How Paul Westcott saved 20 hours a month, signed 45% of his customers up to GoCardless and stopped having to collect debts
Please can you tell us a little about your business?
A key requirement I had was the ability to be able to manage my business remotely…
Impact Cleaning has been in business for 14 years and covers Braintree, Saffron Maldon, Bishops Stortford and the surrounding areas. I have around 300 customers consisting of 80% domestic and 20% commercial clients. Recently, I have streamlined the services offered by Impact to just window cleaning.
What window cleaning software did you use before Cleaner Planner, and why did you move?
I used George initially, followed by Window Cleaner Pro (WCP). Both did an OK job but not anywhere near as well as I wanted. There were rarely updates or improvements to either programs. A key requirement I had was the ability to be able to manage my business remotely – which is something Cleaner Planner immediately provided. As an example I’m soon to go on holiday for 3 weeks, but will be able to manage everything from there as well as supply work to someone covering my round – something I could have never done with George or Window Cleaner Pro.
How easy was it to move over to Cleaner Planner and how long did it take you to get to grips with the system?
A simple example…is the bulk text feature – what used to take me 15-20 minutes, I can now do in 10 seconds!
I had the option to import my customers from WCP but chose to use the opportunity to start a fresh and re-enter my customers from scratch. It was a really good chance to clean my data and highlighted areas where I needed information like contact numbers and emails etc.
Has Cleaner Planner saved you time, and if so, can you guesstimate how much time per week?
Cleaner Planner has saved me an average of an hour a day give or take, which is 20 hours a month! A simple example of how it does that is the bulk text feature – what used to take me 15-20 minutes, I can now do in 10 seconds! Rather than doing it every day, Cleaner Planner has allowed me to compress my planning down to a short period of time on a Sunday, giving me everything I need for the whole week.
What Cleaner Planner allows you to do is quickly see where you can take on more business
Has Cleaner Planner allowed you to take on more business?
What Cleaner Planner allows you to do is quickly see where you can take on more business, and where your existing business needs to be streamlined. The Planner view is brilliant at highlighting spaces and dips in earnings for each day – meaning you can take on work and improve what you’ve got already.
Has Cleaner Planner allowed you to provide a better service to your customers and if so, how?
I couldn’t live without the Planner – it’s the centre of my working week and I use it to plan and schedule everything.
Yes, again, features like bulk texting allow me to keep my customers in the loop at all times. For example, yesterday I text all of my customers to let them know I’d be round today. The weather meant that wasn’t possible, so I sent another message letting them know. Previously, I would have had to have spent 10-20 minutes each time on my phone, and where I wasn’t able to do that, my customers would be in the dark until I was able to get there. The beauty of the bulk text feature is that you can also set it up so that customers aren’t able to respond, meaning you give them the information they need without inviting them to respond back with things like “It’s due to rain tomorrow, miss me out”.
Are there any Cleaner Planner features that you couldn’t live without?
The GoCardless integration with Cleaner Planner has almost eliminated the problem of debts and collecting for me.
As I’ve already mentioned, the bulk texting feature is a lifesaver. But also, I couldn’t live without the Planner – it’s the centre of my working week and I use it to plan and schedule everything. You can drag and drop work around to make quick changes to fit your schedule that week, and everything is colour coded so it’s obvious what you’ve done, what’s due and what is overdue. Then I use it to fit work in around other commitments, for example having my van MOT’d. It’s something neither George or Window Cleaner Pro ever had, but desperately needed.
Has your debt management improved since using Cleaner Planner?
…it’s only when you actually use Cleaner Planner that you fully realise how much time it can save you.
The GoCardless integration with Cleaner Planner has almost eliminated the problem of debts and collecting for me. Most of my customers that used to pay by cash or cheque are now signed up to GoCardless – that’s about 45% of my round – and the rest pay by bank transfer. It’s so easy, you can start a GoCardless payment run for the work that day by clicking a button, and there’s no manually updating records to say they’ve paid, Cleaner Planner does it for you automatically!
What advice would you give to window cleaners that may be considering using Cleaner Planner?
If you want to move forward, just try it – it’s only when you actually use Cleaner Planner that you fully realise how much time it can save you. It’s definitely worth the effort getting used to using the system – everything you need is in one place and it’s just easier!