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the balance of volume vs high price

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the balance of volume vs high price

Post by ACpower1 on Thu Sep 24, 2015 7:32 pm

I think this is a good topic that some could really benefit from and actually learn something.    

when you read forums a lot of carpet cleaners seem to think one or the other is the holy grail...   which isnt true,   its a delicate balance.  


When you read on tmf many guys boast the high prices and preach to everyone how they need to raise their prices,    15 step process,   etc     but they do all the work themselves and their business model could hardly support even enough work to justify hiring someone to help with the heavy daily labor..    

Then theres the guys that usually stay quiet because they dont want to get criticized for their low prices,    they are worked to the bone and do back flips all day trying to deal with the volume they have.  


actually most smart businessmen will tell you both are hilariously wrong,     the high price guy turns down wayyy too much work which is all good money hes losing out on which is bad

the volume guy ends up pissing off customers by rushing through 10 jobs per day,    retains a very low % of customers and stays busy because of relatively lower prices.  


you really want to be somewhere in the middle to sustain and actually build up your business,   whether you o/o or are multi truck.      


say you charge 1000.00 for 9 rooms of carpet,   but 80% of people who call wanting to give you business turn down your prices..   that price should be lowered so you can only turn down say 20%      


say you charge 150.00 for 9 rooms of carpet but your doing 5-6 per day,   then the price should be adjusted so your doing only 3-4 jobs per day.  



When your in the middle you turn down much less business which keeps your schedule full,    customers are much quicker to add additional services on the job,   things like protector become much easier to sell.      Plus they call more frequently then they probably would otherwise,    how about every 6 months with a $500 ticket

you also are able to retain a much higher % of customers because you dont have to rush the job so much,    maybe not a 15 step process but still a great job that leaves every customer loving you and recommending based on quality AND price.      You still charge for everything you clean,    if its really hammered carpet you charge a little more for extra time.              



really we all know how much it costs us to clean a carpet (at least I hope most here actually do that math),    so would you rather be booked out 3-4weeks or even 2 months?  or hardly booked out a week  



so where do you guys stand?      high prices,   middle,     or low      

and what would you change about your business if you had the power to do so?     more jobs?     more money in your bank account?      work less?    get off the wand completely?    




personally Im aiming for getting off the wand completely,    which I tested out for a 2 week period and let me be the first to tell you....   life is good doing what you want during the day and still bringing in the same pay as an office jockey who sits at a computer screen. It will be some more years before I am there but even moving in the direction is very very motivating... like getting a new piece of equipment and getting all charged up
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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by dp1 on Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:12 pm

Basically aiming for middle class customers and higher, that's my kind of customers, why ? Because they are kind, they know how hard work carpet cleaning is, they will tip you well ( mostly middle class customers ).

I couldn't agree more, I think I lose about 30% - 35% per day which I know is pretty high, but then again I'm on a large market and have to deal with a lot of price shoppers.
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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by milspec6 on Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:53 pm

I don't have a lot of price shoppers in my little pond, but I am with Dp all the way on my target customer profile.

Most middle-class customers know what it is like to work and tend to value the effort more than the others. Plus, I am one of them and relate better than I do with the upper crust which results in more sales and referrals.

I always see the volume argument this way. If you have full-time employees, you need volume. Having workers standing around doesn't earn you a dime, so any work is better than no work.

For those who are 0/0 with part-timers, it can be better to search for the jobs that can earn you the highest tickets since your time is a premium at this point.

I tend to fall into the second model, but I have been toying with the idea of getting off the truck and letting a couple of full-time employees take over the 2 trucks. I would definitely get far more work and probably far more money. The problem would be, I like doing the work and would not like office duty instead each day.
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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by Mo on Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:02 pm

Good topic AC.

I've never been much for one extreme or the other.

What I have always found interesting is that some "high priced cleaners" presume that if someone charges less to clean a house, the lower priced guy is going to do a shitty job.

Or the low price cleaners that will have the volume, work hard, deposit a lot of checks and presumes he's making money when in fact he' not.

Every business and owner is different and how much that business charges for a service is direct reflection of that business's goals for profit and personal goals of the owner.

I'ts been fun watching your business grow and I have no doubt that you will be off the truck in no time.
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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by Devon07 on Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:04 am

Good topic!

My plan is this....I ran some specials that were priced fairly good for both us and the custy for what I was trying to achieve, I wanted to get some action going and I have....they are calling and know im here now, I will gradually raise my price until I start to here them squirm a little....(we need to price for our area) then, I will tweak things until value is equal between us and them. I will try and never sacrifice quality as I will try and never sacrifice rates. Being busy helps do this, I had a lady ask if I could drop a $690 carpet cleaning quote and I point blank asked her what she wanted me to drop off the service to do so...I also mentioned if I dropped off anything I do for my level of quality, It would be disappointing to us both....she understood and we scheduled. I feel what AC mention here is why I have done well in the past...just by luck though. I feel each custy has an amount of rate and value expected and you need to find that...if you fail you leave rate and or value on the table...someone wont be as happy. I think this thread is profound!....we need to read deeper into this.

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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by Freemind1 on Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:10 am

It also depends on what business model YOU want for your business.

I'll tell you honestly, there is no one else competing with me in my market for windows (no one that is really making a business of it). AND I work a full time job with full time bennies.

Yes, I AM very expensive, because my time is limited and I know what I want to make with that time. My full time job pays me 20 bucks an hour plus benefits. I make 100+ in my business, and could easily flip to full time business with winters off (which I don't want. I need to stay busy).

Middle of the road? Only if you have full time employees doing the work, IMO. High end? For the full time o/o with/without part time employee.

The middle road business is also the only one that will sell with a real value. The o/o is just done when they sell the business.

Middle of the road here, for carpets, is about 30 bucks a room. How many rugs you want to suck for 30 bucks? I know each room took me 30-45 minutes to clean, start to finish. That was WAY more work and much less money than I wanted to deal with.

And you have to take most cleaning forums with a grain of salt. They all seem to be a bragging contest. You can't believe half of what your read on them. Mad

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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by milspec6 on Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:52 am

Nice post there Freemind, I though I was the only one still punching the clock with a full-time job around here. It does make a difference as it makes my limited time more valuable and thus I look for better tickets.

When cleaning full-time (I only did it for about 6 mos), sitting around without work can be very scary and I used to take every job that I could find as a result. It definitely colors your business model.

My job is set up with different crews which allows me different days off each week. I have been thinking about keeping the job and just training up some people to run the trucks on their days off while I worked.

It would provide me the ability to run the trucks 7 days per week year round with about 5 part timers pulling the load. On paper, it sounds really good, but I would have a really tough time trusting others to run my trucks when I wasn't there.
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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by ACpower1 on Fri Sep 25, 2015 2:40 pm

We also change our rates slightly by season,    spring and summer our rates go up because demand is higher

then back to normal in the winter etc,   with a spike right around Christmas for the holiday rush.  

Really the main thing is you want your schedule to be full always if possible without charging too little.  


Also you have to consider the price of carpet these days,   the majority of what is sold is cheaper carpet.


In the 90s you could charge big sq ft rates and people wouldnt blink an eye because that nice nylon was not cheap.  


We have a massive amount of cookie cutter homes here with mid grade polypropylene, (not polyester)    it cleans really easily and well but wears out faster than good nylon...     people dont want to pay big money to clean it every 6-10 months.  

The thing is,    these people are great customers that have very clean homes and want to maintain the carpet.      Most of these homes have 4bdrm up stairs with living/dining/ and an office/den downstairs

We service these all day for a starting price of $340,    sounds cheap to some but we make a killing doing it and there is literally unlimited houses like this around here.  


Heavy soil/undermaintained,   pet treatments,   and dye removal is extra so the tickets get higher very often

also we come in cheaper than several big time competitors so they are quick to add other services,   mainly upholstery.    


These jobs generally take 2.5hrs almost like clockwork and they are our main target customer,   hundreds of thousands of homes in this area like this and we only need a few thousand per year.    

2 trucks doing 2 of these each per day is the goal,     340x2 =  680 x 2 =    1360.00  x 20 days per month

never works out to be that simple but this is it..    everything I do is working towards making this as consistent as possible.

used to shoot for 1000.00 per day but the work load is heavy, day is stressful and you hit major traffic. With only 2 jobs on each truck everyone is happy and theres time for extra services.

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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by milspec6 on Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:41 pm

Sounds like what I have been thinking about for next Spring. Now that I am back to running 2 trucks, I want to saturate the market in a nearby city instead of rolling all over the place.

My tickets are normally around $310 for the style of homes in that town and there are enough to keep both trucks running all week during the warmer months. I prefer the 2 house per day rule when solo, so working 4 houses with the 2 trucks would be the same here.

You sound like a new man lately....lots of fire and passion...I like it.
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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by Mo on Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:07 pm

AC does sound pumped up. Kind of contagious
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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by ACpower1 on Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:42 pm

we re-thought some major parts of the business lately and realized this can be done, and its really not that hard at all.

lately Im trying to not focus so much on equipment/process etc, and just get down to business... its just carpet cleaning (not to take anything away from all the thought we put into it) but it is a simple service that can run like a nice watch


even if we offer a 15% off from the prices listed above in the slower months, still raking it in.
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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by ACpower1 on Fri Sep 25, 2015 4:44 pm

saturating in a nearby area is a good idea Rob, I can actually offer lower prices in my immediate area and make more money.

if its within 5-10 miles of our location the jobs are pretty profitable and not time consuming.


some jobs we do are 30+ miles out which eats a good chunk of the day.
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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by Davey Cracker on Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:07 pm


that driving is a money and time killer, especially in traffic like there always is around here. Only way I'll drive 20-30 miles is if it's a biig job. 90% of the work I do is within a 5 mile radius, and most of that 90% is really within in 2-3 miles.


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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by ACpower1 on Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:45 pm

ya anything over 30 miles we charge for travel, which they pay because some areas they cant get a company out there.


most jobs are around 15 miles, which isnt bad because we dont drive during high traffic hours.

if u leave at 9 your there by 930 and setting up

its pointless here to leave around 8 for a job, you just sit in traffic for an hour
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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by Devon07 on Sat Sep 26, 2015 3:51 am

I have a different problem...lol. This is what Ive been trying to say but havent...my area is a captive audience....all my jobs are close....as a matter a fact the recent eddm I did was in my direct area I had most jobs withing walking distance.....even the drive across town is close...this makes my market really different in regards to competition.
I recently discovered a gold mind on a few of the last few jobs.....I'll get more in detail when I have time.

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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by milspec6 on Sat Sep 26, 2015 7:51 am

Sounds like the other cleaners did a poor job of servicing that area in your absence. It's good to be the Don in your neighborhood.
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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by Freemind1 on Sat Sep 26, 2015 11:34 am

@milspec6 wrote:Nice post there Freemind, I though I was the only one still punching the clock with a full-time job around here.  It does make a difference as it makes my limited time more valuable and thus I look for better tickets.

When cleaning full-time (I only did it for about 6 mos), sitting around without work can be very scary and I used to take every job that I could find as a result.  It definitely colors your business model.

My job is set up with different crews which allows me different days off each week.  I have been thinking about keeping the job and just training up some people to run the trucks on their days off while I worked.

It would provide me the ability to run the trucks 7 days per week year round with about 5 part timers pulling the load.  On paper, it sounds really good, but I would have a really tough time trusting others to run my trucks when I wasn't there.

I think you have a great plan Rob. I hope though, that your guys will be mechanically inclined, or you have "a guy" that can fix your stuff on short notice. That would be the only potential hole in a plan like that, assuming you stay working full time. Office stuff could be handled with a program like was mentioned from AC.

You'll be the multi tasking king of your state! Very Happy

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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by ACpower1 on Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:27 pm

ya I think house call is going to keep us from needing an office person for a while longer.

but even if I was solo still wouldnt go without the program.

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Re: the balance of volume vs high price

Post by milspec6 on Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:11 pm

I think something like "House Call" is exactly what I need....very nice tip.

I have put some recruiting feelers out right now in my area for potential techs, will see what happens.
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