I have been contacted by several individuals who either want to start a cleaning service or have one or two small accounts and want to grow. How and what questions you ask are crucial to establishing credibility and rapport with a prospective customer. If they are venting about the poor service, sympathize with them but be careful of being too critical. Also, beware that this may be a prospect who regularly grinds through contractors with no intention of paying or keeping them once they have squeezed them for every service they can get. Yes, it does happen so be forewarned. This could be a distinct possibility if your site inspection does not pick up on any serious performance issues. They could also be using your proposal as filler for the minimum 3-5 proposals with the winner already chosen. That is a risk you have to take.


Of course, you still have not talked numbers which could easily be the deal breaker. Perhaps you took a class on bidding and based on time standards you keep generating quotes that put you out of the ball park in your proposals. Most time standards are a tad high. How can you be “competitive” if you do not know what the competition is charging? Following is a suggested procedure to deal with that very real challenge: 


Question 3: Mrs. Jones, I better understand what are your concerns and believe that Elmer Fudd’s Cleaning Service can meet your needs. In order to keep this simple for you, I am offering to take your current contract, same terms, price and conditions, for a period of 30, 60, 90 days and then we can sit down for a review. At that time, I will either be able to show you why your service was deficient or hopefully show you some ways we can give you better service.


In the next article we will follow through with the suggested offer just made. 


Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.