Company background + context
Custom Maids began in 1983 by its business savvy founder.
In the final year before the owner exited, the company collected $586,434. (She was paying herself between $7-8k/mo throughout the year.)
We knew there were going to be some transition pains right off the bat.
We didn't, however, pencil in the worldwide pandemic that rocked us all in 2020.
That being said, we were extremely fortunate to have collected $483,669 in 2020 — only a -17.5% loss compared to the previous year.
It wasn't until June 2021 that we started to gain a bit more stability.
Once we gained our stability and could actually rely on our monthly revenue, we implemented these 4 things, immediately:
We’re on the hunt for recurring revenue. This is how we’re going about it.
The 4 Important Things We Implemented
Custom Maids Gross Revenue To Date
Below is a screenshot of the revenues collected by Custom Maids since acquisition. It’s very obvious to see when COVID-19 hit (as if we didn’t all know the date anyway lol)... but it’s also important to note that we implemented Nurturely+ in late September 2021.
1. Lead generation
Google Paid Search ads
These are the ads at the top of the page when you do a quick search on Google. There are usually three of them right at the top and 3-4 at the bottom of the page (or SERP — Search Engine Results Page).
It's as simple as throwing up an ad and targeting one, specific keyword around your service. In our case, it's residential cleaning services.
"House cleaners near me" is the most-searched and most-profitable keyword in our PPC campaign today.
When folks head to Google and search for a house cleaning service near them, they're darn well on their way to becoming someone's client.
We hope it's us.
So we toss up an ad on Google's Paid Search to attract traffic to our main website which then converts visitors into hot, fresh sales leads.
Inside Google Ads, you can access the Google Keyword Planner, a tool that helps you identify the best keywords to use. And you're getting data straight from the beast itself. Google.
It's very important though to not throw in keywords based on their search volume. Just because something is highly-searched, doesn't mean any of those searchers will become leads or clients.
If you need help dialing your keywords, shoot us a message. Happy to help.
And if it’s any help now, below is a screenshot of a few of our Google Search ad combinations:
— Google Local Services Ads
Local Services ads help you connect with people who search on Google for the services you offer. Your ads will show up for customers in your service area, and you only pay if a customer calls or messages you directly through the ad.
Getting set up with Local Services Ads is a touch more complex than just signing up with an email address.
The main benefit of Local Services is that Google gives you a Google badge to display right next to your ads. Searchers see this badge and view it as an extra layer of trust (thus skyrocketing conversions, leads, and clients).
Confidence goes a looooong way.
Show potential customers you're trustworthy. Go get that Google Badge.
— Facebook ads
Up until very recently, Facebook ads have always been my favorite way to generate leads.
It was the first ad platform I versed myself in and got quite proficient.
Facebook makes it easy to get set up with their Facebook Lead Form ads.
One of my favorite "hacks" is creating Custom Conversions for each specific product/service you sell.
This way, you're able to optimize for each (instead of targeting the mega-broad "Lead" conversion event).
We routinely generate exclusive cleaning leads for $6-$14 each... and we convert around 16% of those.
But since our intial lead costs are so low, we can more than afford this abysmal conversion rate.
If we get 100 leads at $14 a pop...
Worst case scenario, they sign up for our monthly recurring service. (Worth ~$160/mo on average).
We'll get 16 new clients at $160/mo
Which = $2,560/mo in new, recurring revenue.
In Month 1, we're able to nearly 2x our ROI in this worst case scenario.
We operate in a fairly rural area though... Scaling this is NOT as simple as just "spending more".
Regardless — we're achieving profitability in Month 1.
Closing deals with people who are happy and willing to buy our service every single month... over and over and over again.
I didn't even mention the fact that our least popular service is the monthly cleaning service.
Most folks opt for weekly/bi-weekly services once they get a taste of how much we take off their plate.
This one is a secret weapon.
If you're not going to take the time to fill out your profile though, don't do it. It only takes 30-45 minutes to build out a value-packed profile. And it's very easy to stand out to potential clients when you have a full profile. (Most people won't do this part and end up just wasting their time).
When you're creating your profile, you'll list out the services you provide and indicate your service area (we chose 30 miles from our HQ).
Every time Bark.com generates a lead that fits your preferences/profile, they'll notify you. You'll get the very first crack at the hot, fresh sales leads. Well before anyone else.
(I even use this for our SEO services)
To be honest, I'm not even sure how Bark.com generates these leads themselves. All I know — it's very easy to setup + use (simple to train employees too) AND that the leads convert.
And that last part is the most important.
Money in the bank.
Any specific questions about Bark.com, reach out.
— SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
For those of us who have no idea what SEO is:
Search engine optimization is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. SEO targets unpaid traffic rather than direct traffic or paid traffic. Wikipedia
- Content is King
- SEO is Queen
It doesn't matter if you have the most perfect, technically-sound website on the planet.
If you only have 7 pages on it, you're gonna get thumped by anyone else with a lick of value on their site.
You won't be able to compete with them.
You must be consistently adding content to your website. Aim for just 1 new blog post per month. And slowly grow to a pace of 12-16 posts per month.
(Yes, you will eventually hire someone else to do this. Ideally someone better than yourself.)
You must be consistently publishing valuable content to your website.
There's no "best frequency". Google just loves to see consistency.
We find that pacing yourself monthly works best. It allows for ample planning, creating, editing, and publishing time.
Again though, start with just 1 post per month. In 6 months, start ramping up your output. If you try to ham right away, you'll burn yourself out. Quick.
And then everything will be for nothing because you'll give up on the project and forget about it entirely.
Content is King.
But it does take time. (Though it doesn't take forever.)
The more content you have published, the more "Landing Pages" you have.
And each Landing Page itself is your very own sales rep. Working for you around the clock to educate, nurture, and sell your cleaning services.
The more of these value-packed Landing Pages you have published on the Internet, the more opportunities you have to win new business.
Each Landing Page will have a Call To Action that gets people to "take action" and call/email you for a cleaning estimate.
If I have 5,000 of these Pages published and you only 7...
And we're in the very same market...
Whose website do you think Google will deem as the "industry expert"?
Who will Google rank higher in the SERPs?
Who will earn more sales opportunities throughout the year?
Whose business will generate more income?
You must seek a process to create + published content to your website each month.
A year from now, you'll wish you would've started today.
It takes time, but it's so worth it, it's not even funny. It takes every ounce of my being to not explode when a business owner says they're unwilling to endure a 6 month period of building to reap the rewards of SEO/content.
Today, we publish 10-15 posts per month on custom-maids.co. We have a TON of room for improvement. But it's already opened a ton of doors for us. Driving more and more sales opportunities each and every month. We don't plan on stopping. And we're open to helping anyone willing to invest in this. Again, please don't ever hesitate to reach out when you're ready to rock.
Everywhere — powered by Yext's impressive Online Listings platform — is an incredibly powerful SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tool that builds valuable backlinks & promises that your company's Vital Business Information is perfectly consistent* across 73+ of the world's most reputable websites and online business listings.
Why is this extremely powerful for SEO?
Google loves to see consistency. Both in your frequency of publishing fresh, new website content and in your Vital Business Information.
Your Vital Business Information includes:
- Company name
- Business address
- Operation hours
- Phone number(s)
Use whatever is on your website as your root format, too.
It'll help keep you consistent.
For example, Google will read all of these differently:
- ABC Cleaning
- ABC Cleaning Company
- ABC Cleaning Company LLC
- ABC Cleaning Company L.L.C.
- ABC Cleaning Company Inc
- ABC Cleaning Company INC
Even your capitalization must be perfectly mirrored.
This is a big thing called NAP Consistency.
If every bit of it isn't perfectly mirrored and you aren't able to achieve NAP Consistency, you lose a ton of *SEO juice*.
You're NOT penalized though. Very important to point out.
You just miss out on some of the extra juice you could quickly and easily grab.
It's stupid simple to fix this though. Visit each and every website/directory you'd like to be listed on, create an account, build out the profile, and enter the correct Vital Business Information.
The biggest pain is how tedious and time-consuming it is.
And a CEO's time is much better spent elsewhere.
That's why we set up Everywhere.
You'll be able to pay for the subscription, enter your Vital Business Information, and achieve total, perfect consistency across the entire Internet. All in under 5 minutes. (Unless your card gets declined for insufficient funds!)
If you can achieve perfect consistency (in the eyes of Google), you'll unlock doors of opportunity you didn't even know existed. Huge volumes of organic, inbound lead generation.
If you're looking for a way to drive even more organic, inbound messages and phone calls, you need Everywhere. Yesterday.
And the best part?
Complete setup takes less than 7 minutes.
I know it sounds like I'm selling this hard. And it's because I am. This is probably the quickest, easiest thing you can do to achieve a better online presence. If you have specific questions about this, don't hesitate to reach out. You can shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the chat in the lower right corner of this page (if you're reading this on nurturely.io).
2. We Increased Our Prices
Right up until exiting, Jane was charging clients at a rate of $25 per labor hour.
There were going to be transition pains regardless. We were going to be losing clients anyway, so we needed to bite the bullet and increase our prices on Day 1.
We made the decision to rip the band-aid off and quickly find out who was willing to pay us the premium price we command. (For the premium service we provide).
It was important to remind ourselves that every new lead would come in never knowing we charged a lesser price. At first, we were surprised at how much this helped us combat the revenue loss due to the transition (and COVID).
But then it made sense.
We're allowing our clients to — quite literally — buy back their time.
And there's a large audience of people out there who value their time FAR greater than most.
These are your premium clients.
They happily pay you premium prices, on-time, every time. And they stay for a long time.
Our time is our greatest asset. Each of us individually.
At the end of the day, time is what we care about most. Oftentimes though, we let ourselves get distracted. And time passes us by in the blink of an eye.
But if you allow someone to buy back their time but offloading a chore... they get to spend that time doing what they actually want to do.
You're giving your client freedom.
And they're willing to pay very premium prices for freedom.
Think of how many people have gone to war for the sake of freedom. It's *that* powerful.
I take this long route to make a bit of a point. Investing ad spend into finding these premium clients more than makes up for it in the long run. There are tons of people out there who are happy and willing to pay you what you deserve. The market will give you what you want. You just have to ask.
Increasing our prices helped us weather an acquisition during a worldwide pandemic.
And when I put it that way, it's quite hilarious to think about.
Demanding a premium price allowed us to thrive in a time where so many businesses floundered.
— Sales pipeline management
Organizing our Sales Pipeline was the smartest move we made in 2022 imo.
I grew up playing a ton of EA Sports games on my trusty PS2. In one of their intros for NCAA Football, it said something like "what you can measure, you can improve"
...And it's stuck with me ever since.
So in September 2021, I fired up Nurturely+ and Custom Maids became its first customer.
Being able to offload mental stress/energy into software is always a smart decision.
Your brain's strength is processing information
Not storing it.
It's made to make decisions... not a knowledge base (no matter how good you think your memory is).
You can make decisions much quicker when you see all of the important information on one screen.
Knowing who to follow up with and when is the key to successful lead conversion.
It's really that simple.
Nurturely+ brought Custom Maids' entire Sales Pipeline into focus.
If you've started a business within the last 12 months, I'll give you a 1 Year License of Nurturely+ ($2470 value). Reach out — email@example.com.
— Messaging hub
Being able to have every inbound message in one place was huge. (And also piggy-backing on the Sales Pipeline management from above.)
There are too many social media profiles, email accounts, and other inboxes to keep track of. We hooked all of these up to Nurturely+ to put every single Sales Opportunity in one place. Then all our focus went to closing those deals.
Just made everything light-years easier.
We don't win every deal that comes in.
And it's extremely tough to manually send emails/texts to every single lead. Especially once you start growing.
Some folks worry a bit about marketing automation because they feel it's a bit "inauthentic".
I strongly disagree.
If someone reaches out to you and you're not able to connect with them right away, you're dishonoring their trust in you.
They deemed your cleaning company worthy of a phone call/text/email because they trusted you more than the others around you.
And if you don't try to help them solve whatever problem they're trying to solve, you're doing them a disservice.
You're dishonoring their trust.
I know that seems a bit harsh. But I'm not gonna let you go down the path of believing marketing automation is inauthentic. Not on this site.
- Create templates of the most common messages you send... build automations and nurture messages that help keep your prospect engaged.
— VM Drops
VM Drops are voicemail drops.
It's a way to leave a pre-recorded voicemail on someone's phone without disurbing them with a call.
The goal of these shouldn't be to get a call back from that person.
Instead, use the voicemails to reference an email or text mesage you sent. Direct them there and they'll respond there when they're able.
Good voicemail drops work.
Nurturely+ includes this for free.
MCAT stands for Missed Call Auto-Text.
It's a call tracking phone number that auto-texts calls you've missed throughout the day (or night... depending on how you do business).
For example, in August 2022, Custom Maids had over 100 inbound calls. We use MCAT to catch anything we miss.
If you consider 20 working days in any given month (we're only open Monday-Friday), that's just ~5 calls per day...
It doesn't seem like a ton of volume... but the whirlwind of the business world can catch up with you at any moment. And we're not interested in missing a single opportunity.
MCAT lets us track how many inbound calls we had for a given month + catches anything we might miss along the way.
Of course, we can't send a text message/SMS to traditional landlines. So, we do miss out on some of those. And there's really not much to do about it except call them right back (or leave a voicemail).
Nurturely+ includes this for free.
— Website live chat
An enormous amount of people loathe speaking on the telephone.
If you only have the option to call your business from your website, you miss out on huge opportunity.
Custom Maids regularly receives 1st payments from clients before speaking to them. And it's because people are becoming increasingly trustworthy of doing business online.
And just because we offer boring 'ol cleaning services, doesn't mean we can't cash in! There are a ton of ways to take advantage.
Website live chat is one of them.
Many people prefer text-based communication.
If you already generate leads from your website, I can guarantee you're missing out on leads.
If you need live chat software recommendations, give me a quick shout.
Nurturely+ includes this for free.
Above is a screenshot of all NEW revenue for each month since implementing Nurturely+. For example, if we sign a $160 bi-weekly service, it only gets counted for $160 in this Google Sheet. And ~$20k is The Fresh Start package.
4. Commissions and Incentives
We acquired Custom Maids in 2020. It was founded in 1983. There were a lot of old habits it came with. One of the biggest was not having any sort of Sales Process.
But not offering any type of commission(s) or incentive(s) program was absurd imo. This needed to be changed.
I can't feel good about asking my team to take on more responsibility/work without an increase in pay. Implementing a commissions program was the way to go. If one were to put more good-faith effort into improving our company, they should be rewarded in direct proportion to that improvement. Unfortunately, a lot of business owners don't seem to agree there.
Like everyone else and their mother in early 2022, I read Alex Hormozi's $100M Offers.
Without hesitation, we created The Fresh Start package. It's the most unsexy name, but it perfectly says exactly what it does (and lets them know how they'll feel after!).
We found a way to create an easily-understood package and command a premium price for it.
All we did was bundled up services we were already offering, gave it a nice name, and charged a premium price for it.
We don't win every opportunity. Would be naive to think we did!
In fact, I'm of the extreme opinion that if you are closing more than 60% of your opportunities, you're still charging WAY too little.
But because we took this action when we did, we're reaping the rewards. When you ask, the market delivers. Most people (business owners) never make that ask. They never take the time to put these sweet packages together.
- Commission earned:
— 10% of Total Sale
There isn't a thing in the business world I love more than recurring income/revenue.
We focused our Sales Pipeline on closing new recurring clients. Being able to rely on a solid chunk of your revenue each month is a HUGE benefit. It takes a ton of stress away.
The big, one-time cleans are niiiice... don't get me wrong. It's why we created The Fresh Start. But our end-goal is always going to be recurring.
Knowing you have this to rely on each month allows you to make better, smarter decisions.
- Commission earned:
— $20 after 1st payment
— $50 after 3rd payment
— $70 after 5th payment
— $100 after 7th payment
Clients stick with us for a loooong time when they've enjoyed 7+ visits from Custom Maids. So we've incentivized our Sales team to get each new client to 7 visits as quick as possible. (And only ever at the preferred pace of the client).
No secret that we can't grow revenue without a rock-solid workforce.
I approached this with the same mentality I would with a lead generation campaign.
It's still a human being on the other side of the screen. Help them get what they want and they'll help you get what you want.
In this case, some folks just want an income. We offer that right off the bat. So they'll fill out our form, book an interview, and come in for their appointment. And this nurture system is entirely automated just like our lead generation one is.
- Commission earned:
— $15 per Completed Interview
— $20 per Completed Trial
— $50 after 90 Days
— $300 after 180 Days