The slowest season for house cleaning businesses is the summer. Kids are out of school, the family is on vacation, they’re cutting back financially for the summer, and various other reasons. I found this to be most prevalent with families and teachers.
In reality, a client could stop your service at any time, leaving you wondering why and will they return!
When a client stops your service, they often tell you they will call you when they’re ready, but many times they don’t.
Should you call them or what?
The first time this happened in my business, I waited for the client to call as soon as school was back in session. But I never called them because I generally thought I would appear rude to invade them with my inquiry or I would look desperate.
It wasn’t until the following spring that I heard from them and then it was in desperation on their side because they couldn’t find another cleaning service as good as mine. Imagine my surprise!?
It left me wondering why they would use someone else if they thought I was the best. I never actually got an answer to that question, but thought about it for a long time. So let’s look at what probably happened in the Fall when they were ready for service.
1. They Misplaced My Number – sounds ludicrous, but it can happen.
2. A Coupon Arrived in the Mail – and it wasn’t mine! They were in need of a cleaning and decided to use the coupon.
3. They Got a Referral – a friend or family member refers them to a cleaner who is “the best.” Now they feel obligated to give them a try.
Do you see where this is going?
Business is not for the timid – business is about competition and if you don’t enter and play the game, you lose! It’s not about who is the nicest; it’s about who has the better marketing.
Back to my story…. now it was summer and the usual group of people stopped service “for the summer.” My response was to wish them a wonderful summer and that I would call them after school started again. But I didn’t just leave it there, I told them I would hold their favorite day and/or time if I could. They happily went away grateful that I took it so well.
Over the summer, I sent them my newsletter so they wouldn’t “forget” about us. And once school started, I began calling all my clients who had stopped for the summer and offered them service.
Now – here’s the MOST important part – I didn’t want them to come back for 1 or 2 appointments and cancel. If they delayed starting service I made them an offer. Depending on the client, I offered them 6 appointments at a discount; or I offered 3 at a discount; or I offered them a lower rate for a specific time period, such as 6 months.
Do you see what I did? I didn’t leave it up to them to decide how long they would use my service; I gave them a reason to continue using us. This was so successful that I only remember losing one of these clients each year – all the rest came back… and in plenty of time BEFORE the holidays to increase my revenue after the long summer.
The key to making this work is to convince yourself that you are helping them, because you are!
How many times have you told yourself you need to do something, but you keep putting it off? Well, consumers have the same problem.
Before making the call, work yourself into a REALLY happy state. Smile as you are dialing the phone. Continue smiling as you tell your old client how happy you are to be able to put them back on the schedule. Wait for their response. If you sense they are unsure, tell them about the discount you can offer them for coming back on the schedule. If they are still unsure, tell them how long you will reserve that calendar spot and the discount.
If they don’t respond by that date, call them and pitch the offer again. This is how you turn maybe’s into $$.
For more great tips like this, check out my books on starting and running a house cleaning business!
How do you handle clients that have left your service?