More True Groupon Stories!

A few weeks ago, we wrote an article about the pros and cons of using Groupon (“Groupon: Is It Right for Your Service Business?“). The article received a big response, with some cleaners declaring Groupon a fantastic marketing tool, and others saying that it was no more than a scam.

We decided to ask cleaners to share their real life Groupon experiences with us, so that we could give readers a well-rounded perspective on this topic. Last week,  Brian Robison of Richardson, Texas’s Priority Carpet and Tile Cleaning shared his very positive Groupon experience with us, in a post called “Groupon . . . Like It or Hate It.” This week, we’re sharing some of the more negative stories we’ve collected.

Done it once, don’t recommend it. Three rooms of carpet takes about an hour, which should be priced at $100.  But Groupon makes you offer the service for half, so that comes to $50 and then wonderful Groupon gives you $25.

If anyone using truck-mounted equipment can make ends meet on that, best of luck . . . and don’t tell me about up-sells, etc., because once a coupon customer, always a coupon customer. One Groupon customer I had wondered if I could do two rooms and then come back another day and do the third room. I was ready to show the coupon down her throat. I know you can’t do that but you’re allowed to dream sometimes . . .

–Anders Berg,, Phoenix, Ariz.


We had a client who found a carpet cleaning company on Groupon. As the customer said, two guys showed up. They smelled like cigaerettes, they did some work, collected the payment and left. The result was terrible. Then she hired our company (based on referral from her neighbor) to get the work done right.

Professional Carpet Systems of North Denver.


Groupon is HORRIBLE. They do NOT stand behind the company that is putting money in their pocket for doing NOTHING but sending out emails. We have our policies and they do NOT abide by them. They ask you for your policies, but then when the customer breaks the rules, they just issue a refund like it’s no big deal. The actual customers are people looking for something for NOTHING and they EXPECT everything and anything under the sun from you. Been there done that and NEVER AGAIN!

Pristine Maids, Crestview, Fla.


Look, we spent $1000 dollars on Savvy Shopper and they put a cheaper cleaning company in the front and us in back.  We got a few calls and no regular customers.  I don’t mind one-time customers sometimes, but I’d rather have the customer want a cleaning company they can trust, rather than somebody who says, “Let’s see how low we can go . . . “

Some companies will always can be cheaper and that’s okay.  I’d rather let those companies have those customers.  Because those customers will drop those companies in a minute if they spot another cheaper company.

–Starlene Kirkland, Swept Away Cleaning and Janitorial, Decatur, Ga.

  1. lauren
    June 24, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Small Business’s Being Bullied By Online Coupon Shoppers.

    About a year and a half ago I opened a esthetics business. I had always dreamed of owning a business and could not wait to get started. I did everything I could to promote my business from social media, paid ads, flyers etc. I was doing okay but as everyone can relate you are not going to have a swarm of people coming through your door your first year in business.

    After owning the business 6 months and gaining some very friendly clients I was approached by online coupon companies. You may have heard of companies like Groupon,WagJag,Dealfind etc. If you do not know what they are, It is a marketing tool where they discount your service at 50-90% (Example Regular Price $50) Coupon Price $25. After that they take another 50% commission from your discounted price. Now you are making $12.50 on each person who has purchased your coupon and after supplies probably about $9 dollars for a half an hour of work. Well it was something I was willing to give a try why not! Brings people in your door,promotes your business to thousands of new customers and it would be a great business launcher just like the coupon company said. Well I’d like to say I do not know how those people could work for such crooked companies. They also really talk up the business like it’s a big spa or a fancy restaurant then little do people no you are independent because of what they put on the coupon ad.

    In the time I was in business I did two coupon deals trying with two different companies. But I had the same outcome from both and it was horrible and stressful. You meet about 20% of coupon buyers who are extremely nice people and do not jump from deal to deal and may come again. 80% of them are completely rude, jump from salon to salon, yell and scream at you and threaten you if they cannot get in that same day or even the next day. People tell you you’re horrible at customer service just because you are busy. Also on the coupon it says No showing you appointment will lead to your coupon being void. Well I would get 5-10 no shows a week. And of course you had to get them in again if they called you after not showing up or you are horrible at customer service to them. They ask for their money back because they have a week wait (Yes only a week wait! Not too bad considering I did have customers before my coupon deal). You are to direct the customer to the coupon company for refunds. After all there taking thousands of dollars from you to put an ad up for one day.
    After about 4 months in to my first coupon I looked my business up online one day and realized I had these reviews from all these coupon buyers on YELP. If anyone knows what YELP is if you do not pay for their advertising they will keep your bad reviews on and delete your good reviews. I had 4 good reviews from regular customers and went from a 4 out of 5 star to a 1.5 star. Every single person that had written a bad review was a coupon customer. If you just type in groupon or wagjag on yelp you can see that all these local business’s will pop up with reviews from coupon purchasers for there business. Not one of my bad reviews was anyone who had just walked in off the street for a set of nails. That was because my return rate on regular paying customers was pretty good. Some people that had written reviews said I was a scammer because I couldn’t get them in. etc. etc. etc. and became person attacks towards me and not my business or my work.

    After all the stress of the coupons and the crazy people I had met a local business owner who also had done a coupon ad in a totally different industry. She went through the exact same issues as me. Also she had a cupcake thrown at her face from a coupon client because they were not all the same size. She was never paid for her coupons from the online company she went through so she stopped taking orders and was harassed by people. She is already working for barely anything and people did not think it was professional. She as well had a very low return rate on customers.
    After everything I went through with the coupons and review websites. I went to doing my esthetics part time and only taking my clients I already had so I do not have to be worried about getting threatened on a daily basis.
    If you are every considering doing a coupon for your business do not do it. It will only put you under or give you a bad reputation. Despite what any of the companies say you are attracting the wrong crowd by going on there website.

  2. June 25, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    What a terrible experience. Thanks for sharing your experience with us; hopefully it will help other small business owners to evaluate coupon companies carefully.

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