Winter is on its way. For most carpet cleaners living in parts of the country where the thermometer dips deep into the chill zone and the white stuff covers the ground, winter brings slower business. A recent message board discussion showed that January through March are typically slower months for many cleaners. Now is the time to plan ahead. We could take a lesson from the squirrels. Every fall, the gray squirrel spends its day gathering nuts and seeds. Then it hides them so it will have enough food to last through the winter. How can we plan now for the chilly months ahead? Commercial carpet care can provide the insulation needed to ward off the winter chill that may run through your business.
Commercial carpet cleaning can be set up on a cyclical basis. Setting up accounts that are serviced monthly or quarterly continues year round, regardless of the outside temperature. Setting up commercial maintenance plans makes sense on a number of levels. It enables you to provide a service plan that’s tailored for your customers. You can plan to service higher traffic sections of the building more frequently, while areas with less impact receive less frequent service. It allows your customer to purchase the level of service that specifically meets their needs. And since you’re putting a “package” together you can set it up in a cost effective way for the customer.
Let’s run through how this would play out. You are about to bid a 5,000 sq ft building. You’re primarily a residential based carpet cleaner so you decide to bid this account wearing your residential hat. You come in at .25 per sq ft with a total for a one time service charge of $1,250.
Now let’s try another approach on that same building with a commercial maintenance plan. Let’s assume that 1,500 sq ft of the building has the highest soil load and you plan to clean it 4 times per year. There is moderate soil in another 1,500 sq ft of the building so you plan to clean that portion of the building 2 times per year. The remaining 2,000 sq ft of the building has lower traffic so cleaning just once a year in that area will be sufficient. If you were to charge a typical commercial rate of .15 per sq ft for the maintenance plan cleaning your customer would pay $1650 per year for the annual service.
Let’s look at this more closely. In the first scenario, they would only be getting a single cleaning for $1250. In the second scenario they would receive a much higher level of service that is matched exactly to their needs and they would pay just $400 more over the course of the entire year. As you can see, they’re receiving a far superior service for their business at an increased cost of just $33.33 per month.
And here’s one more wrinkle. As an ongoing maintenance account customer, you can set up this service plan to be billed on a monthly basis. So instead of paying out a one time charge of $1250 for a single cleaning, they can enjoy clean carpet all year round at a rate of $137.50 per month. Paying a service charge of $137.50 each month is normally more palatable than paying out $1250 in one lump sum. And it’s even more appealing when they can see that they’ll be getting a comprehensive service that’s tailored to fit their building’s specific needs.
There are additional benefits to having monthly maintenance contracts. It helps to prevent your customer from shopping around for a new carpet cleaner. When you’re a one trick pony, the next time they need to have their carpet cleaned they’re liable to hire any cleaner that happens to catch their eye. This is far less likely to happen when you cover your client with a service plan. Another large benefit comes when you’re ready to sell your business one day. A treasure chest of maintenance contracts has much higher sales value to a prospective business buyer than a list of folks you’ve serviced here and there over the last couple of years.
So plan now for winter. Like the squirrel in fall, it’s time to gather nuts. Build up your commercial accounts. Even if you don’t set them up on a maintenance plan, commercial work can go a long way to help carry you through the slower winter months and to supplement your residential work. At Excellent Supply we have a commercial marketing system called the Releasit CMS program which may also be helpful for you. And if I can assist you in any way shoot me a message.