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They need the old rat cathcer again

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They need the old rat cathcer again

Post by milspec6 on Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:11 pm

I just spent 14.7 miles on my feet delivering mail in 110 degree heat index and being both burnt and dehydrated. Just another day wondering how to rebuild this business when the phone rings. It was my corporate account that used to be a great cleaning resource for me, asking me to clean a building for a VIP function. I have to admit it, since they stopped all cleanings since March I really wanted to tell them whiz up a rope. I actually hung up on them at first, but calmed down later and decided that I should still try and save this account or else be stuck carrying mail for a living. I texted them back and told them that it has been too long since it was cleaned last so it would have to be at a much higher rate...at lwast a 50% increase. They agreed immediately...must really be worried about this VIP event.

I was torn as to if I should turn them down and let them try and find another cleaner on short notice to teach them a lesson and demonstrate why they should work harder to keep me around, but in the end, I felt that might backfire as well. So, the old rat catcher is back in the saddle for at least one more round. I just hope I have the energy after carrying mail all day and worry that the cracked ribs will not be happy either. I cleaned a small rental last night that only took about an hour as it was vacant and I almost had to crawl upstairs when I was done.

I guess I can try....

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Re: They need the old rat cathcer again

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:13 pm

go git em'

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Re: They need the old rat cathcer again

Post by Freemind1 on Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:14 pm

They turn off the tap, and when an emergency pops up, expect you to jump to it?

Yeah, I would have told them a rope needs moistened.....
If they wanted me back, there would be a new contract with strict terms, that spell out frequency and my updated pricing. Otherwise, call the guys in the yellow truck...

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Re: They need the old rat cathcer again

Post by milspec6 on Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:22 am

I felt the same way Freemind, believe me, I was seconds away from doing that very thing. I spoke to my old sub on this job and asked for his input and he shared pretty much the same view, but he also wanted the work and I would much rather get back in the game than slinging mail all day for a living. So, I am going to bail them out on this one for a 50% increase and then I will see what comes after that. If there is no talk of a future contract with a price hike in October, it will be the final cleaning from me.
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Re: They need the old rat cathcer again

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:10 pm

warning, warning.....
there are some that if you play hardball, they will play.
Had one at the first few years of my start up.
They needed it on a certain day(about each month), and one time when I couldnt do it, they pushed; I pushed with a 'higher fee could get me to make it happen' (it was busy, and adding that job on that day would be a long day). They werent happy but consented. Got it done. Then they sent a check along with a "we got someone else" memo. $8k/year deal down the drain. I resented losing that one. It was a cherry acct.

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Re: They need the old rat cathcer again

Post by Matt; My carpet cleaner on Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:13 pm

sometimes we have to smooch the rump that pays us.
Im not proud, but ive done it.

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Re: They need the old rat cathcer again

Post by milspec6 on Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:31 pm

That was ultimately why I agreed to clean on Monday Matt. This used to be a $50k per year contract until 2018, so I don't want to drive them away even thought they have killed me this year thus far. I would like to get it back to being productive again, but I felt that I also needed to make a stand to stop them from steam rolling me. They accepted by demand for a higher price without even a hint of argument, so they are either scared of the VIP or else they have already called around and received high quotes.

I am not sure that I will be able to get it really clean either after about a million people have walked over it and spilled heaven knows what while doing it. That might be pretty difficult to achieve on a single cleaning. At least we talking and scheduling something again...that is progress.
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Re: They need the old rat cathcer again

Post by Freemind1 on Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:26 pm

While I understand holding onto a client, like you guys are saying, I'll just say this:

I have observed guys in both carpet cleaning and window cleaning, dealing with people who yank your chain. They get their eggs, in pretty much one basket. Get pretty dependent and comfortable with those or that account. Then something goes to hell.

It seems like there is only ONE shot of getting things back on track, when things go sideways. I've observed it go one of three ways.
1 You tell them how it is, and things get done from now on in a way BOTH of you agree with.
2 You end up being a slave to them. You beg for scraps, you lose your face and what seems like respect for your business.
3 You set your terms, and they don't accept and you walk away.

Me, I'm in the camp of 1 or 3. It's not really about pride, as it as about running a business right. I know we need cash flow, but I'd rather find something else to do IF I have to worry about going bankrupt or starving half the time because I let myself into a situation where I'm cornered.

Business is supposed to be about freedom, not being a slave to someone.

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Re: They need the old rat cathcer again

Post by milspec6 on Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:58 am

I value the opinion of everyone here and Freemind has been consistent with this advice. It has been almost 4 months since I have cleaned for this client and I normally clean there 3-5 times per month this time of year, so obviously there is a major problem here. The only other time this happened was about 3 years ago when the coordinator quit and nobody took over the duties in the absence, but this hasn't happened as I am still dealing with the same person.

I actually don't know if I will have the energy to get through cleaning the place after a hard day at the post office since I have been dragging lately just due to the extreme heat. Walking away from this place doesn't sound so bad to me anymore...heck, I haven't been cleaning now so walking away would be no different.

I just intend to focus on getting the job done right now, what happens after is still up in the air, but I intend on getting matters resolved going forward one way or the other.
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Re: They need the old rat cathcer again

Post by Freemind1 on Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:46 am

I TOTALLY get where you are coming from Rob, and I really understand what you are going through.

Ultimately, the situation is for you to decide what you are going to do. Be it something one of us advise, or that you go a different direction. It's your business, you choose your own path.

Me, I've put up with enough crap from employers and people trying to take advantage of me, I have no tolerance anymore for bullcrap. I have found that people that will not listen to me and keep a reasonable cleaning schedule, just are too difficult to deal with. Makes more work for me, doesn't pay enough, and the wear and tear on my body is never compensated enough. I find these type of people cheap, lazy, unappreciative, or just don't care about "clean" or the work I have to go through. Who wants to deal with people like that?!

I honestly hope whatever you turn up with this account, satisfies you and you are happy. I know with the new job, it sucks the energy from you. These people should APPRECIATE you and the hard work you put in for them.

I have one account, that after fall cleaning, is going to get a surprise in pricing. They have burned their bridge with me. Work isn't flowing in like agreed, and I'm already tired of dealing with them at their price. New pricing will take effect and required cleaning intervals will be spelled out. If they don't like it, well they can call someone else for all I care. Not worth the hassle at this point.

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Re: They need the old rat cathcer again

Post by milspec6 on Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:11 pm

That was a rough stretch. I was carrying mail all day and didn't clock out until almost 6pm so I was already going to be 2 hours behind schedule on the business clean which normally takes about 5-6 hours. The carpet was in sad shape and felt more like the carpets I used to clean at pizza joints....all grease. I even broke out the stair and detail tools to get around the vents and other fixed objects.

At one point we had to shelf the Pro-Zyme and reach for the Flex liquid. I hated to do it and had to leave the room after prespraying until things aired out a few times. Naturally, my legs are very itchy today as well...hate the harsh stuff, but we had to make up some time as it was slow going. I finished up and rolled out around 2 am and was in bed by 3:30 am. Needless to say, I was dragging at the post office today, but they scheduled me a late start (1000 am) so I was able to get some sleep.

Despite receiving countless text messages from the client reminding me how important this event was to them and how they want it to really look great, I have heard no feedback since. It looked really good to me, but it hadn't dried down yet so one has to wonder about any streaks showing uyp.

Oh well, it got done and they got the inflated bill. What happens next is anybody's guess.
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Re: They need the old rat cathcer again

Post by dp1 on Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:18 pm

I would’ve done what you did Bob, inflate the price, they agreed, do the job, future cleaning is in the future, if God can feed the birds, HE is more than able to feed you Razz
I burned the bridge with a property management company with 9 buildings in Los Angeles area, the previous manager always had me cleaned minimum 5 buildings every 3 months, they switch which buildings need cleaning the most, new manager thinks once every 3 months is too often, at least 2 or 3 of these buildings are in need of monthly cleaning, lol, she said once every 3 months is too often ? Okay, so I told her, the 50% discount can’t be offered no more, I’ll give 25% off IF they do once every 6 months, then once every 6 months only one or two buildings, so I told her no more discounts, $ 0.40 / sf or call someone else.
She still used me for 2 years after that but only on dirty carpets, she even admitted to me once when I commented on how soiled the carpet was, she said “I know ! When I saw the carpet, I knew only you can get these cleaned”. I asked the manager of the building if anyone else do any cleaning since I cleaned it last, she said no. That was last year, never heard from her again, I’m kinda glad because even at full price, it’s almost not worth it considering the wear and tear of your body and it’s really not safe working in LA ( near downtown ) unless you have a total of 3 guys to watch over the truck from time to time, not just from some punks, but also from those pesky parking ticket officers.
That was about $ 20 k business / year if they do it every 3 months, it’s a loss loss situation for everyone, I’m sure they knew that, but it was their own choice.
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Re: They need the old rat cathcer again

Post by milspec6 on Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:34 pm

I did receive an email from the CEO 2 days later thanking me for "my efforts" followed by a question as to why it their carpets were so difficult to clean? I don't know if there was an issue with the cleaning results or if he was just reacting to price increase on the invoice? I responded with everything except a power point presentation on why they are having such issues.

Not only is the frequency inadequate, but in many buildings the foot traffic (3 million most years) travels along a path no wider than 7 feet, so it is like a wagon wheel rolling across the prairie. There is no carpet on this Earth that can stand up to that kind of abuse for very long and still bounce back with a cleaning. Factor in that they don't even vacuum nightly and allow spills to sit on the fibers for months at a time and you get a rough looking carpet.

This didn't seem like something I should need to explain to a CEO and I don't know how it was received. I offered to meet with him and go over things in detail and even discuss schedules, but he did not accept the offer. All that I received was that he "had some plans" and that was all. My guess is that they will replace that carpet with VCT or Rubber flooring, but it is a magic eight ball right now for the business.

I just have to wait and see what happens.
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