Before you can start selling gutter cleaning jobs, you must first figure out your pricing. Pricing will depend on the type of job, size of the job and the location of the job. Let’s start with looking at the different types of jobs you will come across.
Residential jobs are typically gutter cleaning jobs for homes and are paid for by the homeowner. Residential jobs will make up 95-100% of your gutter cleaning work depending if you decide to do commercial jobs which we will go over later on in this course. The first step to figuring out how to price residential jobs is to learn the different styles of homes in your area and their structure. Before I give a potential customer a quote, I first run them through a series of questions that allow me to create a mental picture about the type and size of the home they have. One of the questions is “How many stories is your home?”. Many times, instead of giving me the actual number of stories, the customer will respond with the style of home expecting me to know how many stories it is. You want to come off knowledgable otherwise it will seem like you are inexperienced, so it’s important to understand home styles. Below I will list out some of the popular home styles in my area, but you should do your own research about the types of homes in your area and find pictures of them so you know what they look like, the setup of the gutters and how many stories they are.
I really only hear about those 6 in my area, but this may be completely different for your area. Take a look at this wikipedia page for a detailed list of house types – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_house_types . Figure out which styles are in your area and then look up a picture of each home style. When I first started, I printed out each home style and put it in front of me and if a customer mentioned the home style, I would instantly know how many stories and the gutter setup I was dealing with.
Before we get into the specific details you need to get from the customer about their home, let’s look at the quoting options that you have.
- On-Site Quotes – This requires you setting a meeting with the potential customer. Once you show up, you would take a look at the home and then quote the customer on-site. If sold, you can do the job there on the spot, or you can schedule them for a later time. For residential jobs, I don’t prefer this method because I don’t believe it’s worth the time to drive out to a customer’s home and meet with them just to give them a quote that might not even sell. This method is fine, and the only way for some other industries that offer services in the thousands of dollars, but at the average gutter cleaning price, I don’t think it’s worth putting all of this extra time, energy and traveling expenses to give on-site quotes. This method also dramatically slows down the selling and completing the job process since you have to find a time/date that works just to give a quote that might not even go through. The only upside to this method is that you have a better chance to sell at a higher price and get the job accepted because you are meeting in person. Meeting in person creates a trust factor, and if you’re likeable, many will be willing to give you the job at a higher price because of the likeability factor, the extra effort you put in by coming down to give them an on-site quote and because in the process you built up some trust with them.
- Over The Phone Quotes – The other option is to run the customers through a few questions over the phone and give them a quote almost instantly. This is my preferred method of quoting because it’s quick, most people already know what they are willing or not willing to pay so you avoid a lot of wasted time, and you can instantly schedule the job even if the customer isn’t home during the cleaning which happens quite often. I will be pushing the over the phone quote strategy in this course.
So let’s get back to the pieces of information that you need to properly give a quote over the phone.
- You need to know how many stories their home is. A one story is much quicker than a two story, so obviously a 1 story will cost less than a two story gutter cleaning job. Some of you will only do 1-2 stories and won’t even touch 3 story homes so it’s important to know this piece of information.
- You need to know the approximate square footage of the home. The larger the home, the more footage of gutter you’re cleaning. Most of your potential customer will know the square footage of their home, but some might not. For those that can’t tell you the approximate square footage you can simply ask them if they think their home is Small, Small-Medium, Medium, Medium-Large, Large, etc.
- You need to know if their gutters are open or if they have covers on them. Some people get gutter protection installed on their gutters. The point of gutter protection is to prevent gutters from being clogged. Fortunately for you and I, gutter protection does not always work. Depending on the type of installed system they have and the type and number of trees around their area, many times gutter protection systems will fail and they will call you. You need to know if they have open gutters or covered gutters because covered gutters take twice as long to clean on average, if not more. The reason why it takes longer is because to properly clean the gutters you must first take off the protection. Once you are done cleaning the gutters, you must then re-install the protection. This is a pain in the ass and not worth it unless you are charging much more. It’s not always the worst case scenario as you can sometimes just take off a few pieces that are in badly clogged areas instead of taking off all of the gutter protection, but you should always plan for the worst case scenario so you aren’t regretting taking on the job. There are typically two general types of gutter protection systems that you will come across. A snap-in type gutter cover that tucks under the roof shingles that you can easily pop off and just as easily put back in. The other type is a more heavy duty type that is screwed into the actual gutter or even part of the gutter. This one is a bigger pain to deal with as it requires a drill and a more tedious process of re-installing it. This type of gutter protection would obviously cost more to clean than the snap-in type, so it’s important to know the type of gutter protection you are dealing with. Sometimes the potential customer won’t know if they have covers or not, in this case you can usually assume that they don’t have covers but still give them 2 different pricing options – one for open gutters and one for covered gutters. Then once you are on-site you can let them know if they have covers or not and verify the actual price.
- You want to ask them when they had their gutters cleaned. This doesn’t always play into pricing, but it’s still a good idea to ask. You’d think that if they haven’t cleaned their gutters in 5 years that they would be worse than someone that cleans them every year, but this is not always the case. Some people barely have any trees around them and never clean their gutters. Then one day their downspout gets clogged for whatever reason and they call you. You show up to find that their gutter system is almost completely empty but some little amount of debris built up in a corner and clogged their downspout. In case you don’t know what a downspout is, it’s the pipe going down the home that connects to the top gutters that allows the water to drain. Then you’ll have situations where someone cleans their gutters twice a year and you show up to 5 inches of packed leaves. This is the reason why you can’t always gauge the pricing based on their cleaning schedules. The reason I still ask is because it will help you stand out from the competition that doesn’t ask, making it seem like you know more about what you’re talking about and giving your quote more credibility. If they haven’t cleaned their gutters in many years, you could ask if they have plants growing out of their gutters. If they do, then it’s probably a good idea to charge a bit more because now you know they are pretty full.
- You want to ask them which city or town they live in. Location is important. Location is a big factor for pricing because some neighborhoods can afford to pay much more than others, and you want to price higher for further away jobs.
- You want to ask if their are any problem areas. This is important to know so that you can make sure that whatever the issue they had is solved after the cleaning is completed. Sometimes there are issues that are outside of gutter cleaning and are actually things that require gutter repairs. It’s important that you let them know after you clean the gutters if the issue is outside of cleaning. This can lead to a gutter repair upsell that doubles the price of the job on the spot.
- Other questions – I tend to stick to the questions above, but you might find that asking a couple additional questions could help you price more accurately. Here are a few more things some gutter cleaning companies might ask about:
- Do you have gutters going all the way around your house, just 2 sides, just 1 side, on one level, or on multiple levels, etc.
- Approximately how many feet of gutters do you have?
Commercial jobs are gutter cleaning jobs for buildings outside of homes, usually for a business. This could be a restaurant, a hotel, a factory or your local post office. You can expect to do more work and to charge more for commercial properties. Because commercial properties are so different from each other you won’t be able to quote them over the phone. For commercial jobs you want to schedule an on-site estimate. There are two ways you can approach this.
- The first, is to schedule a meeting with someone on-site that can walk you around and talk to you. From here you can either give them a quote in person and then follow up over email later, or you can hold off on giving them a quote and instead send them something more put together and professional via email later on.
- The second option is to let them know that the “estimator” will do a walk around their property on a certain day and that you will get back to them with an estimate once you get the numbers. Most are on board with this option because they don’t have to be hassled, but some would prefer walking you throughout the property. I personally prefer this over scheduling a meeting because you can come by when it’s convenient for you or you can just look up their building on Google Maps and they’ll assume that you came by. This makes life much easier. Sometimes it’s better to go on-site if it’s a complicated looking building.
The Prices in Your Area
Before you start deciding on pricing, you should also be aware of the market in your area. You definitely have gutter cleaning companies already set up in your area and you need to know exactly what they charge because some people will call up to 3 people to get pricing before they decide. As you will learn in this course, you don’t have to be the cheapest to win jobs, but you usually can’t be dramatically higher. Here are a few ways that you can figure out average pricing for your local market:
- HomeAdvisor.com provides market data nationally and based on specific locations. If you go to this website page – http://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/cleaning-services/clean-gutters-and-downspouts/ you will see the low end, high end, and average costs of gutter cleaning nationally. You can change the location on the top left corner to your zip code to see the high, low and average cost in your area. This should give you a good starting point.
- Come up with 3 different home sizes. For example:
- 1 story home 1700 square feet.
- 2 story home 2000 square feet.
- 2 story home 3500 square feet.
Then make a list of the top 10 companies that come up in Google when you search for “gutter cleaning <your area>”. After you have a list of 3 dummy home sizes and the list of 10 companies, give them all a call and ask them how much it would cost to clean your home. They’ll ask you a few questions about your home and will give you a price. If they ask you for your address or ask to do an on-site quote, tell them that you are only price shopping and just want to get a ballpark figure for now so you can decide in a couple weeks. This will give you actual numbers in your local area and it will allow you to hear how your competition sells their services which can be a great learning experience. Make sure to make notes about each company’s pricing and other notes about their sales process, the value they offer and how they offer it. These numbers should not dictate your pricing, but they should definitely give you a range that you can work with.
If you plan to cover a decent size area, you should also make a list of 10 companies in the additional areas to see if the prices vary by location. In most cases, they do. Also something to keep in mind is that a lot of primarily gutter installation companies will pop up in the searches. Try to get a mix of cleaning companies and gutter installation companies because many of the gutter installation companies don’t care for cleaning and will charge extremely high for it which can give you the false impression that those numbers are normal for your area. An example of this is in my immediate area, the average that I charge for gutter cleaning is $150. A local gutter installation company that also comes up for gutter cleaning searches charges $275. At my $150 price, many still think that is expensive so you can safely assume that the gutter installation company rarely sells gutter cleaning jobs.
Additional Things To Keep In Mind Before Setting Your Pricing
- You can always go lower, you can’t go higher. So start higher and be ready to drop the price if the customer isn’t ready to schedule. What I usually do is go for $25 more than I’m happy with getting, and if they don’t want to schedule the job for any reason after they have heard the price, I usually drop it $25 to see if that’s enough for them to bite as a first time customer discount rate.
- Test your pricing. This is the best way to figure out what the best pricing structure is. For example, if you are selling almost all of the jobs that you quote without hesitation, then there’s a chance you are too low. If most are saying no, then maybe you’re too high, or maybe your pitch needs to be improved. The point is, try to test pricing in the beginning to see what works the best. If out of 10 jobs you quote for $100 you sell 6. 6 out of 10 jobs sold comes out to $600. If you raise the price to $150 and only sell 4 out of 10 jobs, that still comes out to $600 and you had to do two less jobs to make the same amount of money. So do some tests and calculate the best pricing model for yourself.
Setting Up Your Pricing List
In this course you will find a Price Sheet excel document that you can open in Google Sheets and edit. Fill in this sheet to create an easy to lookup price list. This price sheet is broken down into a few different sections all based on the questions that you will run the potential customer through over the phone. Here’s the breakdown:
- County – This is the area that you’re targeting and getting calls from. I broke pricing down by county, but you can also expect pricing to vary a lot within one county so you can break it down based cities or a certain radius. Then within each County, or location, you will find 7 additional columns described next:
- Stories – the number of stories or floors the home has. I have it set from 1 to 3. If you aren’t going to be doing 3 story homes, you can just remove it.
- Square FT – The approximate square footage of the home. I have it set to 1,500, 2,000, 2500, 3000, 4000.
- Size – This column puts a size name to the square ft. column. This is used if the potential customer doesn’t know their square footage and tells you the home size based on small, small/medium, medium, large, x-large. You can break this down even further if you want.
- Price – This is the highest price I’m looking to charge for each combination.
- Pull-Off – This describes the type of gutter protection the customer has and how much the total price is for the cleaning if they have their gutters covered. The pull-off is the simple gutter covers/guards that are popped in under the shingles of the roof. They are quicker to remove compared to the next type, which makes it cheaper, but more expensive than a regular cleaning. I padded it with an extra $25 but you can go up to $50 if not higher. People are willing to pay for this if you properly describe it during the pitch, which we will go over next in this course.
- Screw-Off – This describes the heavier duty gutter protection systems that are screwed into the gutter system and the price is a bit higher here. I padded it by $50, but you should test doing more depending on your area.
- Discount – If you remember earlier I mentioned that you can start high and go lower, but not vice versa. I explained how I start with the highest amount I’m trying to get for a cleaning job, but if they don’t bite right away, I drop it by $25 as a “first time customer discount.” This column is to set the maximum discount you’re willing to take off for each price, if any at all. The blank rows mean that I’m not willing to give a discount for that specific home size.
Pricing Out Commercial Jobs
Commercial Pricing can be a little different because commercial jobs are usually considerably more than residential jobs. I usually assess the job and figure out a flat rate that I would be willing to do the job for. Then I measure out the number of feet of gutters that are on the building. You don’t have to be exact here, many times I just open up google maps and use the measuring tool to give me the building roof dimensions. Then I divide the price that I want to get for the commercial cleaning by the total feet of the building (length & width) and come up with a price per foot. This is how I present the quote for commercial jobs. I feel like commercial project managers like to see how the price was derived and it makes your quote seem more precise compared to just throwing out a flat rate. Let’s take a look at an example.
Let’s say I have to quote a building that has gutters all the way around it. I pull it up in Google Maps Street View and do a virtual walk around. I decide I can see enough to not have to drive by and decide that to clean this building’s gutters, assuming they are pretty packed, I would be happy with $2100. I would then pull up the building in google maps from the top view and use the google maps measure tool (right click->measure) and go all the way around 4 sides. It would look something like the image below:
As you can see, it comes out to a total of 800 feet. I would then take the total that I want, $2100, and divide it by 800 ft. This comes out to 2.625 per foot. I can round this down to 2.60/foot and give them a price of $2080 which I send in the email quote. Or you can round up to 2.63/foot which comes out to $2104. You will find a quote template in this course that you can use.