Q&A with Stephanie Pipkin: Lead Generations Tips for Maid Service Owners

June 5, 2024 in Business, Maid Service Expert

Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by The ZenMaid Team

Stephanie Pipkin is the owner of Serene Clean, a Wisconsin-based cleaning company that has grown from $0 to $1.5 million in yearly revenue in under 5 years. As one of our partnering industry leaders at ZenMaid, Stephanie hosted a live Q&A in our free Facebook Group: The ZenMaid Mastermind. 

We’ve broken down the key takeaways to read in this post. You can watch the full video replay right here. (Please request access if you’re not already one of our 8,000+ members of savvy maid service owners.)

Q: Do you give customers receipts for their payments?

Yes, customers should always receive a receipt for their payments. If you use payment processing software like QuickBooks, Stripe, or Square, you can set it up to send receipts automatically. For clients who prefer to send checks, you can mail them a receipt upon request. Ensuring customers get receipts helps maintain transparency and trust.

Q: How do you find leads? Did you find leads differently when you first started versus now?

Starting and growing a cleaning business involves continually finding new leads. Stephanie shares her journey and how her approach to generating leads has evolved.

Leveraging local influencers

Initially, Stephanie tapped into local influencers, offering free cleanings to ten moms in exchange for honest reviews. This grassroots approach, inspired by Melissa Maker‘s teachings, kickstarted Serene Clean’s client base through word-of-mouth marketing. 

Improving online presence through SEO

As the business expanded, emphasis shifted towards bolstering online presence. Encouraging satisfied clients to leave Google reviews became pivotal, enhancing the company’s reputation. SEO optimization techniques, including keyword-rich website content and an updated Google Business Profile, propelled Serene Clean’s visibility in local searches. Additionally, strategically crafted videos on YouTube further amplified their online footprint.

Community involvement and word of mouth

While word-of-mouth referrals continue to play a vital role, community engagement emerged as a potent lead generator. Monthly donations to local nonprofits and initiatives like Cleaning for a Reason not only give back but also foster goodwill within the community. Public recognition of employees’ efforts creates a positive workplace culture, enticing both clients and potential team members.

Q: I’m about to start my cleaning business and will be doing it on my own. How did you start as a one-person cleaner?

Starting a cleaning business on your own can be challenging. These are the areas in your business that you’ll want to prioritize in the beginning.

  1. Professional Website
  • Use GoDaddy’s WordPress builder, they offer good templates to users.
  • Have a strong call to action, like encouraging visitors to fill out a booking form for a free quote.
  • Add a personal touch to your website by including a professional photo and sharing your mission.
  • Showcase client reviews.
  1. Google Business Profile
  • Verify your Google My Business page.
  • Gather reviews. You cana even offer free cleanings in exchange for reviews to help build your online presence.
  1. Checklists
  • Use checklists to impress clients with thorough and consistent cleaning.
  1. Professional Appearance
  • Wear branded attire.
  • Maintain a clean car.
  • Keep social media profiles professional.
  1. Pricing
  • Start with higher pricing, even if you are starting alone. 
  • Consider starting around $40 per man hour. 
  • Charge even higher for commercial and Airbnb accounts.
  1. Supplies
  • Keep supplies simple: Dawn dish soap, water, and essential oils.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals like bleach.
  • Invest in a good vacuum cleaner.

Q: What is your main focus each day to ensure clients and employees are happy and everything running smoothly? What does your typical day as a cleaning business boss look like? 

Stephanie’s typical day at Serene Clean is unique because she remotely manages her cleaning business 20 hours away with the help of three full-time managers. Get a more in-depth sneak peek inside Stephanie’s typical day by reading this article.

Marketing and branding

Stephanie mainly focuses on marketing and branding by managing the website, creating content, scheduling Facebook posts, and writing a detailed monthly newsletter. Using tools like Zapier and MailChimp, she ensures all new contacts are added to their mailing list.

Financial management

While Stephanie handles audits and overall financial oversight, her team manages specific financial tasks such as accounts payable/receivable, payroll, and inventory. One team member manages hiring and employee relations while another focuses on customer service and estimates.

Employee recognition

Positive feedback can be shared publicly in team chats, while negative feedback should be addressed privately. Serene Clean highlights staff achievements on their Facebook page, holds regular team lunches and rewards one employee monthly with a $100 bill and a handwritten thank you note. 

Employee benefits

Offer competitive pay and benefits is key to keeping employees happy. Serene Clean recently added paid holidays to their list of benefits. Charging clients higher rates helps fund these benefits and maintain high service standards.

Client feedback 

Ensuring clients are happy involves regular check-ins, maintaining great communication, and promptly addressing any issues. This approach builds a positive reputation and keeps both clients and cleaners satisfied.

Q: What are your tips on employee retention and staying staffed? 

Employee turnover is a common headache for maid service owners, despite efforts to foster a positive work environment. Stephanie shares a few tips that helped her remain staffed.

  1. Identify red flags during training. Watch for signs of future retention issues. Pay attention to how candidates receive feedback and their enthusiasm for the job. Consistency and reliability early on often predict long-term commitment.
  2. Understand Wage Discrepancies. Address wage disparities and consider additional incentives like retention bonuses. Understand why employees are leaving despite attractive wages so that you can implement effective retention strategies.
  3. Target the right demographic. Consider the age demographic of potential hires. Older candidates may prove more reliable than their younger counterparts. Scrutinize past work experiences to filter out candidates with a history of short-term employment.

Q: How do you find people who only need 20 hours of work and are flexible enough to only fill in from time to time? 

Primary caregivers, often parents with young children, and college-aged workers are the ones most open to flexible work arrangements. Stephanie recommends creating specific on-call positions to handle last-minute requests. Keep certain days open for the on-call cleaner to efficiently manage staffing gaps without compromising your operations. 

Q: How do you push past the million dollar mark?

Reaching the million dollar mark in your maid service business is a significant milestone. Here are some ways that worked in Stephanie’s experience.

Embrace Commercial Cleaning

Many maid services have found that commercial accounts can provide more stable and higher-paying contracts compared to residential cleaning. Focus on securing daytime commercial contracts to avoid the hassle of late-night cleanings.

Optimize Pricing

To grow your revenue, you need to be comfortable with charging higher rates. If your close rate is very high, it might indicate that your prices are too low. Conduct a market audit to understand the pricing landscape and aim to be one of the higher-priced services in your area. Remember, higher prices often correlate with perceived higher value.

Streamline Operations

Train your staff to deliver high-quality service consistently and ensure they are cross-trained in both residential and commercial cleaning. This flexibility can help you maintain high standards and manage your workforce more effectively.

Invest in Marketing

Invest in a professional website and leverage Google reviews to build social proof. Positive reviews and a strong online presence can drive new business and help you stand out from the competition.

Focus on Profitability

Revenue alone isn’t enough; you need to ensure profitability. Keep a close eye on your expenses and make strategic decisions to manage costs. Consider setting aside a significant emergency fund to handle unexpected expenses and maintain financial stability.

Build a Strong Team

Having intelligent and reliable people in your office who understand your vision and goals can make a huge difference. Empower your managers to make decisions and support your staff to create a positive work environment.

Q: How do you locate commercial jobs?

Finding commercial cleaning contracts can significantly boost your maid service business. Here are some straightforward strategies:

  1. Do Donut Drop-Offs: Visit local businesses with boxes of donuts and a sales sheet highlighting your services.
  2. Create a One-Sheet: Design a concise flyer that outlines the benefits of your service.
  3. Cold Calling and Emailing: Use a compelling script to introduce your services to potential clients.
  4. Network at Business Events: Attend local business events to network with other business owners.
  5. Leverage Existing Residential Clients: Ask current clients about their workplaces and seek referrals.
  6. Use Word of Mouth: Encourage clients to refer your services to other businesses.

Q: How do you handle growing pains? 

Growing a maid service business comes with its challenges. Here are some tips from Stephanie to ease the transition and support your growth:

  1. Over Hire: Always have more staff than you think you need to avoid being pulled back into the field.
  2. Systematize Processes: Document everything you do and create templates for emails, estimates, and procedures to ensure efficiency and consistency.
  3. Stop In-Person Walkthroughs: Use online booking forms and email estimates to save time and streamline client communication.
  4. Limit Phone Calls: Handle as much as possible via email to maximize efficiency and reduce time spent on the phone.
  5. Delegate and Transition: Gradually transition your role from cleaning to managing by addressing any client concerns about new cleaners and setting clear expectations.
  6. Focus on Client Acquisition: Enhance your online presence with Google reviews and a professional website to attract new clients.
  7. Continuously Hiring: Conduct group interviews weekly to ensure a steady influx of potential employees.

And there’s even more…

Watch Stephanie break down all of these insights and more in the Q&A replay. And don’t miss the next live Q&A with our ZenMaid cleaning business experts.

Sign up for our free Facebook group, The ZenMaid Mastermind, to grow your maid service alongside our community of 8,000+ owners just like you. 

See you there!

ZenMaid

Amar is the founder and CEO of ZenMaid Software, Inc. He started and ran Fast Friendly Spotless, a maid service in Orange County, CA. With the help of customized software to automate work he successfully operated the service in under 30 minutes per day. He created ZenMaid scheduling software to help other maid service owners do the same.

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