It is always better to give an in home estimate. This way you can see the condition of the home and also meet the home owner. However, a lot of people are so busy and trying to fit a time in for a home estimate can be an inconvenience. A lot of potential clients just want an estimated quote either by phone or through an online quote to get an idea of what you charge. When I first started the cleaning business I would give in home quotes.
Now I quote all the homes by square footage by the online quote form or by phone. If you are going to give in home estimates, remember if you are cleaning homes all day you will have to give the quotes in the evening or on weekends. I have found that almost all potential clients don't mind if I don't give an in home quote. I normally give the quote then set up the initial thorough cleaning and most of the time meet the clients when the initial cleaning is performed. The only drawback to not giving an in home quote is you sometimes will encounter a home that is in extremely bad condition or has an excessive amount of clutter. This does happen occasionally. If this happens you can always let the client know that there is going to be an additional charge.
When giving an in home estimate it is a good idea to take some of your business cards to leave with the potential client. If you have a cleaning bid sheet put it on a clipboard while you are touring the home to record the details about the home. You can fill in the estimate when you are finished touring the home and leave a copy with the client. By using the cleaning estimate form you will have all the clients details recorded.
As I mentioned earlier it is very important to show confidence when giving an estimate. After you introduce yourself to the potential client and offer some details about your cleaning services, ask the client to show you around the home. It is a good idea to ask the client to let you know if they have any special requests. Ask them if there is anything extra they would like done or if there is an area that they do not want cleaned. When touring the home be sure to look inside showers and tub areas. Some of these areas have not been cleaned well in some time and will require extra attention on the first visit. When you are finished, let the client know what your initial cleaning fee will be and what the maintenance cleanings will be. As mentioned earlier, let the client know all the services you perform on the initial cleaning and the extra time involved in the initial cleaning.
When giving an estimate by phone let the client know that it is an approximate quote to give them some idea of what your rates are. Get as much information as possible. How many bedrooms, baths, are there hardwood floors, do they have a finished basement that will need cleaning, if they have had a cleaning service in the past, how often they will need the cleaning, and of course the square footage of the home. If the client wants to try your services you can set up a time to do the initial thorough cleaning and inform the client that you will be able to give an exact quote for their maintenance cleaning after you have done the initial.
If you have a website for your cleaning service you can have potential clients fill out the quote form and email them with an approximate quote based on the information they give you. To be honest most of my potential clients will contact me via the online quote form as opposed to calling. If you use an online quote form to give estimates it is a good idea to put a note in the email stating that if they need more information they to please contact you or ask them if they can leave a contact number and a convenient time for you to call them.
Always let your clients know upfront what types of payment you accept and your policies on collecting payment for cleaning services. In my cleaning service, I always require payment at time of service. Your policy may differ. By requiring payment at time of service, you do not have the added task of billing your clients and you do not have to wait for payment. If you accept cash or check, simply ask the client to leave payment in a designated spot on the day of cleaning. If you have a website and offer online credit card payment, you can let your clients know if they will be paying online that the payment should be made by say 7:00 A. M. the day of cleaning. This way you will know that the payment has been made before the time of cleaning. As a rule of thumb, most clients pay by check but it is a good option to offer credit card payment if at all possible.
If at all possible when time allows, try to do little extras for clients that is not included in your services. Clients really appreciate the little extras. For instance, if you clean on garbage day and the cans are still on the curb, you can put the cans in the garage or where ever they keep them, If they leave a few dishes in the sink you can wash them and put them on a towel on the counter, or if you don't normally remove books and clean the shelves on maintenance cleanings you could clean the book shelves every once in a while, or if a client has a messy closet you could straighten a closet for them. Just anything extra that you see needs to be done.
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