I’ve been working with my housekeeper in Miami for over a year. (Let’s call her Maria.)
She comes over every Thursday. She turns my place from “Got hit by a tornado” to “ready for a magazine shoot”.
I was sipping on my morning coffee when she asked me,
“Charles, I think you are good with business. Can you please help me?.”
Her business is going through tough times because she just lost her biggest client.
This client had 15 houses in Miami that he rented out on Airbnb.
But then her client got caught cheating on his wife.
Now he’s getting a divorce and he’s losing quite a few of the houses in the process. (I wanna see what these girls look like).
So now half of her business is gone and she doesn’t know what to do.
She got to where she is because she works HARD, but she doesn’t know much about business or small business strategy.
Everything that she knows comes from experience, but now she wants to go to the next level.
I was more than happy to give her business advice.
I’m assuming most of you aren’t interested in getting into the housekeeping business.
But remember that business is a science.
What works in one industry can work in another. See if anything here can apply to you.
Tip #1. Stop Cleaning and Start Being a CEO
Maria has a staff of cleaners that helps clean, yet she still does some of the cleaning herself if one of them is unavailable.
Her cleaning is something she can easily outsource to someone else. She needs to spend her time on activities that helps the company GROW.
I told her to make it a hard rule that she’s a “CEO” now, and not to do any of the cleaning. She needs to make this a hard rule without exceptions.
If she doesn’t have any cleaners available, then she’ll have to cancel on the client. It’s only when you face the pain head on that you make changes necessary.
It’s hard to delegate in your own business because you want everything to be done “right”.
If someone can do the job 80% as well as you, they are ready to take over. Over time they will become better than you.
Every hour you spend doing the actual work is an hour less you can spend building your business.
She needs to move from a soldier that’s fighting in the trenches, to a general that’s overseeing the operations.
Business lesson: Delegate so you can focus on higher leverage activities.
Tip #2. The Easiest Way to Get More Clients.
Maria doesn’t have marketing funnels, SEO, a website, or even Yelp reviews.
It’s going to take a while to establish all of that.
Let’s get more clients the old school way – ask for referrals.
I’m all about “what can we implement right now”.
We’ve been working together for over a year and Maria has never asked me for a referral once. I immediately gave her 5 people in Miami who I felt could use a cleaner.
She closed 3 of them. 30 minutes of work got her potentially 5-figures over a lifetime.
The cost of acquisition is ZERO.
If someone gives ME a referral, I’m 5x more likely to buy. Contractors, full-time staff, apps, software, whatever.
Word of mouth is so powerful.
Looking at reviews on the internet is one thing, but when your friend tells you that something is legit, it’s so much more powerful.
If you’ve got a place in Miami and you’re getting it cleaned, you’ve probably got some friends who have places that need cleaned as well.
If you’re good at what you do, people will have no problem taking a minute to refer you. It’s a win-win for a small business strategy to implement fast. The cleaner gets more business, and the referrer looks good because he’s saved his friends time & money hiring bad cleaning services.
Lesson: Asking for referrals is the easiest and fastest way to get more sales
Tip #3. Increase Repeat Purchases of Existing Clients
She says I’m her favorite client because I’m consistent (I’d like to think it’s because of my cute dog).
I want my place cleaned every Thursday unless I’m traveling.
However, she has some clients who are very sporadic. They’ll get a cleaning once in a blue moon.
If she can increase the amount of cleaning, then that’s more $ in the bank and it costs her nothing.
How can she encourage clients to buy more?
#1 Educate them. Maybe they think once a month cleaning is normal. Show them the benefits they will get from more regular cleaning.Imagine if a client had a new baby. You could show them the vacuum after it’s done, and show how much dog hair is picked up.
“Weekly cleaning will help keep the air clean for your baby.” $$$$.
#2 Make it required to clean a minimum 2 times a month. Sometimes you gotta fire your worst clients to make more money. 80 / 20 rule.
#3 Encourage with bonuses / discounts. Minimum 2 a month and you’ll get a discount. Buy 10 cleaning sessions and we’ll give you one free.
#4Offer upsells like window cleaning, deep cleaning once per month etc.
There are so many ways she can do this, plus asking for more regular work doesn’t cost anything.
Zero cost + high chance of success means it’s an easy win she can implement. She doesn’t even have to do anything extra, she can just hit them up when she sees them next.
She can work on coming up with bonuses/free offers later and start asking for more business right now.
Lesson: It’s 10x easier to sell to an existing client than to acquire a new one.
Tip #4. Focus on Marketing / Selling
Maria’s #1 goal should be to work on marketing and selling. Good marketing solves almost everything in business.
One of the problems is that Maria’s not comfortable with selling – particularly handling rejection.
I had to change her mindsets:
- They’re not rejecting you personally. Maybe they can’t afford cleaning, or they already have someone that they’re working with.
- Who cares if you have some clients that say no. You’re not going to remember them. One yes = 4 figures a year. Risk vs. reward.
- Selling is a skill. The only way to improve is through practice.
What else could she do to improve her sales / marketing?
- Get a descriptive domain name and a website that talks about benefits of cleaning that uses good copywriting.
- Update her Google listing with her website, phone number, open hours etc. so people can find her.
- Ask all of her clients to review her on Yelp (she could give them 10% off their next bill to incentivize them to do this if nobody does it when she just asks).
- Work on building up a brand and putting it on her website, business cards, car, uniform, receipts etc.
- Have an elevator pitch. Every person she sees during her day she can hit them with her pitch. She can give them a business card and offer a free quote or 50% off their first clean.
Lesson: Sales is everything in a new company. No sales = no company.
Tip #5. Train the Staff
She complains about the quality of her staff’s cleaning ability sometimes. That’s why she still does a lot of the cleaning herself.
- Have a better hiring process. One bad hire = months of headaches.
- Put them through a training period and check their work.
- Don’t hire people full-time to start. Have a trial period where you can evaluate them and decide if they are the right person.
- Use checklists. Checklists / SOPs have to be the simplest, yet most underrated tools in any business.
It’s hard taking the time to train people.
There’s the mindset of “That would take me 5 minutes to do, why should I spend an hour training someone to do it”.
Every time you train someone you are grooming them to train people in the future.
Even if you don’t plan to grow a large business, staff turnover means that training will always be something you have to do.
Lesson: Invest more into staff and hiring. One good employee can turn your job into a business.
Tip #6. Build Systems in the Company
It’s frustrating to be her client sometimes because she has zero systems in place.
If I wanna schedule a cleaning that’s not on a Thursday, we have to send text messages back and forth. She could use software such as ScheduleOnce to help coordinate.
She takes cash only for payment. I remember a few times I didn’t have her over to clean because I didn’t have any cash, and didn’t have time to go to the ATM.
Venmo, Paypal, Square, Chase Quickpay, etc. It’s 2017, there’s no excuse not to have more payment solutions.
These systems would make things easier for the clients, but also saves her a ton of time.
Business is a Learnable Skill
She’s always been confused by business, but since I broke it down into simple steps, she’s super excited.
She has a teenage son so I’m going to have him set her up with a website and start getting her listed on review sites. (Thumbtack, Yelp, etc.)
There are a lot of things you can be doing every day as a business owner / entrepreneur.
Sometimes you’ve got to step back from the grind and see things from a bigger picture.
I know what it’s like to do affiliate marketing on a budget, so you can’t outsource a ton at the start.
But remember it’s all about baby steps – a tiny win every day is better than a huge potential win that never gets off the ground.
What about hiring a VA who you send all of your creatives to and getting him to upload them for you?
If you’re already making money but you’re doing everything yourself, you’ve gotta start a hiring process and work on training staff to help you out.
Here are some of my popular posts about training/outsourcing:
Outsourcing with a VA
Outsourcing your Marketing
Affiliate Marketing Team Structures
How to Make Your First Hire
How to Prevent Employees Stealing Your Campaigns
Let me know in the comments if you liked this post!