Great customers let you know, in one way or another, that they appreciate the work you do. Usually, it looks something like…
They trust you to do your professional best, and don’t micro-manage.
They don’t begrudge you the professional rate you charge.
They don’t cancel on a whim.
They have their space picked up and ready to clean.
If they’re home while you’re cleaning, they respectfully try to stay out of your way.
And, every now and then, they tell you outright that they think you do a good job.
How to Find (and Keep!) Great Customers
There is only one way to build a schedule full of great customers: you earn it… by providing your existing customers with consistently excellent service. (This applies whether you clean self-employed style, or run a service with employees.) It doesn’t matter whether your customer lives in a grand home and can easily afford your service, or they fit your service into the budget… everyone gets your best; every visit.
Then, you’re all set for the opportunity to grow your business with great customers when your very-satisfied customers recommend you to nice people they know.
There are big advantages to meeting a potential customer through a recommendation; they already have a good impression of you, and they already have a good idea of what you charge. (People talk). At that point, the job is usually yours to lose.
That’s how your calendar fills up with homes where you’re appreciated, and paid appropriately, for the quality of your service.
A Tale of Two Cities (of Great Customers)
I have wonderful customers here in Asheville, and before I moved, I had wonderful customers in Cincinnati. Really swell people who respect the job I do.
In Cincinnati, it took a while to build a strong list of well-paying customers. In the early years I had a lot to figure out about cleaning and the cleaning business; but I always did my best and that eventually led to many great customers.
In Asheville it took just a few months to be up and running with a roster of great customers, because this time around I knew what I was doing. I knew that knocking myself out to impress new customers was the fast track to securing their business, and keeping that standard high was the way to keep it. It wasn’t the years of experience- it was the quality of my work that re-established my customer list and professional rate.
The Story of One Great Customer
Here’s an example of how I managed to fast track one particularly wonderful customer not long after moving to Asheville…
As mentioned, I had a well-established house cleaning service in Cincinnati with a list of great customers. The charge for my service was toward the top end of the range in that area.
I moved to Asheville, NC in 2013. It was a few weeks before Christmas when I set out to rebuild my business. No one cared about references from 400 miles away, and no one but my daughter and son-in-law knew me here. I was starting from scratch.
I ran a ‘1/2 Price Special’, which my daughter posted on a couple of her local facebook groups. She explained that I clean for a living, and had just moved to town. Even though they didn’t know my daughter, people responded well because I was introduced to them through someone of like interests. I got about two weeks worth of work.
During those two weeks, I received a text from a couple whose home I had cleaned that day for 1/2 price. They raved, and said they’d be in touch to set-up something permanent. I’ve been cleaning at their house ever since.
That ‘1/2 Price Special’ was a hard couple of weeks; long days for little pay- but it was the foundation of my livelihood here. In total, I have four wonderful customers I met during those two weeks, and six more that came from their glowing recommendations to friends and family. Together, they make up the majority of my schedule. (In Asheville, I decided to clean self-employed style… and become a blogger!)
I want to describe how great they are. They put up everything before I come; I’ve never seen anything like it. They literally clear the dresser and put all items on the bed to give me easy access. Same in every room; even clearing the floor wherever they can. (They gave me permission to post this picture.) All my customers put effort into getting things ready before I come, but these folks get the blue ribbon.
They love that I clean thoroughly, and they want me to maximize my time there. You can bet they get my best!
The wife highly recommended me to two of her co-workers, and I gained two new customers who are just as nice and appreciative as she is!
The picture at the start of this post is a note I found at their house, alongside my check, a couple of months ago. It held a Holiday bonus, and their thanks for always doing a great job. It’s nice to make a difference in the quality of people’s lives, and it’s nice when they make a difference in yours!