5 Things Successful Custodial Companies Do to Gain More Clients

Managing your business without dropping your prices

Gip Erskine

Competing on price is for losers. Nobody wins. Even if you win, you lose. You lose credibility, brand recognition, and profits. Cutting your margins to the bone forces you to chase anything that comes your way.

Playing the low-bid-wins game

Winning low margin business requires you to make up lost revenue with volume. When market share is the only way to make up that difference, you’re sacrificing the effort you made to create a quality business.

If you’re cheapening your price, you’re weakening your brand. You’re telling the world you’ll sacrifice your standards to win at any cost, even though you know your platform is worth more— much more.

I’m with you

As a property manager who regularly signs deals with services like yours, I don’t want to be forced to use low-cost providers. They do just enough to win the business, then drop the ball once the contract is signed. This has forced me to learn how to weed out the quality custodial services from the ball-droppers.

The good news is, I’ve found a way to do that and level the playing field.

Even better, you can leverage what I’ve discovered to your advantage, and use these five simple steps to win more business without dropping your price. I like to call them the ABCDEs for winning new business. They’re a sure way to get property managers, like me, to hire quality janitorial companies, like you, at the rates you deserve.

If you find yourself in this low-bid-wins scenario but would rather show off your talents and keep more of your profits, adopting the following ABCDEs will help you win more business without losing profits. You can learn more about my tactics by attending my virtual education session on November 17, Breaking Through: Powerful Insider Insights on Winning Better Business. The session is just one of many educational offerings available through ISSA Show North America Virtual Experience, November 16-19. Also, read the five tips below:

  1. Add value without sacrificing profits. Simply “adding value” may sound too vague to get your head around, but it’s key to winning better business. This can be as simple as sharing industry trends or workflow improvements you’ve recently made. Share the unexpected, yet valuable things that make your clients feel like they’re heroes for hiring you. In the sales process, share what you’ve done for others or what you see in the marketplace that could benefit your client.
  2. Become an extension of the management team. Show how you view the property through the eyes of a property manager. If you’re in the custodial business, for example, show how your night crew will keep a log noting lights out, elevators not leveling, or other specific maintenance or security concerns. From a leasing perspective, demonstrate how you keep vacancies in show-ready condition and ensure the path from the parking lot to the space is spotless.
  3. Compete on your platform strength, not on price alone. You’ve invested blood, sweat, and tears into your business. When you’re able to highlight your experience, investments, service standards, and management philosophy proudly, you tell your client you’re worth every penny spent. If you’re invested in becoming ISSA Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) certified, then tell that story. We want to know what investments you’ve made in yourself so we can appreciate just how valuable your service really is.
  4. Determine what your client truly wants. Assuming your client’s wants and needs is a dangerous business. It can veer you off course quickly. Recovering from that miscalculation can be lengthy and costly. It makes far more sense to ask key questions that will tell you not just where it hurts, but will reveal the results that an ideal scenario will provide. A question like, “What keeps you up at night?” allows clients to share their pain. “What’s the one thing that would make your life easier?” allows them to share their dreams. Sure, your clients may have a roof leak, but what they truly want is not only a tenant who’s not complaining, but one who expresses appreciation for the measures taken to address the issue.
  5. Elevate service levels beyond the scope. Everyone wants 13 bagels for the price of a dozen. They feel special. They feel they got a deal. They feel like you value them. Send a personal note thanking them for their business or a link to an inspiring video they might find useful. Send them pictures of their property as you perform your service. Give them something they can share with their clients to validate why they awarded you the business. These beyond-the-scope measures will pay you in relational dividends.

Win over your clients

Applying these ABCDEs will make a world of difference for your organization by allowing you to gain profitable business that you want to work with. Done well, these new clients will not only reward you with a more profitable business, but they’ll be your biggest banner wavers. Property managers like to tell others about the exceptional companies they work with.

When you recognize what your clients truly want and can speak in those terms (and how your service gives them exactly that), then you’ll win them over.

At Breaking Through: Powerful Insider Insights on Winning Better Business, I will be pulling back the veil and doing a deep dive about the strategy and success of applying the ABCDEs to winning new business. I hope to see you there!



Posted On September 28, 2020

Gip Erskine

Founder of Want What Works, LLC

Gip Erskine, CPM, CCIM, has been a property manager since 1984 and has managed over $5 billion in real estate and negotiated over $100 million in service contracts.  In 2013, he founded Want What Works, LLC and launched the Eversmarts platform. Contact him at [email protected]

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5 Things Successful Custodial Companies Do to Gain More Clients
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