It’s not a Deal until it’s a Done Deal
A few months ago I was asked to quote to clean a property (a very busy 7 day operation under renovation). The owner told me the “exact price” to charge and gave me the previous company’s scope and the “actual” current contract they were in, to transpose. When we looked at the contract, it was still what I would consider “a cheap deal” but still within a price range we could work within. I should mention here, at Cinderellas we are DO NOT underpay our cleaners. Companies that underpay their staff end up devaluing their brand equity in the end. (Forget about the ATO and even Fair Work Commission …Reference my thoughts on The Value Proposition and motivating efficient, enthusiastic workers to perform at the highest level for what they believe is a fair and reasonable payment for their efforts …and you’ll know what I’m talking about).
We were assured we had already won the job. After attending the site and being assured that the tendering process was a mere formality I got busy organising two of my best hygiene technicians to get ready to start at the beginning of the next month.
I submitted the quote (remembering I submitted the exact price I was told to submit by the client – the exact same price they had been paying their incumbent cleaner and what we had already agreed to).
You can imagine my surprise when I received this quote rejection letter (see Pic 1.) with the concluding words “Best of luck with the lambo” inserted.
This all took place in March 2018.
It’s July 2018 now (as I am writing this blog) and today my CFO alerted me (with a wry smile) that this said owner was again looking for a new cleaning company (on their Facebook Page) (see Pic 2.) It’s important to note, I don’t know for certain but I really do suspect the last cleaning company obviously didn’t meet the prescribed obligations (i.e. they said what they were going to do but didn’t do what they promised).
Look, I believe it’s not always all about the money …but money is definitely a critical component. It’s in my opinion, The Australian worker understands their rights and knows what their time and expertise is roughly worth. In most cases, you can’t hold on to staff longterm if you’re not paying them what they believe they are worth. The market and the government both contribute to determining what that price will be. At Cinderellas, we try to pay above the Award in most cases when possible.
There’s always someone cheaper
Contract negotiations can often be conducted on shifting sand and sometimes you can never be certain of success or failure so I guess if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this experience is to keep the faith. I was right not to de-value our service by offering an unsustainable cheap price. We should never compromise on our values and we should always strive to build a better business that strives for excellence but does not ever compromise on a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.
There will always be a cheaper option but it is suicide to get into a price war with your competition. A price war occurs when a company wants to increase its market share. This is done by reducing the price of its product or service in order to attract more customers. Companies that engage in a price war choose to diminish or eliminate their current profit margin to attract more clients. It’s a race to the bottom they say and I believe everyone loses in the end, including the client. I can tell you this for certain. I have noticed the main 3 results in a price war are:
1) Staff are underpaid and eventually start slacking off because their services are perceived to be undervalued by their employer.
2) The cleaning business owner may also be receiving less and can lose interest in providing good value to the client
3) The client ends up “not” getting what they are “not” paying for (an interesting concept when it’s articulated this way)
In office cleaning, there’s no substitute for quality
“We’re not the cheapest but we’re the best,” you’ve probably heard people say. It’s a throw-away line unless you back it up with action. It’s also true at Cinderellas. We provide so much extra value to the client/cleaner relationship, our competitors can find it hard to compete on anything but price. The key word here is “relationship” and it’s the most important part of the equation. Providing your client with robust communication, the best equipment, chemicals and tools, the safest and most compliant workplace health and safety systems, the best backup and support when things don’t go as planned and most of all …to provide all of this value for as low a price as possible without compromising safety or quality service provision. People are willing to pay for quality but not more than they have to. Just because you are the most expensive, doesn’t make you the best. Our Territory Management (TM) System empowers our staff and ensures we are always at the top of our game. We incentivise quality service provision via the TM System.
In conclusion, I still don’t own a Lamborghini. I don’t own a Ferrari, Bentley or even a Lexus for that matter and probably never will. One thing I can say I own. I own a cleaning company that has been around since 1990. My company provides great cleaning products for sale at our warehouse at 10 Unley Road, Unley and provides high quality office cleaning services all over Adelaide.
If you want to work for Cinderellas …you need to strive to be the best.
If you want to use the services Cinderellas provides …you should expect the best. Don’t settle for less.