Hi Steve, how are you? I wrote to you several years ago for some advice, you gave me some and a host of material… I appreciate it very much as it has been a great help. I know you can’t offer me the “answers” that I so desperately need in my life right now but I’m grateful for any advice.
I have had a small cleaning business here in New Zealand for some ten years now. When I say small I mean REALLY small! There is just myself and my sister plus I sub out a few jobs to another reliable cleaner that I have known for a few years.
Our jobs are completely regular which is to say all my contracts (unless I lose them and I haven’t lost an account in about 5 years) are there day in and day out 7 days a week. They consist of Adult Disabilty Centres, Pre-Schools and a few Sports Clubs.
You possibly know what is coming here … I meet our bills. We are able to pay our mortgage and provide reasonably for our family, again by no means ” luxuriously” but the children don’t go without their basic needs. (I am 51 with four children- including two in university.)
But here’s the problem, Steve. I don’t ever really have a “full” day off and it is wearing on me. I do have some time on a Monday between the first and last cleans where I chill some and this occurs on some Tuesdays as well. But given the 5:30 AM starts and the late finishes and the nature of the physical work I’m always pretty stuffed.
Things are a bit tight from a money sense and I will be putting my contract prices up this week to assist.
I have been working on my business too. I’ve improved the “Office” look, the layout of my van and equipment and the ease of the work flow. I am still looking at offloading one of the weekend cleans to my “sub contractor”, condensing some others and creating that coveted full “free” day off!!!
I employed one of your ideas and I think it’s a beauty- actually “sweeping” a percentage of our total gross off into our Personal Investment Plan. Unfortunately we broke the rules when we severely dipped into it to afford my Daughter’s State Selection in her sport which she represents. So I am trying to get back on board.
What I am confused in is this- am I going about this the wrong way? I am always busy but also tired and exhausted. I have not advertised once in 10 years! I got the contracts quick by paying a paltry sum to another cleaner who was going out of business and that’s been it. (Yes, I essentially “bought a job”.)
Maybe I am frightened of growing? Maybe I am concerned that the nature of the cleaning pricing makes it very difficult to grow too much? Maybe I feel at 51 I am bit past it to grow?
My thought has been that in keeping the contracts our family will be able to “get by”, save a little in the form of your Personal Investment Plan and then sell the business for a profit? But then doubt enters my mind when I see our money becomes a little tight and when I see the horrible hours I work and lack of good time at home? Who would want to buy that?
Steve, I know you can’t tell me what to do but as I said earlier any information or crossing of ideas may assist me greatly. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Bushed in New Zealand
Well, Bushed, my guess is you have answered many of your questions as you wrote me! Sort of a “in the journey is the reward” sort of thing. It just comes down to the brutal fact that as my mother always told me, “Steven, you can’t have your cake in your hand and eat it too!” (Do they have that expression in New Zealand?)
You have chosen (even though not maybe consciously) to have the worry free and simple life of basically “owning a job” for the last 10 years. Nothing wrong with that! After all you have provided for your family, etc.
BUT if a person chooses to not develop a growing business then they do face the music down the road re: a fading body/ desire to retire/ less funds, etc. So now you have isolated the challenges. Good for you! You ARE still a young guy at 51! It isn’t too late to chart the course of the rest of your life.
So it comes down to DECISIONS. You could go to work for a corporate company with regular pay and a pension (I don’t know much about how this works in New Zealand) and maybe subcontract out more of your work in cleaning. OR you can start a more aggressive sales campaign along with lining up employees and grow your company. But you are wise to be looking down the road.
Have you seen some of my newer Special Reports on how to sell and develop commercial cleaning “routes”? Moving into commercial carpet cleaning will let you make much more money per hour than janitorial and therefore pay others to do the work while you get some REST!
Go here for the full list of our Special Reports. I want you to especially focus on the “encapsulation routes” Part I and II which will let you dramatically expand your business without having to invest huge amounts and increase your overhead.
Of course, everyone wants to a) have more business and b) make more money without c) actually doing the work themselves. BUT very few people have the fire in the belly to get out there and SELL! So do you? My Special Report on Selling Commercial Cleaning will give you a tried and true system on how to do it. After that it will be up to you. Sorry!
And of course my all time favorite on “Avoiding the Road In-Between” which you may have already read.
Let me know what you decide and how our SFS team can help further. (Maybe some “on site consultation” is needed. Sioux and I have always wanted to visit New Zealand!)
PS Let’s see if other cleaners will chime in with their ideas which might be valuable for you.