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My first direct mail marketing journey

My first direct mail marketing journey

At BA House Cleaning we’ve never done direct marketing, other than our cleaners passing out flyers to neighboring homes after their cleanings.

For a while now I’ve been curious about direct mail.  Every month I get a brochure from a local franchise and if it doesn’t work, they would not continue to mail them.  I know most say the ROI for direct mail is super low (1% or so), but pay per clicks through Adwords, Thumbtack or Google leads are not cheap either.  Its all about testing what works and perhaps not putting all our eggs in one basket.  But – I guess will see? 🙂

So……….

With this direct mail I am targeting recent homes buyers (last 3 months) with a sale price 1 million or higher (we’re in San Francisco bay, so homes here are very pricey).  I used redfin.com to obtain this info.  See my screenshot below with arrows pointing to the action items.

advertising cleaning service

After clicking “apply filters” you will get a list looking something like this:

print advertising cleaning

Scroll all the way down until you see “download all” link.  Click on it.  This will download the list in a nice CSV file!

Right!  You don’t need to pay for these leads.  They’re free. 🙂

  Next I am going to use VistaPrint to print and mail postcards for me.

I downloaded 943 addresses in our service areas.  Thats 943 new home owners who paid more than a million dollars for their home!  (this is our target market, majority of the homes that we clean are worth more than 1m).

This is how my design will look like with our info of course!

So far it looks like cost of printing and mailing 943 pieces through vista print is $422.  Not bad! 

My thoughts are if I receive a typical response rate of 1% , that would be roughly 10 calls.  Ou close ratio is 70-80% and average biweekly cost for homes valued at 1m+ is $145+ per cleaning.

1 biweekly customer at $145 brings in $3770 of revenue/year.

If I close 50% of these I’d be increasing our yearly revenue by approximately 18K to 20K per year. 

But really I’d get my $422 back in a matter of weeks of servicing those customers.

I am up for a challenge.  After always focusing on online marketing, I really am curious about print marketing~

I shall keep you posted on progress here!

How to hire cleaners for your cleaning company

How to hire cleaners for your cleaning company

Everyone in a cleaning business knows how important it is to hire only qualified and reliable cleaning staff. Over the years our company tried different methods of recruiting in order to make this process as optimal as possible. And lately we came up with what we consider to be a perfect strategy.

Since I have seen many complaints regarding this issue in this group, I decided to share my ideas on the topic. Please keep in mind that I can’t guarantee that these methods will effectively work for you, however, I can assure that they work for my company perfectly well.

Let’s start with a short background. Our company BA House Cleaning started a long time ago, – six years as a legal entity, and even more as a group of people, who love to clean. We have a virtual staff in our company. It consists of three office employees, PT billing, FT customer support and FT field support. Two of them, – Field Support and Billing Support speak Spanish, between each other and with most of our cleaners. Field Supports’ main responsibility is to coordinate the team in their work – give them proper instructions, directions, answer all the questions and be available for the customers throughout the day. This job is very important and requires precise actions, which she performs very well. Lately I also added a Recruiting function to her position and it appeared to be a great idea!

Now let’s talk about our recruiting process a little further. This strategy works for California, but you can apply it in any place as well. We use Facebook Local feature to promote our recruiting in Job and Sale groups for Hispanic people.

Here’s the strategy:
• Our Field Support has joined more than 10 Facebook Job and Sales groups.
• She makes a post that states that we are hiring cleaners and adds it in each of these groups. Posts are added to groups on a regular basis, – one per day.
• Each of those posts draws about 10-15 potential candidates to us.
• She calls them and performs a short interview. In case if they pass and are ready to work, she asks them to come to our office to fill in the application. However, we keep in mind that out of these 15 candidates, only 10 will pass the phone interview. And out of these 10, only 2-5 will actually be invited to come to our office for the real interview.
• Either myself or our Field Supervisor perform interviews twice per week. Interview days are set in advance and can be scheduled for any two days of the week, – Monday and Friday, for instance.
Our interview process consists of the following steps:
• We provide our potential employees with an application forms and pens.
• After that we perform a fifteen-minute-long interview.
• If we find any particular candidate suitable for our job, we ask him/her to send us a message to our Field Supervisor on a specific date to check the status of their application.
• We NEVER hire our candidates instantly. We tend to always give ourselves some time to think more and then make the right decision.
• If we think that a candidate is not a good fit for us, we tell them that we will call them back if we will have a job for them later.

But what does this hiring algorithm really check?

1) Candidates background and past experience: a person has to answer correctly to all of the questions in order for their candidacy to be further considered and them to be invited for the interview.
2) Trustworthiness: During the interview Field Supervisor asks the candidates exactly the same questions that were asked during the phone call to match up the story.
3) Punctuality: We arrange an interview at a specific time and the candidate has to come exactly at the mentioned time. We value our time and time of our customers, therefore punctuality is a crucial skill that we need our candidates to have.
4) Following instructions: We specifically ask a potential candidate to send SMS Text message, not call or email. That’s a very specific instruction that shows us if a candidate can follow all the provided rules.
5) Real interest in this job: If a candidate has passed all of the above instructions, it shows us that they are indeed really interested in this position and are worth investing our time in them. We hire them and train them for the job.

P.S. We all know that time is money!
So here is our strategy of recruiting cleaners for our company, and throughout time it has proven to be very consistent and successful. I strongly believe that sharing our experience might also help other companies in this business.

Where Do I Buy My Cleaning Supplies?

Where Do I Buy My Cleaning Supplies?

Running a cleaning business smoothly can be tough, especially when it comes to managing your cleaning supplies. Some clients prefer to provide their own materials due to concerns about allergic reactions to certain products. However, others expect the cleaning service to bring the supplies because, after all, they are paying to get their house or office cleaned. So, you must have an adequate amount of cleaning supplies stocked at all times, no matter the season.

At this point, a question arises in every cleaner’s mind: “Where should I buy my cleaning supplies from?” A good business owner always looks for ways to reduce costs and maximize profits without compromising on the quality of their services. Hence, you must know where to buy quality supplies from without burning a hole in your pocket. Like any other business, you have two options: wholesale and retail. Generally, wholesale is the best one for your cleaning business. Again, that too depends on a lot of factors.

In this blog post, we will throw light on both options. We hope that by the end of it, you will be able to make a better decision regarding where to buy your cleaning supplies from based on your situation.

Wholesale

wholesale cleaning supplies

When we hear the word “wholesale,” the first thing that comes to our minds is a bulk of products. That’s basically what it is. This model is especially targeted towards businesses that buy materials and supplies in bulk for their day-to-day operations (however, consumers too can take advantage of wholesale. Example: Costco!). A notable advantage which wholesale stores have over retailers is that they sell products at lower prices by reducing the profit margin. Their goal is to sell more at a lower price. If you have an extensive clientele that takes up many hours per day to serve, opting for wholesale stores to get your cleaning supplies from will save you a lot of money in the long run. Moreover, since your teams are cleanings on a daily basis, it wouldn’t be so challenging to manage all your stock.

Retail

retail cleaning supplies

On the other hand, we have retailers who sell at prices that are a little higher than those of wholesale. The reason for this higher price is that retailers sell small quantities or single units of products to the ultimate consumers. In a way, they act as “middle-men” between wholesalers and consumers. Buying from retail isn’t considered a very smart move in business, that is if you have to deal with a lot of clients on a daily basis. But if you don’t have a significant amount of clients and your day-to-day tasks are fairly easy to accomplish, then you might want to consider going for retail. Also, if you don’t have a large enough team and the resources to manage a large stock of cleaning supplies, we suggest that you ditch bulk-buying altogether. Just order your supplies a week before they are likely to run out and have them delivered to your doorstep. Amazon is a great resource. But, don’t forget to keep the cost-profit ratio in mind.

How Much Should I Charge for Cleaning?

How Much Should I Charge for Cleaning?

One of the greatest things about cleaning businesses is that anyone can start them. However, setting the right prices for your services can be a challenge. If you find out the answer to the golden question, “How much should I charge for cleaning?” before officially launching your business, you will be a star. You neither want to charge more than your existing competitors, nor do you want to go into loss. There’s a magical number which, if determined, could do wonders for your business!

Fortunately, by following just a few steps, you can easily find out that number (or at least, come close to it, which is good enough)!

Step 1: Do Market Research & Determine an Hourly Rate
Start off by conducting a thorough research on the big players in the market. Find out how much your competition is charging per hour. This will help you in setting your own hourly rate. If you must know, the average hourly rate for cleaning services (house cleaning, to be precise) in US ranges between $25 and $45; however, we recommend that you determine the exact rates in your locality before setting your own.
Instead of sharing the hourly rate, some businesses prefer giving a lump-sum estimate for the whole service. To overcome that challenge, pose as a potential client and call them to ask for their estimate. It is crucial to ask specifically how LONG it would take to clean your place. Once you get the time to clean and an overall estimate, you can easily calculate the hourly rate by dividing the quote by the number of hours. For example, $240/4 Hours = $60/Hour. From there, you can work it out for yourself.

Step 2: Find Out Your “Cleaning Time”
The next important thing to do is to determine your own cleaning time. For that purpose, you can clean your own house or office, or offer your service to a friend for free. See how long it takes you to clean a specific number of square feet and get the job done completely. Don’t forget to keep the following two factors in mind:
1. Size of the rooms (in square feet)
2. Frequency of cleaning (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)
By doing this, you will get a rough idea of how many hours it will take you to clean X square feet and you can determine a rate based on that.

Step 3: Start Giving Estimates.
The only thing left to do now is to start giving estimates. For that, take the area to be cleaned and multiply it by the frequency. You’d get the total area to be cleaned. Then, determine how much time (in hours) it would take you to clean that area. Finally, multiply that answer with the hourly rate that you have already determined. For example, a client wants Y sq. ft. of area to be cleaned twice a week. You estimate that you can clean it in 2 hours. Here’s how you would estimate the price: 2 (Hours) X Your Hourly Rate = $Total Price.

So, without wasting any time, try it for yourself, set the perfect rates, and watch your cleaning business excel in no time at all.

How to Train Your Virtual Office Staff

We all keep hearing of “virtual offices” and how they are slowly transforming the way we perceive organizations but what exactly is the fuss all about?

For one, the concept of a virtual office is in the name – there’s no need for your workforce to have close physical proximity. Advanced applications and the availability of high-speed internet has made working remotely incredibly easy. The employers get to cut down on costs associated with having physical offices, whereas the employees get to enjoy flexibility and more time with their loved ones.

It’s a classic win-win situation! However, having a virtual office isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

Effective training is crucial for the long-term performance of any organization. You need to constantly keep your employees up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry. But what happens when those employees are not physically present right in front of you? The training strategy changes altogether.

Here are some tips form my own experience with virtual office staff.

·Give Your Virtual Staff Homework

As an employer, give your employees homework to improve their skills and knowledge. Think of it as self-learning – all you have to do is provide learning material to your remote workers.  It can be in the form of e-books, manuals or videos lessons. Make it clear that it is imperative for everyone to do the said ‘homework.’ You can even assess your virtual employees with online tests and reward them for their performance.

·Create a Virtual Learning Environment

In a virtual office, you can’t expect to have coffee chats or water-cooler meetings. So you need to create an environment that comes close to the real thing and allows for interaction between your staff members. We use Slack but there are many other options as well. The point is to gather all of your remote workers on a single platform where everyone can openly ask questions, seek assistance from their fellow peers and supervisors, and help others. This would prove to be extremely beneficial to your training and development efforts.

·Track Daily Progress

Just like with traditional in office employees, you need to track the progress of the training and work progress. By determining whether or not your training is making a difference, you can point out holes or shortcomings in the overall program and then make appropriate changes to counter the problem. Having each employee/staff send end of day daily report has proven to work out very well for us at BA House Cleaning.

Remember, the key to effectively training your virtual office staff is to constantly stay in touch. Follow up on their performance and take appropriate measures to keep them up to date and highly motivated.

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