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Pretty impressive figures

Posted by woodman (woodman), 28 October 2003
Hi guys,

Just to make you all feel good,I was round at a fellow carpet cleaners house today (he's had a problem customer and wanted an independent view).

This guy is a single operator and turns over a whopping £104,000 a year ,average £400 a day 5 day week. Shocked
He's been in business 6 years.

No it wasn't Derek Bolton Grin

This is achieved he tells me by a solid pricing and marketing programe of his own design.

He knows he could increase this further by employing but doesn't want to/need to.

Just goes to show what can be achieved at this game when every thing slots in to place. Wink

Happy Cleaning.

Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 28 October 2003
Hi Mr W

You are correct it isn't me...

Mind you a few years ago I topped that amount by a considerable margin... just me...a one man operator...with a portable!

Then I gained some sense and got a life! Wink Cool

Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 28 October 2003
£104k, averaging 2k a week lets say he's being sensible and takes 4 weeks holiday a years and all the little thing that take up our time like dentist, doctors machines breaking down etc this wll over the year take up 1 weeks so thats 5 weeks.

so every week, even in winter he's earning well over 2k.

I take my hat off to him.

Now I have to go, some flying pigs are eating all the apples off the trees in my garden Wink.

Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 28 October 2003

My thoughts exactly - I wonder what he tells the taxman & vatman  Roll Eyes

I was interested in your "Even in winter" comment since my waiting list is pretty consistent throughout the year (5-6 weeks).

Am I the exception or the rule? (Just curious!)

Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 29 October 2003
Hi Guys may sound like a tall story...but its true.

I have to admit that at the time I was carrying out some serious protection work as part of my business days a week at times and from 7.0am until 11.0pm on occasions..
that was before the retailers poked their snouts into the trough.
It was when the retailers got their hands on the 'protection' treatment that the decline in standards started and became a landslide.
With just the odd exception all the warranty work I carried out was on furniture treated by the retailer.

Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 29 October 2003
John, I would say you are the exception to the rule, especially in winter. 5-6 weeks in advance is good going

I work about a week ahead which to me is perfect, I think a lot of customers get thier carpets cleaned as a spur of the moment thing eg they have a spill or get surprise visitors if I was to tell them they would have to wait 5-6 weeks they would go elsewhere.

Woodman, I'm sorry I'm a very cynical git, how about some more details, how does he achieve such a great income (£5s/yard, £250 a suite, does he do lots of commercial work)

Posted by woodman (woodman), 29 October 2003
Hi Chaps

I believe him no reason not to,why would someone lie about something like that? These figures are on the high side but  I also know  other cleaners who are close to these kinds of figures 75-90k a year.

He's got a very impressive set up and shows all the trappings of doing very well,good luck to him.

Like Derek I have done figures up there with this but have cut back a little now also Wink

As for VAT and the tax man why wouldn't they know all about it after all this is run as a proper business,remember this is Turnover figures ie before Tax.

Dynafoam if you are fully booked through the winter 5-6 weeks ahead,then I take my hat of to you,I don't think I have ever been booked soilidly 6 weeks ahead. Sad

Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 29 October 2003
Woodman & Mike,

Thanks for the reply. This lead-time has been fairly consistant for the last thirty years or so and the vast majority of clients have been such for many years.

The down side to this is that miss out on much of the lucrative insurance work which I could pick up if I were able to respond quicker  Sad Also I tend to charge less than I would to a stranger,

It seems we can't have everything in life after all  Cry

Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 29 October 2003
Hi again Guys

I am currently working 10 - 14 days ahead (solid bookings) most of the time and 3 - 4 weeks ahead in busy times.

A few years ago BWF (before wood flooring) I was working continually 4-5 weeks ahead ...yes, you do lose some who won't wait but the vast majority seemed happy to wait.


Posted by pre-vac_Nick (pre-vac_Nick), 29 October 2003
Sad im usually booked 2-3 days at a time!! true!

this is why i need some marketing help

anyone!! Wink
Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 29 October 2003

How bad is 2-3 days' advance booking, as long as it is consistent ?

After all we only do one days work at a time - though it often feels like more!

As to marketing, the very best advert is the one you leave on the customers' floor and the best marketing agent is the owner of that advert.

I gather that you have recently returned to cleaning but from the grounding you had with Ron Tilley and the posts you have authered here, I would think that in all probability you do a better than average job.

Unless your aim is to quickly expand to a multi-unit opperation you are therefore already doing sufficient marketing for steady growth.

Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 30 October 2003

Don't get disheartened... consider for a moment. In our business we tend to do from one to, say, five jobs a day depending on the size of the job.

Multiply that by the number of days in a week and weeks in a year. Take into consideration that the majority of your customers, if they are happy with your services, will call you probably every year, eighteen months or two years on average.... with some there is an even longer gap.

That's one hell of a client base to build up... it takes time!

Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 30 October 2003
they'll use you again If;

they don't die.

they don't move out of the area.

they don't just forget your name.

they don't get a half price leaflet and get tempted.

there best friend uses another carpet cleaner who does a great job and is cheaper than you.

you're booked up for 3 weeks and they're having a party at the weekend.

with most carpet cleaners it will take 10-15 years to get to a point where they can count on all there work coming from there client base


Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 30 October 2003
Hi Mike

10 - 15 years is a comfort factor figure... five years is the recognised time to establish a business

Posted by woodman (woodman), 30 October 2003
Hi Chaps

7-10 days ahead is the norm for me unless i'm on a major job then up to a 21 days    Wink

As posted before 2 years is generally accepted as the time frame for business's such as ours to be starting to become established in it's area.

5 years to be a little more comfortable but and a very big but,not complacent.

35 years before you will be fully booked for 5 weeks ahead Grin
Posted by Northerclean (Alex), 30 October 2003
I can't wait to start my business in the carpet game - £104K Shocked

I would even take a holiday if I was earning that much, I'd no doubt be a gonna in a few years like!
Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 30 October 2003
Will some one tell me what 'established' means?

If you walked down you high street and asked "who is ...................."(fill in your name) you'll soon find out how 'established' you are!

cut out all your advertising and you'll find out how 'established' you are.

Kit-Kat & Esso are 'established' we're just carpet cleaners. Wink

Posted by MB (Mark Betts), 30 October 2003
I would then add that Chem Dry  are established.

If you ask jo public to name a cc company that is who they mention.


Posted by STEVE71163 (Steve Lowe), 30 October 2003
      I would have thought established means that you have got to the stage where you have regular repeat business and that your company name is well known in your local area.

Just my opinion though!

Steve Lowe
Posted by woodman (woodman), 30 October 2003
Hi Mike,

I have to say that I havn't done any advertising for quite a while now ( just being lazy) and I am busy enough suppose that makes me established.

Some one that is fully booked 5-6 weeks in advance is probably well 'established'. Grin

I f you are still up and running in this business 2 years after starting out then I would say that you are well on your way to being established. Wink

Would you say that your not established then Undecided

Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 30 October 2003
A lot of good answers there, If you're booked up for 5-6 weeks and you don't advertise then yes I think your 'established'

but I'm still not sure of the definitive answer to what 'established' really means.

I'll have to meditate on it this evening Roll Eyes


Posted by pre-vac_Nick (pre-vac_Nick), 31 October 2003

I did have an excellent grounding with Ron Tilley, but i have never been out of the cleaning industry.I was working for independent inspections for 7ys, this also was a good grounding because if you couldn't remove the stain the policy holder got a new carpet !!

But like i have said before i may have a great knowledge of cleaning but i have now knowledge of marketing my cleaning skills, only the refferals i am now getting and the stuff i learn from here. Im still not sure weather to shell out £2000 - £3000  for a marketing programme? i have been going 15 months now and getting a lot of refferals so i suppose its not that bad.

Cheeres John thanks for the vote of confidence  Grin
Posted by Dave_Lee (Dave_Lee), 31 October 2003
I went through a period of 12 - 13 years or so, after an initial 8 years from scratch, when I didnt advertise at all - all repeat and referral work. I was busy all the time and yet I was hardly ever booked uo more than 4-5 days ahead. In fact if ever it was looking like I was getting booked uo a week ahead, I knew I was in trouble because everyone wanted it doing tomorrow. I suppose its all down to how you structure and portray your ongoing marketing even if that means just how you talk to people.
Posted by MB (Mark Betts), 1 November 2003
I agree with Dave,

At the moment I am now taking bookings for 2 weeks time as I am almost full.

A lady phoned today to book for her own house and also her mothers bungalow.

I could slot her mother in next week between jobs as being retired she was at home most of the time and between us we could find  aspot for her.

However the daughter was a problem as she worked part time and needed the carpets cleaned in the morning.

It got to the point that i couldnt book her in for 3 weeks, she almost gave up and said never mind i will have them done after xmas, but i knew damn well if i had agreed to that I would have lost her, so eventually I persuaded her to have it done in 3 weeks saying it was nearer xmas and the carpets would be fresher for her guests.

So if you are booked up say 3 or 4 weeks ahead regularly ie even during the slower times then maybe thats the time to think about employing some one.

Referral and repeat customers will wait a few weeks but new customers will just look around until they find a cleaner that can do the job ASAP regardless how krappy a job the other guy may do!!



Posted by Dave_Lee (Dave_Lee), 1 November 2003
I would say that if anyone is booked up 3-4 weeks ahead on a regular basis, they should put up their prices. This would lead to losing a few clients and wouldnt be booked so far ahead, but would be more profitable.
Posted by John_Flynn (John_Flynn), 1 November 2003
How many clients do you recon you have lost since you put up your prices Dave??

Are you now working less hours for more profit?

Cos you should be at your age!!

Grin Grin Grin
Posted by Dave_Lee (Dave_Lee), 1 November 2003
I dont know how many clients Ive lost, because Ive literally been doing twice as many jobs, but nearly three times the turnover since putting up my prices and not quoting over the phone as much. Ive not even started on the Fast track stuff yet so lots of potential for next year. Of course I dont get every job, but if they dont want to pay my prices they can go elsewhere, I dont miss them. You are right though at my age I should be easing off, but Im not going to. After all your as young as you feel, and I still get a kick out of things like walking the Cumbria Way (71 miles) in under 30 hours,
and looking forward to a good Ice Climbing season.
Theres more to life than carpet cleaning as you well know.
Posted by MB (Mark Betts), 1 November 2003

What are you on now per sq/yard or sq ft for clean without protector??

I try not to quote over the phone now and find i land more jobs.

If they dont book when i go visit them ie. "well thank you but we are getting a few quotes etc " I follow up the quote with a thank you letter thanking them for their time and pointing out the benefits of clean carpet etc etc. They also go on my "prospect" database so i can mail them newsletters etc etc.

However after the initial letter thanking them for their time they usually book me anyway lol.

But you hav eto send the letter out the day u quoted just in case they are having someone else round to quote.

Posted by Dave_Lee (Dave_Lee), 1 November 2003
Good point, and an idea like lots of others that I ve been meaning to implement, but not had the time. Poor excuse I know, but like I implied I do enjoy a life away from my business. After all isnt your job, profession, business there to support your lifestyle and other interests, I mean isnt that the idea of it all?
Getting back to the point, I'd like to say I charge 45p per sq ft, but that, at the moment is just a target. I actually charge - and this is honest (I hate liars) £3.00 per sq yd which is around 34p per sq ft. I discount at 15% after 30 sq yds. I also discount at 15% for repeat clients and refferals. However I am going to concentrate on getting more maintenance plans next year, as I think this is the way forward (for me anyway).

Posted by John_Flynn (John_Flynn), 1 November 2003

Instead of trying to pick Daves brains, why don't you do as he did put your hand in your pocket, invest and go on Fast Track yourself??

I have done Fast Track and charge 41p per Sq Ft  £3.69 per Sq Yd!!

Procrastination will get you no where as your good friend Mr Halliday said just the other day.
Posted by John_Flynn (John_Flynn), 1 November 2003
Sorry about this folks, but did not ask "How much are you charging per Sq Ft Mark, now remember what Dave said, "No lying!!"
Posted by Ian_G. (Ian_G.), 2 November 2003

Thats a good tip about the follow up letter after the qoute.

I wrote one during the week as my new sratergy for the week.


Posted by MB (Mark Betts), 2 November 2003
Isnt what this baord is all about sharing informationHuh

It was a simple question so whats fast track gotta do with it!!!!!!!

I charge between 25 and 30p sq ft with out protector,  Happy!!!!!

Ok next time anyone wants to pick my brains i will suggest they BUY the Big Bang Marketing CD like i have AND i suggest they BUY the Dan Kenedy books LIKE I HAVE and i suggest they BUY the Give to Get Marketing coiurse  LIKE I HAVE (which incidentally i have sent to 2 baird members FREE OF CHARGE. I also suggest the buy the Randy Grosse Estate Agent Kit LIKE I HAVE.

And you dont have to go on afast track programme to know how much to charge.

Oh and John, were you not picking daves brains on this postHuh  Ermmmmm  ok sorry  no that would be classed as just asking a question would it!!!!
Posted by John_Flynn (John_Flynn), 2 November 2003
Did you take Daves shoes off to find his brains??

It looks like you haven't bought one of the most importants books that you need yet, Mark!!!

Wink Wink Wink
Posted by MB (Mark Betts), 2 November 2003
he he Grin
Posted by harvey (harvey), 2 November 2003
What is this Fast Track you are talking about?
Posted by MB (Mark Betts), 2 November 2003
Well No and i havent listed all the stuff i have either  Grin
Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 2 November 2003
Marks Library must be nearly as big as mine Shocked

but like I always say, you can memerise the Karme- Sutra but it won't help you ride a horse Grin.

The Fast track is a market programme ran by Alltec, I think it is based of Joe Polishs material, it cost around £2000ish,

Posted by Ian_G. (Ian_G.), 2 November 2003
Mark I buy a book a month. What is the tittle of Dan Kenedys book as I could not find him on Amazon.

Also where do you get Big Bang From.

Ps I am at 20p a square foot but I did get 30p yesterday.

I was at 10p when I started on the other board, so I am slowly learning.
Posted by Dave_Lee (Dave_Lee), 2 November 2003
You are spot on there, thats exactly the right place youlle find them, Im sure a lot of the lads at the local running & mountaineering club would agree.

"You cheeky old b_gger!
Posted by MB (Mark Betts), 2 November 2003

I have 2 books by Dan Kennedy

1. The Ultimate Sales Letter


2. The Ultimate Marketing Plan

I also have Ken Vargas  How to get customers to call, buy and beg for more.

He has  a web site here

and another good one is

How to outsell - out market - out promote - out advertise everyone else you compete against .... before they even knew what hit them.  By Paul Gorman

I also have the  E Myth series as well.

Ian  Big Bang Marketing ia at


PS  Check your e mail

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