True Groupon Stories!

Last week’s Groupon article, (“Groupon: Is It Right for Your Service Business?“), caused so much comment that we’ve decided to keep exploring this topic. Some cleaners seem to love it; others definitely do not.

In order to give you a wider perspective on the Groupon experience, we asked cleaners to share their real life Groupon experiences with us, for an ongoing feature called “True Groupon Stories!” For the next few weeks, we’ll present you with a new Groupon story, and hopefully reading about other cleaners’ experiences will help you decide if this service is for you. (And if you already have a Groupon story–good or bad–by all means send it to us–we’d love to read it. Just shoot it to us at

Our first Groupon story comes from Brian Robison of Richardson, Texas’s Priority Carpet and Tile Cleaning. Brian writes:

Groupon… Like It or Hate It

Very few people I speak with have a “middle of the road” view of Groupon. Keep in mind, when I say “Groupon,” I’m really speaking of all the deal of the day companies out there copying them. It’s like the “Kleenex” of deal of the days. Even the people who have never bought, sold or experienced a Groupon seem to have a point of view. Go figure.

I’m here to give my experience with this strange new company that has everyone up in arms in my industry. I say it’s new because it still has a great deal of emotion surrounding it even though it’s a few years old. Well, here goes nuthin’.

So I was the first carpet cleaning company in the Dallas TX area to use Groupon about 3 or so years ago. It was fairly new in that area at the time and it really had me wondering what might happen. I heard about a Groupon deal on the news where a Nail Salon in Chicago sold something like 17,000 vouchers and was booked for the entire year. THIS caught my attention.

Let’s face it, we all want more customers AND we all pay a price for each. Even if we don’t get said customer, we still pay for them. This is where Groupon differs. You pay for the customers by lowering your prices for the deal instead of hoping that a customer will use your company after seeing your ad.

I liked this idea because I knew once I obtained a customer I could make money from them. If you have enough to offer, you can always offer more. If it’s something the customer wants or needs, then they might as well get it while you’re in their home. If it’s a quality service or product, the customer will come back for more and tell other–and that’s where we win.

My experience with Groupon and other deal of the day companies has been a very positive one. I’ve ran more than I can count in about 7 different states. Sure you will get the low ball customers or “price shoppers,” but you’re going to get those with any ad campaign. With Groupon, you get so many customers at once you just notice those more.

I focus on the positive . . .  always. I know that 20% of the customers make up for 80% of the revenue. So why worry? Groupon will even refund money to any unsatisfied customers. You’ve got nothing to lose, really. Just don’t get too many of those or you won’t stay in business very long.

I knew that when I structured my Groupon deal I had to leave room for the upsell. I didn’t want to offer the full package for a discounted price or I wouldn’t have anywhere to go from there. For carpet cleaning, I knew that if I offered a 3 room deal the customer would always have more to do. This is just from my 30 years of experience in the industry. So when I got to the home I always let them know that I was available to do more. Even when I scheduled them over the phone I got them thinking about what else they might need.

I knew that if I only did the work on the voucher, I would lose money over all. Breaking even is losing money in my world. Even if I got a $10 tip I was in the black. Some customers would only have me do the work on the voucher but most would have something more done.

I’m not very shy either. I told every customer how Groupon works, why I discounted my price, and that I wanted to keep them as a customer for life, instead of them getting the next deal that came along from another carpet cleaner. If you’re honest with people, they appreciate it. They also understand it better because I found most customers didn’t realize that Groupon takes 50% of the voucher price.

Really, even if a customer didn’t have more done, there was always the potential of a repeat customer or possibly a referral. So it wasn’t always a loss in that situation either. Remember to continue to market to your present client base and you’ll win in business.

The moral of the story is very simple. If utilized correctly, a Groupon campaign can be very profitable. If used incorrectly it can be devastating. Read the fine print, make sure the deal is structured in a manner that allows you to upsell or make extra money and don’t take your Rep’s word for anything. Like any advertising company, there are good reps and bad so be careful.

Would I run a Groupon deal again? I just ran about 5 of them in the last month. We make money on them every time. Like in gambling, there are only a few sure bets. Groupon is one of them. If you run a campaign with them you WILL get more customers. How you deal with them is entirely up to you.

Brian Robison

Stay tuned for more Groupon stories next week!

  1. May 30, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Thanks for allowing me to give my thoughts and experiences!

    Feel free to contact me with questions!

    Brian Robison

  2. May 30, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Thanks, Brian! Great write-up.

  3. EH
    June 7, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Groupon has a tendency to saturate markets lowering the value of the whats available. Sometimes the cheaper it is the less they sell.
    For people that want one off deals have no money – should call companies directly and ask for a deal. I also don’t like how Groupon passes on a good seller to bring in Joe Blow who will stupidly agree to do whole house carpet cleaning for $59. Those people won’t use the carpet cleaner or groupon again. Also customers should know that groupon lays the structure not the company. I myself think we work harder for groupon customers who really don’t give a crap except that they are getting a deal and then try to suck the techs dry for free stuff. Lay out all in fine print leaves the guessing out. Intro to services is no top to bottom clean I mean UGH –

    • June 7, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Yes, the structure of Groupon seems really problematic, especially for cleaners who are trying to make a profit . . .

  4. June 8, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Where are you getting your facts EH?
    From my experience you listed about 7 or 8 things that are just not true.

  1. June 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm

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