The Worst Advice I Ever Received Was…
The Worst Carpet Cleaning Business Advice I Ever Received Was…
The carpet cleaning profession is a peculiar one.
For a start, there’s a very low barrier to entry, meaning any idiot can hire a rug doctor from their local supermarket and throw it in the back of a car.
And yet, at the same time, carpet cleaning is a tough business. You need to wear many hats to be a success.
The most successful carpet cleaners will be physically robust, have a strong work ethic, good customer service skills, and learn how to market their business effectively and close sales.
Of course, many people believe they have all these traits in abundance – even those who have never picked up a wand or ever attempted to start a small business themselves.
When you’re starting and growing your carpet cleaning business, you’re going to learn that people LOVE to give advice.
But no matter how well meaning, a lot of advice is best ignored. Here’s a few pearls of wisdom I’m glad we paid little attention to:
“I think you’re making a mistake – there’s already dozens of carpet cleaning companies in the area – the market is saturated”
If, when doing your market research, you find there are lots of moderately busy carpet cleaners in your area, it is a very good thing.
Because if there’s ever an industry that’s lagging behind the rest of the online world at a snails pace, it’s carpet cleaning.
Take a look at the websites of your competitors. I’d be surprised if there’s more than one or two who have their house in order.
While many carpet cleaners are more than happy to spend hours arguing the toss over product x and product y, they mostly continue failing to grasp that getting found online – and then convincing the reader to call – should be their most important marketing objective.
Cheap ‘build your own’ websites, stock images and thin content still make up the majority of search results for carpet cleaning on Google. And in the eyes of the customer, there’s very little to choose between most carpet cleaning companies.
The key to success doesn’t hinge on whether your local area is saturated with carpet cleaning companies. If you can get found (and stand out) in a local market that has a reasonable demand for your services, you’ll be off to a great start.
“People won’t pay that much for carpet cleaning”
Most new carpet cleaners fall into the trap of believing they’ll only secure work by being cheaper than their more experienced competitors.
While new customer acquisition is important to get you up and running, attracting customers at price levels that don’t support growth, or enable you to recruit new staff, will merely result in a race to the bottom.
You’re far better off communicating the value you offer and then making sure you deliver.
There will always be customers in the marketplace who are strongly price motivated, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do to sidestep the issue. But the majority of people do value service and results above price if they can understand exactly what it is you are offering and have confidence in your business.
“You can get all the work you need from Facebook”
Sure, if you’re happy cultivating a reputation for being cheap and cheerful, I have no doubt you can kill it on Facebook. People love boasting about how cheap they got something and are happy to spread the word to friends and family.
But if you’re aiming to grow into a carpet cleaning business that one day employs staff, Facebook is not going to be your most effective marketing channel at the prices you’ll need to be charging to grow at the fastest pace.
While there are always exceptions, and we ourselves have gained some fantastic customers and work via Facebook, it is not the best platform on which to find your ideal customers. Yes, they do reside on there (who doesn’t!?), but for the most part, the lions share of your best customers will come via customers who carry out more conscientious research via Google and your website.
Remember: for the most part, there is far more intent to buy from a proactive Google searcher than there is from a Facebook lurker who happens to be interrupted by one of your boosted posts or adverts.
“If you want the job done right, you have to do it yourself”
If you’re trying to grow beyond being an owner operator, good luck adhering to this piece of advice.
The truth of the matter is, you’re not a special snowflake.
While you may think that nobody could take more pride than you in your service (and you may be right), there are plenty of eager and capable human beings out there who will help you grow your company and improve standards.
A failure to maintain standards and an inability to ‘let go’ are more likely to stem from one or a combination of: poor recruitment in the first place, a lack of incentives, poor pay, or bad relationships / atmosphere.
Too many small business owners do everything themselves because they struggle to trust anyone else with their business. But the fact is there are great potential employees out there who can help you grow your company by doing some things better than you, and by freeing up your time to work on, and not always in, your business.
“But you don’t know anything about carpet cleaning… (or running a business)”
This is a dangerous statement often thrown around by those who are stuck in mind numbing 9-5 boxes and would rather you stayed stuck in yours.
While some people will try and convince you that your success or failure will come down to your in-depth knowledge of stain removal … the funds to purchase the latest high-tech machine … or your lack of natural god given business acumen, the truth is completely different.
While the results you achieve from carpet cleaning are obviously very important, the fact is that even the best carpet cleaners only succeed if they attract the attention of enough of the right customers.
A world-beating carpet cleaner who can’t generate leads will go bankrupt… just like a sloppy carpet cleaner who has no pride in their results may eventually run out of enough naive new customers.
To grow a carpet cleaning business, I believe that a natural curiosity and persistent hunger to learn trumps decades of experience basking in a comfort zone. You must develop an ability to zero in on what’s important right now (and where your money should be spent), along with having the motivation to actually implement – day after day, week after week, and month after month.
Whether you’re under pressure to get a new carpet cleaning business off the ground, or you’re looking to improve performance in an existing one, we can help.