As a building service contractor (BSC), I am always thinking of ways to create greater goodwill with our clients as well as develop additional sources of revenue.
At the same time, I wonder, "How can I set our company apart?"
We should all attempt to think "outside of the box," if you will.
Many times, BSCs — not unlike those in other industries — continue "doing business as usual," and become complacent.
We often think, "Why do anything different? We''re doing okay; business is good."
In reality, though, things do change, and the means of finding and retaining customers evolves as well.
I have owned my company for about 15 years and, without question, our industry has changed dramatically and become more competitive.
A large part, in my opinion, is due to the desire to be self-employed and the perceived low cost of entry into the cleaning business.
Going a step further, the ways in which we "reach" our customers — both current and prospective — has changed as well.
Who could have imagined just a few short years ago that we would be using social media to grow and impact our businesses today?
So, as I thought of additional ways to create value with our customers and make money, I added concierge and other ancillary items to our café of services.
Adding Additional Value
"Why not concierge?" I asked myself.
We already have a captive audience, per se.
Plus, just like other BSCs, I already have influence with the decision makers — or, at least we all hope so.
If we, as business owners and managers, can essentially create a "one-stop shop" for our customers, we meet a need for them and further reinforce our value to them.
With concierge options, we can provide services for our customers that they would otherwise not even think of or would have to perform themselves and detract from other tasks at hand.
Once again, we''re in the business to provide a service as well as become an asset to our customers.
From the customers'' perspective, a concierge program is not only a timesaver for them, but also a benefit and luxury for their employees.
Concierge services can be as simple as running errands for your customers and their employees and charging them a flat rate, or as sophisticated as having a full-blown event planning business and venue.
With the latter, you — as the coordinator — can organize and plan events for your clients.
More specifically, you can custom-design an event like a holiday party and coordinate with local food and beverage caterers, florists, photographers, bands, etc., and bundle this service for your customers and charge them a percentage of the total cost.
Another idea is to form strategic partnerships with local businesses such as spas and salons and provide packages for your customers and their employees.
Most everyone loves to be pampered.
You will find that many of your local businesses will be willing to provide you with volume discounts as you bring them business.
Perhaps, some of your existing customers can be targets for strategic partnerships.
Life is busy, and who wants to clean their homes on the weekends?
Why not provide a home cleaning service to employees of your customers?
Think about providing light-duty maintenance or "handyman" services to your customers'' places of business as well as their homes.
Just from a demographic standpoint, Americans are getting older and are less able to take care of ordinary tasks in and around their homes.
As we all search for ways to create stronger relationships with our customers and create new revenue streams, remember to "think outside the box."
Rick Hoffman is the owner and president of Aspen Building Services. Hoffman graduated from the University of Oklahoma and began his working career as an investment securities broker before starting Aspen Building Services. For more information about the suite of services Aspen offers its clients, visit www.AspenBuildingServices.com.