Friday, 21 August 2009

What's The Right Price?

How much do you charge for your services?

How comfortable do you feel talking about money with clients or potential clients?

Are you happy with how much money you end up with at the end of each month?

Consider these three questions, and think about how you charge.

If you are not reacting positively to all three of these questions, you may not be charging the right price.

Pricing can be a huge challenge in any service business. Think about it, you are asking people to pay for your value.

Yes you are completing tasks for them, but really your value comes down to what you bring to the table. So how do you prove how valuable you are?

First, you have to start believing it yourself. Here's an exercise for you. I call it the Skills Inventory.

Take a sheet of paper and start to write down all the things you know how to do in business. I found this easiest to start with my first job (yes, it was a long time ago!) and move forward. Think about the systems you have used, the things you have done and write them all down.

Then think about the other things you have learned as well - did you manage people? did you take training courses?

This is meant to be a super comprehensive list of the things you know how to do. It will likely take more than one sitting to get everything down on that paper. Don't leave anything out!

As you compile your skills inventory, you will start to see the training, experience and skills you are bringing to each and every client you work with... it's your VALUE!

Only when you know your value, can you charge properly for it.

So what's the right price to charge your clients? That's entirely up to you.

You select the type of business you want to operate. You choose when you will work. You know how much you need to earn. And you also know what your expenses are.

So you determine what the right price is for YOU.

Many VAs I know ask what the going rate is for stuff. I say it's irrelevant. You need to decide this for yourself and then get comfortable charging it.

Conversations about money are easy when you know what you are worth, and can articulate that to clients and potential clients.

Try it for yourself - and let me know how you feel after you do your Skills Inventory! It's an exercise I love to do (it makes you feel really good!)

And once you are feeling great about how much you are worth, join me for this week's free Back to Basics training call: How To Find Clients (and then join me weekly for these awesome free training sessions!)

Tracey D'Aviero is a veteran VA and Founder of Your VA Mentor. Tracey trains and mentors professional women and men who are brand new to the VA industry or who have been struggling to make their business successful. Her mission is to educate professionals on how to build and grow successful and profitable virtual businesses in the VA industry by implementing systems and smart principles. To get information about Tracey's upcoming programs and free resources,

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Cleaning Business Tips - Keep Costs Down To Improve Bids

A cleaning business is an exciting opportunity without a lot of investment. But do you find yourself consistently losing bids to your competitors? Have you tried to become more competitive only to find that you can't cover the costs of running your business? If so, it is time to lower your operating costs so you can win more bids and still make your desired profit.

Here are some of the biggest operating mistakes you might be making as a new cleaning business owner:

1) You use RTU (ready to use) chemicals.

Ready to use chemicals are very convenient. They come in a case of 12 quarts that you can unpack, attach a spray nozzle, and be ready to clean. The only problem is you'll be paying $3, $4, or even higher per quart just to have someone else add water. The solution? Buy concentrated. Every chemical I have ever needed to order came in concentrated form and the savings are significant. One of my favorite restroom cleaners cost approximately $3.40 a quart RTU. Concentrated price? Less than $0.30. It may cost a little more upfront, but you will get a lot more chemical per quart for much less.

2) You're offering too many services.

Just because your competitors offer every janitorial service imaginable doesn't mean you have to. Start with what you can afford and build your business gradually. Office cleaning alone requires only basic supplies and can be very profitable. Seek out the smaller jobs, and use that money to buy a carpet extractor or a floor buffer to offer additional services later on.

3) You're buying equipment you don't yet need.

It is only natural to want to be prepared to do any job that comes your way, but you may not need specialty equipment for several months after getting your first account. Hold off on buying a van and truck mounted carpet cleaning system until you truly need it. And hold off on buying an expensive burnisher until you're regularly called for stone floor refinishing projects. Start small and simple such as VCT stripping and waxing; you'll be able to provide beautiful, shiny floors for little cost and great profit.

4) You're not measuring during walkthroughs.

Many cleaners smile and nod during a walkthrough and end up guessing how much time is needed to clean a facility. Don't make this mistake. If you want to be competitive you must measure the facility you're bidding on. Not only does it make you look good to the prospect, but it allows you to bid accurately. Accurate bids win profitable accounts.

5) Leasing an office before you need one.

An office lease is the biggest overhead nightmare I can think of for new cleaning businesses. Unless you offer janitorial inventory in a storefront there is absolutely no reason to lease office space. Yes, it makes you look professional. Yes, it makes you feel important. But when it comes down to profit margins and keeping overhead in check, you need to leave it out of your expenses.

When you're trying to win bids, your expenses count. They really do. When you're competing with other companies who are adding the high cost of their RTU products and lease payments into every bid, it becomes much easier to beat them. Start small, and build your business over time. You'll be glad you did.