Heacock’s Corner: How To Get Higher Prices Than Your Competition

Heacock’s Corner: How To Get Higher Prices Than Your Competition

Most everyone begins their carpet cleaning business looking for work in the most obvious of starting places. What is not initially realized is that this is the very bottom of the business barrel. You begin cleaning whatever you can. This includes apartments, motels, or whatever else you can find. You see advertisements for the lowest prices for residential carpet cleaning and assume that this must be what everyone else is charging, and how can I do anything different?

So you join the ranks of the “bottom feeders”, fighting over the lowest price to get any work available. “I can do it for less!” “No, I can do it for less!” Who gets burned? Both you and the customer do. You cannot perform high quality work for a low fee. That is a reality. When you work for the lowest price, the “law of economics” says that you must do a hastily performed, low quality job, in order to make a profit and stay in business. This is why there are so many “Bait and Switch” companies out there.

Here is a common scenario: One of your employees sees just how easy it is to get started in the carpet cleaning business, and before you know it, instead of working for you, he is out there competing in the same market as you, for the same customers you are after.

I have a better idea. This idea has worked for me, and I started at the bottom, just like everyone else.

I began with a used machine. I let that cheap used machine buy me a better, used machine. I let that better, used machine buy me a new truck. Now, I am at the top of my field, with the best carpet cleaning machine money can buy (in my opinion). So how did I get there?

You have absolutely no idea what the financial status of your potential customer is. Whether they live in a 1-room shack or in a mansion, you don’t know how much money they actually have. Furthermore, it is really none of your business. Do you want to do the best quality work, charge the highest prices, and make the most profit? Yes. But, how? You need a “niche”. You need to offer something to the potential customer that is different. Something they cannot open the Yellow Pages and find a dozen of or a hundred just like you. Why should a potential client spend more money for your service if you are offering the exact same thing that Mr.Cheap Cleaner is (who is just like you, only he will “do-it-for-less”)?

Now let’s look at some niches. Only you can decide which niche is right for you. It will depend on your talents, the knowledge that you brought to your business, and what you are willing to learn to make that niche yours, and secure it to the point where not only will potential customers call you, but other cleaners will refer you for this niche as well.

My city location is Portland, Oregon. I am famous for cleaning furniture. I have a slogan on my business cards and flyers, etc. that reads: “Furniture Cleaning a Specialty, Not a Sideline”. I had a badge made that says, “The World’s Greatest Furniture Cleaner”. I also have a T-shirt, and a polo shirt, and a cap with the same slogan. I wear these on certain occasions, mainly to local functions where I know there will be other carpet cleaners. I do this so they will know who I am.

Now, with this type of promotion going on, I can and do charge more for cleaning a sofa than any other cleaner in town.

I see ads that say: “sofa cleaned $39.95, with a free chair too”. Certainly these “low ball” cleaners cannot do as good a job as I can. Why? Because, when I charge a high price, I can take my time and be thorough! You cannot be thorough and speedy too.

You can be speedy and charge $39.95, but your cleaning results will definitely reflect it. That same sofa that another company would clean for $39.95 (plus a free chair) will be finished in 15 to 30 minutes. However, I may take 2 hours to clean it and my fee may be as high as $150.00.

The other cleaner may make the same number of dollars per hour, day, week, month, etc. as me, but with low quality work, will they get repeat business? Absolutely not. Will I (having the best results) get repeat business? You bet I will! That is what my business is built on: the highest quality work at the highest prices.

The same principal applies for anything. Lets say you are a “pet urine removal specialist”. What makes you a pet urine removal specialist? The same products and equipment as every one else who does that work? No! You must have Something that is different. You take courses in the subject and utilize some unique equipment and/or chemicals that others do not have. Your results are different than the others and more successful treating the problem that the customer has. You are so successful in your specialty, that you may now call yourself, “The World’s Greatest Pet Urine Removal Specialist”.

Whatever subject you choose, you can be the “World’s Greatest _ _ _ _”. But, you need something to make you different than the herd of other cleaners. When you are different, you can charge more and get more for
essentially the same work. It is all in the perception of the customer.

“Turbo” Truck Powered Steam Cleaning is something NOBODY else has. There are hundreds of Truck-Mounted Steam Machine manufacturers. There are thousands of carpet cleaners who use these machines. Virtually every other cleaner who uses steam cleaning has one. You hear, “Mine is better!”. “No! Mine is better!”. Maybe it is, maybe it is not. The customer does not really care what brand of machine you use. They only want a clean carpet. How you get there is your affair, not theirs.

The IICRC wants all cleaners who use the same type of equipment to do the same quality of work. So, if every cleaner does the same quality of work, why should Mrs.Customer pay for “Higher Quality Work” when it is all the same? Why not pay the lowest price for the same work?

But, if you are different than the herd, and promote a different cleaning system, and can guarantee that you will produce a cleaner carpet than anyone else, using any other system or machine, then the price you will get will be much higher than other cleaner’s. The customer will be satisfied that she got a better job, even though she paid more for it.

The cleaning method you use is up to you. I am not here to tell you to use anything specific (just to be different and promote that difference).

If you promote your Hydramaster, Steamway, or any other machine, you might as well forget it! Next year, you might be running a machine from another manufacturer and where is your promotion for Hydramaster now, when you are running a Panther? Promote you, and promote your different named system. Turbo Truck Powered Steam is only a name.

When I bonnet clean, I do the same as anyone else that bonnet cleans, but I promote it as “Bio-Dry” to my clients. See? Who ever heard of Bio-Dry? Nobody. It is just I. I get top prices for Bio-Dry cleaning. I make much more for it than say Chem-Dry does for theirs. Why? Everyone has heard of Chem-Dry. All the Chem-Dry cleaners are competing against each other, as well as all of the cleaners who use other systems. Who competes against Bio-Dry? Nobody!

Think up your own name for your process. You can name it can be anything you want. Who says different? Who told you what to name your business? You did. Do the same here.

If you want to know what I do for Turbo Truck Powered Steam, that is different than the usual HWE wanding, contact me and I will give you all the details. You may or may not like it. However, using Turbo Truck Powered Steam, I do remove more soils, pet hair, etc. than with regular wanding or even utilizing an Rx-20. I can actually guarantee that the carpet will be cleaner and prove it to the customer, if necessary. Yes, I do charge more for it because it is different!

Another good niche is Leather Cleaning. Put that on your advertising (include Novasuede and Ultrasuede cleaning too). These are very expensive fabrics. The yard goods sell for around $65.00 per yard. It is very easy to clean, actually, as the fabric is made of nylon and polyester (just processed in an expensive manner). They can be cleaned with HWE or other wet processes just fine. Natural suede can be cleaned with a wire brush and some solvent lightly applied to a towel, then wiped across the suede. Charge your clients plenty for this.

You do not have to take a course for cleaning leather, but I recommend that you do. Then, you can buy the products and practice on leather scraps, applying what you have learned.

I would suggest in your advertising something like this: “Fine Leather, Natural Suede, Novasuede, and Ultrasuede Cleaning Specialist.” Since these are all expensive items, this will upgrade your clientele, and the rest of their furnishings. This ploy is like the cleaner who advertises that he specializes in the cleaning of “Kilim” oriental rugs. This separates him from others who say, “We Clean Oriental Rugs”. See what I mean? Now, that is specific marketing to a specific market.

Since most oriental rugs have a name, you could add these to your advertising, like this: “Sarouk Specialist”, “Kilim Specialist”, “Chinese Wool and Hook Specialist”, “India Wool Cleaning a Specialty”, etc.

You get the idea.

Gary Heacock -The Interstellar Crossroads of The Universe- http://www.heacocks.com

November 30, 2005 / by / in
Heacock’s Corner: Applying Protectors “Conscientiously” (The Myth Of Acid-Dye Blockers)

I have in my briefcase (and in my spotting kit), 2 small bottles. One bottle has plain water in it, while the other has sewing machine oil in it. A drop of each, placed on the carpet, tells me whether the carpet is oil or water repellant. Placing these drops in several areas tells me:

#1) Whether the carpet’s repellency is total, and therefore, does not need a treatment (as the fibers cannot be more than 100% repellant, already). If this is the case, a treatment will not be of any real benefit.

#2) If they slowly soak in, a partial re-treatment will be needed in the traffic areas.

#3) If the drops go straight in, a total re treatment will be needed everywhere.

Most cleaners, if they believe in their “protector” products, will always apply them, whether the carpet or furniture needs it or not. In my opinion, by selling the customer something that they do not really need, this is “ripping them off”.

If the cleaner does not believe in the use of protectors, and never applies one, he is also giving the customer less than total satisfaction, by not giving them exactly what their carpet needs.

Generally speaking, I find that protector is not needed on a “factory-treated” carpet or furniture item, the first 4 times they are cleaned. That is just an average, of coarse, but without testing, the technician can only guess. The problem with guessing is, you are right about half the time and wrong about half the time [ I am specifically referring to the repellency of oil and water, here ].

Here is something that may or may not surprise you.

There is no such thing as “stain or acid-dye blockers”. That is just a “marketing ploy” by one certain fiber manufacturer. Stain and acid-dye blocking is impossible, and cannot be done. How do I know that, you ask? Simple logic.

Let me ask you these questions:

“How does a person remove a red dye such as Kool-Aid? Wipe it up? No. Steam or shampoo it up? No. Plant wash it? No.”

The correct way, is to utilize a stripper, steam, and white towels.

If there was such a thing as acid-dye blockers, dye stains such as:
* mustard
* furniture stains
* coffee
* that Christmas tree felt skirt that bled onto the carpet
* soda pop, etc.

would all wipe right up, or simply wash out.

The “reality” is, these dye stains do not come right out of a so-called, “dye blocker treated carpet”. The last time I checked, 2 + 2 still = 4. You get the point. :o)

Gary Heacock

-The Interstellar Crossroads of The Universehttp://www.heacocks.com

November 30, 2005 / by / in
Heacock’s Corner: Suede Cleaning and The Heacock Phenomenon

General Suede Cleaning

A wire brush will usually remove 100% of the soils present that are on the surface of the suede. However, some body oils which can penetrate into the suede fabric will need a solvent to remove them.

For cleaning heavy soils, such as those typically found on the arms and head-rest areas of suede furniture, first, clean them with the wire brush. That will remove most of the surface soil and/or spill. What does not come out with the wire brushing will most likely respond to a volatile solvent.

Start by applying the solvent to a folded terry cotton towel. Do this by pouring a line of the solvent across the center of the flat area of the towel. Next, spread the solvent around on the towel slightly, so when the solvent comes into contact with the suede, it will not make a “blob”. Apply with a wiping motion. Then, follow with a dry towel to pick up the loosened soils and/or oils.

A second or third application might be needed, depending on how bad the level of soiling is. Follow the solvent with a wire brushing, again.

Remember… Never apply the solvent directly to the suede, as this will nearly always leave a “ring mark” on the suede, which could be difficult or even impossible to remove. Additionally, never use soap and water, or any water-based cleaner on suede.

[ Editor’s Note: The above suede cleaning information has been presented here in order to peak your interest in the subject. Anyone seriously considering adding leather and suede cleaning to their company’s list of services should, first, take a course in this fine art. Many of these courses are taught by BridgePoint and others throughout the year – some even by our own Lonnie McDonald! ]

The Heacock Phenomenon

Now, please listen to an old geezer who has been in the cleaning business almost as long as Ellard Gann, and has seen it all and done it all.

“I have worked cheap and I have worked expensive. Believe me! Working expensive is better!” [paraphrased from Sophie Tucker, who also had seen it all and done it all].

What is (for lack of a better name)

The Heacock Phenomenon? “The Heacock Phenomenon” is where… every time you raise your prices, your business increases, not decreases!!

Write it down and burn it into your brain! Believe it, because it is true! Everyone who has been in business in this industry for any appreciable length of time has observed this phenomenon.

You set your price schedule at whatever you think customers will pay for your service.

However, you usually do not know your customers financial situation. Furthermore, you do not know whether someone will pay you what you ask or not. So, why not ask for a high fee, from the beginning?

If your clients agree to your price, you are way ahead of the game. If they do not agree, you can still lower your price and cut out some item that would have helped justify the original higher fee. If they still do not agree to this lowered price, they are not your type of customer and you should pass on them. Let Mr. Cheap Cleaner have them!

Tonight, I am preparing the reminder postcards for February 2003, as my January cleaning schedule is almost completely full. I am booked up 5 weeks in advance and I charge the top prices in my service area!

Now, don’t just take my word for it and leave it at that! I urge you to do likewise. What do you stand to lose? Nothing. What do you stand to gain? Everything. Go for it!

(*AHEM* All this and more is in my manual, “Custom Carpet Cleaning” – available for purchase on my website).
Gary Heacock -The Interstellar Crossroads of The Universe

http://www.heacocks.com

Copyright 2002 Gary Heacock. All rights reserved.
Used here by permission of Gary Heacock.

November 30, 2005 / by / in
Good Systems And Hiring Employees

Several years ago in my business, I crossed a difficult threshold. It was a “tough nut to crack”, a real “Catch-22” situation. I am talking about hiring help. When I finally decided to hire help, I did experience a few more problems than when I provided fantastic service to my clients, all by myself. However, I just wanted more from my business. I “traded hats”, so to speak. I went from being a technician to being a business owner-operator. My distinction between the two is not meant disrespectfully. This is just my perception of how it really was in my business.

First, I built a system. Systems will take you there. Read the E-Myth by Michael Gerber (this is a must). McDonalds got where they are today by utilizing systems. To succeed with employees, you will need to go out and “build the same burger” with every carpet you service.

Make the system “idiot-proof”. Then, go hire some good people and pay them well. Train them to follow your system. Then, you will need to “clean up the spills and put out a few fires”. You may be saying. “Hmmm. I still think flipping a burger and taking the french fries out of the grease is different than doing carpet care.” Well, this is true. I am only using the McDonalds analogy as an example; however, the same example exists in every other industry. Systems are the key to successfully duplicating a product or service without a lot of supervision.

I have been using employees for many years to do the jobs that I used to think “only I could do”. But, now with just one week of training and following the system, my new employees are ready to go out on their own. And, guess what? They do awesome work! Want to know how? Because they have a fool proof “system” to follow.

If you are tired of working “for” your business, as I was, set up your systems now!

Let’s do the math.
If you pay your employee $20 per hour plus 20% for payroll expenses, that comes to $24 per hour. Many carpet cleaners are easily able to gross $100 per hour. So, if you pay an employee $24 per hour, you are still going to gross $76 per hour. Do you think you can find some excellent part time help for $20 per hour? You better believe you can! It’s a “win-win” proposition. The best part is that you can now be free to concentrate your energy toward building your business.

By choice, my company is still a small enterprise. We run 3 trucks utilizing part time employees. We use a payroll service to handle paychecks. We specialize in commercial carpet and floor care. The advantage to all this is that I have been able to focus on “building” my business (working on my business, not for my business).

The Bottom Line:
Look at this plain and simple… There are 3 things you need to provide your service.

1. Equipment
2. Chemicals
3. Labor

#1 and #2 can be purchased from your local supplier. #3 can be provided by your own
pair of hands or by hiring somebody else. When I started to look at these 3 components as “purchasable commodities”, it helped me to move past the Catch-22 threshold.

My parting advice to you is:
1. Read the E-Myth
2. Systemize your operation.

With good systems in place, “the world is your oyster!”

Rick Gelinas

November 29, 2005 / by / in
Don’t Forget The Follow-Up!

The difference between a single sale and repeat business is “ongoing contact”. This involves a planned program of “follow-up notices” which include:

#1) Thank You Notes

#2) Brief Letters

#3) Newsletters

#4) Post Cards These items can be sent by mail or even via e-mail.

The follow-up should offer the customer more information and keep your company name fresh in her mind.

Here are some methods for forging a lasting relationship:
Follow-up a product sale with a thank-you note immediately after the service is provided. The thank you card note could offer carpet care tips. You can also introduce the idea of requesting a “referral” at this time. When I used to clean residential carpeting here’s what I sent along with my thank-you note:

***************************************************************

Turn This Into A Real $20 Bill
Since 1982, our clients have been so thoroughly pleased with our service that they’ve felt compelled to tell others about their experiences. We truly appreciate the referrals that we receive from our satisfied clients. So, whenever our clients refer a new customer to us, we reward them with $20. As a gesture of our appreciation, we will send you $20 for each new customer that you refer to us, who books a job of $100 or more. We kindly thank you for your support.

You might also consider publishing a bi-monthly or quarterly tip sheet or newsletter and mail it or e-mail it to your previous customers. If it contains more useful information than obvious advertising, your correspondents will appreciate it.

Another obvious follow-up contact is the service reminder post-card. I say “obvious” but this is often times overlooked by cleaners who I have talked to. A simple database is all that is needed to generate a reminder of when the next cleaning is due to be performed.

Plan your follow-up campaign before you begin your marketing attack and record your orders or contacts by date. Track the person’s last contact date, name and address; the status of your relationship and the nature of the contact (for example, “sent second follow-up letter.”) Each week, select the contact whose dates are appropriate for followup and then do a quick mailing. Using off the shelf software like Act!, Maximizer or Goldmine can help you with this task.

The follow-up is where the relationship is forged. If you fail to keep your name in front of the client they will find it hard to recall your company when it’s time to have their carpets cleaned next time; even if they were thrilled with your service.

In conclusion, my suggestion is to “gently” keep your name in your clients mind or else your competition forcefully will.

Rick Gelinas
Copyright 2003 Rick Gelinas. All rights reserved.
Used here by permission of Rick Gelinas.

November 29, 2005 / by / in
Careful Planning Produces Marketing Materials That Work!

Flyers, brochures, cover letters, and postcards can be incredibly helpful tools for any carpet cleaning business. This month I will talk about the need to plan and do your homework when it comes to creating successful written marketing pieces. It seems the reason that most business brochures and cover letters don’t work as well as planned is because not enough planning goes into them. Writing compelling marketing material requires doing some careful planning. Many people hate writing and would rather get it over and done with as quickly as possible. Success in marketing requires that you never lose sight of your objective. That is what it takes to make each marketing piece profitable. Homework helps achieve this objective.

The first thing to consider when writing your marketing piece is your audience. Great marketing documents are really just conversations between two people. Think of it as a conversation between you and your prospective client.

For example:

#1) Is this prospect a residential or commercial client?
#2) Will it target a man or a woman?
#3) Is this going to be viewed by middle class or above middle class people?
#4) What age person will you be planning to target with this piece?
#5) Are you going after working families or retirees?

The list goes on and on. The point is to compose your marketing piece with the person in mind you are hoping to reach it.

I have read that:
“The single greatest reason why Marketing communications fail to get people to take action, is because those people don’t feel that what they are being asked to consider has anything to do with them, or doesn’t speak to them about what is really important to them and therefore does not motivate them to take immediate action.”

Fail to consider your client’s perspective in your marketing piece and your effort to reach the prospect is doomed to fail.

Here is an idea that will help you to create effective marketing material. Create your brochures for a single person, a person who represents your target market. As you write try to focus on this single individual. This will help you create just the right tone and style. In writing to this individual, ask yourself these questions:

1. What do they wish to achieve and how soon?
2. What specific benefits will motivate them to act?
3. What do they have to do to get these benefits immediately?

Another very important point to consider is to plan “great headlines”. You want the
prospect to stop in their tracks and say, “Hey, this is just what I was wanting!”. So, spend your time working up headlines that will draw your reader in. Your headline (which dictates your “positioning” in the mind of your prospect) is the most important message you convey in your ads, brochures, signs, direct mail, etc. If you do not capture their interest with this introduction, all the rest of your writing efforts will be wasted.

What should be included in what you write about? Let’s face it most of us are pretty
lazy. Even when we have problems, we are inclined to simply hope they will simply go
away without us ever having to exert ourselves. People respond when action is less
threatening and more desirable that non-action. A successful marketer will then want to identify and utilize his prospective client’s anxiety level.

For example:
The EPA has stated, “Until such time as the carpet fibers are cleaned, the potential for human exposure to health risks remains high.”

“Every time carpets and fabrics are emptied of their pollution build-up through professional cleaning methods, there is a health benefit.” In these two sentences we have shown the prospective client that action is better than non-action.

Now, consider these questions for a moment:

1. What is happening to your prospective clients?
2. What are they likely to lose if they do not take immediate action?
3. How believable can you make this loss?
4. Who is willing to testify that these things will happen?
(For example, I quoted the EPA above.)

This is the kind of information you need to use in your brochure and cover letters.

Remember, fear of loss is always a greater motivator than hope for gain. Your prospective clients know what they have now. Even if it isn’t what they want, they are still afraid of losing it. Be very specific. Do not be vague about them losing something by failing to act now. In short, make the anxiety you use, authoritative. For instance, give the reader an incentive to act before a certain date.

You want your brochures and cover letters to make your prospective clients react fast. To get this effect, you have to turn the “features” of what you have into “buyer benefits”. Features are things that pertain to what you are selling. However, these things are only important if they can be transformed into benefits that motivate an immediate response.

Do the following exercise.

#1) List all the facts (features) about your service.
#2) Transform them into benefits by starting a sentence about each one, beginning,
“You’ll get….”

A feature is merely a feature until you turn it into a client-centered benefit using a “You’ll get” sentence. For instance, the feature, “clean carpet” might be stated like this:

“You’ll get a clean carpet that will contribute to your family’s health.”

After completing this activity, you should have dozens of “You’ll get” sentences.
Now the “trick” is to prioritize them. Which are the most important to your prospective clients?

Which will most likely them to take immediate action? Remember that all benefits are
not equal. Some are more important to them than others. These are the ones you
should lead with and emphasize in your brochure and cover letter.

So, you see, with some careful planning and by doing a little homework, you can create marketing pieces that get results.

Well that’s it for this issue. Go get em!

Rick Gelinas

November 29, 2005 / by / in
Aim For Lifetime Value

What is lifetime value? It is a summary of the incremental future profit expected from each name on your database. The British Institute of Direct Marketing said this, “It is the net present value of all future contributions to profit and overhead expected from a customer.”

Here is one model for gauging a client’s lifetime value.
Today, you clean Mrs. Jones’ carpet and receive $175 for your service. What if Mrs. Jones has you clean her carpet twice per year? That comes to $350 per year. But it does not’t stop there. Mrs. Jones remains happy with you, so she has you clean her carpet for the next 10 years. Assuming that you never raise your price, you will make $3500 in 10 years from Mrs. Jones.

Now, let us consider how this thing can “mushroom”. This is where it gets interesting. Let us assume that you have a referral generating program in place. Furthermore, let us assume that Mrs. Jones refers you to 2 more customers (like herself) per year.

Year #1: $350 from Mrs. Jones plus $700 from her referrals = $1050.

Year #2: Mrs. Jones and her 2 friends, each refer to you, 2 more customers like themselves. You will receive $1,050 from the Mrs. Jones and her friends. You will receive $2,100 from their referrals = $3,150.

Year #3: You now have 9 customers who each refer you 2 new customers. You will receive $3,150 from the 6 customers, plus $6,300 from their 18 referrals = $9,450.

Year #4: You now have 27 customers who each refer you 2 more customers. You will receive $9,450 from the 27 customers, plus $18,900 from their 54 referrals = $28,350.

Year #5: You now have 81 customers who each refer you 2 more customers. You will receive $28,350 from the 81 customers, plus $25,200 from their 162 referrals = $56,700.

Year #6: You now have 243 customers who each refer you 2 more customers. You will receive $85,050 from the 243 customers, plus $170,100 from their 162 referrals = $255,150.

Year #7: You now have 729 customers who each refer you 2 more customers. You will receive $255,150 from the 729 customers, plus $510,300 from their 1458 referrals = $765,540.

Year #8: You now have 2,187 customers who each refer you 2 more customers. You
will receive $765,540 from the 2,187 customers, plus $1,530,900 from their 4374
referrals = $2,296,350.

Year #9: You now have 6,561 customers who each refer you 2 more customers. You
will receive $2,296,350 from the 6,561 customers, plus $4,592,700 from their 13,122
referrals = $6,889,050.

Year #10: You now have 19,683 customers who each refer 2 more customers. You will
receive $6,889,050 from the 19,683 customers, plus $13,778,100 from their 39,366
referrals = $20,667,150.

That’s over twenty million dollars in sales for year ten! And, it all began with just one happy customer. One happy customer who referred two of her friends.

In just one decade of time, your contact with Mrs. Jones will have grossed you a little over 31 million dollars. It isn’t unreasonable to expect a client to generate two referrals for you per year. And remember that these figures are based on a modest job average of $175.

The exponential growth outlined above is simply a model that demonstrates the vast
potential that every client holds for your company. With such a model, you can quickly appreciate the lifetime value of each of your clients. You can also see where the saying “the customer is always right” comes from!

So, nurture your database. Take care of Mrs. Jones and work those referrals!

Rick Gelinas

November 29, 2005 / by / in
Acquiring Large Commercial Accounts With VLM

Would you like to add a steady flow of cash and repeat business to your company? Commercial carpet cleaning can do just that. We service several thousand square feet of commercial carpet every week. We love commercial cleaning! Commercial cleaning provides a constant source of income coming from the same group of clients. I’d like to share with you some of the secrets we have learned on how to build a successful commercial business.

SYSTEMATIZE EVERYTHING:
Of the highest importance, we first of all rely on good systems. I read the E-Myth by Michael Gerber and those concepts are needed to be successful in business. If you haven’t read the E-Myth, do it today. The book stresses the need for systems. From the way we schedule jobs to the way they are cleaned, we have a system. This removes the guesswork and it makes it possible for every person in our company to produce consistent service. Good systems are the lifeblood of a successful company. And systems are critical to your success when it comes to providing commercial services.

BUILD A BRAND:
It is very important to see your company as a brand. Yes a brand. Now you’re probably thinking, “branding” – doesn’t that just apply to consumer products i.e. soap and toothpaste? Branding works for everything, even you as an individual. For instance, people like many things about you. All of those things that they like about you are wrapped up in your identity. And when they flip through their Rolodex to find your phone number – they’re looking for “YOU”. Therefore, from your business cards, to your website, to the logo on your shirts, to the signs on your truck; a consistent look is crucial.

Here’s just one example of the effect of how well this works: I “cold-called” a company on the phone to solicit the other day. The woman told me that they had someone in the office at that very moment working out an agreement to service all of their stores in Florida. I asked her to at least look at our website. She told me that she would. I was kindly persistent. So she even agreed to print out the page and show it to the person making the decision. A few days later she e-mailed me and asked for prices. She has now agreed to use us for all of their stores in Florida (about 50). She went from closing a fresh deal with another contractor to choosing us for all of their stores and she never even met me in person. She has only looked at our website.

Build a consistent look into your company, a brand. This is not as difficult as you might think. And the results that you get when you make a presentation will astonish you. You will be amazed to see practically every single presentation lead to a sale. What I’m talking about here really works!

MAKE THE FIRST CONTACT:
First try to reach the person who makes the decision to hire your services on the phone.

If you’re not able to speak to Ms. New client then send her a good letter. Follow up with another phone call. Remember it is your mission to secure this account. Trust me its not that hard. With some persistence on your part you will get to make contact with Ms. New client.

When you finally get to speak with Ms. New client let her know very briefly that you are in a position to offer her company the best service that she has ever experienced. The service is backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. And you would like her to see for herself just how good her carpet can look with your service. That’s why you would like to stop by and do a FREE demo. Offer to clean the dirtiest section of her carpet for free. Explain that you would also like to spend about 15 minutes showing her a brief presentation about your services. This will help her to see the value of the service that you offer. Also, invite her to look at your website in the meantime.

SELL WITH THE PRESENTATION:
The presentation is the most important part of the process. We use a desktop
presentation easel that showcases our company. You can use professional presentation
software to develop your own presentation. The presentation builds up a strong desire for the services you offer. And it should also leave them feeling that choosing any other contractor would be a foolish mistake. A well-designed presentation is an incredibly powerful selling tool.

Another thing to remember when you’re pursuing commercial accounts is that you’re
dealing with business professionals. So it is very important that you present yourself as a business professional. I wear dress pants, a white dress shirt with our logo embroidered above the pocket, and a tie.

It is not hard to build a strong business with commercial accounts. I have loved this type of business for the past 19 years. I’ve also grown to love learning how to put together a strong brand image and how to successfully market to commercial accounts. The steps that I’ve outlined here may at first seem overwhelming. Don’t let that stop you. If you need help, you can contact me personally. Tuning up your commercial marketing will help you achieve a potentially new area of growth for your company.

I am now doing consulting for carpet cleaners who are trying to polish their commercial identity. I can help your company to develop a strong brand image. I can produce marketing pieces for you that work. And I can also put together a killer presentation portfolio for you.

I can be reached at
727-821-2020 or rick@excellent-supply.com.

Commercial carpet cleaning can be extremely profitable. I hope that the ideas in this article will help you to develop your commercial market. Grabbing more of this
rewarding type of business for your company is easy when you do it properly!

Rick Gelinas

November 29, 2005 / by / in
Achieving Success With Your Greatest Asset!

In this article I would like to discuss a component that you have in your business that can bring you unimaginable wealth. Is it a newfangled machine? No.

Is it a breakthrough chemical? No. Is it an amazing marketing package? No again. The secret to your success is sitting 24″ away from this computer monitor.

… It is you.

Let me start off by asking a question. Why is the richest man in America so successful? Is he smarter than anyone else in this country? No! Is he better looking than anyone else? Not likely! So then, why is he so successful when others are not? Old Bill’s got two eyes, two hands, and two feet just like the rest of us. I’m not using this illustration to promote massive riches as a source of real happiness, because it is NOT. Here is what I am suggesting…

Our success has to do completely with the choices we make and what we do with our lives.

Before we go further, we should first ask ourselves this question:

How do we measure success?
Some may feel that to be very rich is the greatest achievement of all. Money is good. However, I would also like to relate that to the richest man who ever lived, King Solomon (from the Old Testament). Solomon came to the conclusion that the pursuit of material things was all “vanity and striving after the wind”. So much more than material things are needed for us to achieve real contentment in life.

There is a difference between being rich and having “real” wealth.
Real wealth has to do with the quality of our lives. Our lives are made up of minutes and days. Therefore, the quality of our life is what measures our true worth. It encompasses our relationships with our mates and our families. It includes our value as a contributor to other people’s lives. It reflects on our spiritual lives. Real wealth has more to do with our hearts than with our bank accounts.

So let’s look at YOU as the most important asset that you possess. Picture yourself as a big container. Your container represents all of your experiences, relationships, earnings, accomplishments, emotions, etc. What are you going to put into your container? I suggest that you fill up your container with good stuff, if you really want to be successful. Good stuff?

To identify what good stuff we want in our container, we need to determine what is
important in our lives. Take a moment to outline what things are important to you.

Here are some roles that we might consider as we evaluate what we are putting into our container.

– Spiritual.
– Husband.
– Wife.
– Family. – Friends.
– Business.
– Recreation.

Work on your list of roles as you see fit. Now that you have identified some of the
ingredients that you have that make up your life, how are you spending your time with these components?

Being self-employed provides each of us with the opportunity to make choices about
what we want out of life. Do we want a day off to spend with our spouse? We can do
that. Do we want to waste time on a fruitless project? Unfortunately, we can do that
too. So, as you can see, self-discipline is needed.

We can each ask ourselves some valuable questions. What is filling my container? What am I doing with my life? Am I building quality into my life? How much time do I spend in front of the computer spending “non-productive” time? Am I spending quality time with my mate? Am I cultivating a spiritual life? Am I spending time working on my business rather than in my business? Am I spending time improving the overall package?

Being successful in business is also important. Success in business provides us with a very important commodity – money. Success in business also helps us to have a sense of self-worth. When we are successful in business, it contributes to the whole. However, we should recognize that business is only one part of the whole picture. By giving equal consideration to each component that fills our container we can develop “real” wealth.

We can achieve real worth by concentrating on filling our lives with good things.

This will create abundance within us. And, an abundant person is well prepared to handle any situation in a positive manner. That, in turn, will lead to success in ALL areas of life.

By comparison, the people who have no abundance within themselves are usually those
pathetic individuals who live their lives in misery, regardless of their fiscal net worth.

So, as you begin another year in this great business, remember…

The secret to your success is sitting 24 inches away from this computer monitor.

Begin right away to set goals that will contribute to abundantly filling your container. In this way, you will receive rewards from your greatest asset, YOU.

Rick Gelinas

November 29, 2005 / by / in
Summerfest 2001: Through The Eyes Of Gary Heacock

I walk into the hotel and check in, there is a group of people standing in the lobby. It is Jamie Coelho and his wife and baby, Tony Biagiotti, Patty Guerkink and Gerald Guerkink. I introduce myself and meet these nice folks for the first time. Although we had never met before, in a couple of minutes, we are “old friends”.

It was not very hard to figure out who Gerald Guerkink was. He was wearing a hat that said “Grumpy” on it. However, Grumpy he was not! He has great sense of humor. Jamie’s baby girl was in her stroller, taking it all in, and just as cute as any baby can possibly be, not at all intimidated by all the strangers.

It was 7:30 PM, just under the wire for me, in from the airport on the hotel’s shuttle.

We were waiting to check in for the dinner at 8:00 PM, which was now being organized. Along comes Yaser Amireh, and John Guerkink, and a couple others, and we introduced ourselves.

Soon, we were all standing in line to check in, and who do you guess was standing there next to me? Why, it was no other than The Best Swedish Cleaner in Phoenix, Anders Berg! I finally get checked in, and since everyone now is wearing a name badge, we circulate and introduce ourselves all around. Many folks who had attended previous Summerfests already knew each other, and it was old friends greeting old friends.

Dinner was excellent! Masters of Ceremonies, Scott Rendall and Mark McNutt (who introduced his daughter to us who in turn led us in the Pledge of Allegiance to The Flag) introduced Ron Curtis, who gave out Possum Belly Marketing T-shirts to several folks, including me.

Claudine Davis was presented with Woman of the Year! What a surprise to her and to the rest of us, but very well deserved. I also got a Fjord King T-shirt from Terry Brevik, and so did several others. Among the folks at my table were Evan Kessler and his wife Judy Kessler.

After the awards, the door prizes were given out. Mark McNutt’s daughter drew out the tickets, helped by Gerald Geurkink. There were, in act, so many door prizes, some of us got seconds! Several folks donated their door prizes back to be donated to the INF Fund auction the next day at Greg Trigero’s plant.

After dinner, a lot of us stood around and gabbed. Now there issomething we all like to do!

The next day, Saturday, we went to Lisa Wagner’s rug plant for a tour. I went in Dustin
Murray’s car along with Ken Harris. Lisa’s plant was very interesting. She showed us how
the rugs are washed, dried, and repaired. Then we went to Greg’s plant, maybe 10 miles away, and had a tour there as well.

Then, it was lunch followed by the demos. Greg had spread out several rugs, and sections of carpet, and everyone had an opportunity to try various truck mounts, as well as the CCS and Orbitek OP machines.

Shawn Forsythe had a Drag-Wand connected to a Steam Genie truckmount, and I think that little drag-wand was the “big surprise of the day”. What an excellent job of cleaning
it did! Shawn had to park his truck over 200 feet away from the others because of a lack
of parking spaces, and even with over 200 feet of hose out, his truckmount had excellent power and vacuum. With his drag-wand connected, this system had the over-all effect of leaving the carpet barely damp. Many of the cleaners present saw his demonstration and upon feeling the carpet, commented on just how dry it left the carpet!

The Rotovac, the RX-20, and many different wands were also there to demo. Most of us had a hands-on experience with everything. Dustin Murray had a temperature gauge that connected onto the wands with quick-connects, and that was passed around from one wand to another checking temperatures. As I was using a wand connected to an Advanced Cleaning Technologies
“Sledgehammer” truckmount from Duane Oxley, I saw the temperature gauge read: 258
degrees! Keep in mind, this temperature reading was at the wand. I do not know what
the temperature gauge on the front of the Sledgehammer read. I did, however, have the dubious pleasure of getting my hand burned on the pipe of the wand connected to
the Sledgehammer. I still have a welt on the back of my hand to prove it was HOT !!!
On another demo, Dustin Murray’s Steamway truckmount produced a temperature reading of 280 degrees on the at-the-wand temperature gauge! Again, I did not look at the temperature gauge on the front of his Steamway truckmount.

Those of us who had not yet had the chance to get our hands on some of these tools, now had our chance to see just how good these new tools were. A real eye-opener for sure.

Here is a point concerning the noise level. All of the truckmounts were running at the same time, and it was hard to gauge which one was the quietest. My best guess was that the Sledgehammer was by far the loudest. However, in size, it was the smallest machine, taking up the least amount floorspace in the truck. In my opinion, it is time for all truckmount manufacturers to give some serious thought to making their machines quieter. I did not see Dan Sweet’s home-made trailer-mounted machine run, but I did notice it had 3 (count ’em, 3!) mufflers on it. My guess is that when running, it would have proven to be the quietest one there.

Here are my thoughts about the two Oscillating Pad Machines represented there: While I was demoing the Orbitek Towel Machine, I could not help noticing just how much injection yard it was pulling up compared to the CCS machine. I do not know why that should be. I also do not know what gliders were being used, comparitively, as I did not look under the pads. I did notice that the CCS machine was generating almost no lint from the carpet, whereas the Orbitek machine was generating a lot. Now it was time for the INF Fund Auction. Gary Broom was the auctioneer, assisted by Mark McNutt again. They did a great job!

Thanks to the many suppliers who donated the items, over $2300.00 were raised for the fund. Tom Tsao gave a fire eating demonstration that was very impressive. He offered to teach this skill to anyone who wanted to learn, and what a surprise! Lisa Wagner took him up on it, and shortly thereafter gave a fire eating show that was impressive for someone who had just learned this trick. She raised even more money for the INF Fund for her efforts! During the auction, the telephone began to ring in Greg’s office, and Eric Stewart from New Zealand was on the line. He was able to speak to many of us, including myself. What a nice surprise! In order to make him feel like one of the crowd, I bought a Possum Belly Marketing T-shirt from Ron Curtis, and sent it to Eric! Back to the hotel. Car courtesy of Terry Brevik. Where to go for dinner? A very nice steak house restaurant was selected, some five or six miles away. I went again with Dustin Murray, and with good directions, we were there in a few minutes. Some of the others had taken a wrong turn, and were delayed getting there, but finally did arrive. Sunday morning, I was ready to go to the airport.

As it turned out there was no shuttle from the hotel to the airport on Sundays. So, Jim Eckman kindly offered to take me in his rental car, and I accepted. It was too early to turn in his car, since we both were leaving at 5:00 PM. So, we spent several hours in Balboa Park, going through the beautiful Japanese Garden, the Museum of Man, listening to the fantastic outdoor organ music at Spreckles Pavilion where the organist played a Bach concerto. We also rode on the free tram that circles the entire park (What a huge place this is!) and had a nice lunch outdoors in the fine restaurant there. So… was it fun? You betcha.

Was it worth going to? You betcha. Will I attend Summerfest 2002? You betcha.

See you there!
Gary Heacock
-The Interstellar Crossroads of The Universe- http://www.heacocks.com

November 29, 2005 / by / in