You nervously click the mechanic’s pen in the waiting room.
A man in greasy coveralls approaches.
“How bad is it?” You ask.
“I’m so sorry. He’s not gonna make it.”
It finally happened. The car you’ve had since “Day One” of your cleaning company has finally departed for the great garage in the sky.
It’s time for your cleaning company to get a new car.
I’m going to give you the answers to all of these questions and more:
On average, it takes a tenth of a second for us to judge a person by their face. Typically, longer exposure doesn't significantly alter those impressions either.
This is also true of the way people judge companies and their employees.
If a potential client’s opinion is built in less than a tenth of a second of seeing your company, it’s going to be based on:
What do you do when you’re creating marketing pieces for your business? Do you slap together some words, and send it out… or do you spend hours to craft the perfect cleaning ad for Facebook?
What about your cleaning services? You put 100% of your effort into doing the best job possible. This makes it easier for clients to fall in love with your work, and refer you to their friends and family.
You don’t neglect the first two ways clients see you, so you can’t neglect your vehicle either.
Your vehicle is a mobile billboard and you should be using it as such (I’ll tell you about the right way to brand your vehicle in a moment). In the same way that you take great care with your service quality and your marketing, you should carefully consider the message your car sends.
If it’s constantly dirty and damaged, held together by Duct tape and prayers, you need to invest in a new car for your cleaning company.
Sifting through the ocean of makes, models, and options can be intimidating.
There are four primary considerations that will impact your business’s bottom line for the life of the car:
These are the three things that are going to cost you money throughout the life of the vehicle so we want to consider them ahead of other concerns. If you can’t afford the constant maintenance and terrible fuel economy, the low price of the lemon is wholly irrelevant.
There is one last major consideration:
Note - this article will focus solely on House Cleaning Businesses. Here are some resources for other kinds of cleaning businesses:
Below, we've compiled a list using several different resources from service companies.
We've also included the suggestions from this Inc. article that talks about Molly Maids and their recommendations to franchise owners.
Financing scares some people.
Making a long-term financial commitment is a big decision and you should approach it cautiously. You may want to speak to a third-party advisor to ensure you can handle the expense of a vehicle... especially if you HAVE to finance because you can’t afford to purchase the vehicle outright).
That said, even if you can pay cash money for a vehicle, you should consider the cost of financing against the value that money would accrue in savings and the value of fluidity (having cash on hand).
You can use Bankrate's financial calculators to check the total cost of a car loan versus what the money would make in a business savings account.
I ran a test for you:
Let’s say you want to buy a new vehicle that costs $20,000.
If you finance the vehicle for 5 years, you’ll end up paying $21,562 (or $1562 in interest) according to this calculator.
And according to this calculator, if you invest that $20,000 into a business savings account for 1.1% APY (Annual Percentage Yield) for 5 years, you would end up with $21,124.47 (or a gain of $1,124.47).
What this means: If you finance your vehicle AND put the money in a business savings account, you will only spend ($1562 - $1124.47) = $437.53 above the car's price.
That means if an emergency arises, or you need to take advantage of a profitable opportunity, you will have the money ready to go.
Having a significant amount of money in the bank can protect your business from catastrophes and help you weather seasons of poor cash flow. Sometimes, it pays to finance.
The cleaner arrives in a beat-up, extended cab, diesel-engine F-250 that’s belching black exhaust
So here's the bottom line: Dents, rust, and mud don't communicate clean and fresh.
It doesn’t even communicate friendliness, and it’s honestly a little intimidating.
Now imagine a second scenario:
Eco Solutions Organic Cleaning’s cleaner knocks on your door. You didn’t even hear them arrive.
You glance out a window and see a Toyota Prius in your driveway.
It’s wrapped with a colorful print of cleaning supplies and bubbles with the logo positioned prominently in several places. The streakless shine of recently cleaned glass glares in the sun.
Because Eco Solutions Organic Cleaning has given itself a name that implies that it’s eco-friendly and “green”, it’s on message to drive a battery-assisted, quiet vehicle.
The wrapping on the car communicates:
Their company vehicle is entirely on message for how they present themselves.
You can use your vehicle in the same way you choose a photo for a Facebook ad: to convey something about your company. What message does your vehicle convey?
Following the Owner’s Manual is definitely the optimal way to keep your vehicle on the road for as long as possible.
Because you’re using your company vehicle to advertise your company, you want to keep it clean. Washing a vehicle every day is more than likely a waste of your time. In general, it will be cheaper and more efficient to pay for an unlimited washing plan at a local car wash.
Bring something to read, jam to the radio, or silently enjoy the amazing machine you’re riding through (my preferred method of riding the car wash). It takes a few minutes and keeps your car looking good, which, in turn, makes your company look good.
One study from B2B Media found that, on average, a vehicle in an American city is seen by 40,000 to 70,000 people a day.
That’s 40-70k impressions you could be making every day, if you advertise on your vehicle.
To top that off, more than 60% of people would rather purchase a service from someone they’ve heard of before - even if they can’t remember where they’ve heard of you.
This should put the cost of a wrap for your vehicle into perspective:
B2B Media also compiled stats on car wraps from various studies. They found that people ranked car wraps as memorable and unique as television commercials with greater reach than local cable ads.
Imagine putting the power of a television commercial on your company vehicle. You don’t pay for ad time every month, you pay once and you’ve got your billboard.
If the $1-3k price tag is too much to ask (especially since you’re also purchasing a new car), don’t completely neglect your rolling billboard: use magnet clings.
They’re not as big or noticeable as a full wrap, but they’re significantly more affordable and still generate a substantial amount of impressions.
Most local print shops can make them for around $100 a pair (one for each side).
To track the effect of your magnets or wrap, consider including an “offer word” on them (for example, “Just mention ‘Car’ when you call us and we’ll give you a $5 discount!”).
This way you’ll be able to track who’s coming in from your vehicle advertisements.
Purchasing a new vehicle is an investment in your cleaning company.
That investment is a huge decision but, more than likely, you found this page because you know that you need to purchase a new vehicle.
This article will show you:
Do your research, bookmark this page and come back to it as you make this decision. Talk to your insurance agent. Talk to other owners in Facebook groups. Gather as much information as you can and you will make the right decision.
Updated March 28, 2019 7:00 AM