How to set your prices for carpet cleaning - Do's & Don'ts | TruckMount Forums #1 Carpet Cleaning Forums

How to set your prices for carpet cleaning - Do's & Don'ts

Prosteam-sonomacounty

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I agree 100%. I asked Jeff a couple weeks ago how to make the change from where I am to where he is. The hard thing is my customer base I have built up....well you see what Jeff said above. If I went into one of my customers and charged what Jeff does I would be shown the door. To be like Jeff I basically need to walk away from all my current customers and start over.
You don't walk away from them either. You use them as a springboard that gives you momentum into your new clientele (inviting them of course along for the ride). If you've done enough to build your relationships, some of them will follow. Try pricing at 35 cents per foot so that it will ease them along. They might not be able to afford doing their whole house but can do less rooms in order to maintain you as their flooring professional.
 
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Blacktiedetailing

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The first one you need to tell of your new pricing structure is that damn PM lady that bends your azz over all the damn time!! We can chat more in person buddy. You know how I feel about ya. That condo we did off the strip, I would have charged her $150, period.. Travel time, hauling in portys, travel time back and now you just tied up a 2 hour time slot that could of gave you a $200-$300 ticket somewhere else.
 

Jose Rodriguez

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The first one you need to tell of your new pricing structure is that damn PM lady that bends your azz over all the damn time!! We can chat more in person buddy. You know how I feel about ya. That condo we did off the strip, I would have charged her $150, period.. Travel time, hauling in portys, travel time back and now you just tied up a 2 hour time slot that could of gave you a $200-$300 ticket somewhere else.
I did a job for a customer the other day, I'm not going to get in details but I charge them $150 it took me 3.5 hours to complete, next day I had 2 jobs schedule and finished both in 3.5 hours and made $465, then I realized and call my self stuped and delete the $150 customer from my customer list, I am not cleaning for them anymore unless they pay me what I want.
 

Blacktiedetailing

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I did a job for a customer the other day, I'm not going to get in details but I charge them $150 it took me 3.5 hours to complete, next day I had 2 jobs schedule and finished both in 3.5 hours and made $465, then I realized and call my self stuped and delete the $150 customer from my customer list, I am not cleaning for them anymore unless they pay me what I want.
perfect example. Todd and I worked together the first day I had the Dragon. My job was like $400 and took us about 1 ½ hours or so, cant really remember. Then we went to Todd's and he made $200 in twice the amount of time. We kind of laughed about it but it was true. We worked twice as long for half the pay.
 

Joey J.

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I agree 100%. I asked Jeff a couple weeks ago how to make the change from where I am to where he is. The hard thing is my customer base I have built up....well you see what Jeff said above. If I went into one of my customers and charged what Jeff does I would be shown the door. To be like Jeff I basically need to walk away from all my current customers and start over.
You don't have to ditch you current customers all at once. When I do a relatively large price increase of say 20-40%, I only increase my past customers by 10% at a time until they are up to my new pricing. Sure you'll lose some in the way but Truth is most of them hardly even realize it was an increase. I increase my price to new customers by the full amount.

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MPR

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When I first started out a LONG time ago my thought was this -"well, somebody has to be the highest price and somebody has to be the lowest". I picked the highest (think I ended up being the 2nd highest guy around).
How did you get the knowledge and skills to deliver the quality and develop a clientele with that level of pricing?
 

MPR

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perfect example. Todd and I worked together the first day I had the Dragon. My job was like $400 and took us about 1 ½ hours or so, cant really remember. Then we went to Todd's and he made $200 in twice the amount of time. We kind of laughed about it but it was true. We worked twice as long for half the pay.
How well does the dragon work? Does it hold up to the hype?
 

the rugman

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How did you get the knowledge and skills to deliver the quality and develop a clientele with that level of pricing?
Mostly bullshit to be honest! I also took lots of cleaning classes and became the "go to guy" for uph cleaning. Here is the thing - cleaning carpets is pretty friggin easy - getting customers - keeping customers - not so much. That my friend is the skill set for this or any other biz.
 

Troyster

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the cheap customers will never be regular customers and the least loyal! with higher prices and quality work you are more likely to have repeats yearly at least and more loyal customer base!
 
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WillnDeb

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As much as I hate to admit it I learned from a hack,,,,man that felt good getting off my chest! With that said he was and is a great guy and good friend of mine but he had a hack approach just to name a few things the guy NEVER did dry strokes used car wash soap and never used spotters he would bait and switch every chance he got along with using water for stainguard. He ran a room special and made a decent living when he felt like it. I had some serious doubts about his business model and often asked why he did things the way he did, never really got a good answer. I eventually bought all of his equipment and inherited his customers and tried to run his old business and my new business at the same time...didnt work. I have over the last few years try to de-hack if you will his business,,,once again didnt work. Well 3 years ago I decided to raise prices 20 percent and again 20 percent last year. This year I'm going to do away with a "room" special and start going by square footage because all houses arent equal. I told my buddy about my price raise and he was shocked that I could ask as much and get it with out bait and switch or up selling critical services (like pre spray) he never understood quality over quantity. With out a forum like this to bounce ideas and share I would most likely be plugging along just getting by and letting the business run me. I've made some nice strides in business and I'm still one of the smallest fish in the pond around here. I think in the next few years when I've gradually got my pricing structure where it should be and take more advantage of the knowledge here things will be kinda nice in my world. I'd like to thank all of you folks for opening my eyes that there are more than 15 dollar a room CCers out there and they do well!
 

Troyster

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As much as I hate to admit it I learned from a hack,,,,man that felt good getting off my chest! With that said he was and is a great guy and good friend of mine but he had a hack approach just to name a few things the guy NEVER did dry strokes used car wash soap and never used spotters he would bait and switch every chance he got along with using water for stainguard. He ran a room special and made a decent living when he felt like it. I had some serious doubts about his business model and often asked why he did things the way he did, never really got a good answer. I eventually bought all of his equipment and inherited his customers and tried to run his old business and my new business at the same time...didnt work. I have over the last few years try to de-hack if you will his business,,,once again didnt work. Well 3 years ago I decided to raise prices 20 percent and again 20 percent last year. This year I'm going to do away with a "room" special and start going by square footage because all houses arent equal. I told my buddy about my price raise and he was shocked that I could ask as much and get it with out bait and switch or up selling critical services (like pre spray) he never understood quality over quantity. With out a forum like this to bounce ideas and share I would most likely be plugging along just getting by and letting the business run me. I've made some nice strides in business and I'm still one of the smallest fish in the pond around here. I think in the next few years when I've gradually got my pricing structure where it should be and take more advantage of the knowledge here things will be kinda nice in my world. I'd like to thank all of you folks for opening my eyes that there are more than 15 dollar a room CCers out there and they do well!
wouldn't car wash soap be much more expensive than a gallon of powdered carpet prespray?
 

the rugman

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I "learned" the trade working for a bait and switch $6.95 a room company - by the time I left (shortly after I started) the were down to $3.95 a room!
 

WillnDeb

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wouldn't car wash soap be much more expensive than a gallon of powdered carpet prespray?
This stuff was 32 bucks for a 5 gallon pail that has a ph of 13.8 ,,,,,you can step on it a BUNCH and still wipe a carpet out. The stuff was so strong it would change the color of the carpet. Of course once dry it returned but more than one customer freaked on him cause their beige carpet turned purple. I dont know that I would use it as a booster for greasy restaurants......And there are a BUNCH of guys here in town , hell some on this forum that use it regularly.
 
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drift56

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Many are confused when starting a business of how to set their prices. They have a tendency to look in the wrong places. Here are a few valuable tips;

1) Don't shop your competition.
2) Don't think if I'm cheaper everyone will call me instead
3) Don't start off with no business plan.
4) Don't think people can't afford to pay more
5) Don't set your prices according to YOUR living standards

The problem with using the above model can lead a business to failure fast. Or keep you "in a job" rather "in a business". Actually if added up the profit to hour ratio you might as well kept working for someone else. So prices must be set properly to properly succeed. Really if your prices are not designed to generate handsome profits then your designing a business model of failure. Instead you must do the things below.

1) Do set prices to generate good to very good profits.
2) Do pick up a TMF pricing guide
3) Do sit down and make a pricing plan
4) Do realize a lot of people can and will pay more for quality.
5) Do establish a vision for your company

Like I said if your not sure what to charge TMF provides a complete suggested service price list for only 5.00. Less than a good hamburger. Then after you get it meditate on a vision of where you want to be in 1-2-3-4 and even 5 years. I am actually friends with a former IBM CEO. He told me he always plans out 5 years ahead. Most cleaners have no plan. Not good.

Now back to setting prices. Figure up your expenses of doing a job based on;

1) Equipment & Chemical costs
2) Insurance & Taxes
3) Gas & maintenance
4) Time involved in doing a per quality job
5) Marketing

We have made it so simple with the TMF price listing. On average most cleaners are doing about 100.00 an hour. Make sure you elevate your perceived value for your services if they are low. Don't run ads or create marketing material below the consumers perceived value level. Now that being said there is nothing wrong with running a discount for "first time clients" and then charging your set prices from there. But use %'s off rather than set prices. Then if you deliver mind blowing quality and service the client will not care about price. Believe me I know. ;)

Rob

Link for Master Price List. (Yes you can blow it up and write down most of the prices or you could get this hard durable copy & spend 10.00 to support TMF. Oh and get a free carpet cleaning wristband too :D )

http://cleaningsupplies.mybigcommerce.com/complete-industry-price-list/
Like the Price list Rob. People need to remember that there is a big difference between billable hours and hours worked. Even a busy cleaner only has 5-6 hours on site per day and 3-4 hours of driving, maintenance, office work and sales. so if you only charge $20hr for your time onsite (plus expenses) it turns into minimum wage really fast... especially after uncle sam catches up with you.

Now that you own your own business no one else (except you) is going to pay for your sick days, paid time off, 401k, medical and other benefits. If you came from a franchise and do not charge at least what they did you are really taking a pay cut. Even a cleaner that wants to be competitive on price shouldn't charge less than Stanley Steemer if they want to be around 5 years from start up.

What are your thoughts on per room pricing?

on another note... price list is cool but FYI the drying equipment rental is well below Insurance Industry Guides. Home Depot may rent their fans for $25 day but they do not deliver, monitor or pick up. And they usually only have 1-2 rentals. I believe the industry fix is "up to $50 day" on fans. I charge $56 so if an adjuster needs a victory I can discount them to $40. But every state is different... idk.
 

ACP

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Just don't be the 150$ guy and your good. People pay 400 for yard clean ups, 300 when have comes, 250 for house cleaners on a bi weekly.

Most just think it's weird when they see 99 dollar deals and wonder how anyone can make money doing a good job for that much


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Simply Clean QC

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I just finished a $150.... actually, it was $139.10 to be exact. They'll get their deposit back, and I'll be seeing their new home next week some time. I don't mind being the $150 guy at all.

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bob_rugratz

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IMO, when clients see you pulling out the tape measurer it appears much more precise and professional.
what about a laser beam. They always scoot to get out of the way when I point it. Been using a laser measure for most. Seems to mildly impress them for second or to, By the look on their face. WOW a laser pointer measure thingy. Hey ma'am don't chase it. :(
 

drift56

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Just don't be the 150$ guy and your good. People pay 400 for yard clean ups, 300 when have comes, 250 for house cleaners on a bi weekly.

Most just think it's weird when they see 99 dollar deals and wonder how anyone can make money doing a good job for that much


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im pretty happy with $150-200 on a 3bd, lv & h... I can do 4-5 per day. and well. Carpets WONT make you rich, they keep the lights on and your "specialized skills" buy your toys. but I do the $99 deal in January and February
 

ACP

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Oh ya I do 150 jobs I didn't mean that, I just don't put out coupons for around that range so the higher end jobs will call.

If your making 180 in a day even after all expenses your making more than a fireman gets paid in my area with a hell of a lot less hrs.

I just don't recommend putting up coupons for 89-99 bucks because it scares away the people that expect to pay 500

If it's a small house the.n it's kind of a rip off for them to pay a large ticket unless they have special extra work that is needed. I don't like going hard on the lower middle class teachers etc, Just doesn't feel right. But if you have an elevator in your house get your cc ready

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