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5 Tips to Make Deep Cleaning Profitable

5 Tips to Make Deep Cleaning Profitable

Let’s just say the quiet part out loud… “Can I hire you to do a deep clean?” is the oldest trick question in the professional cleaning industry.

As all professional cleaners soon discover, there is absolutely no standard for what constitutes a “deep” clean and the deep cleaning of one company may be less thorough than the routine cleaning of the next. This is why deep cleaning and one time cleanings are some of the highest sources of one-star online reviews and disgruntled ex-customers.

While it might feel safer to just turn them all down outright, the other hard truth in professional cleaning is that deep cleans are too popular and profitable to ignore, especially as they open the door for much of the industry's recurring business.

If you’ve had it pulling your hair out trying to make deep cleans profitable, here’s our top 5 tips to wash away the dirt and the drama.

1. Define deep… in writing

Miscommunication is the killer of all healthy relationships, even one between a cleaner and their customer. The easiest and dumbest way to lose a good client is to go into a clean half cocked, work your tail off doing things they didn’t ask for and missing things that mattered to them most. Then having the audacity to be frustrated when they’re disappointed, even though you’re supposed to be the expert in this experience.

Step one to any successful cleaning business is making firm lists of the tasks included in each of your services, be it Move In/Out, Routine, or Deep.

As you describe each task, be succinct, but use at least some descriptive words, as statements like “floors cleaned” are easily misconstrued, but “floors vacuumed and mopped” keep clients from complaining they expected “floors scrubbed on hands and knees.”

On each of your lists, create a section called "Add-Ons" with all the things you don’t do unless you’re paid extra so consumers won't mistakenly think they are included (like hand and knees scrubbing). If you share this list with customers and insist they read it and select their add-ons before you arrive, you’ve eliminated 90% of the battle before you begin.

2. An ounce of pre-soak is worth a pound of scrub

In the science of cleaning, there are only 4 variables you get to play with to get things clean: Chemistry, Heat, Time, and Mechanical Action.

For example, if I need to clean faster, I have to either use stronger soap, make it hotter, or scrub harder. If I want to avoid using dangerous chemicals, again my only options are let the weaker soap sit longer, make it hotter, or scrub harder.

In professional cleaning though, especially residential, you have LOTS of need, including needing to clean faster and not wanting to exhaust your staff and not wanting to trash delicate surfaces with caustic chemicals. The answer is the pre-soak.

When you arrive at a deep clean, the best thing you can do for your employee’s shoulders and the environment is walk around the property assessing the needs of the home and while you do, pre-spraying any durable surfaces that needs a good deep soak, like bathtub, showers, stovetops, microwaves and sinks.

This way, by the time you get to them, all these surfaces will have had at least 15 minutes or longer for the chemistry to break up and dissolve those tough soils. Depending on the climate, the soap will eventually dry, so there is a law of diminishing returns, but at least some pre-soak is always worth it.

3. Don’t fight gravity, harness it

You don’t have to be an astronaut or a green witch in a musical to know that defying gravity is near impossible, yet cleaners insist on trying all the time.

Ever since you were little, brainwashed adults showed you how to sweep crumbs off the counters into your hands, even though your little eyes could clearly see crumbs and dust missing their hands and getting in the air or on the floor anyway.

Don’t even get us started on cleaners trying to find ceiling fan dusters that somehow magically hold onto every speck and then having the nerve to be frustrated when their freshly-mopped floors below get soiled. If this is you, stop blaming your duster for YOUR lack of organization and education in physics. It’s time to stop fighting gravity and harness it!

Gravity will always win, so use it to help you clean faster. Start cleaning every room from the top down, starting with high dusting, then counters, then floors last, so you never have to waste time worrying about falling dust and crumbs, because you know you’ll be cleaning the surfaces below the one you’re working on later.

No more wasting time trying to coddle the surfaces below you, just fly around the room with speed and let your vacuum suck up the fallen ceiling dust or counter crumbs when you get to the floor. Unless it's a wet glob of tomato sauce fixing to drop on a white area rug, just let the little bits fly.

If you’re scared that you won’t be able to pick up the fine dust and bits at the end, it just means you need a better high quality dust mop and canister or backpack vacuum .

4. Stop bringing knives to a gunfight

Deep cleaning is all about expertise, not elbow grease. A professional cleaning business that just relies on brute strength to provide deeper levels of services is going to find itself with less workers and more workers comp claims faster than you can say “work smarter, not harder."  

Elbow grease is code for “I value my employees’ long term health and job satisfaction less than the cost of buying a few extra supplies.” If you want to prove to your employees that they should keep looking for a new employer that cares about their happiness, keep sending them to deep cleans with routine clean supplies.

If you want happy employees without thrown out backs and shoulders, here’s the three minimum extra tools you should have on hand to dispatch to tough cleans.

  1. Bathroom Scrubbing Pole. Scouring dirty showers and tubs by hand is exhausting. Switching to using a mop pole, a flexible pad holder, and a non-abrasive utility pad means you can use your core body strength and wide movement get huge walk-in showers clean in minutes.
  2. Scrubbing Mop Pads. Regular mop pads are designed to glide to make you faster, which means they’re terrible at scrubbing. Neglected floors need the extra firepower and it shouldn’t have to come from your shoulders.
  3. Electric Scouring Brush. If you’re going to get serious about getting into restoration cleaning, you need to invest in some sort of electric powered scrubbing tool to take the load off your staff. The motorscrubber is the best portable and cord free option in the market for walls and floors, but if it’s not in your budget, even a Drill Brush Kit and your cordless drill is 1000x better than roughing it Cinderella Style!

5. The BEST deep clean add-on… is recurring cleans!

Trying to price one time deep cleans to be profitable can feel like an impossible uphill battle, as you have to pay for all the marketing, sales work, driving, supplies, and labor cost to find and service this client all in one clean… and still make the pricing inviting enough for the client to say yes.

If you limit yourself to only one clean, the math will almost alway fall in the client's favor and you’ll leave resentful, or it will fall in your favor and the client will leave a bad review about how the clean was good but overpriced. It can feel like a lose-lose scenario, until you remember, the ultimate add-on to one time deep cleans is recurring work!

If you work up the courage to engage the customer like a respected peer and explain to them that there’s a lot of fixed expenses that go into marketing and selling a new customer, so if they can commit to just 3-5 cleans, it will help you spread out those expenses and charge them less per clean. You might be pleasantly surprised by how many clients get it and jump on the chance once you explain the realities of the situation to them.

While every professional cleaner would love to make their living just maintaining the homes of tidy people, the reality is that there are far more people out there that really need our help with deep cleaning and when we help them they have far more reason to be loyal than the tidy customers that’s already doing 80% of the work for themselves.

Deep cleaning can be hard, but if we treat the customers that need us most with dignity and start from a genuine place of caring about their health, both physical and mental, suddenly that hard work feels so much more conquerable and satisfying.

More often than not, when a customer has allowed their space to get to a place where it needs a deep clean, something more challenging has been going on in their private lives to keep them from addressing it. If you can show your clients through your tone and wording that you are here to help without judgment, that their health and safety matter, and your goal is to make ongoing service from your business affordable so they never get in this same position again, more often than not you will be able to secure that recurring sale without even having to mention covering the fixed expense.

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