Do you need some extra cash but you don’t want to work for $10/hour delivering pizza’s to do it? Check this out.
As a musician/bar singer in Nashville, TN I always had a job to pay rent, etc. Gigs were feast and famine; some months I’d be busy playing gigs and some months not so busy. During the week I worked many seasonal jobs on farms, local wineries and in hotels. Even that work was inconsistent depending on the weather and the needs of the employer. So in 2008 I started Cool Springs Office Cleaning.
Dan Miller always says to keep your ears open for new opportunities. I was helping a friend, Phil, move his business into a new office condo he just bought. It was located in a building complex with about 35 other offices. Phil told his co-worker to find someone to come in and clean the building once a week. Aha! I asked Phil if I could clean his office. He said sure. But then he did something that changed my life.
Phil sat down and explained to me how to start a business. He said to call 10 or 12 janitorial companies and get a quote for his office. Then knock off the highest bid and the lowest bid. My price for service should be 20% less than the highest price. He explained that if I priced myself too low I would resent working on weekends while my friends were out having fun. Also, this would help me get better customers. The cheap customers are difficult to get money from and complain. Higher end customers want great service and are willing to pay a little more for it and they pay on time.
Phil then said to use the words, ‘reliable and trustworthy’ as my motto. He said if I show up when I say I will and do what I say I will do, then I will separate myself from 80% of the competition because most contractors don’t do that. He stressed the importance of this to me and I’ve lived by it ever since.
Keep ’em Close
After that, Phil said to keep all of your customers close by so you’re not driving around all day to clean them and specialize in small, office condos that need once a week cleaning. Office condos is a niche market that the huge janitorial companies do not service, so there is opportunity there.
Next I bought a little ebook to find out how to market my new company. One of the best methods was to print up 3 x 5 postcards and tape them to the front office door handles at 5 in the morning. So I started to do that. I soon had my second customer, then third and so on. I went to networking events and found a mentor in that industry and started having lunch with him about once a month. He sent me accounts too small for his business and I sent him accounts to big for mine.
No Home Runs
There are no home runs, just singles and doubles. One by one my business grew. I focused on keeping the customers I have instead of marketing for new ones all the time. I quit putting out flyers and my website now brings in some new business. I do all the work and am booked on weekends so I no longer try to get new accounts. I work about 16 hours plus travel time on weekends and 3 hour Wednesday night.
Are you interested in doing the same things? How can you use the principles I used to start a different service company?