How to avoid getting hung out to dry on commercial carpet cleaning without a key …


Wow, Steve, what am I going to do?  I did an auto dealership tonight and the lady that was to come back and lock up for me gave me her cell phone # and I was to call her as I was getting done.  So as I’m finishing up around 11 PM I give her a jingle early as I wanted to give her a heads up.  Instead, my call goes straight to her cell phone voice mail- uh oh!  I try again and again and again. 45 minutes later I’m all wrapped up and literally sitting on the side of the curbs around midnight and a different employee just happens to be driving by and offers to lock up for me. (Otherwise who knows how long I would have been there!)

The dealer owns 3 other dealerships and wants me to give him a price on them also. And they want to get the dealerships on an every other month cycle which normally would be great but now I’m kinda freaked out.

What would you do? Should I bill the dealership I just cleaned for my extra time wasted waiting out at the curb? Or let it roll off my back and forget about it?  And what should I do about these other dealerships they want me to do?  I’m not a big fan of hanging out alone at midnight watching the cars go by!

Tired of Waiting in Salt Lake

Dear Tired,

Sometimes the simplest solution is the best one.  Always, always GET THE KEY! On a one-time job have them let you in and show you how to lock up/set the alarm/turn off the lights, etc.  Then bring the key back with the bill the following morning.  Heck, they may even cut you a check right then!

Now on regular maintenance accounts as you sign the contract just matter of factly state, “Oh, and by the way, I’ll need a key”.  You will be amazed how many people will give you one. You will never keep an account long term if you are an irritant to the customer and nothing is more irritating than “key shuffling”. Plus you lose all your flexibility.

When I sold our business we had keys to over 100 regular commercial accounts.  As my mother always said, “It never hurts to ask.”


P.S. Now on a one shot deal if they flat refused to loan me the key we would get every single number possible for the contact person plus a back-up individual to call.  You will find more great ideas on how to sell commercial accounts (and how to “get the key”) in this free download.

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