelessfiddle

tapelessfiddle

Contributor
Apr 30, 2017
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What I'm using to start
13.Software & Tools

Wordpress Bookly Plug In
This plug in had everything I was looking for in a booking software. It has a sophisticated design, elements of trust with checkout, booking calendar, list of services and more. I can cut the day up and allow the customer to reserve and pay for a block of time on a certain date that they want there cleaning. It can be set up so that you have to approve a booking before it is confirmed for the customer. This website also has the option of bringing the customer direct to check out & pay. Rather than trying to collect payment after a job.

Wordpress Woo Ecommerce plan
I chose to use this plan because of all the options that came along with it. I was only looking at first for the secured payment option and the ability to list multiple items / services for sale and this fit. In the future I plan to use more of the features that come along with the plan but for now I’m sticking to the basics until I figure some more stuff out.

Grass Hopper Virtual Phone
I just secured a local number and transferred the number to my cellphone. This works perfectly because I have it set up so when the phone rings I get a quick notification that it is a call from my business before the client is connected. So instead of answering the phone "hello?" like if it were a personal call, I can answer it "Good afternoon, you've reached my business, how can I help?" Works like a charm. Best thing, if I'm at work or traveling, I can route the calls to my manager that mainly works from home and have her take calls for me. It's quick and seamless and I can route calls instantly.

Google Analytics
This is a great tool because it’s basic enough that I can understand what’s going on. I can keep track of how many people are coming to website from google, what pages they are visiting & plenty of other useful data.
 

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tapelessfiddle

tapelessfiddle

Contributor
Apr 30, 2017
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14.Marketing

There's countless business that grow solely on print ads and EDDM (every door direct mail). I can't knock them, it works. I just don't have any competitive advantage in that, so I'd rather stay ahead of the curve competing with non tech business owners in a growing tech world.

You can set up an Adwords campaign and get a booking next day.
You can hawk Thumbtack all day and bring in bookings same day.
You Could call Groupon and get a campaign set up within a few days and have more bookings than you know what to do with. With online, you can literally pull business to yourself (Usually at a lower profit, sometimes none. This is more so when you're just starting and need volume in a hurry). Print doesn't provide that luxury. To me, the upside in online versus print is online marketing provides you with immediate results and is easier to tweak and run tests.

Also, with all marketing, everything should be a split test. Headlines, text body, call to action, etc. This is easier with online ads as opposed to print.You need to spend more in order to get statistically significant data. Also be aware that with advertising in this industry if you're getting $4 back for every $1 spent then you're doing fantastic. I only plan on using a few channels when I’m starting then will consider expanding to more possibly., maybe even local print of some sort.

Lastly, I want to go after the low hanging fruit. I want to sell to people that are already looking for the services I offer. That means getting on places that people are looking for my services and standing out from the pack. Print is still interruption based marketing that by and large aren't currently looking for what you offer. Online ads is more solutions based. I have a problem, I Google that I want to fix this problem, This company fixes my problem, I'll give my money to them.

One easy way to keep track of all the marketing methods & their metrics is to set up a little table like this.

ChannelCostEffectiveness
CraigslistPaid8
FacebookFree & Paid8
InstagramFree & Paid5
Customer ReferralsFree5
Strategic PartnershipsFree & Paid0
Family & FriendsFree5
Google AdsPaid0
SEOPaid0
AngieslistPaid0
ThumbtackPaid0
 
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tapelessfiddle

tapelessfiddle

Contributor
Apr 30, 2017
16
26
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29
New York
Been a couple of days. New to google ads & have been trying to educate myself on the basics, what everything does and how it works. There's a lot of information out there for me to sift through, this is definitely a learning curve.
15.Google Ads 1.Keywords & Ad Groups

First off, like everything I do, I like to keep things simple.
Here are my keywords I'm planning on using with a couple different locations.

Cleaning Service
Cleaning service
Cleaning service in
Cleaning services
Cleaning services in
Cleaning maid service
Cleaning maid service in
Cleaning maid services
Cleaning maid services in

Cleaning Company
Cleaning company
Cleaning company in
Home cleaning company
Home cleaning company in

Cleaning Person
Cleaning person
Cleaning person in

Cleaning Lady
Cleaning lady
Cleaning lady in

Home Cleaning
Home cleaning
Home cleaning in
Home cleaning company
Home cleaning service
Home cleaning service in
Home cleaning services in

House Cleaner
House cleaner
House cleaner in
House cleaners
House cleaners in
House cleaning
House cleaning in
House cleaning service
House cleaning service in
House cleaning services
House cleaning services in
Housecleaner
Housecleaner in
Housecleaners
Housecleaners in
Housecleaning
Housecleaning in

House keeper
House keeper
House keeper in
House keepers
House keepers in
House keeping
House keeping in
Housekeeper
Housekeeper in
Housekeeping
Housekeeping in
Housekeeping agency
Housekeeping agency in

Maid Cleaning Service
Maid cleaning service
Maid cleaning service in
Maid cleaning services
Maid cleaning services in

Maid
Maid
Maid in
Maids
Maids in
Maid service
Maid services in
Maid services
Maid services in

Keywords Not Used
(can put the word *best* in front for a few more variations.
Apartment Cleaners
Apartment cleaner
Apartment cleaner in
apartment cleaners
Apartment cleaners in
apartment cleaning
Apartment cleaning in
apartment cleaning service
Apartment cleaning service in

Domestic Help
domestic help

Emergency Maid Service
emergency maid service
emergency maid services
emergency maid services in

Green Cleaning
green cleaning
green home cleaning
green apartment cleaning
green cleaning services
green cleaning service
green house cleaning
green janitorial service
green cleaning company
green maid services
green maid service

Janitorial service
janitorial service

Maid Services Today
maid services today


Things that folks would search for when they are thinking about hiring a maid with those keywords grouped together. Each term at the top represents a tightly grouped list of keywords and will become the names of my adgroups. Note how tight they are. Your goal as you are grouping your keywords together is to keep it tight.

AD GROUPS

This is just the level at which your ads are generated when people search.

So if you have an adgroup called "red corvettes" and it has one ad associated with it, and the keyword term in that adgroup are "2008 red corvette for sale", when someone searches for that keyword term, the ad associated with your "red corvette" ad group will show. That's why if you have multiple keywords in one ad group you want them to be really similar to each other.

So Ad groups are simply the level at which your ads are generated. Each adgroup contains multiple keywords and can also have multiple ads associated with them.

How much are you willing to pay for each keyword type. My take, I would pay more for an exact search, slightly less for a phrase search, and lesser even for a broad search.

i.e If someone searches for "cleaning serving in baltimore md" that is perfection. I'll pay the most for that. However, if someone pays for "cleaning service in baltimore md looking to hire" I don't want to pay as much. Well I don't want to pay a thing for that actually, and I'll show other ways around this later, but for this example, and not knowing the million things people can add to their search, I want to pay slightly less for anything that is not exactly what I have set up in my search terms.
 

Fabelmk

New Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Mar 30, 2016
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Hi,

Thank you for doing this, please keep going.

Following.

Edit: Any reason why you chose wp booking plugin instead of launch27?
 
Last edited:

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