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Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

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Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by Freemind1 on Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:59 am

Some things I have noticed over time?

Soap wars. Be it in CCing or window cleaning, people just seem to argue over this stuff a bunch. With windows, guys argue over dish soap VS a pro soap. Most guys on the Dawn side say there is no difference in the clean and the slip and cheap cost is what keeps them there. The reality is, they are only concerned with a few nickels and want a soap they can be lazy with. This would be like a Tide VS a pro carpet chem.
I'd venture to say, anyone here would call a Tide guy a hack or a charlatan, but in windows, most guys would get offended. It would certainly seem, after experimentation and reviewing the science behind "soap" that a Dawn guy is a hack.

Constant yammering about equipment. Window cleaners are always sold on the "new thing" that hits the shelves. Rubber too. There are at least a half dozen things hitting the market at any given time. Sound familiar to you CC guys?

The constant weeny measuring over how much money they make. You know HALF of it isn't true, but none the less, brag they do.

The books/service offerings/marketing from guys who sold their "multi million dollar business", that are now going to offer YOU a way to make millions yourself. Just buy my book, sign up for my service, or sign here for our marketing tailored just special for YOU. These guys live for the "there is a sucker born every minute" people.

It's funny, how you see this stuff from one industry to the next.

One thing I have seen, that I never noticed with CCing is, business owners being salesmen/YouTube promoters for suppliers. In window cleaning, I have seen several guys who supposedly have busy, successful businesses that do sales and YouTube videos for suppliers. I can't quite figure out if people are really dumb enough to think these guys are really that successful. I certainly don't have time to be a salesman or make dumb videos for suppliers. I'm busy building my business and servicing my clients. Who that has success, really has all that time to screw around? It's also odd, how these people with a few hundred to a few thousand subscribers, think they are some Hollywood star. Lol. What's even more funny, is some of these guys obviously don't know much about running a business, but they get lots of new people who model their own business from the bad advice they take from these nimrods.

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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by milspec6 on Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:04 pm

Those salesman are very common in the CCing world as well. Be thankful that your FB page isn't full of them because mine sure was for awhile until I started blocking them. Every single conversation lead to some cleaner hawking a product from some supplier or themselves. There is one in Minnesota alone that pumps out a constant flow of Youtube videos.

The funniest thing that I have noticed (guilty of as well) is that nobody seems to be sure of themselves in the running of the business. Always comparing and questioning if they are approaching things the right way. It is that doubt that allows all those salesman to exist as well.
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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:32 pm

That's why I take my time to evaluate new toys. I have enough paper weights laying around.

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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by milspec6 on Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:01 pm

@Matt; My carpet cleaner wrote:That's why I take my time to evaluate new toys. I have enough paper weights laying around.

A very wise man.
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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by Homer Building Maintenanc on Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:58 am

"The books/service offerings/marketing from guys who sold their "multi million dollar business", that are now going to offer YOU a way to make millions yourself. Just buy my book, sign up for my service, or sign here for our marketing tailored just special for YOU. These guys live for the "there is a sucker born every minute" people."

These guys are always trying to take advantage of inexperienced people with their high priced sugar pills. Quite annoying but perhaps to be expected in businesses that are easy to get into that feature lots of OJT style training vs. formal apprentice-journeyman-master training.
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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by Freemind1 on Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:18 pm

@Homer Building Maintenanc wrote:"The books/service offerings/marketing from guys who sold their "multi million dollar business", that are now going to offer YOU a way to make millions yourself. Just buy my book, sign up for my service, or sign here for our marketing tailored just special for YOU. These guys live for the "there is a sucker born every minute" people."

These guys are always trying to take advantage of inexperienced people with their high priced sugar pills. Quite annoying but perhaps to be expected in businesses that are easy to get into that feature lots of OJT style training vs. formal apprentice-journeyman-master training.

Very true.

But some of those people (especially in windows) are plain frauds. They do everything they can to hide the truth about themselves. But then again, the window cleaning industry is full of hacks that are only about getting a quick dollar. Most of them fold like a cheap hat in a year or two. I'd guess anyone who is foolish enough to think they can turn 100 buck into hundreds of thousands, isn't very bright anyway.

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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by dp1 on Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:19 pm

Speaking of hacks, I just remembered I actually gave a quote to a commercial building last year that wants one company to clean their carpets and windows, I actually gave them a quote of $ 10 / glass pane / surface ( good size ) and $ 20 / pane / surface for sliding doors, came up to $ 3000 for the whole job and I never heard back from them, in a way I'm glad because I had no clue how to clean windows, I would show up with windex and towels / paper towels, lol.
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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by milspec6 on Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:38 pm

Ah, the old windex and paper towels guy. I still see some of that actually on store fronts, but pretty sure it isn't making any money.
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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by Freemind1 on Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:46 pm

On a one time job like that you could have limped through it with straight pulls, and made money. You probably would need to have priced the windows at 3-5 bucks each.

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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by Freemind1 on Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:45 pm

Another funny thing to add to the "weird stuff" file.

Supposedly successful business people constantly mod-ing tools and acting like THEY pioneered the concept of what they did. To top it off, one guy tells me when I don't agree with wasting time doing something that is already commercially available at a low cost, he said it's all about enjoying tinkering.

I can understand liking to tinker. But let's be honest, do you REALLY have time for it and would your workers appreciate you messing with their tools?

If the WORKER asked for it, maybe they would. But to be honest, a worker just wants to do their job and go home. They don't care about saving you 10 minutes on a job or having to relearn how to do something.

I want to transition from being the guy with all the hats, to the guy in the office. I can see what those guys in the office are doing. And most of these people who are supposed to "successful" aren't doing what they should be to reach that level of success. I am finding it harder to discern who is really making success and who is just blowing smoke (aka full of crap). Well, maybe not being able to tell, just not right away.

WHERE would you find the people who are TRULY successful? Because I would like to converse with THOSE people and pick their brains a bit now and then. It appears those people who know how to HONESTLY grow a business, are never to be found on the net'.

A few of the things I'd like to talk to them about are marketing, where to find the people you need to grow your business (like graphic designers, printers, and other service businesses), and basically what steps need to be taken to grow and how to time those steps. These are the things that are the stepping stones to growing your business IMO.

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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by milspec6 on Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:14 pm

There are a ton of "business coaches" out there that can provide that help, but they aren't cheap. You could certainly find those people by joining a Rotary Club and Veterans have access to free coaches through the VA....don't know how helpful they are though.

I would think that you have probably worked for a dozen or so people that you are looking for, might want to check your customer list.

Another option would be to find somebody in your industry that is retiring and hire them as a part-time consultant. I have been looking into doing that myself, but my problem is that I have no desire to work the office, I prefer to be in the field. That and I can't afford to hire anyone right now.

I speak to all of my customers who operate successful businesses, but so far their business strategy didn't translate for me. In this area, all the successful guys built it on word of mouth and don't advertise...no websites or phone book listing either. People find them. That hasn't been too helpful to me, but then they have been in the game for decades and it might just be a matter of time to get there.
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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by Freemind1 on Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:22 pm

I don't have much faith in the "business coaches" I have run across.

I looked into SCORE, which is business coaching by retired businessmen, but none of them locally are or were into "service". They were all brick and mortar or professional services like engineering firms. I feel in order to get relevant advice, they need to be in a true service business. We provide luxury services that get cut FIRST when purse strings get tightened. Not so much with someone doing brick and mortar sales.

I have talked to a couple of people who operate successful businesses. Each seem to be odd in the fact they got where they are differently and run a business differently. One in particular also claimed to never have advertised, but that just wasn't true because I had seen some of their advertising over the years. It's like they want to keep it secret, even though I am no threat to them and I am not pursuing their industry.

Maybe there is no real secret to it, but I feel like there are certain timed steps that need to be taken to grow. I just don't know what they are.

Ok, here is one thing that REALLY plagues me. I need someone who is good, to design some post card design for me. Locally, I might as well forget it, because I can't find anyone I would pay to do it. The local print shop wants 75 an hour for design and the portfolio they have is amateurish. My first card is better than what they have. They can't write marketing copy, and I'm not paying almost 100 an hour to drag and drop pictures. I have searched for designers on the net to do the work, and come up pretty much with nothing. I NEED a post card guy/gal that isn't super expensive and they need to know how to write marketing copy. I did my first card, and it took me only about 3 total hours in actual working time. I don't want to do it again, I have other things to do. But I'm stuck doing it and I don't enjoy it.

Things just aren't "falling in place" and it's making a road block for me. I'm tired of wearing all the hats. I don't mind overseeing things, but I just don't have time to do all the "everything else" while growing the business. This year had it's ups and downs. But when it was busy, it was a mad house. I had a hard time, at times, keeping up with things.

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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by milspec6 on Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:11 pm

I am still of the mind that it has to do with being in the right place at the right time as to one's success.

My Father owned an auto repair shop that specialized in foreign cars back in the '70's when the US was just starting to see imports. He located the shop 35 miles from the nearest large city too which made it seem like a losing proposition.

When the importing became big in the '80's, Dad was the only shop within 60 miles of the nearest dealer for foreign vehicles. Never advertised except for phone book, but was swamped busy for decades. Dad dropped out of high school and was no business expert, had no idea how to do anything except talk to people and repair things....he was exceptionally gifted at both.

Service businesses must be in the right area and without a lot of competition to make it big. I lack competition, but the location is not ripe for business.....also explains the lack of competition. It is the competition that creates the need for marketing, so location is really the key and I am in the wrong one.

I don't know who would be a good source for that marketing needs of yours, but I sure understand your need for it and desire to find one.

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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by dp1 on Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:57 pm

Well, I think you said your town has 5000 people ? The biggest question is how many homes in your town ?
I think the average people need carpet cleaning once every 2 - 3 years, I would say on average 10% of total homes in your areas will need cleaning annually, this is after eliminating some newer homes with hard surface, although I’m sure in your area, hard surfaces is not nearly as popular as in my area.
Now if that 10% is around 150, that makes 12+ homes monthly need cleaning, you definitely need more customers, I would spread some advertisements to nearby town to at least double that number and even then, you’d only average 1 home per day if you work 6 days a week. Assuming that nearby town has similar amount of homes.
My advice is do not be scared to advertise, however be scared to advertising that requires a long contract, good advertisement plan will not feel the need to hook you with long term contract, look at google AdWords, you can turn them on and off any time you like.

I agree with James regarding business coach, most of them are scams. You’d learn so much more in these forums rather than spending the money on those coaches.
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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by milspec6 on Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:30 pm

The populations of my service area the following:

7,000
1,000
35,000
9,000
3,200

Not exactly a huge population to pull from. The big city 40 minutes away holds a few hundred thousand, but also contains a ton of cleaners and lots of negatives.
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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by dp1 on Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:50 pm

That’s about 55000 populations, if the average household is 4, then that would make it 14,000 homes, 1,400 of those are your average people that do clean their carpets at least once every 2 years, that makes it 700 / year, that means about 60 homes monthly, that’s still pretty low considering you have a few competitors, no matter how bad they are.
Is Lincoln the big city you said 40 minutes away ? If yes, I would advertise there, start with google AdWords, make sure you list as much negative keywords as possible so that people don’t click your ads when they need window cleaning, lol, or house cleaning, it takes about a day to set up your AdWords ads properly, but then the rest is easy, you turn them off when you’re away or don’t want to spend any more money, although you can set up daily limit on how much you want to spend, also it’s a good idea to title your ad with “not the cheapest” to eliminate the cheap skate, lol. I think google gives free set up now when you call them, it’s something to think about, you can turn them on when you have a warmer week and turn them off when it’s freezing.
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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by Freemind1 on Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:13 pm

I have a hard time believing that all of the US, isn't pretty much internet dependent. Just my website accounts for a very fair portion on traffic. In season I have about 100 visits a month, and about 25% of those are calls for estimates.

Post cards ARE my biggest driver of sales though. Post cards are ONLY targeted at high value homes.

Were it not for postcards, I would be doing adwords. They send me an offer all the time for 100-150 in credit for spending 50 bucks first. To me, if you can get someone from Google to help set up adwords for you, it's well worth tossing 50 bucks to try it. Especially when you can precisely control how much you spend and when. I may even do some this up coming Spring. What have I got to lose other than 50 bucks?

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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by milspec6 on Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:31 pm

Actually, Dp the big city is Omaha. I do agree that the market is too small where I am located right now, but I really wanted to avoid Omaha for many reasons. It doesn't look like I can avoid it if I want to find a sustainable residential market...which is why I want to target commercial instead. A single bank is worth more than 8-10 homes around here, so that is my new approach.

I understand your belief Freemind, but remember, I still get a lot of customers who pay half the bill in cash like they did when there wasn't 24 hour banking. They pay half that way so that you have some cash before the bank opens the next day.

Internet isn't that dominate in my small rural area, neither are cell phones really. I still get a lot of landline calls.
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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by dp1 on Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:22 pm

If you ask me this 3 years ago, I would dispute you right and left, now I completely agree, commercial market can be lucrative, but the only problem is there are very few of them want to get cleaning in a regular basis, seems like it’s not like that in your area, which is good.
However like James said, AdWords give coupons all the time, I might even have a few laying around, spend $ 50 and get $ 100 free, you get $ 150 worth of advertisement, I bet you can get around 15 clicks and get about 2 - 3 customers scheduled at the very least, you might change your mind after you try it ?
Negative keywords can include “apartment cleaning” if you don’t want to do apartments.
Oh, I bet you can charge at least 20 - 25% more for residential in Omaha since it’s a bigger city ?
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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by Freemind1 on Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:17 am

I would not bet a bigger market necessarily means more per job.

Those bums that come here from the big city are bum pricers. One house 2 years ago was 100 windows. I was at 1K to clean it. They were 300 (according to the home owner). This means they were 3 bucks a window, or 1.50 a side. I've never heard of prices so low, other than store fronts.

Low ballers are the norm in bigger cities. Wet and jet.....

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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by milspec6 on Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:33 pm

The only pricing that I see in the big city is apartment cleanings with $65 being the norm. I wouldn't touch an apartment for that kind of money.
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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:25 pm

I've been working in a town North of me for 20+ years.
Population..19,000±
Residential addresses...12,000±
College town, county seat(small county)
9 carpet cleaners. One is new, and upsetting the balance of the market.

Alot depends on the market. Is clean carpet important to them? + Alot of new carpet from the floods awhile back; afew more years before the get them cleaned:(?

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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by milspec6 on Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:40 pm

Wow Matt, 9 cleaners survive with only 19,000 people? Dman, I am doing something very wrong then.
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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by Freemind1 on Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:28 pm

I don't think you are Rob.

I've said before, in my market, people don't take clean serious or seem to care much at all. I'd bet your market is very much like that. It's not something you are doing wrong, it's that people are content to live in filth.

The only way to change it, is to change the mindset of the people to realize how dirty they are. Carpets need cleaned at LEAST once a year. You walk on it everyday, it gets dirty no matter what.

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Re: Funny stuff you notice over time owning a business

Post by milspec6 on Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:41 pm

Well, I think you are both correct.

I went into this believing that this industry focuses 98% on the appearance of the carpet and forgets all about the health or extending the life of a carpet. As carpet design improves on its ability to disguise soil load, people end up less inclined to clean even though we know the truth. It is worse than a toilet seat in many homes despite not looking so bad.

That is the fault of the industry and myself as I didn't push the issue very hard this year like I had planned. I planned on pumping out videos to illustrate the point each week, but was lazy and didn't do it.

So, I have been doing things wrong and need to fix that going into next Spring if I want to see the residential work increase in my area.

Still a little unfocused on what path I take right now, so everything is confusing until November.
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