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I get inquires everyday from my clients who want to take on every job that comes their way. Their eyes glaze over with the thought of $$$$$ in their bank accounts.  I have been contacted to price everything from church steeples (pressure washing) to walls in an abandoned warehouse to barns and a 100,000 sq foot campus by a cleaning company who’s core business is residential cleaning and has never done commercial work.

Fortunately, they listen and heed my advice when I tell them to walk away.  Not every job is one that you should take on.  Here’s an example.  In my early days, I agreed to do a job that I quickly regretted taking on.  It was cleaning the empty upper lever of a strip shopping center.  Seems bats, birds and other critters has infested the area. I had been in business for a year and thought this would be easy and I could make really good money.  Joke was on me!

Finding someone to do the work was not the problem. It was getting them to come back after the 1st day was over that was the issue!  I had to up the pay, provide hazmat suits, face masks and heavy duty gloves.  It took longer than I anticipated of course. My labor costs far exceeded my fees as I had given a flat rate for the job without a clause for extra time. I was looking only at the money I would make and didn’t consider fully what it would cost me.  I had specialty equipment to rent, protective equipment to supply and had no idea what I getting into or even how to do it.

Here’s the lesson:  just because a call for work comes into your office, it does NOT mean that you are obligated or should even consider taking it on.  Working smarter and being selective about what you do will bring greater profits in the long run.  Deciding on a narrow and deep focus will keep you on track and put more money in your pocket.  It’s not a smart business decision to be all over the board and take on whatever comes your way.  Having a plan, working the plan and focusing on the kinds of accounts that are easy for your company to manage and bring solid profit is the only way to grow profitably.

Diversification and expansion yes….carelessly taking on accounts for which you are neither equipped or trained is not so smart. You are playing roulette with your company’s profits. Can you really afford to do that? Remember, it’s ok to say “no thank you” and walk away.

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