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The Round-Up: Low-Moisture Carpet Care, Defeating Your Fears, and More!

September 26, 2013 Leave a comment

The Round-Up is where we feature news stories and developments from around the web related to the cleaning industry. Have an idea for coverage? Send us an email at support@principalfocus.com!

Granite FlooringThe Myths of Low-Moisture Carpet Cleaning,” CleanFax.com

With all the buzz about the pros and cons of different cleaning techniques, it’s hard to know what’s what. Click here for a list of common “myths” about low-moisture carpet cleaning, courtesy of CleanFax.com.

Caring For Granite Floors,” Mickey Crowe, CleanLink.com.

Believe it or not, different types of solid stone surfaces require different cleaning methods. Click here to learn some of the recommended techniques for dealing with granite floors.

My Journey Through the Rug World,” Tom King, Mikey’s Board.

From conventions and trade shows to demos and expos, industry veteran Tom King documents his experiences as he learns about the world of rug cleaning: click here to read the full story on Mikey’s Board!

How to Kick Fear in the Teeth” Atin Mittra, Entrepreneur.com

While entrepreneurs are often characterized as bold, confident go-getters, they often suffer from the fear of failure and rejection. Click here for some simple approaches to staying positive on your quest for success!

The Round-Up: The Value of Training, Dealing with Slackers, and more!

September 19, 2013 Leave a comment

trainingThe Value of Training,” Jeff Cross, CleanFax.com

Yeah, school is typically boring and often overrated. However, even a seasoned cleaner can benefit from brushing up on the latest in tech and best practices. Click here to read more.

One Man vs. The Union,” Stephanie Beecher, CleanLink.com.

What would you do if you wound up butting heads with a large organization who had tons of resources at their disposal? That’s what happened to this cleaner. Click here to read more.

What makes a successful entrepreneur?,” James Stephenson, Entrepreneur.com.

Ever wonder what makes the most successful business owners so special? Here are 25 characteristics that many successful entrepreneurs have in common: click here!

2 Types of Slacker Employees” Janine Popick, Inc.com

Everyone has worked with a “slacker” at some point in their life, but managing them can be tricky. Is that kid your brother-in-law “recommended” not pulling his weight? Click here to learn how to deal with common slacker behavior.

Do you have ideas for coverage? Let us know at support@principalfocus.com!

Before & After Cleaning Pics of the Week

Happy Wednesday, and welcome to another edition of our Before & After cleaning photo series!

This week’s submission comes from Steve Kroedel at Eco-Cool HVAC in Bel-Air Maryland. We usually feature stains on carpets and upholstery with this section, but Steve’s photos demonstrate a very clear picture of how an ignored air filter can quickly build up and have a negative impact on airflow in your home or office.

Here is the “before” photo:

eco-HVAC-before

Look at all that dust: it’s hard to imagine how any air gets through a filter as clogged-up as these! Let’s see the “after” photo:

eco-HVAC-after

Now that’s a breath of fresh air! I’m not even sure if the “filter” was visible underneath all that accumulated sediment in the “before” photo.

Thanks for sharing, Steve, and great job!

For more information about the benefits of HVAC cleaning, click here.

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If you have before & after photos to share, send them to us at support@principalfocus.com for a chance to be featured in our newsletter and blog!

More True Groupon Stories!

June 6, 2012 2 comments

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, SwedeClean.com, 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.

True Groupon Stories!

May 30, 2012 6 comments

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 support@principalfocus.com.)

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
www.my1pro.com
getyourservices@gmail.com

Stay tuned for more Groupon stories next week!


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