Why every maid service should offer quotes via phone & web

Don’t fall behind in the times. Or even worse- the competition. Learn how and why you should offer quotes over the phone and online.

Short version:

Do a mix of both in person quotes and instant ones via phone or web to retain your personal touch and business relationships while getting more business in less time. Some cleaning service software like ZenMaid can help you do so.

Long version:

When I ran Fast Friendly Spotless I was also working a full time day job that kept me busy from 8 am to 5 pm. In person quotes were simply not something we had the option to do. Out of this need we developed an instant online booking form that quoted our customers for their first appointment based on certain variables (discussed below).

When we first debuted we weren’t sure how this instant online booking form would affect our business. We were pleasantly surprised to find out a lot of customers actually preferred this to the traditional method of in person quotes. Once we’d sent our team to a home for the first time we’d do an extensive review with them of how long it would take them to do on a regular business before giving our customer a long term quote.

—————————————————————————————–

About the author: Amar is the founder and CEO of ZenMaid Software, Inc (www.ZenMaid.com). He previously 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. His goal with www.ZenMaid.com is to help other maid service owners do the same.

—————————————————————————————–

The article below covers the benefits of offering online or phone quotes to save you time and effort. The important thing here is that you can still show up and quote customers in person if they request it but you can also catch the people that are ready to sign up now.

Do a mix of both in person quotes and instant ones via phone or web to retain your personal touch and business relationships while getting more business in less time. Enjoy!

A Brief History of Instant Online Quotes

Companies have been giving online quotes since the 1990s but it wasn’t until about 5-10 years ago that customers really began to prefer this method. In this day and age instant results are almost always preferred. It’s likely you’ve noticed commercials on TV lately for ordering Dominoes Pizza online among other things.

The first big maid company to really make a name for itself with this offering was Maids in Black back in 2010. While plenty of maid services offered instant quotes before this point Maids in Black made instant pricing and online booking the point of their marketing campaign.

And it worked. Since 2010 when they started in Washington DC they’ve now expanded throughout the United States with locations ranging from New York to Southern California.

Why you need to limit your in person quotes

Does your current quoting process take you or an employee out of the office constantly? Heading to in person meetings to quote homes is expensive. Not only do they cost you time but those trips also distract you from more important things like marketing and growing your business.

A single meeting can easily eat up an hour or two of your time when you take into account prep time, driving, settling in and out before and after, and the list goes on. Imagine what would be possible if you could quote twice as many people in less time than it currently takes you.

The other major thing is if you’re still giving quotes in person you’re spending valuable time and resources on people that might not even convert to customers. Not only does each of these estimates require all the time and resources outlined above but it’s not even guaranteed business!

There’s a better way.

Benefits of offering online or over the phone instant quotes

Offering quotes to your potential customers can happen over the phone or even instantly online if you have an intelligent booking form (we provide one with our maid service software at ZenMaid). There are multiple reasons you should at least be offering this to your customers.

A lot more customers these days are shopping around and looking to book their appointments quickly. Often times if someone is giving you a ring for a one time cleaning service they don’t want to waste time having you and 5 other companies show up to quote their home. They just want to find a cleaning service within their price range, book them quickly and get it over with.

Which takes less time: showing up in person or giving a quote over the phone? The latter, obviously. Think about what your business would look like if you could offer 10 quotes a day instead of 5. Do a great job on the first appointment you instant quoted and you’ll find yourself getting more callbacks than you can handle.

The major advantage to at least offering a price online or via phone and allowing a lead to book right then and there is that you’re landing business on the spot. No risky trip out to Timbuktu to quote someone that may not even sign up for service.

Fun fact: Timbuktu is a real place in Mali

Another thing this helps with is consistent pricing. If you’re currently “eye-balling” things when you quote or have yourself and other employees providing quotes then there is a good chance your quotes will vary from day to day and person to person. Establishing guidelines on how to quote your customers will add consistency to your bottom line and allow you to more reliably make decisions based on your customers and profit per customer.

So, how does one go about giving instant quotes?

How to Instant Quote/Best Practices

Start by identifying what the major factors are for you in determining the price of a clean. For Fast Friendly Spotless we felt the most important thing to determine price was the number of bedroom and bathrooms. This information would generate a base price for the appointment.

Note: Some maid services that work with ZenMaid prefer for their customers to select the square footage instead.

Once you’ve identified the primary price factor you’ll need secondary details such as if they have pets, need a deep clean or have special needs for the this service. Each of these add-ons would be tacked on the price instantly so the lead can see what the cost will be.

If the customer is doing all this on your website they can hit the book button and have the information sent to you via email for you to get on the schedule. With ZenMaid all of this information is automatically input into the system so all you need to do is call or email the customer, confirm a time that works and schedule the appointment almost instantly.

More advanced forms can even take credit card payment right there on the spot (coming soon at ZenMaid)

Tips and Tricks

1) Make sure you let your customers know that quotes rarely change but can in extreme circumstances. If you quote a home that the customer leads you to believe is a 3 hour job and its clear when you show up it’ll be 5+ you need to speak with them immediately before you even get started.

This protects you from “fraud” and actually happens very rarely in large part because your leads will know not to mislead you.

2) Only quote for the first appointment, even if the customer wants recurring service. This was a mistake we made at Fast Friendly Spotless: quoting the customer at too low a rate for recurring service and not fixing that number quick enough. Let the customer know you can give them a reason able range but you or your team needs to see the site in person to give a recurring quote. These circumstances are where you may occasionally need to do an in person quote but it’s not too often.

3) Getting this process right might cost you money in the beginning. I REPEAT getting this process right might cost you money in the beginning. It’s almost impossible that you’ll nail down your pricing on the very first try. You might have a couple cleanings where you misquote and end up paying your employees the entire amount you collect. That’s ok. Try it a few times and you’ll get a great feel for how people describe their homes and what they really mean by “not that dirty” and etc.

Getting Started

If you’re looking to give this a shot follow instructions above and determine your base pricing. If you’re interested in offering this online on your website please consider checking out www.ZenMaid.com. We’ll work with you to create an interactive pricing form.

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Short version:

Do a mix of both in person quotes and instant ones via phone or web to retain your personal touch and business relationships while getting more business in less time. Some cleaning service software like ZenMaid can help you do so.

Long version:

When I ran Fast Friendly Spotless I was also working a full time day job that kept me busy from 8 am to 5 pm. In person quotes were simply not something we had the option to do. Out of this need we developed an instant online booking form that quoted our customers for their first appointment based on certain variables (discussed below).

When we first debuted we weren’t sure how this instant online booking form would affect our business. We were pleasantly surprised to find out a lot of customers actually preferred this to the traditional method of in person quotes. Once we’d sent our team to a home for the first time we’d do an extensive review with them of how long it would take them to do on a regular business before giving our customer a long term quote.

—————————————————————————————–

About the author: Amar is the founder and CEO of ZenMaid Software, Inc (www.ZenMaid.com). He previously 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. His goal with www.ZenMaid.com is to help other maid service owners do the same.

—————————————————————————————–

The article below covers the benefits of offering online or phone quotes to save you time and effort. The important thing here is that you can still show up and quote customers in person if they request it but you can also catch the people that are ready to sign up now.

Do a mix of both in person quotes and instant ones via phone or web to retain your personal touch and business relationships while getting more business in less time. Enjoy!

A Brief History of Instant Online Quotes

Companies have been giving online quotes since the 1990s but it wasn’t until about 5-10 years ago that customers really began to prefer this method. In this day and age instant results are almost always preferred. It’s likely you’ve noticed commercials on TV lately for ordering Dominoes Pizza online among other things.

The first big maid company to really make a name for itself with this offering was Maids in Black back in 2010. While plenty of maid services offered instant quotes before this point Maids in Black made instant pricing and online booking the point of their marketing campaign.

And it worked. Since 2010 when they started in Washington DC they’ve now expanded throughout the United States with locations ranging from New York to Southern California.

Why you need to limit your in person quotes

Does your current quoting process take you or an employee out of the office constantly? Heading to in person meetings to quote homes is expensive. Not only do they cost you time but those trips also distract you from more important things like marketing and growing your business.

A single meeting can easily eat up an hour or two of your time when you take into account prep time, driving, settling in and out before and after, and the list goes on. Imagine what would be possible if you could quote twice as many people in less time than it currently takes you.

The other major thing is if you’re still giving quotes in person you’re spending valuable time and resources on people that might not even convert to customers. Not only does each of these estimates require all the time and resources outlined above but it’s not even guaranteed business!

There’s a better way.

Benefits of offering online or over the phone instant quotes

Offering quotes to your potential customers can happen over the phone or even instantly online if you have an intelligent booking form (we provide one with our maid service software at ZenMaid). There are multiple reasons you should at least be offering this to your customers.

A lot more customers these days are shopping around and looking to book their appointments quickly. Often times if someone is giving you a ring for a one time cleaning service they don’t want to waste time having you and 5 other companies show up to quote their home. They just want to find a cleaning service within their price range, book them quickly and get it over with.

Which takes less time: showing up in person or giving a quote over the phone? The latter, obviously. Think about what your business would look like if you could offer 10 quotes a day instead of 5. Do a great job on the first appointment you instant quoted and you’ll find yourself getting more callbacks than you can handle.

The major advantage to at least offering a price online or via phone and allowing a lead to book right then and there is that you’re landing business on the spot. No risky trip out to Timbuktu to quote someone that may not even sign up for service.

Fun fact: Timbuktu is a real place in Mali

Another thing this helps with is consistent pricing. If you’re currently “eye-balling” things when you quote or have yourself and other employees providing quotes then there is a good chance your quotes will vary from day to day and person to person. Establishing guidelines on how to quote your customers will add consistency to your bottom line and allow you to more reliably make decisions based on your customers and profit per customer.

So, how does one go about giving instant quotes?

How to Instant Quote/Best Practices

Start by identifying what the major factors are for you in determining the price of a clean. For Fast Friendly Spotless we felt the most important thing to determine price was the number of bedroom and bathrooms. This information would generate a base price for the appointment.

Note: Some maid services that work with ZenMaid prefer for their customers to select the square footage instead.

Once you’ve identified the primary price factor you’ll need secondary details such as if they have pets, need a deep clean or have special needs for the this service. Each of these add-ons would be tacked on the price instantly so the lead can see what the cost will be.

If the customer is doing all this on your website they can hit the book button and have the information sent to you via email for you to get on the schedule. With ZenMaid all of this information is automatically input into the system so all you need to do is call or email the customer, confirm a time that works and schedule the appointment almost instantly.

More advanced forms can even take credit card payment right there on the spot (coming soon at ZenMaid)

Tips and Tricks

1) Make sure you let your customers know that quotes rarely change but can in extreme circumstances. If you quote a home that the customer leads you to believe is a 3 hour job and its clear when you show up it’ll be 5+ you need to speak with them immediately before you even get started.

This protects you from “fraud” and actually happens very rarely in large part because your leads will know not to mislead you.

2) Only quote for the first appointment, even if the customer wants recurring service. This was a mistake we made at Fast Friendly Spotless: quoting the customer at too low a rate for recurring service and not fixing that number quick enough. Let the customer know you can give them a reason able range but you or your team needs to see the site in person to give a recurring quote. These circumstances are where you may occasionally need to do an in person quote but it’s not too often.

3) Getting this process right might cost you money in the beginning. I REPEAT getting this process right might cost you money in the beginning. It’s almost impossible that you’ll nail down your pricing on the very first try. You might have a couple cleanings where you misquote and end up paying your employees the entire amount you collect. That’s ok. Try it a few times and you’ll get a great feel for how people describe their homes and what they really mean by “not that dirty” and etc.

Getting Started

If you’re looking to give this a shot follow instructions above and determine your base pricing. If you’re interested in offering this online on your website please consider checking out www.ZenMaid.com. We’ll work with you to create an interactive pricing form.

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