The Great Carpet Cleaning “Pricing Debate”- Part I

Without a doubt the number one question you receive on the initial phone call is “how much do you charge.” Now Steve has already written a great phone script on how to handle this question. And “Mr. Numbers” Chuck Violand goes really deep into this question on Monday during the Strategies for Success seminar.

price-questionsBut there is one area of pricing that falls more into the marketing realm. This is HOW you price residential carpet cleaning.  And yes, it is a huge “grey area”.  In other words there is not one right way for all companies. What works for a large multi-truck company does not necessarily work for an owner-operator. It all depends on the model your company uses.

So let’s get down to the three major pricing methods:

1. Room Pricing

2. Square Footage Pricing

3. Package Pricing

Room pricing is the most popular method of pricing and is also the standard for large companies such as Stanley Steemer, DalWorth or ChemDry. These companies have thoroughly studied the profitability of their models and you can be very sure they are making money.

Most room pricing models do not include vacuuming and some may not use a traffic lane pre-conditioner. Also, each company may differ on the fine points such as how much (if any!) furniture they move. The strong point of this model is its simplicity. The phone rep asks how many rooms and then quickly gives a price.

Even better a consumer can go on Stanley Steemer’s website and easily figure out how much it will cost them to have their home cleaned without making a phone call. The job can either be booked online or if phoned in will be a much quicker, simpler phone call. All of these items streamline the job allowing for quicker processing both in the office and in the home. Booking the job without a separate pre-inspection visit is attractive as the customer does not have to be home. The average Stanley Steemer truck will clean between 6 and 8 jobs a day!  Wow!

Now when a single-truck operator tries to compete in similar advertising he will lose big time!  Let’s compare a fictional day between a multi and single truck day. Our fictional companies create 30.00 a day profit per truck per job. Single truck does 4 jobs a day for a total of 120.00 profit. Multi-truck operator has 15 trucks doing 6 jobs a day for a total of 1900.00 profit a day. As you can figure the small company cannot compete. The branding and scale of operations favors the larger company.

Square Footage pricing is sold as the fairest of packages as the customer only pays for what is cleaned. This works very well in open areas or for traffic lanes in bedrooms. Customers with smaller rooms are happy because they don’t get charged for an average room which may be larger. This may also simplify the job for the technician as the customer may not want the furniture moved creating more square footage to be cleaned.

The major drawback to this system is when asked the size of their room, most customers say they have no idea. This means either you have to spend a lot of time on the phone coaxing some numbers out of the customer or you have to make a separate visit to the home for an inspection. This may not be a bad deal if the customer is OK with the extra trip. Normally your closing ratio jumps drastically as you are in front of the customer and especially so if you follow Steve Toburen’s “Carpet Cleaning Inspections that Sell” script.  But if you are going to go to the trouble of a separate home inspection then the Package Pricing Model may be your best bet.

Steve doesn’t give me the space to run on and on here (he reserves that privilege for his wordy posts!) and I need to collect my thoughts on package pricing.  But tune in soon for my take on this final and very likely most profitable pricing model- Package Pricing!

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