Can you have the ‘best of both worlds’?

find-balance-in-profits-and-success-cleaning-and-restorationI’ve been flogging the good, old “Whadya wanna be when you grow up?” question with my SFS students for over 20 years! You have two worthwhile options: You can either “stay small” OR “git big”? (Both of these business models can work.)

The very dangerous trap for far too many in our cleaning and restoration industry? When your company stays long term on “the road in-between”. (As in “too big but too small”!)

True, in our five day SFS: Business Transformation we give you the Business Infrastructure to build a Critical Mass Business IF you wish. (And MANY of our grads have used the over 3,000 pages of SFS systems and procedures to acquire the ever elusive ‘Personal Freedom’!)

But what if you say, “Steve, I just can’t deal with the constant pressure (and problems!) that full time employees bring? I know me and I don’t want to grow into a big operation!” I feel your pain! So can you find your profitable Sweet Spot’ in the cleaning and restoration industry without hiring full-time workers? ABSOLUTELY if you…

Focus on net profits and not gross income!

Here is my 10 point checklist on how to be a successful owner-operator with zero full time employees. Let’s get started…

1. Count the cost. Do NOT make this ‘down-sizing’ decision impulsively.  CLICK HERE to review the dangers of staying small before going further. Still resolved to not ‘get big’ at this time? Then…

2. Change your attitude and your self-image. Don’t let others put you down IF you make a conscious decision to ‘stay small’! Sure, those six (or seven!) zeros at the bottom of your income statement may swell your ego. (And let you brag online!) But some multi-truck operators have less net profit (and less personal ‘discretionary income’ in their pocket) than a small company 10% of their size! So some ideas…

3. Promote yourself as an owner-operated ’boutique cleaner’. Don’t imitate (or even try to compete with) the ‘Big Boys. Instead, transform your company image into a fussy ‘upper crust craftsman’ obsessed with quality. Differentiate yourself as the exclusive ‘local guy’ that customers can trust in their homes. With your no doubt sparkling personality it will be easy to create a Cheerleader out of each and every client! Trust me- your phone will start ringing off the hook so now…

4. DRAMATICALLY raise your prices. Do NOT tell me, “Steve, I’m already the highest priced cleaner in my area?” Who cares? Not me! Raise your prices by 15-20% (why not more?) and you will double (or triple) your net profits. (Many of your clients won’t even notice!) NOTE: Do NOT try to compete with the franchise cleaners on price! (And routinely slightly raise your prices every year!)

5. Develop/promote “Additional Service Options”. Doing more work while you are already on each job is a no-brainer. But remember, your customers“can’t buy if they don’t know”! So you must “pre-orient” your clients on how they can spend more money with you!

6. Hire regular part time workers. If they keep their regular job the “gotta keep ’em busy” pressure on you of full time employees goes away. Even better, you only schedule your part time people when you are making money. So you can pay them more per hour which attracts MUCH better people and they’ll love you! Plus you’ll get much more done during the day and still have a life after work with a capable assistant at your side!

7. Focus on building routine, predictable cash flow. Dump the vicious “feast or famine” cycle of this industry. And yes, you can achieve regular contract accounts in both the residential or commercial sectors. Then for those late night/ weekend accounts get “Open Access” and follow #3 above with part time help! (The beauty of regular after-hours commercial work is you don’t personally have to be on-site. Instead, send out reliable part time help to do the work!)

8. Develop a “Personal Disaster Plan”. Remember that bad things can happen suddenly to good people! Do you have at least 6 months living expenses in liquid funds? Health and life insurance? Disability insurance? You should! And are you sweeping a set percentage (I recommend 3 to 5%) of your gross business income into a Personal Investment Plan? And even more importantly…

9. Build Strategic Partnerships. Find quality cleaning contractors that will cover for you without stealing your residential clients. Then you do the same for them. (These fellow ‘down-in-the-trenches’ entrepreneurs may become your close friends!) These ‘partners’ will also help you to…

10. Have the courage to say “No”! There are things in life that are more important than financial profit. So if you are going to be the only full-time employee in your company you must block off time for your faith, family, friends and FUN!

The very best thing? These 10 ‘Increase your Net Profit’ ideas will help you make even more money when (and IF) you decide to ‘get big’!

NOTE: Whichever route you choose our five different SFS Training options will help! And please check out our Strategies for Success: Growing Your Business Facebook Group! (You don’t have to be a SFS grad to join us!)

Steve

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