The Issue Of Pricing: What Should You Be Charging For Your Services?
What Should You Really Be Charging For Your Services?
I’m assuming you started your carpet cleaning business with the intention of making a healthy profit?
Great, that’s a start.
This article isn’t intended to be a formulaic strategy or detailed analysis with cost breakdowns. It is more a mind dump of some key thoughts on pricing in the carpet cleaning industry.
Having managed and built a business in both the product and service sectors, there’s no doubt in my mind that pricing a service can be a little trickier, requiring a more nuanced approach.
The pricing of your services must obviously return you a profit. But it must also provide the customer with tangible value.
But how do you define the value of a unit of service when it’s difficult to actually define what that unit is? Particularly when there are so many intangibles and variables.
As far as the customer is concerned, it is very difficult (especially with carpet cleaning) for them to understand what they are getting for their money, when compared to the purchase of physical products.
But there’s one key point that’s often lost in the noise of arguments about price. And that is: customers believe price has a direct relationship with quality.
This is particularly true in the service marketplace.
Yet there is also a non-monetary cost perceived by the customer.
Firstly, there’s a time cost in finding and deciding on the right service provider. For products, it’s often far easier: simply compare features, data and output against a clearly displayed price.
There is a also a convenience cost. How easy and seamless will the entire process be – from phone call to clean?
Any form of inconvenience, rescheduling or sacrifice of time will lessen the value of your service.
There is also a psychological cost paid when a customer doesn’t understand the value of your service or process. This is just one reason why the depth of your website content is so vitally important.
These factors contribute greatly to ‘how much you’re able to charge.’
It is my strong belief that while reducing prices in order to maximise market share can work very well for products, it is doomed to failure in the service marketplace.
There will always be someone willing to provide their service at a cheaper price.
Now, I feel it’s important to provide a caveat…
While there are some carpet cleaners claiming they’re earning 200 gazillion pounds for every hour they’re running their truckmount, this is seldom true in my experience. Particularly if they’re claiming such output is the norm.
There are some big porkie pies being told in this industry.
For our carpet and upholstery cleaning jobs, each of our technicians is probably running their machines for an average of 5-6 hours per day (not including stone floor jobs and rug pit cleaning work). If we were regularly charging what some were claiming, I’d have a 17 plate Ferrari parked outside my sea view cottage (sorry, but I couldn’t resist putting that in there – it’s what us internet marketers do!)
But nor does this somewhat sobering fact mean that you should be arriving on Adwords offering perennial HALF PRICE CARPET CLEANING and 3 Rooms for the Price of 2!
We are the most expensive carpet cleaning company in our area by quite some distance. But we have a schedule that’s often a struggle to balance even with four of us working full-time in the business.
I have no doubt that there are many carpet cleaning companies more expensive than us in the U.K.
But for us it’s about finding the sweet spot that lies between maintaining the price level of a premium owner operator service, while enabling us to acquire a sufficient enough volume of customers to grow.
I’ll stick my neck out and say that you’ll be able to achieve strong growth beyond being a sole owner operator at an average price point of £80 – £150 per hour (on-site) if you abide by the following rules:
1.) Make it easy for your customer to find you: Advertise effectively utilising SEO and Adwords.
2.) Communicate and work with professionalism and speed. NOTHING should be too much trouble and provide as few obstacles as possible.
3.) Don’t leave the customer in any doubt as to what your service offers above others. Your website’s positioning, appearance and content is the most important factor in your success (note: merely aiming to mirror a competitor’s success by copying their tone and strategy or selling without substance will leave you chasing shadows). Always be different.
You owe it to yourself and to your business to price your service effectively. Remember: how you set the price of your services will determine how your customers perceive your value and will be the difference between the success or failure of your carpet and upholstery cleaning business.