Am I too expensive ? Part 2 continued.

Discussion in 'Chit Chat & Introductions' started by Green Pro Clean Ltd, Jul 14, 2016.

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  1. Green Pro Clean Ltd

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    #1 Green Pro Clean Ltd, Jul 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
    So this is a continuation of another members thread where they were wondering if they were too expensive.

    As I said on that thread I am probably the most expensive window cleaner in Nottinghamshire if not the Midlands at present. This wasn't by accident nor did I plan it that way.

    Many window cleaners earn 'good money' but 'good' needs to be quantified.

    You can go one off two routes and these are:

    Route 1: Stack em high, sell em cheap -- Build a massive customer base of low priced work and churn it out by the ton so you earn good money simply based on the number of low priced jobs you do.
    This is where we were around 3-4 years ago, we were doing typical 3 bed council semis at £8 each or £10 with a conservatory and between Ben and I we were cranking 30 in a day on ladders. Not a bad earner but believe me we worked for our money. Problem was one or two bad days of weather and you really were in a hole and getting pushed behind with a fair chance of having to write a few off each month.

    Route 2: A fair price for a fair job and a quality service. I have now gotten rid of the stack em high customers and have changed tack completely.
    A big issue I found with many of them is they had the mentality of 'oh it's only £8' but how that translated was 'What's the window cleaner in a huff about? I didn't leave the gate open cause I didn't want them doing this month and he's got the huff. It's only £8' Cause to them it is less than the cost of a pack of B&H but they don't realise you had put that time aside for them, to clean their windows, cause their £8 combined with the other 29 customers will make it a good day for you. They don't understand that you are better off to drop them and replace them with a customer that is guaranteed regular.
    Now my prices are much higher, my schedule a lot more flexible and work ethic increased 10 fold. (I have always had pride in my work but eventually you get to a point ((especially on under priced jobs)) where you are thinking 'what do they want for £8')

    Now for those that do not know I sold my entire round about six weeks back, started targeting a totally different area with a very different approach.

    The methodology is simple, customers want clean windows and usually clean frames and doors to go with. Customers are willing to pay for that, rather than £8 for 'washed' windows they will pay premium to ensure their windows are clean.
    They will also happily pay a premium for a first clean (in some cases I am charging 2.5x the regular clean for a first clean depending on condition) if you explain to them 'Not a problem Julie, as you can see they haven't been done in some time so they will need a proper deep cleaning first to get those frames bright again and get all those spider nests and grime and I see some paint flecks that will need a scrape off and of course that takes longer so your first clean will be £XX' Of course you should be pointing out the scuff mark on the door and the likes and this is all topped into the first clean price.
    Customers, ones whom truly want a service will pay a premium for you to bring new life back to their tired frames.

    I also changed the frequency from 'Monthly, Bi-Monthly and Quarterly' to '4 weekly, 8 weekly and one off'

    Now any professional window cleaner knows the only matter that determines how often a window needs cleaning is it's location and the immediate environment around it. Some of our seaside lads will need to do the windows a lot more frequently than those in a mild country village with no traffic.

    Also I have gone the sign written, van signed etc route and lot of new customers comment on how nice it is to see a professional set up so they know who they are dealing with. Do the customers know the signage was bought on ebay or the logo t-shirts I get done at the local market? Probably not but if it makes them feel more secure then happy days.
    They have also started coming to me because their current window cleaner will not do the frames which the customer wants or insists on a rigid monthly schedule which many find too much these days.

    This is the main feedback I have gotten in the past 4 weeks.

    Professional, appearance, attitude quality.
    Love the text reminder service to leave the gate open or for reschedule updates cause of weather.
    Love online payment by BACS or GoCardless so you don't need to disturb their supper time.
    Like the flexibility of 4 weekly or 8 weekly (no difference to monthly or bi-monthly but it is psychological as 4 week sounds longer than 1 Month in their subconscious)

    I have even had new customers coming to me saying they like the 8 week schedule as their current window cleaner insists on monthly or nothing. I charge £18 for example for an 8 weekly their previous cleaner was charging £12 for a monthly but wouldn't be flexible so lost the account. Now I can do this job and still have time to squeeze another 8 weekly in as I am doing half the frequency so I am actually on 2 individual cleans during an 8 week period taking £36 compared to Mr 'Monthly only' at £24 so I am £12 better off for the same amount of effort.

    Some 60% of my new work is on an 8 weekly schedule as when I am quoting I say 'look, why not go on the 8 weekly round and if you find that is not enough then change to 4 weekly and have them done more often' They love this as to them you are not pushing for a more frequent commitment and you come across as relaxed and confident in your ability to be able to keep them clean with an 8 weekly service.

    In just under 6 weeks I have established just over £2k per month in new business with this approach and it is growing daily. It will get to a point where I will cap the days jobs so that I can ensure every job gets adequate time to be done perfectly (after all the customer is paying for clean windows, not just partly clean) and the books will be closed.

    Below in the picture is a good example, this is a 2 bed terrace in an area that is known for Yuppies, the 'in crowd' the up and comers, the bought it all on finance to impress friends and neighbors. You get the sort of area I mean.
    20160714_090134.jpg

    3 years ago I used to do this house for £8.00 per month. It generated £96 per year in income for me. I resented it as being a terrace it was 'round the back down the alley, kick wheelie bins out the way etc' and I just want to bodge it and scarper.

    The house has been sold and new folks have called me in again and today I do this house at £20 every 8 weeks generating £160 per year in income.


    Some time ago I did a costing of how much each job cost to do 'vehicle, tools, insurance, wages, etc etc' and it came to around £3.20 at the time. so this house was costing me £38.40 every 12 months to clean so in reality I was making £57.60 per year or £4.80 per clean on this property.

    Now my costs have actually reduced slightly as I have no staff now but we will use the same example of £3.20 but I am only cleaning 6 times a year so costs are £19.20 so that's now a profit of £140.80 pence per year. So I am £83.20 better off per year for doing half as much work.

    I am not writing this to brag or show off, I was fortunate to find myself in a position where I could try this experiment and see and it works. I have always believed it should be about quality and not quantity and the proof is out there.

    This is middle England, we are not the richest, nor are we the poorest but we do represent a good cross section so I don't see why this approach can not work anywhere. It is time to drag our industry out of the dark ages and start getting fairly recompensed for our efforts.

    I know this is not the only way but this is my way and this is whats working and as long as I continue to close 75-80% of all quotes I will be happy with it.

    So in summary, 'Am I too expensive?' No!

    It is you and you alone that will push the prices down in an effort to gain more work and be competitive but I truly believe that there are plenty of clients out there that want a guaranteed quality of service and will pay premium prices willing to get it.

    Another example is I was due to do a clean today and the customer text back 'Sorry Darren, family issues, can't do Thursday, is Friday OK?'

    Did I have a wobbler? Nope, this is a woman that is paying £28 every 8 weeks for a job I would have used to billed at £10 per clean.

    My reply, was 'Very sorry, fully booked Friday, I can however fit you in Monday morning if that works'

    Her, 'That's great, Monday will be fine, sorry once again for messing you about Darren'

    Me, 'No problem at all'

    And really it isn't, I am down her way Monday anyhow, I could have done Friday but I have a theory that if I let them choose as and when as opposed to telling them as and when then it could become a regular thing so by me dictating when I can do it they respect my time a little bit more.

    Any how, that's more than enough waffle for now.
     
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  2. S T window cleaning

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    Great post. When I get goin this is the kinda service I would like to b offering
     
  3. Diwrnach

    Diwrnach Grand Master
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    Sounds like us, we text, give weather updates etc, we have smart clothing and polo shirts, pretty much all of our customers pay BACs etc etc

    We are also on the upper side on prices, not as high as yours though, I would say £12-£15 is usual.
     
  4. steve garwood

    steve garwood ginger lion
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    The answer to the question is no I.m.o.
    All seems like standard procedure to me.
     
  5. Solarpanelcleanington

    Solarpanelcleanington Forum Addict
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    If that's where the yuppies live, I'd hate to see the rougher roads!

    You're right though. Charge more for 8 weekly, it doesn't really take much longer monthly but better hourly rate.
     
  6. Green Pro Clean Ltd

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    No mate. This is where the young pretenders live. We have streets 100 times worse than this and 100 times better. But this is the wannabee hood. That house sold for £195k. Theres food for thought.

    Diwrnach is the wife working with you yet?
     
  7. Tuffers

    Tuffers Hero
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    That's what I thought :confused:
     
  8. Diwrnach

    Diwrnach Grand Master
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    She is indeed, though we have found a bit of a problem, 6 weeks holidays now means I am going to be working like a dog while she has 6 weeks at home with the kids......
     
  9. BigFoot

    BigFoot Active Member
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    I find pricing a psychological battle, what I mean is if I am not strict with myself I find myself offering a price I think the customer will accept rather than what I know the job is worth, We have all been there I'm sure! I find I must give myself a talking to before pricing a job or canvasing.
    Enjoyed reading your post Green, food for thought.
     
  10. Diwrnach

    Diwrnach Grand Master
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    Should also add customers LOVE the fact its a married couple cleaning their windows/drive/gutters or whatever, especially the women.

    My evening text is "Matt & Emma your window cleaners" etc and the response is fantastic.
     
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