For over 30 years the cleaning industry has been beset by cleaners who use pricing strategies that border on "Bait & Switch Advertising".
Its a common practice to advertise low room pricing (often less than 10.00 a room), but to put in the fine print that this low price only covers "maintenance cleaning" or "good for carpets that are cleaned on a yearly basis". If the cleaning company will actually clean a light or moderately soiled carpet for this price, its likely not very good for the company, and I doubt there will be a very good result, but one cannot categorically state that this method of advertising is in itself unethical.
However, in most cases, the low "maintenance cleaning" is a "bait". The "switch" occurs when the small print offer of "free demonstration of our deep scrub method" comes into play.
In this scenario, the cleaner gives this "free demonstration" in the middle of a moderate to highly soiled traffic area, and they often are using a cleaning agent in this presentation FOR THE FIRST TIME. Now there is a very clean patch present that the "maintenance method" cannot match.
The customer has unwittingly fallen into a trap where they must now pay for the "deep scrub method". How much? Sometimes its only another 20 cents a square foot, which in of itself is not a high cleaning charge; but it is far higher than the customer expected when they hired the cleaner. However it is often 50 cents a square foot or more. And sometimes the pressure for protector, sanitizer, and anything else they can "push" are added on top until the bill is several hundred dollars more.
A cynical cleaner often snickers and says: "Well, those people who fall for such things deserve what they get!" That feeling is understandable when the cleaner has dealt with price objections all day and is tired of explaining their position. But the fact is very often it is our senior citizens who are being victimized.
Our seniors grew up in a different time, have a value system that sometimes cannot comprehend such underhanded techniques, and sadly are not always in possession of the mental faculties they once had.
Taking advantage of this generation who worked our country out of the depression and World War II is despicable, and needs to be countered at every turn.
How are cleaners to combat such tactics? One easy way is to keep all such coupons that are mailed or published in various "coupon magazines" at hand, and to have you or your office personnel add up the "add ons" that your prospective customer will have thrown at them, so that they can tell what the true cost of such cleaning would be. Compare it with yours, and your price will likely be lower.
In my next Blog post I'll talk about another, far less obvious, type of Bait and Switch marketing being done in our industry.
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