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P4dstar

Gaining commercial customers



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P4dstar

I have a healthy domestic round and a handful of commercial customers. I've got a couple of nice commercial contracts but they've all come through word of mouth. I have a good online presence but i'm wondering what you lads who do a lot of commercial cleaning do?

 

I have tried going into the office and speaking to people but as with most B2B sales you struggle to get past the receptionist. I'm happy to carry on doing that where i'm working but I wouldn't waste time doing it specifically to gain commercial customers as my time would be better spent on gaining domestic customers (More bang for my buck I mean)

 

I know @Part Timer and @Pjj do a fair amount of commercial work so advice from you guys would be greatly appreciated but anyone else with experience please feel free.

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Clearview Lee

Great question - and one i've often thought myself many-a-time, so looking forward to some advice/response to this one!

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Part Timer

No magic formula for Commercial work, I've done the receptionist, emails etc. My biggest NE customer was secured by responding very quickly to a request to clean a big nursing home the next day, the company that were cheaper than me failed to turn up. I now get all their new homes in the area. My advice, not that helpful unfortunately, is keep trying and hope you get lucky. 

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Pjj

I got my first big lucky break with doing the windows on a one bedroom council flat , unbeknown to me the mother of the girl in the flat was the manager of a large semi retirement complex , she watched me clean the windows and was impressed with the quality of my work . She asked me to give her a price for where she worked , and as they say the rest is history we now do over 20 blocks of flats for this large firm over a large area of the country , and have been doing this since 2003 ,we are dearer than a lot of the other companies who have tenders for the work but still they use us , I am always aware though that theses contracts can be lost and would never put all my eggs in one basket just in case ,once you get established and a good reputation the people will approach  you knowing that you have the ability and skill set to do the job . When doing a commercial job go and speak to neighboring similar premesis say we are doing so an so work would you like a price , sometimes it will work sometimes it doesn’t . Most of our commercial work we do the windows, guttervaccing, pressurewashing, softwashing, cladding Cleaning ,  for as well we try to offer a complete external building cleaning service , the customer likes this as they don’t have to set up another account to get someone else in also they are familiar with your high standards with the windows so know that other services you offer will be the same ,where I am not many window cleaners are intrested in doing large commercial as most are sole traders working on the own and wouldn’t be able to do the job on there own .

you already have a web site ?. Take pictures of your commercial work before and after pictures this will help also , I don’t want any more private houses so don’t advertise any pictures of them on my site I am just trying to get more commercial jobs , but you will find jo public will see the pictures of the commercial work and think if he can do that he can do my 3-4 storey house , we have picked up several old manor  houses this way which are well worth doing . Below is the property I said about in the beginning ,that’s just the front , we now do 20 of theses every 6 weeks 

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5DDB06EB-A748-4E97-974B-D1BC16B71152.jpeg

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Clearview Lee

I had 5 of these nursing home jobs, and all it took was a new maintenance guy at head office to get all his own people in, and I lost the lot! Just under a grand a month, gone! And this was the late 90's where a grand was a lot more in todays money. I'd not long got a mortgage sorted, and newborn baby. That brought on a big depression for me which lasted 5 years. Savage it was.  I'd been cleaning them for 5 years, and the peeps really liked me as well. They even got a little petition going, bless em, but to no avail.

 

I went golfing with one of the managers and later found out that the new lot were charging £50 less per month than my overall price. *****!!! 🙂 I'm over it, honest!! 

 

Just the nature of the beast. We live and learn.

 

In a nutshell: I had a strong attachment to thinking it was "my job" forever! Big learning curve.

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Nudel

It's mostly word of mouth here, as well as my online presence is focused on commercial work.

 

My mate who ran the company before me had good results running Facebook advertisements for commercial cleaning and targeting those above with a high business education. Don't know the exact details, but the ads did pay off.

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P4dstar

Thanks chaps. This sounds pretty much the same as i've already been doing. I'm picking up commercial jobs nicely and its all been from recommendations and working for people with connections.

 

I just picked up a huge office block, biggest window clean i've ever been asked to do £350 every other month. I always ask them where they found me and he literally told me I was the only windy willing to quote for it. I've got a mate who works for a local commercial windy and another who is a local commercial windy. The employee chap has some long standing contracts and his boss is only replacing what he loses and the other chap is doing really well. I've tried asking how they get customers but they sort of skirt round the subject and don't really answer so I stopped asking. I imagine commercial only window cleaners must do some canvassing or something.

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scottish cleaning service

I got roped in to do some maintenance in my local church. Then I got asked to go on the church council to be the maintenance speaker regarding property maintenance. Now I clean the windows every 3 months and the gutters once a year. Soon I will have changed all the wooden FSG's to PVC and I will be cleaning it. What I am now noticing is all the old buddies in the church approaching me first like a consultant before calling anyone out. There is a thing to be said about joining the Rotary Club or business club in your area. That's how one gets to be seen and know regarding contracts unless you are as good looking as @P4dstar :1f61c:

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Tuffers
58 minutes ago, Clearview Lee said:

I had 5 of these nursing home jobs, and all it took was a new maintenance guy at head office to get all his own people in, and I lost the lot! Just under a grand a month, gone! And this was the late 90's where a grand was a lot more in todays money. I'd not long got a mortgage sorted, and newborn baby. That brought on a big depression for me which lasted 5 years. Savage it was.  I'd been cleaning them for 5 years, and the peeps really liked me as well. They even got a little petition going, bless em, but to no avail.

 

I went golfing with one of the managers and later found out that the new lot were charging £50 less per month than my overall price. *****!!! 🙂 I'm over it, honest!! 

 

Just the nature of the beast. We live and learn.

 

In a nutshell: I had a strong attachment to thinking it was "my job" forever! Big learning curve.

 

I'd like to give your post a like, but I don't think I like what the customer did. Eggs and baskets etc. Lose a commercial and it can be a big hit. I've got some commercials but I don't rely on them. I'd concentrate on domestics @P4dstar, lose a domestic and it can be replaced easier.

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scottish cleaning service
1 hour ago, Clearview Lee said:

I had 5 of these nursing home jobs, and all it took was a new maintenance guy at head office to get all his own people in, and I lost the lot! Just under a grand a month, gone! And this was the late 90's where a grand was a lot more in todays money. I'd not long got a mortgage sorted, and newborn baby. That brought on a big depression for me which lasted 5 years. Savage it was.  I'd been cleaning them for 5 years, and the peeps really liked me as well. They even got a little petition going, bless em, but to no avail.

 

I went golfing with one of the managers and later found out that the new lot were charging £50 less per month than my overall price. *****!!! 🙂 I'm over it, honest!! 

 

Just the nature of the beast. We live and learn.

 

In a nutshell: I had a strong attachment to thinking it was "my job" forever! Big learning curve.

 

 

Hard when we keep all our eggs in one basket. That's why the Domestic is a lot more secure, you can lose the odd one and still carryon regardless.

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Cghwindowcleaning

There is no secret to this work some want cheap price, some will pay well some want good health and safety, some couldn't care less, quality is high on some commercial others aren't fussed and don't be naive in to thinking that some don't want a brown envelope.

There is no formula.

 

Every body wants to get in to commercial I have people go in to some of my jobs and blatantly say they can under cut my current price.

It can also be very risky I know people to lose thousands a month when they lose a contract and sometimes if a new manager comes in and your face don't fit your gone.

 

You will also be surprised to find how cheap some are willing to go just to hold on to a job or gain one.I know some people barely breaking even on some jobs.

 

There is good work out there but it can be increasingly hard to find and win.

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Part Timer
3 minutes ago, Cghwindowcleaning said:

There is no secret to this work some want cheap price, some will pay well some want good health and safety, some couldn't care less, quality is high on some commercial others aren't fussed and don't be naive in to thinking that some don't want a brown envelope.

There is no formula.

 

Every body wants to get in to commercial I have people go in to some of my jobs and blatantly say they can under cut my current price.

It can also be very risky I know people to lose thousands a month when they lose a contract and sometimes if a new manager comes in and your face don't fit your gone.

 

You will also be surprised to find how cheap some are willing to go just to hold on to a job or gain one.I know some people barely breaking even on some jobs.

 

There is good work out there but it can be increasingly hard to find and win.

There is a retirement home near me that "want" a local window cleaner to clean their windows. I live on the outskirts of Sunderland and it's classed as a village by the elderly. They currently have a large company from outside the area cleaning their windows badly for £70. It's a 3 hour job to do it properly and I would want £100 to do it but they won't pay the price. Where I live commercial is worse than compact residential. 

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P4dstar
3 hours ago, scottish cleaning service said:

unless you are as good looking as @P4dstar :1f61c:

I am a handsome chap Scottish, glad you noticed haha 😂

3 hours ago, Tuffers said:

I'd concentrate on domestics @P4dstar, lose a domestic and it can be replaced easier.

 

3 hours ago, scottish cleaning service said:

Hard when we keep all our eggs in one basket. That's why the Domestic is a lot more secure, you can lose the odd one and still carryon regardless.

I know what you're saying chaps and I don't have any intention of putting all eggs in the commercial basket, especially as it is so difficult to gain new customers.

 

 

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P4dstar
3 hours ago, Cghwindowcleaning said:

There is no secret to this work some want cheap price, some will pay well some want good health and safety, some couldn't care less, quality is high on some commercial others aren't fussed and don't be naive in to thinking that some don't want a brown envelope.

There is no formula.

 

Every body wants to get in to commercial I have people go in to some of my jobs and blatantly say they can under cut my current price.

It can also be very risky I know people to lose thousands a month when they lose a contract and sometimes if a new manager comes in and your face don't fit your gone.

 

You will also be surprised to find how cheap some are willing to go just to hold on to a job or gain one.I know some people barely breaking even on some jobs.

 

There is good work out there but it can be increasingly hard to find and win.

Good solid advice there, thanks dude.

 

I find my area is so different to others people talk about on here. I can speak confidently about domestic and have a limited experience with commercial too. There aren't many window cleaners round here willing to look at commercial work. I have lost 3 commercial jobs. One where they wanted hundreds of panes on a roof that were caped in moss cleaning for £100 and another 2 were council/ housing association jobs that I didn't even bid for in the end as I didn't want them! I also seem to be able to quote much higher than some would elsewhere in the country and get really good contracts. In September I picked up a cladding clean worth £2k that 2 of us completed over a weekend, unheard of in some parts.

 

What I was really interested in was if anyone has a way of reaching out to businesses outside of canvassing or emails I guess.

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Clearview Lee
19 minutes ago, P4dstar said:

I am a handsome chap Scottish, glad you noticed haha 😂

 

I know what you're saying chaps and I don't have any intention of putting all eggs in the commercial basket, especially as it is so difficult to gain new customers.

 

 

Thing here is, if you get one decent job for a decent firm,  you take it! And if they say would you be interested in cleaning our windows on our other block in the next town as we really like your window cleaning and not happy with the current cleaning down there, what’s your response?? Eventually you could be doing 3,4 or 5 properties like o did. 

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Cghwindowcleaning
7 hours ago, P4dstar said:

Good solid advice there, thanks dude.

 

I find my area is so different to others people talk about on here. I can speak confidently about domestic and have a limited experience with commercial too. There aren't many window cleaners round here willing to look at commercial work. I have lost 3 commercial jobs. One where they wanted hundreds of panes on a roof that were caped in moss cleaning for £100 and another 2 were council/ housing association jobs that I didn't even bid for in the end as I didn't want them! I also seem to be able to quote much higher than some would elsewhere in the country and get really good contracts. In September I picked up a cladding clean worth £2k that 2 of us completed over a weekend, unheard of in some parts.

 

What I was really interested in was if anyone has a way of reaching out to businesses outside of canvassing or emails I guess.

 

I'm not going to say how I gain work to much on an open forum as I'm fully commercial and there are to many lurkers on here.

 

What I will say is a massive part is who you know and a bit of luck is a massive part of it.Many,many Years ago through a good mate one of my first jobs came through him putting me in contact with some one and pushing me.At the time this job was massive way, way above what I had done before but I won the job and still clean it today and since then this contact has given me loads of work.Of course doing a good job is high on there list but because I know them and the long term relationship most new work goes to me.

 

The longer your at this the more you make contacts and once your known for this type of work the rest starts coming to you.

 

Sending emails and canvasing can sometimes work but it can be very poor most of the time your email will drop in to their junk folder and I can tell you 100% the girl you meet on reception and give your card to will have zero input of the cleaning contracts and they very rarely pass your card or details on to those that do.

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P4dstar
10 hours ago, Cghwindowcleaning said:

 

I'm not going to say how I gain work to much on an open forum as I'm fully commercial and there are to many lurkers on here.

 

What I will say is a massive part is who you know and a bit of luck is a massive part of it.Many,many Years ago through a good mate one of my first jobs came through him putting me in contact with some one and pushing me.At the time this job was massive way, way above what I had done before but I won the job and still clean it today and since then this contact has given me loads of work.Of course doing a good job is high on there list but because I know them and the long term relationship most new work goes to me.

 

The longer your at this the more you make contacts and once your known for this type of work the rest starts coming to you.

 

Sending emails and canvasing can sometimes work but it can be very poor most of the time your email will drop in to their junk folder and I can tell you 100% the girl you meet on reception and give your card to will have zero input of the cleaning contracts and they very rarely pass your card or details on to those that do.

100% agree mate. I am already doing a few things which is where my latest commercial contract came from. I too am holding back from writing this on here as i'm fully aware at least one of my local competitors reads my posts.

 

Couldn't agree more about the receptionist. I saw how much trouble a receptionist can get in for giving out contact details once, they probably just want an easy life!

 

I like the idea @scottish cleaning service said about joining a local business club. They have one round here where local businesses get together and have lunch, problem is they're all self employed work from home types... Book keepers and consultant types. 

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scottish cleaning service

Handy if your friend works in the council or with a housing association. When I joined the Fire Service, I must have been the only person who didn't have a relative who worked in the Service. Its only natural that children follow their parents in their career of choice because they are brought up in that environment. I used to think it was nepotism until I studied it and realized it was natural behavior. My doctor is trying to get his son into medicine but his son much prefers IT. My doctor cant understand why but it can work the other way when the boy sits at the dinner table each night and hears hospital stories because his mum is also a doctor.

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P4dstar
23 minutes ago, scottish cleaning service said:

Handy if your friend works in the council or with a housing association. When I joined the Fire Service, I must have been the only person who didn't have a relative who worked in the Service. Its only natural that children follow their parents in their career of choice because they are brought up in that environment. I used to think it was nepotism until I studied it and realized it was natural behavior. My doctor is trying to get his son into medicine but his son much prefers IT. My doctor cant understand why but it can work the other way when the boy sits at the dinner table each night and hears hospital stories because his mum is also a doctor.

Given the state of the generation leaving school at the moment a lot of parents would just be happy if they got a job let alone following in their footsteps.

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Part Timer
2 hours ago, P4dstar said:

Given the state of the generation leaving school at the moment a lot of parents would just be happy if they got a job let alone following in their footsteps.

Everything is getting dumbed down now-a-days. Debt and education are the two things pushed onto them. Manual jobs are looked down on, good job for the majority of us on here. 

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P4dstar
24 minutes ago, Part Timer said:

Everything is getting dumbed down now-a-days. Debt and education are the two things pushed onto them. Manual jobs are looked down on, good job for the majority of us on here. 

100% mate. My little bro recently went to work with my old man in the Hermes factory in Warrington. Lasted about 3 days. He says he can't understand how the old fella does it. I see where he's coming from he's nearly 60 and about 10 stone wet through, I can't understand it either. I just think its a generational thing. Poor sod knows he has to work so just keeps plodding on for little more than minimum wage while his 23 year old son can't hack it because he knows he can fall back on the dole if he needs to 🤷‍♂️

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Part Timer

There's no incentives nowadays, I got slaughtered on here, told I didn't know what I was talking about, not that long ago, when I dared to criticise people trying to employ on minimum wage 

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P4dstar
7 minutes ago, Part Timer said:

There's no incentives nowadays, I got slaughtered on here, told I didn't know what I was talking about, not that long ago, when I dared to criticise people trying to employ on minimum wage 

I'm with you mate. If you make someone work for £8 an hour and they see you puling in £50 they will soon jump ship. Let people learn the hard way!

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RWCleaning

I’d love a few commercial jobs a month, nothing massive, but would be cool to do £50-£100 early one day a week before the domestic day starts.

 

But nothing good ever happens to me (violins please) so I can just throw that idea in the bin. 

In fact, as the old saying goes, if I fell into a barrel full of boobs, I’d come out sucking my own thumb! 

 

I don’t quite understand commercial pricing though, some say it’s ok, they just do it to fill up a early morning or a rainy day. Where some say “I wouldn’t clean that for less than £90 a hour you idiot!!”

 

I’ve priced 6/7 different commercial jobs here in Bournemouth, done two one offs of them. One was a little under priced, was a shop front with 3D signage, said £18 thinking it’ll take 30 mins (I was still using back packs and was slow at the time) took a hour unfortunately.

 

The other one was a fascia & gutter clean on a pub which was well priced. My best morning to date probably. I then quoted £12 a week for the ongoing external windows. He umm’d & urrr’d then said he’ll think about it. Texted him a week later and he said no it’s ok it’s sorted now. Strange. Oh well.

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scottish cleaning service

The problem we have in this country is all the kids are educated with the internet. Old generation not up to speed with the net and like to plod along. Why work on a building site or outside in all weathers if you can get an office job working a computer. That's why all the poles are over here working on the sites. Funny thing is happening to my mum at the moment. She is getting her house clad with insulation and she keeps trying to talk with the workers and they all say, me no talk English. I think I will need to try that every time she asks me questions. If one is paying their employee the minimum wage then it shows that you don't respect them and you will have a high turnover of staff.

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