High Income Neighborhood Lowball Confusion


#1

Hello all and thanks in advance for you input.

A few days ago I received a phone call from the mother of a good friend asking me to clean her windows. She just happens to live in one of the highest income areas in my range so naturally I was very excited. I met with her and her husband and we chatted around a bit. Then we got to business and I started asking her the normal questions. Then I got to the “how often do you need you windows cleaned?” and she told me that the other company did the exterior every other month. So, I asked her who that company was and how much they charged. When she told me, I had to ask her to repeat herself. This company is doing her exterior for $78. She even showed me a copy of the check she had written to them. According to my pricing structure, I would normally charge about $325 for the exterior only. I did not give her a price but made it very clear that I cannot clean the exterior for anywhere near that amount and that I wouldn’t be upset if she decided to stay with the current cleaning company. Then the details started coming out. Her husband is not happy with the quality that the other company provides, they don’t tell her when they’re coming, and she doesn’t like to let them into her house because they’re “smelly.”

The catch is that she wants me to clean the interior. Normally, I would give the customer an all or nothing ultimatum but she is a friend so I considered doing it. Then, I thought about it a little longer, and I’ve decided that I’m going to hold firm on my price. If I don’t get it, at least I won’t be busting my ass to perform a high quality service for pennies.

Why is this company charging so little? What are your thoughts? I’ve attached photos for reference. Thank you!

Jonathan Bobowicz
Sky Window Cleaning


#2


#3


#4

Ask them if having all their windows cleaned every other month is that important. If not then ask them to pick 10 or 15 windows that matter and you can do it for that price.

If they want them all clean then you are still making $1900 per year at $250. Give your price and don’t get too hung up on it if you don’t get it. Keep it cool and just tell them you can’t compete on price alone. Besides, if they are going to pay 3-5 times more then they are probably going to be ultra nit picky.

They know what cheap feels like so now they know what quality costs. Ball is in their court.


#5

I would suggest a quarterly cleaning schedule

first cleaning full price (since it is the first)

2nd, 3rd, and 4th 10-15% off

You could also suggest just an exterior cleaning for remainder of the cleanings and do the entire job in/out in the spring… cause who doesn’t like spring cleaning.


#6

Some companies bid that ridiculously low just to try and dominate the market, it also doesn’t help that they pay their employees pebbles to get the job done which means that their motivation to do an awesome job just isn’t there at all not to mention giving window cleaners a bad rep!

How many bedrooms + storeys is that house? It certainly looks like a lot of French panes. Are they also divided like that on the inside? How are you going to do the outside? Traditional or Water fed pole? It all depends on how many man hours it’s going to take you, how long do you think it will take?


#7

Tell them to remove the screens and wfp that sucker. Boom, done in an hour.


#8

Not only does it discourage a good job, it also attracts people that most other people don’t want walking around in their houses.


#9

We run into people like this all the time. Some people choose us because they value quality. Others just care about the cheapest price. Awhile back I shared an experience of someone not hiring us because our bid was $838, and they’d had it done before for $200. This week, a customer from last year emailed us to have us come back to do his gutters. He said he’d received lower quotes, but he values the quality of our work and would pay $200 (a little lower than last year). Turns out one of the quotes he got was for $30!


#10

Have had a similar experience for some commercial offices. There were 84 massive panes of ground level glass inside and outside of an office complex which I figured would take me a solid 2-3 hours so I estimated $220. Got a knock back saying that they had some guys that would do it for $88! No way that would be sustainable for me to be charging that price and still keep a running business!

At the end of the day, the customers you want are the ones that are willing to pay for top quality work no questions asked about the price. The others can pay dirt cheap prices and get smears all over their windows and workers that simply aren’t motivated enough to care for the glass!


#11

What kind of work do they do for a living?

A successful business person realizes cost and value. They say they are not happy with the present or previous window cleaner - then explain why your service is superior occasionally in your conversation and let them mull over those subtle points. I say “subtle” because you don’t want to “force feed” yourself upon them.

Covering in your conversation how $78 per service call is just not sustainable for your business, then laying out your first clean price and then (if it is in your business plan) offering a quarterly discount. Every other month? Or every 3rd month? How much difference can that make to them? Since you, and almost every other viable window cleaning service on the Planet will charge a realistic rate for that huge house, you can steer them towards fair pricing.

  • You charge a rate that personifies your professional service
  • You show up on scheduled time
  • You consider personal hygiene as part of your doing business
  • You carry liability insurance
  • You present yourself as someone who is welcome in their home

Cheap windows are dirty; clean windows aren’t cheap.

Also, that manicured lawn doesn’t come cheap. :wink:


#12

Honestly, I doubt the $78 company is even cleaning all of the windows


#13

I like everything about this post beside the bolded part. @Erica. :wink:


#14

I figured someone would mention that :wink: There are a few factors that made the discount ok for us though.


#15

There was a restaurant that had about 30 windows up front and they looked dirty so I went in to see if they needed my services. The manager came out and said right out of the gate that I couldn’t beat the other price. Oh? And what’s that? $10 for the whole thing. I was almost mad that they would pay such a price seeing that they were a higher end kind of place. I told her that’s cold on their part and left. Some people…


#16

Wow, that must be $2/window based on the pictures you showed.


#17

Hope they never have to pay someone for tripping over his bucket.


#18

$10 is all a bum needs for beer, a roll of toilet paper, and apple strudel.


#19

My email sent along with my quote to the customer. Thank you all so much for your input.

Elizabeth,

First of all I would like to start off by saying how much of a pleasure it was to meet you yesterday. You have a beautiful home and I don’t blame you for being so meticulous with your windows. I wasn’t able to experience it myself but I’m sure they let in a lot of sun on a nice day.

Ok, so straight into the nitty gritty. I hope that I was clear enough that you won’t have expectations of my price being near my competitors. I have heard about them but until recently I did not realize how low they are willing to go to keep their customers. It seemed obvious by your expressions that you weren’t impressed with their quality of work or professional conduct (this includes hygiene).

I perform a different service. I focus on taking my time to clean windows properly and to respect the trade. Anyone can call themselves a window cleaner, but it takes someone with a certain amount of persistence and a little bit of obsessive compulsive disorder to do them the right way. I’ve invested in a technology that allows me to clean windows from a safe working height that truly leaves them spotless.

I can understand why you don’t want your current cleaner to clean the interior. However, I would like to list a few points on why in addition to cleaning the interior, I will clean the exterior at a higher value.

#1 I care - I truly care about the condition of the windows when I leave. To me, it’s the most direct representation of my business.

#2 Insurance - I have insurance and I don’t carry the minimum amount of coverage. I have an exclusion that protects me up to $8,000.00 in damages. If Joe Blow, drops a ladder and breaks a window - do you think he’s going to own up to it?

#3 Scheduling - I maintain a calendar and give courtesy calls to all of my customers at least 48 hours in advance. To be honest, this usually helps me out more than my customer. They are home when I arrive. I like to greet them and give an opportunity to explain any concerns or suggestions they may have.

#4 Professionalism - I will always handle any situation with honesty and integrity. I attribute this quality to my success in the construction industry.

#5 Hygiene - I know this seems funny but I do take my appearance seriously. It is another representation of my business. I suppose this includes showers, which I take daily. :slight_smile:

I also want you to know that I did lower my price by almost 25% because A) I like you guys and B) quarterly business is good in my field.

I would also like to extend a guarantee that if you’re not satisfied with my service of the exterior, I will only charge $80 and you can go back to using the other company.

Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with.

Thank you for your time.


#20

Update!

I got the job. $250.00 quarterly for the exterior and $200 annually for the interior. Thank you for all of your extremely helpful advice! It’s time to invest in the WFP system I’ve been eyeing up for a while.