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I have recently added a customer in an ultra high-end Boston condo building who now considers me a GENIUS and a MIRACLE WORKER when it comes to removing upholstery stains. (She actually used both terms in a note she sent me.) Her story was that her cleaning lady left a bottle of some kind of cleaning product containing what she described as blue dye on top of her upholstered window seat. Well, of course, it got knocked over, badly staining the material. She arranged for the concierge to let me into the building one day last week to try and clean it. I told her I could not guarantee the results, and that there would be a $100 minimum charge for my visit.

When I got there, I put some terrycloth pads on the floor near the window seat (to catch overspray) and sprayed the entire top of the bench, making sure that the spray went all the way to where the fabric met the wood part of the window seat. (avoids watermarks when drying) I let the spray dwell for about 10 minutes, then, using my stair tool and a terry pad, worked over the entire wet fabric for perhaps 2 minutes. Then I packed up and left, keeping my fingers crossed. While the fabric is still wet, it's usually impossible to tell if the stain has been removed, since all of the material is darker than normal from the moisture.

When I checked with my answering service that evening, there was a message from my customer, saying how happy she was that all of the blue stain was gone. She followed up a couple of days later with a gushing note. I was there for a total of 15 minutes.
The moral?: always charge a minimum.


You must be a genius if you can charge a hundred dollars for 15 minutes of work and get it, I would freze up tring to give some one that price. My minimum is 50 dollars


I have always consided you a GENIUS and a MIRACLE WORKER.


I changed my minimum from 50 to 60, and hope to go higher next year. I lose a few price shoppers now who just need "one room" cleaned. I try not to worry about it though, as I thought about all the $50 jobs I did last year, but the time I packed up the van drove there, met with the customer, pre-vac, clean, post vac, get the check and drive home, I've killed 2+ hours for $50.


Hi Grant,

You say you dont want to do it for 50.00 Where else can you make 25 an hour. I would rather have 2 jobs a day for 4 hours a day at 100 total for 500 a week.

You got to start somewhere. My special is 3 rms for 99.95 I know its cheap and Mark would tell me to raise my price. But I look at it this way, I know if I did two jobs per day at 99.95 thats 200 a day for 5 days a week 1000.00 a week. I can deal with that. I guess it comes down to we all lnow how much we need to live on, me, 1000 a week would be great, even 500 a week for 20 hours or so worth of work. Cant beat it.


I don't have a problem with $50 for 2 hours, but by the time you factor in driving, gas, mileage, wear and tear on the vehicle, laundry, etc. it's much less. But it was worth it to me last year to get started and help build a customer base. Your 3 rooms for $99 is decent $ for you and a good value for the custy. I charge $90 for 3 rooms or $60 for 2 rooms and if I could get 3 of those every day I'd be a happy camper.