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Setting customer expectations.

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Setting customer expectations.

Post by Freemind1 on Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:12 pm

I'm sure most of you guys set customer expectations when you are talking to them on the estimate.

However, with window cleaning, people just don't really want to hear about it. It's like, as soon as you start talking about method, things that happen to glass, or what situation may call for something "extra" to cure it, their eyes glaze over in the back of their heads.

I'm thinking that in order to get "education" for clients, I need to make up some sort of sheet, or a few pages, explaining what certain conditions their windows may have, what it takes to fix it (IF it can be fixed), in an attempt to head off any ideas they may have preconceived in their minds.

I don't run into issues with this often, but it does occasionally happen.

Thoughts?

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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by milspec6 on Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:53 am

Sounds like the ideal topic for informational videos on your website to me.
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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by Freemind1 on Tue Jun 20, 2017 5:03 am

True, but I don't think I could get that video to be 2 minutes or less.

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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by dp1 on Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:35 am

I would make a list of disclaimers on the bottom of your invoice, listing all of possible pre-existing conditions, all of the risks that may arise from your cleaning that you can't be responsible of, etc.
I do that on my invoice, from "cleaning white and off white fabrics is done at customer's risks" to "not responsible of seams that can get unravel" to "not responsible of removing stains".
The problem with metropolitan areas is there are a lot of shady contractors that don't do proper installation.
Now if I see customers with red flags all over, I make sure I point them to those "disclaimers" and make sure they read them before signing the work order.
Oh, I also provide blank areas on top of those disclaimers for technician's to write any other issues that might arise that are not listed in the disclaimers.
Can you tell that I live in California ? Lol.
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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:37 am

I'm a carpet cleaner.
If you need a carpet cleanist....

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Who's your carpet cleaner?
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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by milspec6 on Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:11 am

I am not sure if disclaimers would save you legally. We are probably all familiar with the laundry mat disclaimer of "Not responsible for any / all damages" and that never survived the legal system.

This is where that silly iicrc certification comes in handy. If you followed the ANSI standard, you are covered.
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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by milspec6 on Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:14 am

Getting everything into a 2 minute video would be difficult, but I think you could do it by no dialogue, just showing the details in action shots.
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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by dp1 on Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:44 am

I'm not a lawyer by any means, so you don't think my disclaimer will stand in court even with the first signature of work order states "I acknowledged and agreed to the disclaimer" or something along that line ( I don't remember exactly how it says and it's too damn hot outside to go and check my invoices ) Razz
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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by Mo on Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:01 pm

Good idea Rob. It could be a still picture of the problem window with a paragraph of the solution or fix to that problem.

"Too hot to go outside" Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

I was out in Cali a couple of weeks ago and it didn't get past 70 and the evening was cold. It actually rained one od those days
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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by dp1 on Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:25 pm

You were out here and didn't even call / text me ?? You should be punished for that kind of behavior Mad
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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by Freemind1 on Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:56 pm

I use QuickBooks for invoicing. I don't think I really want to add anything there. I really think a leaflet type thing when I do an estimate would really fit best. I can see doing a video to have on the site, but I don't think most people will really care about watching something about 10 minutes long.

I appreciate the input though.

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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by milspec6 on Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:14 pm

Those same people that will not watch a video will not read a leaflet either. I don't have any great ideas short of starting a youtube channel where you cover these issues. It will not reach everyone, but maybe you can direct your customers to it when they schedule?
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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by Freemind1 on Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:15 pm

Getting a bid around for a residential client and thought of this thread.....

Another new one for me, as this one NOW tops the most windows on residential I have bid to date. Ginormous house, basically a mansion made of glass. Without question an ALL day job. In/out/screens, 1500 bucks.

I highly doubt they will even look twice at it when they see the price. I'd LOVE to do huge jobs like this, but people always balk at prices when they are this high. Sure, if I had a crew of 5 guys, I could cut the time WAY down, but I'd still be in it for just as many man hours. I'm sure someone else will bid much lower than me, but I don't see how they can and make any money.

Maybe it's for the best if I don't get it. Reality is, my wife probably could not handle much more than 4 hours on the glass, and I would likely need to hire someone I trust to help, even if it was nothing more than screen cleaning.

Not to mention, who know if these people are the type that want to keep up maintaining their glass, because from the look of it now, they haven't been.

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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by milspec6 on Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:20 pm

All day job at $1500 is a pretty good price, I charge about that for a 6 hour cleaning on commercial plus I have a 2 hour drive time, so we are on the same page.

I share your pain on the helper part, I have a killer day coming up mid-week that I don't even know if I can pull it off, but it really doesn't pay enough to bring in the second truck.

Some jobs just don't fit.  They can take too long for a single operator, but don't pay enough for the added help.  If you are  hungry, you tackle it and suffer.  If not, sometimes you are better off letting someone else have it.

I keep running into that problem too.
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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by dp1 on Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:54 am

I never understand the fact that these people can afford to buy mansion and keep trying to cut costs down without looking at quality, and then after they pick someone that can do the job for $ 500 and those guys are done in 3 - 4 hours, they are going to start b!tching about how crappy the job is, really ?? That just baffles me every single time. Especially considering they are white collar people that suppose to understand that there is a price tag for quality.
I don't know how old you are James but it sounds like cleaning glass is pretty labor intense, if I were you, I would look for someone that can help you on these types of jobs, even if you don't get that particular one, you might encounter another one in the future that you will get, at my age now, I care about my body and well being more than the $$, I realized I've been abusing my body the past 20 years and I don't want to do any more damage to it, next Saturday I have a bank to clean, we did it 2 years ago, 2 vans, 3 guys and we were done in almost 5 hours, this time, I'm taking an extra guy ( a church friend that's out of work currently ). Whether we finish in the same amount of time or later, I could care less, I just don't want to work my body as hard as 2 years ago even though I charge him the same amount as 2 years ago.
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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by Freemind1 on Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:20 am

I'm in my mid 40's. Also have abused my body and continue to do so with more caution. The full time job is pretty labor and skill intense. Window cleaning is really more mental than physical. Though it isn't a cake walk, but less hard on your body then you guys dragging hoses and spinners all day.

Like Rob said, I just have to be cautious about huge jobs like this. Might be able to break it into two day if accepted, but likely they are going to want a better price and faster service.

I'm not sweating it, if they hire me. It would be nice, but it will be on my terms. I'm not cutting prices and I'm not going to kill myself either.

Hiring someone isn't really a thing I want to do. To do it properly, adding employees will cost a small fortune for insurance. And at this point I don't want an employee to have to fill a schedule for, and have the problems that come with employing people. Even if I took on an occasional "day laborer", I don't trust people enough nor know someone THAT well to lay my trust in them like that. I am responsible for anything they do, and you don't really know someone until it hits the fan. Some employees have done things in other businesses that would mortify me, and embarrass me out of business.

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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by dp1 on Sun Aug 20, 2017 4:10 pm

Well, what I do to some ( e.g. Church friends ) or close friends that I know well and help me once in a while is just paying them cash, no paperwork needed when it's $ 500 - $ 1000 / year, I wouldn't want to spend a whole lot of time on tax paperwork when it's that low, I just can't deduct them as expenses, but even at $ 5000 - $ 10000 / year of not able to deduct expenses, the taxes I'm supposed to pay is raised by $ 3500, that $ 3500 is the same amount I have to pay for my portion of payroll taxes and workers comp if I were to put them in the payroll. So at the end of the day it's all the same minus all of the time involved in filing the payroll and one more thing to add at the end of the year, I save approximately 2 - 3 hours and they are happier too because they don't have to file any paperwork either.
Most of them have jobs and they are simply helping me on big jobs, I only have like 2 - 3 of them.
I will never hire day laborer that I don't know, construction of new structure is probably no problem for the contractor but for me and most responsible service companies, that should be a big NO NO.
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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by milspec6 on Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:12 pm

My Father ran an auto repair shop for 35 years and never hired any help, even though he often had to work 15 hour days and weekends to keep up with the work-load.

I asked him once why he didn't hire a second mechanic? I never forgot his answer...."Because I can't find another me".

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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by Freemind1 on Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:22 pm

Day laborer is a term used here for someone who is employed on a temporary basis. Meaning, like the situation you said DP, hiring a friend.

But you are still responsible for anything that happens to them, or anything they do with or to, a client.

Like Rob said, I can't hire another me. If I could, then I would be much more comfortable hiring someone. IF I could hire another me, I'd do it the right way too.

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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by dp1 on Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:43 pm

Well there is definitely truth to that Bob, there shouldn't be one like you, the owner, if there is, you're doing a lot of things wrong, lol.
James, here day laborer are the guys at Home Depot Laughing
What you're saying is true, you are responsible for their well being as well as anything they do in your client's home, that's why I'm picky about choosing who I take with me.
With the volume I'm doing, I definitely won't be able to do everything on my own, I can do probably 90% of them but the other 10% it would take me too long to get done, I'm too afraid of equipment break down when I have to spend too much run time. I'm talking about some commercial jobs that will take me 8 hours straight, versus 4 hours if I were to have 2 guys help. The extra 4 hours I can use sometimes to book same day services, although that hasn't happened lately Sad
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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by Freemind1 on Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:31 am

Just to let you guys know, this job was booked. They picked the highest priced package without batting an eye. Apparently they are having some in home show for some art society.

Now onto the issue of addressing labor. Mad I have 3 weeks to find someone trustworthy.

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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by milspec6 on Wed Aug 23, 2017 3:58 pm

That's great...hope you can find the right help.

I tackled my labor of Hercules last night (12,000 sqft) of commercial, solo between 2 buildings. At the 7th hour I had to shut it down due to a hand strain with just a 20x5 ramp entrance left to clean....I just couldn't push any farther and I am back again Friday, so I just added it to that day.

I expected a breakdown of some sort, but I expected mechanical rather than physical. Oh well, a little ice on the drive home and it already feels much better.

Find the help, it will be worth it.
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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by Mo on Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:30 am

Congrats James. Are the guys you normally hire not available?
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Re: Setting customer expectations.

Post by Freemind1 on Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:23 am

@Mo wrote:Congrats James. Are the guys you normally hire not available?

I'm solo, Mo.

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