Tyler Pendleton started his cleaning service when he was 23 years old. He’d left a comfortable corporate sales job and needed his company to take off quickly. At first, saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity that came his direction seemed like a smart business decision. But soon he was overworked and undervalued. This is how saying ‘no’ to work became the smartest business decision he’s made for his cleaning service.
When Tyler launched Pristine Cleaning, his cleaning company in southern Maine, he was taking on all kinds of work from residential to commercial (and every mess in between):
“I would get calls about cleaning commercial buildings, and offices, whether it had dead bugs, mold, mildew, hoarder situations - I was new to business and it was money. I was saying ‘yes’ to a lot of things. And that made life hectic.”
A typical week involved day shifts doing residential jobs with commercial cleanings happening at night and on the weekends - making time for himself a distant goal. Something had to change.
Two important lessons helped Tyler and his company determine their niche and begin to focus the scope of their work.
Tyler has come to appreciate that not every customer is the right fit for Pristine Cleaning.
“As a man running a professional cleaning service, I’ve had people answer the phone and say “I don’t want a guy cleaning my house” and then hang up. Or in the field, sometimes clients say things like, “I didn’t think you would be the one showing up”.
Defining your target customer inevitably means that some people won’t make the cut.
“We’re not just saying ‘yes’ to everyone who calls now. We’re defining our target customer, and if they’re not a good fit for us we’re not just taking them on simply because they have a house that needs to be cleaned.”
By year two in business, Tyler made the decision to stick to a primary service and focus on residential cleaning.
“We needed to make this change and now we’re a speciality residential cleaning company. That’s all we focus on. Our main training is in residential cleaning, and now we can do 10 houses a day, and do a lot better job on those houses. It’s allowed us to scale up a lot more consistently too.”
Specialization in residential cleaning has allowed Tyler and his team to scale the business through value-based pricing.
“We do a lot beyond coming in and cleaning your house. First, we stand out with our digital marketing; we have an extremely professional website. 95% of my competitors don’t have a website like ours. People see us on Google and we’re the highest rated cleaning company in the state of Maine right now. Our employees are trained, we develop relationships with our clients, we ask for their feedback, and often leave notes and gifts. The value we provide is worth the money.”
Saying no to work can help with a lot of things, that includes avoiding stretching yourself too thin and burning out.
“About a year ago we transitioned to 90% residential and that’s allowed our whole team to have nights and weekends with their families and have a more consistent schedule throughout the week. My own quality of life went up completely.”
Even while defining their target customer and specialty service, Pristine Cleaning has made over $300,000 in two years of business. Sometimes it pays to say no!