Accurate cleaning estimates are a vital part of customer satisfaction and business budgeting. Here’s how you can get better estimates than ever.
You put in a lot of time and effort to attract potential customers. So does your competition. But setting up that meeting or taking that call is only one part of reaching a deal. There are certainly plenty of ways to stand out here, but an oft-overlooked tactic is to offer the most accurate cleaning estimates possible.
There are numerous benefits to an accurate estimate, even if it isn’t the least expensive. And let’s not kid ourselves; we all know that there are commercial cleaning companies willing to either charge less than anyone else for a job or offer low estimates that get “corrected” upward once they have the contract. We also know that’s not sustainable.
Word gets out pretty quickly about those companies with initially low rates that go up once they start the job. Likewise, those companies that undercharge often do a subpar job. They have to cut corners to make a profit. Either approach results in poor customer service, bad reviews, and little to no profit.
While those approaches may be intentional, it’s also possible for well-meaning and excellent commercial cleaning businesses to offer inaccurate cleaning estimates. It happens. We miss some details, underestimate the time a job will take, or make a mistake on the math. However, there are some steps you can take to eliminate these issues and offer your customers the best possible deal while still making a profit.
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Make your cleaning estimates more accurate than ever
1. Schedule a walkthrough. There are commercial cleaning companies that have price estimators on their websites. Potential customers can go through the process of entering things like the square footage of the space, frequency of cleaning, and the type of work. There’s nothing wrong with this, and in fact, it could be a good marketing tool as long as you are very clear that this is just a tool for customers to get an idea. But (and yes, there is a big “but” with this) you have no idea what this customer knows or doesn’t know about the work you do.
Their 4,000 sq. ft. office could be closer to 5,000 sq. ft. The restroom may be single occupancy, or there could be four stalls and two sinks in each. In other words, the walkthrough is one of the most important steps in offering accurate cleaning estimates. Your visual inspection of the property, along with precise measurements, gives you information such as how much traffic an area gets, what kind of surfaces you’re dealing with, and the condition of the facility.
2. Talk to your customer. Ideally, do your walkthrough with your customer to determine exactly what their expectations and requests are. It’s essential to know things like whether or not they want window cleaning or high dusting, or even HVAC filter changes. Incidentally, this is also a good opportunity to upsell if you offer things like maintenance add-ons. You can also educate your customer at this time about what you offer and why. For example, they may not know why your disinfection certification is different from another company’s disinfection services.
3. Know your overhead costs. Don’t guess at this. You know you need to make enough to cover payroll, office rental expenses, business insurance, supply costs, and more. It’s important to know what it will cost you to do any particular job. This is a vital part of offering accurate cleaning estimates. Remember, low prices are great until you go into debt and can’t run your business.
4. Use a bidding calculator. You may very well be able to do the math on paper or even in your head, but with a bidding calculator, you can build in a number of factors that impact your numbers. This means many of your costs are already there; you just need to add in the details. Additionally, a bidding calculator makes it easy to change factors such as the frequency of cleaning or the cost of particular supplies. As a bonus, a bidding calculator allows you to offer an on-the-spot estimate.
5. Follow up. This step isn’t so much about your cleaning estimates as it is about winning the bid. Still, it’s essential to follow up and thank your potential client for the chance to meet with them. Do this right away, before they make a decision, so it’s clear that your customer service is excellent. That’s part of showcasing the value your commercial cleaning business brings to the table. Even if you don’t have the least expensive bid, you may very well have the most valuable bid.
You won’t win every job you bid for, but offering accurate cleaning estimates will help your reputation and make your customers feel like they can trust you. And that’s always a win.
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