Expand your services to include organizing, packing, unpacking, and even laundry services, and make your cleaning business indispensable: an interview with Amy Wiggs King of 2 Green Chicks.

CBT: What was your very first cleaning client or cleaning job? Do you still have that client? 
AWK: Our very first cleaning job was in a town about 45 minutes away. The client had a mobile home she was getting ready for sale. The fridge was horrible, and the job was an 8-hour cleaning. I remember that I didn’t bring a lunch, and there was nothing in the area where I could grab something really quick! You don’t ever want to deprive a fluffy gal of her lunch! I never did THAT again (forgot a lunch). The lady who arranged the cleaning was a realtor and provided other jobs for us after that!

What’s services do you offer that aren’t as commonly seen on a house cleaning scope of work? 
AWK: We offer four key additions to our standard house cleaning services:

  1. Laundry Services
     On houses that are two hours or longer, we offer laundry services.  Many busy moms don’t want to spend their weekends doing all the laundry so since we are already there – why not??  Most moms would rather have their laundry folded and put away instead of a heaping pile forming on the couch, and they would most often give up dusting a bedroom for the extra time! 
  2. Aromatherapy This is nice to spray on their sheets for when they get home from a hectic day!  We offer six fragrances from which clients can choose. 
  3. Packing/Unpacking Services Typically my organizers are experts when it comes to maximizing spaces when people move into a new home. Not only can you get the business of cleaning the home before move-in, but you can offer up unpacking! Sometimes it’s as simple as ensuring pots/pans/bakeware are by the oven – simple things like that.
  4. Organizing Not everyone needs it. With as many houses as we clean, though, you can tell who could really benefit. The tricky part is learning how to read the client and phrase the invitation and upsell to you don’t insult them. 

CBT: Why do you think you’ve been able to add organizing and de-cluttering successfully?
AWK: I think I was born with a keen eye for details and order. I can look at a closet, pantry or garage and begin to think of better ways to utilize the spaces.  The thing is, however, you have to find people that have that natural “gift” of organizing and detail. I was lucky to hire an employee a few years ago that I worked closely with to train; within a month or two later she was able to go out and organize without my assistance. 

Finding stay at home moms who want to make some extra money while the kids are at school is a great place to start networking and finding those people! Organizing side-by-side with a client can be very personal, so you have to respect privacy. Most of my organizing clients are now personal friends, and there’s no better way to get referrals!

What are your secrets to up-front sales and later upselling of the organizing add-on?
AWK: Okay, I can’t fib – I actually don’t upsell through a focused campaign. When talking with a client and they mention about their “chaos,” we implement a reactive upsell and introduce the option as part of the cleaning quote. You never want to imply that the client NEEDS the service as it may offend them.

CBT: What’s been your biggest organizing disaster to fix? 
AWK: Well – you have to get used to the emotional attachments that some people have with items that may not mean anything to you. Sometimes it gets VERY frustrating when people cannot make a decision about what to do with an item. I think the most difficult organizing situation was dealing with someone who hadn’t filed taxes in 5 years. Managing the backlog of paperwork was a nightmare – box after box after box. So make sure you are a patient person and are ready to deal with those situations. And oftentimes, unfortunately, things won’t get fixed due to some psychological issues which do not allow them to part with items in the home.

CBT: What would say is the biggest difference among regular cleaning clients and cleaning/organizing clients? 
AWK: I can’t say enough how gratifying it is to have someone invite our chicks (aka cleaning technicians) help them with their clutter. They will rave about how much relief they feel when they come home from work. It takes the burden off of them and plus if they sign up for recurring services, it’s MUCH easier to clean! I know I mentioned it before, but you really develop a friendship with clients who accept the more personal services of organizing.

Amy Wiggs King is the Owner Chick of 2 Green Chicks based in Norman, OK. She has won both consumer awards through Angie’s List and Green Oklahoma’s Best and business awards through ARCSI.