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Closing A Prospective Customer - Step-By-Step Guide for Maid Service Owners

May 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 193


We've written a couple of articles on small business, and hopefully we'll continue to contribute to the small business knowledge base so that entrepreneurs everywhere can benefit from the experience of others in starting and running their businesses.

Sales and marketing is arguably one of the most important functions in any business, and small business is no exception. If you can't get customers in the door, it doesn't matter how great your cleaning service is!

After you started your business, you probably went out and did a bunch of marketing. If you've done that properly, you're now getting calls from potential customers! And now how fast your business grow is up to you! Taking the customer call is extremely important because it's often your customer's first point of contact with the company. If you don't leave a good impression and answer all the questions, then you may have just lost a valuable customer!

This article is designed to help you in closing those prospective customers!


Closing a prospective customer invariably starts with a customer inquiry. These inquiries can come from a variety of sources.

By Telephone

When a customer calls your franchise business interested in the services you offer, it will normally be the result of your advertising. Customers will likely have seen your branded car, your advertisements, or even heard about you through word of mouth. He or she is likely considering multiple service providers in addition to your business.

Your greeting should be courteous and friendly, something like the following:

"Good morning! You've reached ____________, how may I help you?"

You can expect the potential customer calls to know a bit about your business, but will likely have further questions to ask. Below we outline some typical questions along with the response you should provide:

Q: What are your rates? A: Unfortunately, we cannot provide an estimate over the phone. However, I can tell you that we charge by the hour and our hourly rates are as follows: [refer to rate charts above]

Q: Are your employees bonded? A: Yes.

Q: What services do you provide? A: ____________ provides a wide range of services. Many of our services are provided each time we visit your home, such as dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, shining and polishing. In addition, there are services that we may provide that we charge additional fees for. These services include cleaning the interior of fridges and stoves, and the rates are as follows _____________. Lastly, we provide services ancillary to house cleaning, such as event staff, packing boxes, and organization services. For each of these, we charge an hourly rate of _________.

Q: Do you have insurance? A: Yes. We have multiple types of insurance that cover us under all reasonable circumstances. We have general liability insurance, auto insurance, and commercial insurance. Our insurance policies make sure that you and your home are covered at all times. [You may, at your option, disclose the coverage amounts under your insurance policies.]

Q: Can you provide references? A: Yes, we have many customers that are happy with our services and are willing to be used as a reference. However, we unfortunately cannot provide references over the phone, and can only provide them once we have met with you at your home to provide a formal quote.

Q: How many employees do you send to clean my home? A: It is company policy to always send _______ to your home.

Q: What areas do you service? A: [Discuss the boundaries of service territory]

As a business owner, your goal is to provide exceptional customer service and answer all of your clients' questions. However, as a prudent businessperson, there are quite a few questions which you should not answer under any circumstances. These questions are normally concerned with sensitive competitive information or confidential information that should not be widely distributed. You must use discretion to determine whether the information is a genuine and reasonable inquiry or not. For example, the following types of inquiries are questionable and likely unanswerable:

  • The names, addresses or contact information of your clients
  • The names, addresses or contact information of your employees
  • Sensitive financial information related to your franchise business (sales, expenses, profits)
  • Any information relating to legal paperwork
  • Sensitive information related to your marketing, hiring or operating strategies
  • Sensitive information related to your support, software or training systems

Nevertheless, throughout the conversation, your goal is then to answer the customer's questions to the best of your ability, and to convince the customer to select you as his or her residential cleaning service provider. This includes providing the customer with additional information that he or she may not ask about but that could help him or her in making a decision. Additionally, you should obtain certain information about you customer that will be useful to you. Your goals in every initial inquiry should be to:

  • Obtain the customer's name, address, and contact information
  • Ask the customer how he or she heard about your business
  • Ask the customer if he or she has visited the website, and if not, direct them there
  • Set up a time to meet the homeowner

By E-Mail

In addition to telephone calls, you can expect to receive e-mails regarding service inquiries. You may answer these in the same manner that you would answer telephone calls.


Some customers request that you provide references from current or past clients. The prospective customer intends to contact the reference and inquire about your goods and services. Asking for references is a perfectly reasonable request, and one that you should honour, if certain criteria are met:

  • The customer must agreed to be used as a reference, and must allow you to provide potential customers with his or her name, address and/or contact information
  • The potential customer must provide you with his or her name, address, and contact information
  • You may only provide any one potential customer with two (2) or three (3) references
  • You must only provide the references AFTER you have visited the home of the potential customer, or upon visiting the home of your potential customer
  • References must currently use your services on a recurring basis


Every single time a homeowner inquires about your services, he or she likely has a high interest in procuring your residential home cleaning services. As mentioned above, your goal is to set up a meeting with the homeowner to discuss his or her needs.

In most cases, you will likely find yourself setting up meetings in the evenings, since most of your potential clients will work during the day.

Inspecting the Home

When you arrive at your potential client's home, the first thing you should do is introduce yourself, and provide the client with a few printed materials:

  • Your business card
  • A brochure on ancillary services
  • A brochure on standard and additional services
You may find these brochures on your online file folder. Remember that any marketing or print materials you create must be approved by head office prior to distribution of any nature. After this, you can proceed to discuss the homeowner's needs and requests in terms of the services you provide.

Specifying Work to Be Done

The main purpose of your visit is to determine which services the client requires, and to provide the customer with a quote for providing such services.

Naturally, customization plays a large role in residential cleaning. No two homes are the same and household habits and preferences vary drastically. Some customers prefer a deep clean and others want a standard clean. This depends on their budget, whether they plan to use you in a recurring fashion and other factors. Ultimately, it is the franchise owner's responsibility to ensure every clean is done in accordance with the customer's wishes.

You should begin by explaining to the customer:

  • About all of the services that are available to the customer
  • That deep cleans should be ideally done every two months and a standard clean more often
  • That the first clean should ideally be a deep clean to restore their house to top quality and will take longer than subsequent visits
  • That without enough time for a deep clean on the first visit, customers may be disappointed at the results

In terms of specifying the work to be done, you should visit every room in the house, and for every room, answer the following questions:

  • Is this room required to be cleaned?
  • Do you require this room to be cleaned on every visit?
  • Are there items, areas, or surfaces in this room that we should not clean?
  • Are there valuable items or surfaces in the room that we should be aware of?

The client will very likely steer you through his or her home and discuss with you his or her requirements. As you progress through the home, or upon entering a relevant room, you should educate your potential customer on the types of services that you provide, and whether such services form part of the standard set, such that they are performed on each visit, or whether such services are billed for separately and performed only on request. Standard services are those that are performed on each visit, including:

  • Dusting
  • Mopping
  • Shining
  • Vacuuming

Additional Services

Additional services are those that are related to residential cleaning but are provided and/or required less frequently. Typical additional services are listed below:

  • Clean Interior of Fridge
  • Clean Interior of Stove
  • Clean Interior of Dishwasher
  • Wash Walls
  • Clean Cabinet Interiors
  • Laundry

Services not provided

Throughout the process, your goal is to communicate to the client what he or she may expect to receive when selecting you to provide service. In addition to telling the client what you can do, it is equally important to communicate what your cleaning staff cannot do. Essentially, your cleaning staff are not permitted to engage in any activities that may pose a safety of health hazard or risk. You must communicate to the potential client that your staff cannot provide these services. Of course, they change for each business, but some common ones are:

  • Climbing on furniture to get hard-to-reach places
  • Using ladders (other than a step ladder with a maximum of two steps)
  • Turning on appliances for any reason
  • Answering telephones and receiving packages
  • Outdoor maintenance (snow removal, lawn care)
  • Opening door and letting in strangers
  • Moving heavy furniture
  • Lifting or moving boxes in excess of 10kg
  • Disposing of rubbish such as electronics, clothes, etc
  • Cleaning expensive items and collectibles (chandeliers, vases, art, rugs, jewellery)



As you make your way through the home, you should also take note of a few items. Remember that it is your duty to provide a safe working environment for your employees, so one of your objectives is to determine whether the home is a suitable work environment while you are providing your quote and conducting your initial inspection of the home. Basically, you need to watch out for hazardous areas. You should look out for hazards such as:

  • Exposed wiring
  • Unsafe staircases
  • Excessively dirty homes that could present health risks
  • Excessive clutter that could pose a safety hazard (falling boxes, tight hallways, etc)
  • Pets that may pose a safety hazard (exotic animals, untrained dogs, etc.)
  • Pests that may pose a health risk (cockroaches, mice, fleas, etc)
  • Foul or foreign odours and gases

Should you encounter any of these risks, you should consider respectfully declining to provide service to your potential client. In addition, you may recommend that your potential client procure the services of another firm to rectify his or her problem, after


Many of your potential clients will likely have pets. If they do, and as long as they are domesticated animals (non-exotic), you can provide your services. Keep in mind that having pets often means that homes gets slightly dirtier. For example, some dogs shed their fur, whereas others have hair that grows and must be cut. For those individuals with dogs that shed, you can expect a significant amount of fur to accumulate between your visits, which will provide more work and therefore require more time to clean.

In addition, pets represent an additional safety concern. Therefore, discussing with the owner to ensure the pet is small or is not harmful when unrestrained is prudent. If the customer is not home during a cleaning visit, you must warn him or her that their pet pets must be restrained.


Cleaning services operate in different ways. Some bring their own products and some use the customers' products. In this case, the client pays for the products and those products are left at the client's home, to be sued exclusively in the client's home. This system has many advantages over the other systems:

  • You do not have to drive cleaning products to and from each home
  • You always have the correct products available for each home
  • The client is not charged each time for cleaning products
  • The client knows that he is not paying for other people's expensive products
  • You do not need to manage product inventory
  • Cleaning products are no longer a cost for your business

When you are providing a quote to your potential customers, you must inform them that they are responsible for purchasing and storing the cleaning products at their homes.

If the client does not already own the requisite supplies, or is unaware of the supplies he or she requires, you should recommend cleaning products to the client in accordance with the policies and procedures set out in this manual. In addition, you may procure these products on behalf of the client and charge them on your next visit for the cost of the supplies you purchased on their behalf.

In terms of recommending products, you should consider that each surface likely has a different specialty cleaning product which you should research at your local grocery store. Look out for the following surfaces:

  • Wood
  • Granite
  • Marble
  • Natural Stone
  • Stainless Steel
  • Porcelain
  • Glass
  • Ceramic


Like the cleaning supplies, the client can own the cleaning hardware, or you can provide it for them. When providing your quote, keep in mind that you will likely need the following equipment:

  • A vacuum in good working condition that is powerful enough
  • A bucket or two for water
  • A number of rags to be used in the cleaning process
  • A mop
  • A duster

When you are providing a quote to your potential customers, if the client does not already own the requisite hardware, or is unaware of the hardware he or she requires, you may recommend hardware to the client. In addition, you may procure SOME of the hardware on behalf of the client and charge them on your next visit for the cost of the supplies you purchased on their behalf.


One major concern for many potential clients is security and safety. Many clients are at work when you are performing your services, meaning that you and your staff are alone in their home. As a result, clients must often provide you with sensitive information or possessions in order to allow you to access their home, such as keys, or alarm pass codes. When providing your quote, be sure to explain your system for keeping their personal items safe and secure:

  • Only yourself and the driver have access to keys and pass codes
  • Keys are number coded and display no personal information
  • Keys are kept locked in your office
  • All keys are returned to your office at the end of every day (driver does not keep them)

In addition, you may communicate that you have a rigorous hiring process, and that your staff are all bonded (provided that they are).

Lastly, you may inform your potential clients that you have adequate liability and commercial insurance for the conduct of your business, and specify the amounts.


After you've closed the customer, the fun part begins - you get to schedule the customer, service them, and collect payment for all your hard work! Hopefully the process hasn't been too daunting, and you've met some great people along the way. In most cases, this would be the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with your client.

Hopefully this article has given you a solid process and base from which to build in terms of closing customers, and your business will grow briskly. If and when that happens, we hope that you remember the authors of this article, P&P Maid Service, for sharing our tips, tricks and secrets to closing prospective customers. And whether or not you start a maid service, the tips and tricks above will be useful in any case, because we've really just distilled that fact that you have to be courteous, professional and thorough if you have any chance!

And if you use this process to start a business other than a maid service, please remember us when considering your cleaning requirements. P&P Maid Service is a great cleaning company located in Toronto!

P&P Maid Service provides high quality residential cleaning services across the GTA, including Toronto, Mississauga, Burlington, Oakville and more!

We offer house cleaning and condo cleaning in Toronto and no job is too difficult!

We also understand that our customers are our most valuable asset, and we are committed to service quality. We back this up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee!

Call today for a no obligation quote!

Source: EzineArticles
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