Author Archives: Michael Cooper

5 Simple Ways You Can Grow Your Window Cleaning Business With Mailchimp

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Email marketing works. There are 3 times more email accounts than there are Twitter and Facebook accounts combined. 92% of online adults use email, and one recent study indicated that email marketing is the 2nd most used marketing tool (after websites) that businesses use.

That’s why Cleaner Planner is integrated with Mailchimp, a leading online email marketing service. We recently covered what Mailchimp is and how it integrates with Cleaner Planner. In this article, we’ll look at five ways you can use Mailchimp integration and email marketing to grow your window cleaning business and boost revenue.

Promote additional services to existing customers

One of the best ways to boost revenue in your window cleaning business is by providing additional, complimentary services to your existing window cleaning customers. Examples of these services include pressure / soft washing, gutter cleaning, conservatory roof cleaning and so on. If you don’t offer additional services, we wrote a post covering why you should here.

Email marketing is a quick and easy way of  informing your entire customer base of what services you offer, gives them a clear and easy way to contact you for a quote or to arrange to have work carried out and doesn’t rely on the customer being in when you carry out your ordinary window cleaning service.

You can make your offers targeted and seasonal, for example by promoting gutter cleaning services in Spring.

Convert cancelled customers

Often, it’s easy to assume that a cancelled customer is a customer lost for good. However, periodically emailing your cancelled customers is a great way to remind them that you’re still there and continues to give them an opening to contact you, instead of someone else, should their circumstances change. It won’t always work, but you might be surprised by how many customers you can win back. Don’t forget, if you offer extra services besides window cleaning, just because a customer has cancelled their regular window cleaning services, doesn’t mean they won’t need other, less regular services now or in the future.

Convert leads

Ever carried a quote out for someone but didn’t hear back? Had an enquiry through on your website that didn’t turn into a customer? Email marketing can be a good way to continue to nurture seemingly dead-end leads. Rather than forget about them, emailing them keeps them in the loop, reminds them where you are and makes it easy for them to get in touch if their need ever arises again, or if another window cleaning business they chose lets them down!

Promote special offers

Email marketing acts as the perfect platform to promote special offers, whether it’s a “deal” on a particular service that you offer, or a “referral” program designed to gain you new customers. The Social Habit reported that 70% of email readers open emails from a company in search of a deal, discount, or coupon. Clearly, while special offers are not something you might associate with window cleaning, running them can be a great way of engaging customers and selling additional services to them.

Convert customers to better payment methods

Another of our Pro Plan features is GoCardless integration which allows you to take direct debit payments from your Cleaner Planner account. In short, the feature puts you in control of when you get paid, rather than waiting for payment, saves on admin time and reduces your debt list (find out more). Of course, customers need to sign up to pay you via GoCardless, and email marketing can be a great way of making this happen. You can clearly explain the benefits to them en masse, reassure them on any security concerns they might have and then direct them straight to the sign up link.

 

If you’d like to give the above techniques a try in your window cleaning business, you can trial Cleaner Planner (with Mailchimp integration) free for 30 days here, with no credit card details required or obligation to sign up.

If you’re an existing customer on our Pro Plan – take a look at a step-by-step guide on setting Mailchimp integration up on your account here. If you’re an existing customer on our Starter plan, contact us to discuss upgrading your account and the other features you get access to on Pro.

Q&A: What Is Mailchimp and How Does It Integrate with Cleaner Planner?

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Here at Cleaner Planner, a key feature on our Pro Plan is Mailchimp integration. Whether you’re one of our customers or not, you might be left wondering what Mailchimp is, what it’s got to do with window cleaning and Cleaner Planner, and how it can benefit you.

The following article aims to answer those questions and more:

What is Mailchimp?

Mailchimp is an online email marketing service. It allows you to easily send emails in bulk to all or parts of your customer base. However, unlike when you send a group email out from a normal email account, each and every email is sent individually for you meaning it can be personally addressed to each of your customers. You can also include your logo as well as multimedia content. As a result it looks more professional, feels more personal and is more likely to be opened and read.

Oh and you’re not left guessing there – you can see who opened and interacted with your email – information you can feed into follow up emails and other sales and marketing tactics.

Why should I use it?

Email marketing is proven as an effective, easy and cheap way to grow a business and increase revenue. As a window cleaning business, you can use it to promote additional services (like pressure washing or gutter cleaning) to your existing customers, turn leads into customers and convert cancelled customers back into clients – we cover more on how you can do those things here.

It is easy to use?

Yes! It’s very easy to pick up – that’s why Mailchimp is one of the leading email marketing services, used by every kind of business from sole traders to huge global brands.

Is it free?

If you have less than 2,000 customer emails, and plan to send less than 12,000 emails a month (which is likely more than most small to medium window cleaning businesses) then yes, it’s absolutely free! If you want to send more than that, there are various paid plans starting from $10 (£8) per month.

How does it integrate with Cleaner Planner?

At the click of a button from your Cleaner Planner account, you can import your customer’s emails and details into your Mailchimp account. As a result, in a matter of seconds, you can be ready to start your first customer email campaign.

If you’re interested in Cleaner Planner and Mailchimp integration, you can try the system free for 30 days here, with no credit card details required or obligation to sign up.

If you’re an existing customer on our Pro Plan – take a look at a step-by-step guide on setting Mailchimp integration up on your account here. If you’re an existing customer on our Starter plan, contact us to discuss upgrading your account and the other features you get access to on our Pro Plan.

Join us at the FWC Window Cleaning Trade Show in Blackpool

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The Cleaner Planner team are gearing up to attend the Federation of Window Cleaner’s Trade Show in Blackpool on May 25th 2017.

The indoor event, held at the Village Hotel is set to be the FWC’s biggest yet, and celebrates their 70th anniversary. With over 25 exhibitors, including the likes of GrippaTank, PureFreedom, Window Cleaning Warehouse and Moerman, the event is likely to be one of the best dedicated shows for window cleaners this year.

Cleaner Planner will be exhibiting, and offering one-to-one demos throughout the day, so if you’re curious about how window cleaning software can improve your business, or how Cleaner Planner compares to your current software, please do pop along to stand “O” and say hello!

If you’re already a Cleaner Planner customer, you’re also welcome to join us and put faces to names! We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have about the system, including our Pro Plan features like GoCardless, bulk text messaging and multi-user support.

The Village Hotel in Blackpool provides the perfect venue for the event, with onsite facilities that include a golf course, 2 swimming pools, a full service spa and 3 tennis courts, along with 2 restaurants and a Starbucks coffee shop. Discounted rates are available through the FWC if you’d like to stay at the hotel, otherwise there are plenty of reasonably priced accomodation options very nearby.

If you’re weren’t already a planning on attending the show, save the date – entrance is completely free and you can download your entry badge here.

The team here at Cleaner Planner look forward to seeing you!

 

Header image courtesy of Hotels.com

Wheelie Bin Cleaning Business Success Story – Bin Fairy

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How Bin Fairy saved hours, boosted profits and provided a better wheelie bin cleaning service to their customers by switching to Cleaner Planner

We spoke to Alex Dugard, Managing Director at Bin Fairy, about how his wheelie bin cleaning business has benefited since they switched to using Cleaner Planner as their dedicated wheelie bin cleaning business software:

Please can you tell us a little about your business?

Before we started using Cleaner Planner we were using an Excel sheet which…became harder and harder to keep a track of

We have been trading for nearly a year now, and in that time have amassed a modest customer base of around 250 regular customers made up of a mix of domestic and commercial work. Operating out of Mid-Sussex, we cater for domestic customers based in the Haywards Heath & Burgess Hill area predominantly, with some commercial work further afield. We clean anything from domestic size recycling, landfill and garden bins, right up to 1100 litre 4-wheeled commercial bins.

What wheelie bin cleaning software did you use before Cleaner Planner, and why did you move?

Before we started using Cleaner Planner we were using an Excel sheet which took a long time to update and as the business grew, became harder and harder to keep a track of. We wanted something that would automate a lot of what we were doing manually, allow us to take job sheets out with us on a mobile device, and make invoicing easier. After some searching around we found Cleaner Planner, which seemed to offer everything we were looking for and more, and after using it on a trial basis initially, we were pleased with how easy it was to use and didn’t look back.


How easy was it to move over to Cleaner Planner and how long did it take you to get to grips with the system?

Cleaner Planner has definitely saved us time – at least several hours per week

We found Cleaner Planner very intuitive, logical and easy to use. We were able to pick up the system straight away, and the support team were on hand to answer any questions we had. We felt comfortable with most features on the system within a week.


Has Cleaner Planner saved you time, and if so, can you guesstimate how much time per week?

Cleaner Planner has definitely saved us time – at least several hours per week – which over the course of a month adds up to a lot of time you can spend on other money-making tasks. We’re also well aware that the time the system saves us will only increase as our customer volume goes up and our business grows.

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Has Cleaner Planner allowed you to provide a better service to your customers and if so, how?

GoCardless integration has allowed us to take complete control of when a lot of our customers pay us…we get paid sooner, with less admin required

Cleaner Planner allows you to present your business and communicate with your customers in a more professional way. Features like branded invoices and quotes and bulk text message notifications allow you to not only provide a better service, but also give the impression that you run a serious, modern business. And of course, our customers benefit from more accurate and reliable scheduling.

Has your debt management improved since using Cleaner Planner?

Yes! Debt management is so easy to control using Cleaner Planner – we can easily and quickly identify who owes what and for how long, a great improvement on our previous method using a Excel spreadsheet.


Are there any Cleaner Planner features that you couldn’t live without?

I would strongly suggest that anyone who runs a wheelie bin cleaning business take a look at using Cleaner Planner.

GoCardless integration has allowed us to take complete control of when a lot of our customers pay us. We can process the payments straight from Cleaner Planner, in bulk, with the system automatically updating itself as to who has paid when the money arrives in our bank account. We get paid sooner, with less admin required – and it’s also very convenient for our customers

The text notifications have also saved a huge amount of time over manually sending them individually. Cleaner Planner also allows you to schedule a time for the messages to go, which means the task doesn’t have to encroach on evenings to example.

And finally, the way Cleaner Planner records all of our accounting data is also something we couldn’t live without – we simply download this data in Excel format and send it straight to our accountant.


What advice would you give to other wheelie bin cleaning businesses that may be considering using Cleaner Planner?

I would strongly suggest that anyone who runs a wheelie bin cleaning business take a look at using Cleaner Planner. Take out the free trial and you won’t look back.

What Window Cleaners Need to Know About Making Tax Digital

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During the 2015 March Budget, the Government announced its plans for all individuals and businesses to have digital tax accounts by 2020. Nearly all businesses – companies, partnerships and individual taxpayers who are self-employed – will need to keep track of their tax affairs digitally. This move will significantly change the way window cleaning businesses need to manage their finances and do their accounting – but what does it actually mean? Here are 5 things window cleaners need to know about Making Tax Digital

What are the objectives of Making Tax Digital?

HMRC has set out 4 main objectives as the basis for the transformed tax system:

Tax Simplified – Taxpayers will be able to see all the details HMRC holds for them and can check and update this at any time. Taxpayers should not have to re-provide information held on them elsewhere such as banks, employers etc. – it will all be recorded together.

Tax in One Place – Taxpayers will be able to see all the details of their entitlements and liabilities in one place, just as they have a complete financial picture with their online banking.

Making Tax Digital for Businesses – HMRC will collate and process tax information in as close to real time as possible meaning businesses should not have to wait until the end of the tax year to see how much tax they owe.

Making Tax Digital for Individuals – Every individual and small business will have access to their own digital tax account with prompts, advice and support to help them submit and pay tax.

This is the end of the paper tax return

HMRC’s slogan is “Making Tax Easier – the end of the tax return” and they’re aiming to do exactly that with Making Tax Digital. All tax reporting will be done online and all businesses will need to use software that is compatible with HMRC’s digital accounts.

What support will be available?

Acknowledging that taxpayers need varying levels of support, HMRC have stated that taxpayers will receive all the data and support relevant to them and, for those who have difficulty going online or who are digitally unfamiliar, help will be made available through other mediums. There will be helplines available for people to call, and team members dedicated to spotting and assisting taxpayers who need extra help. These individuals will be offered alternative means of support — over the phone, through face-to-face visits or through partners in the voluntary and community sector.

Non compliance penalty points system

The current system of penalty fines for late submission of tax returns will change to a points based system similar to that applied to a driving license – a fine is incurred when a certain number of points are accrued. However customers will have at least 12 months to become familiar with the changes before any late submission penalties will be applied.

Get your business ahead of the game using cloud-based software and apps

All liable businesses will be required to update HMRC using digital tools such as software or apps to keep a record of their financial affairs. HMRC will ensure that relevant tools are easily available, but your business or accountant may also use compatible software that is commercially available to compile your tax details and update HMRC. As the most cutting edge window cleaning software Cleaner Planner is committed to making digital tax as simple and efficient as possible and is developing features to help achieve this for our customers

This video explains how Making Tax Digital will work for small businesses and you can find out more on the Government’s plans for Making Tax Digital here.

We will be uploading a series of posts as Making Tax Digital becomes a reality, and there will be more information to come on new Cleaner Planner features. You can stay up to date with Making Tax Digital by subscribing to our newsletter below:

8 Reasons to use Cleaner Planner to Manage Your Lawn Care Business

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While Cleaner Planner was originally developed for window cleaners, it has evolved into a product that offers everything you need to manage your lawn care business.

We take a look at 8 reasons you should use Cleaner Planner as your lawn care software, to not only efficiently manage your business, but also save you time, grow and offer a better service to your customers.

In the meantime, why not try Cleaner Planner free for 30 days and see if you’d like to join our growing number of lawn care business customers.

1. Scheduling – Get it right

Cleaner Planner can handle a high volume of jobs and customers and gives you the ability to automate their scheduling so that you know what needs to be done and when. Whether you have jobs that need to be done every week on a Monday or on the last Friday of every month, Cleaner Planner makes custom scheduling a breeze. We can import your customers from other software as well as from an Excel spreadsheet.

2. Multiple Jobs, Services & RoundsGet organised

Multiple jobs for the same customer, each with their own schedule and pricing, can be handled with ease. Each of your jobs can be grouped into their service type, whether it’s lawn cutting, scarification or a seasonal treatment – meaning you know exactly what kind of work needs to be carried out, and allowing you to report on the income each of your services generate and identify where improvements could be made. Rounds can then be used to further organize your work into specific areas, vehicles or staff members, depending on the size of your business.

3. Invoices and Quotes – Save time

Cleaner Planner lawn care software takes the manual work out of raising invoices and quotes. In a couple of clicks, you can generate personalised PDF invoices and quotes which can be downloaded, printed or emailed directly from Cleaner Planner.

4. Mobile App & Worksheets – Go paperless and eliminate unnecessary admin

Using Cleaner Planner as your lawn care software allows you to go paperless. You can create worksheets (for yourself or multiple staff members if required – more on that to come) which can be accessed remotely using the Cleaner Planner mobile app (available for both Apple and Android devices). You, or your employees, can then update progress on the move, marking what’s been done, missed and paid, as well as adding and receiving notes specific to individual jobs as required. And there’s no need to worry about having 3G or WiFi signal, the app works perfectly offline – you simply sync your changes at the end of the day. This lawn care software feature eliminates admin time spent updating paper records or an Excel spreadsheet at the end of the day, and makes organising work for multiple staff and vehicles child’s play.

5. Multiple Users – Remotely organise your staff

As mentioned, Cleaner Planner allows you to give controlled access to multiple staff members – all of whom can access the software at the same time if required, from any device with an internet connection. As a result, you can easily and remotely manage your field staff, provide access for administrators and ensure that everyone knows exactly what they need to be doing and when, and has access to the information they need.

6. GoCardless and Stripe – Control your payments

Cleaner Planner integrates with GoCardless – a feature which puts you in control of when you get paid by your customers. You can process direct debit payments, in bulk or individually, directly from Cleaner Planner each time work has been completed. The system automatically updates who has paid, further reducing time spent chasing for payments, matching payments to customers and then manually updating records. Stripe integration also allows you to take card payments, and the combination of the two allows you to not only maximise your chances of being paid when you want, but offers the most convenient payment options to your customers.

7. Bulk SMS Messaging – Communicate more easily

The bulk text messaging feature allows you to quickly communicate with your customers. Do you have jobs or areas where customers need to informed you’re coming, or need to be in for you to gain access? Cleaner Planner allows you to send out text message alerts in bulk and schedule them to go out at a later time and date, meaning you not only save time but you can set the alert to go at the right time – without it encroaching on your own time.

8. Franchising

If you are a franchised lawn care business, are part of a franchised business or are looking to go franchised, Cleaner Planner has been designed to cater for you. Multiple franchisee accounts can be seamlessly linked to your master account. Your franchisees manage their own separate accounts, but you have easy access when you need to know what they are doing and review their performance.

Cleaner Planner has a growing number of lawn care business customers that use the system as their dedicated lawn care software. Why not try a 30 day free trial of Cleaner Planner? No card details, no contracts, and no obligation to sign up.

Alternatively, you can request a call back to find out more about how the system can help your lawn care business.

6 Common Reasons You’re Getting Poor Results with the Pure Water System

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We’ve previously covered how the water fed pole system works and why you should use it, and it’s generally been accepted by most window cleaners as the industry standard. However, many window cleaners have reported and continue to report that the system doesn’t quite perform as they expected – either consistently or inconsistently leaving spotting, watermarks and streaks on glass after cleaning.

The science behind pure water window cleaning is solid, and when the system is setup and used properly, it produces exceptional results. So problems with the finish left by the pure water system are usually caused by other variables. In this article, we’ll look at 6 of the most common ones, and give you a few window cleaning tips that aim to help you resolve any issues you may be experiencing.

Water Purity

We’ll start with the most obvious one. The water fed pole system relies on using pure, or very near-pure water. Using water with purity levels as close to 000PPM (parts per million) as possible ensures the best possible results. If you’re experiencing poor results after a window has dried it could be down to the purity of your water.

Remember that your deionisation resin is responsible for “polishing” off the last few PPM’s of impurities in your water. As resin “wears out”, it tends to stop performing rapidly, rather than gradually, so worn out resin can be responsible for quick changes in your water purity that might be easy to miss. Check it every time you fill your tank up using a good quality TDS meter, and stay on top of replacing your resin before it has too much of an impact on your water purity.

If you produce water into a static tank, test the purity before and after you’ve transferred it to your vehicle to check it isn’t being contaminated by the transfer pump or hosing. You might also want to test water purity as it leaves your water fed pole for the same reason.

Poor Technique

Like any tool, the pure water system has to be used with the correct technique to achieve perfect results in all scenarios. Failure to do so will lead to poor results. Read our article on the correct way to use a water fed pole.

Rinse

Very closely related to technique, rinse – or lack of, is one of the most common causes of poor results. When pure water lands on a dirty window, it very quickly becomes impure. If that impure water is not replaced with pure water, then dirty water is left to dry on the windows with results you’d expect. Ensure that once you have cleaned the window, you rinse it thoroughly, methodically covering it several times.

Soap / Detergent Residue

Despite your best efforts to use the correct technique and rinse thoroughly, you might have noticed mysterious streaks left on the window once dry. This can often be down to soapy residues left behind in the seals of the window you’re cleaning, usually from years of being cleaned by traditional methods. The tell tale sign of this is water foaming or “sudding” up on the glass – though this isn’t always the case. Be especially aware of this with new customers and where you’re cleaning windows for the first time. Where you suspect soap residues are going to be an issue, you can usually prevent any issues with extra brushing and rinse. Despite that, sometimes it takes a couple of cleans for windows with this problem to return good results, so preempt the problem and prewarn your customer, clearly explaining the cause.

Window Vents

Without proper care and attention, window vents can cause problems for pure water window cleaners. Usually located above windows and full of dirt, inadvertently spraying water into a window vent can leave dirt running down a window you’ve just cleaned long after you’re gone. Learn to spot the various different types of window vents, keep your jets well away from them and try and avoid getting them wet if you can, even it it means not cleaning the frame around the vent. Go back over a window and rinse it again before you leave if you suspect a vent may cause a problem. You’ll learn what types of vent cause the most issues and how best to get around them.

Oxidised Residues

Window frame materials like Aluminium as well some paints oxidise and degrade over time, leaving a powdery residue that is easily disturbed by your water fed pole brush. Warning signs of this problem include your water turning cloudy as you clean a window. These residues can continue to run onto the glass after you’ve cleaned the window, again affecting your finish. When cleaning windows with this problem, try to (contrary to standard technique) avoid brushing or wetting the frame above the glass as much as possible. Use extra rinse and clean your brush regularly. Be aware of this when quoting up jobs – running a finger along a dry frame and checking for white, powdery residue will give you an idea of the extent of the problem. Particularly bad cases may not be suitable for cleaning with the water fed pole system.

The above causes are most commonly responsible for poor results when using the water fed pole system. Our window cleaning tips article on using the water fed pole system properly will also help you make sure you’re using the correct technique and ensuring the best possible results at all times.

Success Story: The Cardiff Window Cleaning Company

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How The Cardiff Window Cleaning Company moved from Excel, increased the size of their business and saved 24 hours a month

We spoke to Joseph Richards, Managing Director, about his move to Cleaner Planner:

Please can you tell us a little about your business?

…for a long time, we simply used Excel…whilst it did the job, we found it time consuming and limiting

The Cardiff Window Cleaning Company has been trading for about 4 years. However, we’ve been window cleaning for around 16 years – I started when I was 15 years old with nothing but a borrowed ladder and a squeegee. We’re based in Cardiff, but cover much of South Wales and Bristol. We have a client base made up of around 20% domestic and 80% commercial customers. We combine the use of water fed pole and traditional window cleaning, from the ground or from MEWPS. The company has also built up a team of Rope Access Technicians, with 2 of them recently gaining their IRATA qualifications.

What window cleaning software did you use before Cleaner Planner, and why did you move?

Cleaner Planner has saved us time in ways we didn’t even imagine it could.

We’ve tried several other window cleaning software programs in the past, but we until we found Cleaner Planner, we couldn’t find a solution that we felt worked particularly well. So for a long time, we simply used Excel spreadsheets and Dropbox. Whilst it did the job, we found it time consuming and limiting, and it produced a lot of unnecessary paperwork.

How easy was it to move over to Cleaner Planner and how long did it take you to get to grips with the system?

You get a 30 day free trial which gave us more than enough time to play about with it and get used to the system. Once we committed, it was a very simple process to add all of our customers and get started.

Has Cleaner Planner saved you time, and if so, can you guesstimate how much time per week?

We have probably saved around 6 hours per week in admin time, so around 24 hours a month

Cleaner Planner has saved us time in ways we didn’t even imagine it could. For example – producing invoices is now incredibly easy, and you can email them straight from the software. It’s also saved us lots of time compiling figures for our accounts and VAT returns. We have probably saved around 6 hours per week in admin time, so around 24 hours a month – which is a substantial time saving to say the least!

Has Cleaner Planner allowed you to take on more business?

Yes, definitely. The reporting features on Cleaner Planner have highlighted areas that we need to improve – showing us which are our most and least profitable jobs, vans and rounds – that’s just not information we had to hand before and it’s so easy to access on Cleaner Planner. Armed with this information we have been able to drop under-priced work, focus on taking on more profitable jobs and push for growth in areas of the business where there is room to accommodate new work.

To be honest, the thought of running my business without Cleaner Planner now is scary.

Has Cleaner Planner allowed you to provide a better service to your customers and if so, how?

The ability to quickly provide outstanding invoice statements to our commercial clients has been very appreciated – it gives them all the information they need in a professional format, which reflects well on us as a business and drives quicker payments. We’re also more focused on obtaining client’s email addresses and mobile numbers – as Cleaner Planner makes it so much easier to keep our clients updated and in the loop.

Are there any Cleaner Planner features that you couldn’t live without?

All of them! To be honest, the thought of running my business without Cleaner Planner now is scary.

Has your debt management improved since using Cleaner Planner?

We delayed for too long – there’s no doubt that we should have used Cleaner Planner sooner.

Dramatically. Unlike a spreadsheet, Cleaner Planner makes it immediately obvious when debts are overdue and by how long. Then in just a couple of clicks, we can send a polite reminder, either by text message or email.

To summarize, how would you say Cleaner Planner has changed your business.

As a company we are simply a lot more organised. We’re able to plan ahead with much better insight than we ever could before. The team love the mobile app and have found it a huge improvement over the antiquated paper spreadsheets I used to provide for them. Our cash flow has also improved with the ability to invoice more quickly, stay on top of debts and get payments in quicker.

…if you’re wondering whether Cleaner Planner could work for you – just take out the free trial and you’ll see. The benefits are immediate!

What advice would you give to window cleaners that may be considering using Cleaner Planner?

We delayed for too long – there’s no doubt that we should have used Cleaner Planner sooner. Whether you’re a one man band or a large business, if you’re wondering whether Cleaner Planner could work for you – just take out the free trial and you’ll see. The benefits are immediate!

 

 

If you’d like to find out how Cleaner Planner can help your window cleaning business, you can sign up for a 30 day free trial here or contact us.

5 Reasons You Should Use Stripe With Cleaner Planner

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One of the features on our Pro Plan is Stripe integration. You might be wondering what Stripe is, how it works with Cleaner Planner, and how it can benefit your window cleaning business? This post sets out to answer those questions.

Stripe is an online payment provider that allows you to take debit or credit card payments. Our integration with Stripe allows you to take card payments from your customers by entering their card details directly into Cleaner Planner.

So how does our Stripe feature benefit you and why should you use it?

1) Quicker, cheaper debt collection

Stripe integration means you can take card payments over the phone. As a result, it can be a hugely useful feature when it comes to debt collection, as payment can be taken without the need to visit a customer or rely on them being present at the job address. It enables you to take control of processing their payment there and then, meaning you don’t have to rely on your customer to go away and remember to make a payment by other means. Alongside all of that, settling debt by card is probably the most convenient option for most customers, requiring very little effort on their part and making payment much more likely to happen. As a result, you can reduce the costs of your debt collection, and increase the rate at which you collect payments.

2) Save time

You can process card payments from Cleaner Planner directly, without the need to log in to anything else or open any other web pages. When you process the card payment, Cleaner Planner automatically updates your customer record, making the process quick and admin-free. There’s no matching up payments to customers and updating their records manually as with bank transfers and other payment methods.

3) Better value over other options

So why not just use Paypal, Stripe’s better-known counterpart? Quite simply, because Stripe does the same job, but for much less. Stripe fees are currently 1.4% + 20p per transaction, compared to Paypal, who charge 3.4% + 20p – well over double.

4) More convenient for your customers

As we’ve mentioned, paying by card is a convenient and quick payment method for most people. There’s no need to worry about having the right money to pay you, writing a cheque, or even logging into a bank account to transfer payment – they simply provide you with their card details and it’s taken care of. Many people these days expect to be able to pay for their bills by card, and giving them the opportunity to do so might just win you business over a competitor that can’t.

5) Improved company image

Following on from that, the ability to pay by card is virtually an expectation for most consumers and businesses, and it has become a given for many service providers. Of course, there are still many window cleaning businesses that don’t accept card payments, and doing so sets you apart as a modern, professional and legitimate business.

When combined with our GoCardless integration, our Stripe integration is a powerful way of reducing your debts, taking control of your payments and providing a better, more modern service to your customers.

If you’re not yet a Cleaner Planner customer, you can try it free for 30 days (without providing your card details and with no obligation to sign up) and see for yourself how Cleaner Planner will improve your window cleaning business.

If you’re already a Cleaner Planner user, you can find out about setting up Stripe here.

6 Reasons to Stop Using a Diary to Manage Your Window Cleaning Round

Diaries

In the days before computer software, diaries were a viable, and often default method of managing a window cleaning round.

To a certain extent diaries work, which is why, despite drastic advances in technology, many window cleaners still use them to manage their businesses

But with dedicated window cleaning software now available, built specifically with the needs of window cleaners in mind, is it still viable?

In this post, we take a look at 6 reasons you should think about modernising the way you run your window cleaning round:

1) Security

One of the biggest issues with diary systems is security. Carrying a diary around usually means carrying around lots of your customer’s personal information – names, addresses, contact numbers, property access details, payment notes and so on. Generally, that information won’t just be for the jobs you’ll be completing that day, but for your entire window cleaning round.

Unlike an electronic device, the data inside a diary is readily accessible to anyone who gets their hands on it, so in the event of your diary being lost or stolen, a huge amount of information can end up in the wrong hands – not something any of your customers would be very happy about.

2) Data Backup

Of course, then you have the issue of backing your data up. Like any window cleaning round management system, your diary becomes the heart of your business, storing everything from job due dates to your customer debts. Unless you like spending time writing everything twice or taking copies, it’s likely that your diary is the only copy of that information you have.

Again, if that diary is lost, stolen or even damaged, you have no backup of the data that is at the core of your business and livelihood. Even if you know who your customers are, can you remember which of them are in debt and how much by, or when that annual gutter clean you carry out is next due? Probably not.

3) Job Scheduling

Using a diary to schedule your jobs is a manual task. You need to stay on top of the frequency of every single job, manually rescheduling them each time they’re completed. Not only is that process time-consuming, it’s also prone to mistakes being made.

Window cleaning software like Cleaner Planner takes complete care of your job scheduling. It automatically reschedules your jobs when they’re complete, saving you time and eliminating the chance of error. Rather than flick through a diary, you can find out exactly what jobs are due at any given time at the click of a button. Plus, you can also carry out what would otherwise be laborious scheduling tasks with the same ease – for example, shifting all of your work forward a week when you go on holiday.

4) Debt Control

Any paper-based system makes staying on top of debts difficult. Again, all records have to be manually added, checked and then removed when the debt is paid. It can be hard to get an idea of how old a debt is, and working out the total debt of several jobs or a round means manually adding up lots of figures, potentially from different areas of your diary.

Cleaner Planner automatically tracks who owes you money, and how long they have owed you for. It has a dedicated “Debts” tab where you can quickly see the total amount you are owed, and easily chase for the debt by email or text message. As a result, you can keep a much better grip on your debts, improve cashflow and identify bad payers more quickly.

5) Accounting

In recent years, it’s become more and more difficult to carry out year end accounting for your window cleaning round from paper records. These days, accountants are fairly averse to working from paper records – a trend that is only set to continue. As a result, if you use an accountant, you almost certainly pay higher fees than an equivalent business using digital records. Even if you carry out your tax assessment yourself, paper records mean a laborious, yearly task of translating and totalling up your data into a format that is acceptable to HMRC.

Window cleaning software like Cleaner Planner keeps an ongoing track of your income and expenditure throughout out the year. In a matter of minutes, you can generate a full profit and loss report for the entire year, which you can export into spreadsheet format and hand straight over to your accountant.

6) Managing Multiple Staff

If you’re interested in growing your business, it’s likely that more than one person will need to access the information stored in your diary – which can present challenges. Managing the workload of other staff members from a paper-based system can quickly become a complicated, time consuming process – often requiring manual duplication of your customer information, the management of additional paper-records and the laborious administrative task of keeping your diary updated with your worker’s progress.

Cleaner Planner has been designed to give you the ability to manage multiple staff with ease. You can quickly assign work to staff remotely, without the need to handover physical paper records. Going paper-free means they can update their progress on the move, eliminating the time you spend manually updating your records.

The Cleaner Planner team have helped hundreds of window cleaners make the transition from diaries and paper-based systems to window cleaning software. We’re on hand to help with anything from how you get your customers onto Cleaner Planner to offering 1-to-1 training over the phone to get you fully up and running on the system.

Contact us here to discuss making the move – you can also try Cleaner Planner free for 30 days here – we don’t ask for any credit card details and there is no obligation to sign up.