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General Cleaning Issues - Floorcare, car valeting, buying and selling businesses, pricing, staffing, market research, etc.

Rental and New Construction Houses

Posted by dave (dave), 6 September 2003

I'm setting up a new cleaning business with my wife specialising in the cleaning of rental properties, new houses, move in/move out cleans etc. I would appreciate any advice on the sales and marketing techniques you and other members could offer to us to get the business off the ground.

We have done one job, a small 1 bedroom flat which was filthy and worked on an hourly rate of 20 per hour (two persons) for six hours, total cost 120.00 The letting agent showed a young couple round while we were there and the next day I did a follow-up call to him to ask if everything was OK, he said he was delighted and that the couple had taken on the flat at 425 per month.

Is this the right sort of price for an hourly rate Huh

I am also looking to provide a basic handyman service, garden maintenance, outside house cleaning to the above targets.and again looking for advice.

Regards Dave
Posted by catrodney (catrodney), 9 September 2003
Hi Dave,
In reply to your question:"
is this the sort of hourly rate",the answer depends on various factors ie; the area you work in,materials you have used,how far did you travel, have you had to pay to park,and most important are you making a profit ??
There are many downsides to working for letting agencies they are not all the same but saying that i have run a cleaning company for five years soley working for agencies like everything there are good and bad.The lettings market  is highley competive as there are many people who believe that cleaning is easy trust me it has taken me five years to get to the level iam at now where people are not intrested in price they just  want the job done properly. believe me i have made mistakes in the past but built on them.if you want any advice do not hesitate to ask i will be more than willing to help,good luck with your new biz.
Posted by dave (dave), 10 September 2003
Thanks for the reply, it has given us confidence for the future.

We are in the process of having business cards and brochure's printed and from this I will make appointment's with all the relevent target businesses offering our services. Do you pay them a commission or offer an incentive for any work passed your way !!!

We are thinking about buying a second-hand carpet cleaner to offer the full interior cleaning service. Is it relevent at this early stage to buy one, is there a call for it from the Letting Agents or is it just as easy to contact a carpet cleaning firm and add a small percentage to the cost of the cleaning !!

Thanks again for your advice, and certainly any information that you can share is much appreciated,

Regards Dave.
Posted by Mike_Boxall (Mike_Boxall), 10 September 2003
Hi Dave
I wouldnt rush in to carpet cleaning without getting the right training first. My advice would be to go on a course first and then look at the equipment. At the moment you need to impress these new customers and I would suggest that the best thing to do is to find a good reliable carpet cleaner to help you out in the meantime.
Where are you based? - maybe we already have a member who can help.
Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 10 September 2003
10 an hour is'nt anough, even if you get 8 hours work a day you'll still earn less than the national average,

remember you don't get holiday pay, you have to pay for fuel and materials used,

You really need to do some maths and work out your exspences otherwise you'd be better working on the checkout at Tescos, if all you're earning is 10 an hour you'd  be better off Wink

as for marketing you bussiness get the yellow pages out and send a letter and some cards to all the carpet cleaners in the book, telling them if they reccomend you you'll give them a 5, I'm a carpet cleaner and I'm always getting asked about general cleaning, if a cleaner offered me a 5 i'd certainly pass on there card

do the same with painters & decorators, gardners, etc the list goes on & on

Posted by woodman (woodman), 10 September 2003
Hello Dave

You doing new lets?

If so the property's empty, charge around 15 an hour for each cleaner and quote for the carpets seperately.

Letting agents and management companies will be your best mate while your charging that rate for cleaning and carpets but you'll be a pauper.

Make up a rate card and send it round the agents it may take time but they will eventually contact you the minute their regulars let them down.

There is zero loyalty in that game.

Best of luck.
Posted by catrodney (catrodney), 11 September 2003
Hi Dave,
Congratulations go to Woodman,he hit this topic on the nail there certainly is no loyalty in the lettings game as i have said before.
Also Dave i highly recommend that you book yourself on a carpet cleaning course (very important ) reason being if you are  doing a full clean to a property and say a member of staff is of sick and the carpet cleaner is booked to attend but your job is running late,carpet cleaners work on a appointment schedule like yourself and more often than not dont have time to wait say two hours (even though they are nice chaps) for you to finish.
The moral of this is that if you have not finished your clean and the agents have a tenant signed up to move in the next morning the agents will most proberly stop using your services and also seek compansation.
Posted by dave (dave), 11 September 2003
Thanks to everyone for the advice, and I'm certainly taking on-board everything that is being mentioned and will certainly be looking for courses that I can attend in the Midlands area.

Yes, I will be putting my prices up to between 13 - 15 per hour.

Good news!!!
We have had a very good response from spreading the word at the local school. We do live in a fairly affluent area I suppose, and a lot of parents from out of the area bring their children to our village school,when they park their cars we call it a four x four car park. Anyway, it appears that a number of these parents own property that they rent out and want reliable cleaners and are also prepared to put me in touch with their Letting Agents. Now for the hard sell!!

Regards Dave

Posted by Mike_Boxall (Mike_Boxall), 12 September 2003
Hi Dave
We can get you on the 1 day Prochem carpet cleaning course in Dudley next week (Tuesday 16th) The course is extremely comprehensive (I'm sure there are others here who can endorse it) and covers carpet construction, fibre identification, practical cleaning methods, stain removal, protective treatments and a includes a reference manual. It costs 95.00 plus vat and will be held at The Ward Arms Hotel, Dudley. There is also a 1 day upholstery cleaning course the day after. You must pre-book and you need to do it TODAY to get on it though (sorry for the short notice). Unfortunately they only do these courses in the Midlands once a year although they do hold them monthly at Chessington in Surrey and there are one or two other regional dates they do in Manchester and Bristol
You can book through us on 01684 565552!
Mike Boxall
Posted by dave (dave), 14 September 2003
Thanks Mike for the reply,

Typical, I can't make the course because of work committments, but it does sound a good course and reasonably priced, so I will keep a look out for any forthcoming one's.

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