Well it’s only October but the cold weather and snow is starting to happen. Pretty soon the temperatures will drop to freezing and business will drop to about the same. Something you start to figure out after opening your own carpet cleaning business is that business slows down in the winter. On average i’d say I do about half the business in December as I do in August and i’ve learned to see this coming and prepare for it.
1.) Save Money! If you are running a one or two truck operation you need to count on winters slowing down. It may be necessary to lay off an employee or for you to have a talk with your employees about this. Save money from the summer for your winter doldrums and they won’t be as much of a pain in your pocketbook.
2.) Prepare your carpet technicians. For my carpet techs they go from working 45 hours a week in the summer to maybe 20 or 25 in the winter, I let my hires know right away that they need to be saving money for November and December and to count on working less.
3.) Advertise more. I reach out to older customers, increase my google Adwords spend and in general try to compensate for business slowing down by getting new business.
4.) Get your techs snow tires. Do it now you will thank me later!
I have noticed that it isn’t just seasonal, but that business will speed up or slow down even during the summer depending on how hot out it is. For whatever reason people do like to book when it’s hot out. It could be because people assume when it is hot that their carpets will dry faster. My guess is that much like bears human beings have a “down mode” they go into during the summer and a “spring cleaning mode” people go into during the summer. People are just hunkering down when it’s cold I think. It’s odd though, definitely odd.
When setting up a new Yelp profile you can’t make a light hearted effort – Yelp accounts should be stuffed full of useful information and work photos to help your customers decide to choose you. First you need seven photos. Not five or six but seven. One of your van, one of your workers cleaning a carpet, one of a worker cleaning upholstery (you get the idea.) The important thing is that they are photographs YOU took and you aren’t using stock photos (which look cheesy.)
Now you have three text sections to fill out which are “Meet the Owner”, “History” and “Specialties.” Take your time here and write something quality. This is the spot where you are going to work in your KEYWORDS. Let’s say you live in Seattle Washington. You want to work in the following phrases: Carpet Cleaning in Seattle, Seattle Carpet Cleaning, Carpet Cleaning Seattle
Good carpet cleaning technicians can be very hard to find. Some will be hard workers but unreliable, some will be excellent workers but quit after two months. Carpet cleaning is hard, physically demanding work where you have to be very careful all the time so you need to find someone hard working, physically strong, reliable and friendly.
I think the key to finding a good employee is making them jump through a few hoops before they start the job. Ask them to come in twice, once to learn about chemicals and once to clean a room in your own place. If they say they can’t make either meeting tell them you went in a different direction. If they are going to be a flaky unreliable employee it’s good to find that out before you hand your equipment over and having them jump through a few hoops will weed a lot of people out right off the bat.
If your company is anything like mine online reviews are a big part of your business! Just a single review can raise your Yelp or Google Maps page score and bring you a lot more business. It’s hard though – sometimes you get a few reviews in a single week and sometimes a month goes by. So how can you get your customers to leave reviews? I have come up with a short list of the five best ways to get your customers to leave you positive online reviews:
1.) Ask for Them in Place of a Tip.
If somebody goes to tip you say “Oh that isn’t necessary! Thanks though! If you think we did a good job give us a review out on Google or Yelp and it will help us a lot.” People will like saving that extra money and will appreciate the attitude. I find this works very well since you can be sure anybody willing to tip you is also going to leave you a great review.
2.) Put the Google and Yelp Links on Your Printed Material
How often would you say per month a customer calls in to inquire about a job and by the time you get back to them they have gone with another carpet cleaning company? Before I decided to go with a phone answering service this was a problem I was having on a regular basis. Aside from losing the odd job I found that my phone was becoming a source of anxiety for me. During busy months sometimes my phone would ring 10-15 times a day. I could never get away from it and since I knew ignoring the phone costed me money I was trapped. Nothing more irritating than being at a movie or out with friends and seeing your phone light up and having to decide between taking a work call and losing a potential $150 to continue hanging out with your friends.
So I decided to look around at phone answering services. One thing you will notice right away when researching phone answering services is that they differ pretty wildly in terms of pricing. You can spend anywhere from about $250 a month to $5,000 a month for the exact same service depending on what company you go with. I made a shortlist of 10 companies to call, and called them one by one. If a call went to voicemail I automatically disqualified them from my list (as obviously they aren’t doing their job if nobody is answering their phone.)