When you have new clients looking to make quick decisions, be ready to ballpark a building cleaning schedule without taking the night to crunch numbers.
Some businesses don’t want to put a lot of time into choosing their cleaning company. Others may just want to play hardball. In either case, you don’t want to miss out on a good business opportunity because you weren’t able to estimate a building cleaning schedule on the spot.
But how can you create something as detailed as an estimate without taking the time to first carefully review your notes about the work site? And what happens if you misquote and need to tack on additional costs?
The pros and cons of on-the-spot estimates
The obvious advantage to an immediate estimate for a building cleaning schedule is that you stand a good chance of acquiring a new client right away, without the hassle of putting together a formal quote. Even if you don’t close the deal in the moment, there’s a good chance you’ll know where you stand based on the client’s response to your initial quote.
However, quoting a building cleaning schedule on the spot can put you in an awkward position as well. You might underquote. Or, on the flip side, if you go the conservative route, you might over-quote, which could cost you a customer. Either way, you’ll need to make an adjustment or risk losing some business.
In the real world, on-the-spot estimates aren’t so black and white. However, it’s still a good idea to have a loose formula at your fingertips so you can remain a contender with the clients who want to close a deal soon.
How to make a real-time estimate
While on-the-spot estimates aren’t ideal, they aren’t that difficult to come up with, either. To start with, make sure that you have the basics of your price-points figured out: How much do you charge per square foot? Or do you charge by the hour? What’s included in a basic cleaning, and what would cost extra? How much do those extras cost?
To prepare for these questions, keep a building cleaning schedule checklist handy – something that outlines how much each of your services costs. Make this list as thorough as possible—include everything from waxing and buffing costs to the cost of using eco-friendly cleaning materials. You can then go through this checklist with a potential client during a walk-through or consultation. When you finish, add up all of the anticipated costs and that will give you your estimate.
Some professional cleaning organizations also offer calculators to members. You might consider becoming a member of one of these organizations and bringing a tablet or laptop with you to a consultation so you can quickly calculate an estimate.
Even if you choose to come up with a building cleaning schedule on the spot, remember to manage expectations, especially with a new client. Let them know that the number you’re giving them is an estimate, not a guarantee. Offer to conduct the initial cleaning at that rate, then have a second consultation where you discuss any add-ons you feel would be relevant.
Remind them that adding additional services later will come at an additional expense. Make sure you’ve outlined exactly what’s included in your original so there won’t be any confusion later about add-on services.
Push for the usual 24 hours
In all cases, it’s wise to counsel new clients to wait the customary twenty-four hour period for an official, accurate quote. Let them know that doing so will reduce the likelihood of any unexpected charges, while also allowing you to prepare yourself and your staff to do an exceptional job from the moment you set foot in the workspace.
If you’re not confident in your ability to provide a building cleaning schedule estimate right away, offer an incentive to wait until tomorrow. Offer a percentage discount on the first cleaning, or throw in a menial service for free if they agree to wait. If you’re worried about undercharging, doing so can help offset some of that anticipated loss without losing the customer.
Most of all, remember to have confidence in your business and your price model. If you’ve done your homework and you know you’re competitive within the industry, you know what’s reasonable to charge and what’s not. And if you can deliver an on-the-spot building cleaning schedule with confidence, a would-be customer is all the more likely to take you up on your offer, which in the end, means more business for you.