To Price or Not to Price

By Jasper DeVidal

Reprinted from the Bane-Clene® Cleaning Digest™

September/October 2000, Volume 30, Number 5, Page 15

Shakespeare - That is the question

While Iím just under the national average of 25 cents PSF (per square foot), the vast majority of carpet cleaners in my area are far below 20 cents. Iím convinced the only reason they donít charge more is because they donít think they are worth it. People will spend more if they perceive they are getting value for their dollars spent.

Most carpet cleaners fix their prices at what the competition charges or less. They obviously donít think their work has any more value than the competition and they are afraid of not getting work or losing customers.

The higher the PSF, the better the customer we will attract. The opposite is also true - the lower the PSF the worse the condition a customerís carpets will be. When I went to a higher PSF, I lost all those trashy carpets I didnít want to clean anyway. If we use a PPR (price per room) to attract customers there is always another cleaner who will come in lower. Why do we want to be in a bidding price war? How much do we need to make per working hour in order to stay in business and make it profitable? Are we satisfied making $20 per hour? Wouldnít it be better to make $100 per hour?

Many homeowners fail to view carpet cleaning as necessary and also view it to be of low value. Some attempt to do it themselves or have it done by the cheapest cleaner they can find. It doesnít matter if the soil was removed, only that it was a cheap job. This type of customer may have carpet worth thousands of dollars but they are not convinced they should spend much to maintain it. Is that the type of customer we want? Wouldnít we rather have those who value their carpet?

An obstacle to getting a better price is that we have to correct misinformation. One customer told me she hadnít vacuumed her carpet in three years because the salesman told her vacuuming wore out the carpet. Or the old, ďI didnít want to clean it because it will get dirty much faster.Ē This has carried over from the early days of carpet cleaning when shampooing left lots of residue. We should always advise the customer that a Bane-Clene extracted carpet is a clean, healthy carpet.

Success in our business is 80% sales and 20% actual cleaning. We are selling our company and the benefits of using our services. But, the hardest sale of all is convincing ourselves that we are really worthy of charging a professional price for the service we perform.

Jasper Devidal is a Bane-Clene owner in Decatur, Illinois and was featured in "A Profile of Success" in the May/June 2000 issue of the Cleaning Digest™.