How to Bundle and Upsell Cleaning Services
Katie Pearse of Glisten Academy built a multi-million dollar cleaning business. She now creates marketing products and services for people who want to run their own. Jobber asked Katie to share her strategies for selling more bundled services in an upscale cleaning business. In response, Katie offered four questions for cleaning business owners to ask themselves and offered one great tip for keeping clients happy.
1. What do clients want that you’re proficient at and makes you money?
The biggest cost associated with running a cleaning business is paying your staff and getting them to the client’s home. Once they’re on-site, every additional dollar you can earn serves to offset those costs and drive profitability. That said, not all services are created equal.
“Cleaning a fridge may bring in an extra $50 in revenue, but it may take one person 45 minutes to an hour to do the job,” Katie explains. “By comparison, assuming the client has a self-cleaning oven, which most do these days, the labor to do that is only 20 minutes. So, if you’re charging the same $50, you have greater margin.”
One example of a service Katie warns some cleaners to stay away from are move-in, or move-out jobs. “The revenue looks attractive (maybe $1,000 or more). But these tend to be one-off customers and it is a lot of work, cleaning literally every square inch of a home,” she says. “It can take a team of two people a couple days to do it right, so there’s high overhead and you end up not making much money.”
2. How can you leverage time on-site against investment in equipment?
To please clients and drive greater profitability, offer service bundles that utilize your investments in equipment and make the machinery pay for itself. Steam cleaning is a good example.
“Let’s say you spend $600 for a Bissell steam cleaner and charge $10 for a bathroom, $20 for a kitchen, or all the hardwood floors in someone’s home for $75,” says Katie. “That’s an easy add-on for the customer to digest and the job may take one cleaner just 30 to 45 minutes, so it’s a profitable upgrade and a good bonus for the customer, as well.”
Other examples of low-cost, high-value add-ons include: cleaning mattresses, deodorizing carpets, and folding laundry, all of which are services customers sometimes need that take just a matter of minutes to provide and add little expense for the cleaner.
3. Where can you offer knowledge of particular value?
From the moment a prospective client first visits your website, to the time you follow-up after a job, your cleaning business should focus on offering good advice and positioning the expertise of your brand.
To make a good first impression, Katie suggests offering a little incentive on your website to thank the prospect for providing their email address. “My favorite thing is to offer a free household organizer in a downloadable .pdf,” she says. “Not just tips for scrubbing a shower, or mopping floors, but tools and advice to help people manage their home.”
Use that collection of email addresses to market and book clients, then train your on-site staff to be more than cleaners. Teach them how to listen to clients, observe what’s happening in their homes, and recommend service upgrades that make sense. “Done professionally and with concerned interest, this works really well,” says Katie.
4. When is the right time to offer more services?
First of all, you should have a good customer relationship management solution in place that helps you know and understand what’s important to your clients. Is it their birthday? They may want a special cleaning before or after a party. New puppy in the house? Then it’s time for a good carpet cleaning, etc.
“In addition to gathering initial information from new clients, pay attention to what’s going on in their lives and their homes, and try using surveys that ask customers what you can do for them that you aren’t already,” Katie suggests. “At every point in your interactions – on your website, in social media, when staff are chatting with customers – take the opportunity to ask the client what they need and educate them about how you can service those needs.”
To sell more bundled services, Katie also advises cleaners to create specialty packages, like a ‘whole home disinfectant’ offer, and incentivizing the client with rewards or discounts for buying-in. Providing a discounted sample of an upgraded service (e.g. offering half-price carpet shampooing for a single room) is also a good way to show the value to the client and earn revenue down the road.
Tip: Manage in a housekeeping role
Rise above meeting the basic needs of your clients and provide service as if you were the everyday housekeeper. “Know the situation in the house,” says Katie. “Anticipating people’s needs and doing the little things that show you care has an emotional impact and makes you memorable. Learn to think of yourself in that role, provide an extra level of service all the time, and you will become irreplaceable.”
About Katie Pearse
Katie Pearse is a cleaning entrepreneur and online marketing specialist. In 2008, Katie co-founded a housecleaning business in Canada called the Green Clean Squad. Just three-and-a-half years later, the company made its first million. And over seven years, the company’s hourly rate tripled—from $62/hour to $180/hour.
Katie provides business advice, consultation, and marketing services. Learn more at Glisten Academy.