The question: So can I avoid residential and just focus on selected commercial accounts?
Steve’s answer: Sure you can and especially if you get into encapsulation!
Editor’s note: Steve recently received this letter from a new California carpet cleaner. Steve’s comments are indented in green.
Hi Steve. I read your articles all the time and they are spot on with what my goals are. I’m a part time retired guy and a long time landlord. That’s how I got into carpet cleaning since I started having my maintenance guys do it, I got better and better at the actual cleaning, then got better equipment and it sort of evolved into a business about a year ago. (I currently have a couple of fellow landlord clients along with my own apartments.)
HERE is a neat way to ‘partner up’ with the larger apartment complexes. It removes a huge ‘point of pain’ for the typical Property Manager and creates guaranteed cash flow for you!
Pursuing commercial (vs. dealing with semi-crazy housewives!) seems like a no-brainer to me. I recently purchased an oscillating machine for VLM work and have a couple of practice sessions set up to get my feet wet.
Since I’ve been married to the same ‘housewife’ for over 43 years I’m not going to touch this one! However, I tell every SFS class that “the hardest money in this industry is in low-end residential”. And yet this ‘cheap market’ sector is where most carpet cleaners spend their lives! Crazy, huh? NOTE: What we recommend our SFS Training Options is the ‘3-Legged Stool Business Model‘ of residential, commercial and restoration. Each ‘leg’ supports and feeds the other two legs!
From what I’m seeing, it seems like a lot of guys are going 100% VLM on commercial. I’m having a hard time seeing where an occasional HWE flush isn’t desirable. I’ll let it iron itself out.
Big Bill Yeadon will tell you that technical stuff isn’t my thing! I WILL say ‘encapping’ large scale commercial (and especially with the Cimex) has proved to be incredibly profitable for many of my SFS grads! And with proper post-vacuuming by the janitorial staff the appearance will stay high as long or even longer than after hot water extraction.
My background is in corporate level sales and small business management. I’m confident I could grow this thing pretty big in my small town, but since I’m retired and don’t need to make a living from this I’m going to pick and choose. My target market will be daytime/early evening work Monday through Saturday. I’m targeting close to home churches, doctor/dentist offices, daycare centers, office buildings, VFW type places and maybe some hotels if they pay my price. No restaurants. No late night. Do you have any suggestions of other types of businesses I should pursue?
I think you’re pretty well dialed in here. I’d especially target businesses where the ‘Decision Maker’ is on site versus slogging your way through corporate bureaucracy! HERE is a video that explains how to keep control of the scheduling. (Your goal should not be ‘one time’ jobs. Instead, focus on regular, ‘open access’ accounts where you have part time flexibility. Do this by always giving them at least three prices!)
Thanks again for your insightful articles. I understand profit. I’m not looking for busy work! Instead, we provide quality and value. If they are price shopping they can go elsewhere. 🙂
I understand. However, I will say in today’s world a ‘no compromise’ approach to pricing will cost you a lot of profitable, loyal accounts. For a different and very profitable way to deal with a Price Haggler CLICK HERE. Heck, I even wrote an entire manual on ‘price shoppers’ HERE!
Let me know how I can help and please send me your ‘field reports’! I value them!