Courtney Lee is the Owner/Operator of Truman Steemers in Lawrenceville, GA and the Founding member of the popular Facebook Group, Cleaner’s Connect. Courtney’s been using video to grow his business for years, and in today’s episode, he’s going to tell us how he does it.
In this episode you’ll learn:
- Who Courtney Lee is and how he started Truman Steemers
- Why Courtney created the Facebook Group ‘Cleaners Connect’
- How Courtney came up with his business model and why it’s successful
- Who Courtney’s ideal client is (and why he chose this market)
- How Courtney separates himself from the crowd
- Why the future is in video marketing and how it can help you grow your business
- Dealing with camera shyness and the steps to take to overcome it
- How to get started making videos for your own cleaning business
Courtney’s YouTube Channel
Cleaner’s Connect Facebook Grout:
Courtney’s Book Recommendations:
Hey Courtney, man, thanks for joining us today. Welcome to the show!
Thank you, Dusty. I greatly appreciate you bringing me on the show.
Who Courtney is and how he started his company
Yeah, man, I know you’re busy. I know you’re out there working all day, so I appreciate you taking the time. Tell me a little bit about who you are, where you’re from and what you do.
Well, my name is Courtney Lee. I am originally from DeKalb, Georgia but right now I reside in the town of Lawrenceville, Georgia, which is about 30 miles from the city of Atlanta. I am a Georgia native. I’ve been out here my whole life. So grew up closer to the city. Like I said, I’m out here now in the suburbs which is a good area where I had the opportunity to grow my business to a certain kind of customer I always wanted to work for.
Nice. What’s the name of the company?
Name of my company is Truman Steemers.
Truman Steemers. I want to dive into your story today for sure, but before we do, can we talk about your Facebook Group? That’s how I got connected with you. And this group, this is amazing. Can we talk about that for a minute?
Yes, we can.
Yeah. So what is the group name? Tell us a little bit about it for guys that aren’t aware of it.
Well, the name of the Facebook Group is called Cleaners Connect. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do to help uplift and inspire not just carpet cleaners but anyone in the cleaning industry because I believe that we’re all in this together, no matter if it’s carpet cleaning, pressure washing, maid service. I just feel like we all are connected together.
Ask me how Cleaners Connect started, some of the members might remember that about a little bit over 2 years ago, we used to do conference calls and this will be a conference that I will basically pay out of my own pocket to have this number and Cleaners Connect members will basically just dial in every week, we did it every Tuesday. Sometimes you will have like 40-50 guys in the chat room and then we will just call in, talk about our experiences, how our week is going and sharing different ideas, but it just started growing so big that I said I needed to get this online and Facebook was the perfect platform for it.
So I came up with the name ‘Cleaners Connect’ because most Facebook Groups or most cleaning groups, they usually have carpet cleaning in it and I didn’t want to put ‘carpet cleaning’ in the group name. So in that way, I didn’t want to discourage or run off anybody else who was in the cleaning industry. So I wanted Cleaners Connect to be a friendly group for anybody in the cleaning industry.
The group is right now a little bit less than two years old and I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from it from so many people over just how wonderful the group is and also how fast it’s grown, so I just want to give myself a pat on the back. And also the guys who have helped and contribute to the group, you know, managing the group, I have a good friend named Chandler Thompson. We have known each other for about four years. Also, a guy named Chad Mace, I’ve known him for about a year. So these are guys that I have actually brought on board to help oversee the group and just make sure we try to keep it as clean as possible because it is Facebook and it is social media. But sometimes things can get out of hand and you have your debates, but again, it’s just good where everything does not fall back on me.
I love it. Yeah, I’m thoroughly enjoying the group. You know, I’ve only been connected with you on there for maybe a couple of months now but it is just a very engaged group, there’s a lot of videos, a lot of good conversation and it’s mostly positive. We want to see the debates, right? We want to have people challenged in their thinking, but none of it gets negative. There’s no bashing of anybody. So it’s been a really good group, man. I’ll give you a pat on the back as well. Good job, man.
Yeah, I thank you, man, because actually, I thank you for you told me that, you know, being in a group for like you said less than a month of how much engaged, man, and how much, you know, the activities that we do have in the group. So again, you know, this group can continue to grow and grow into something special because I have a good vision for it. I’m really thinking about towards the end of this year around November-December that maybe we can do a Cleaners Connect local where we can go to maybe a homeless shelter or maybe feed the homeless. So this is something, like I said, I just want to make it more powerful than just cleaning, and also do good things for the community.
Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah, guys, if you’re listening, you want to check out this group ‘Cleaners Connect’. I’m going to go ahead and put a direct link right to the group. It’s ‘Cleaners Connect’ on Facebook, if you want, but if you want the direct link, go to TheCleanersBlueprint.com and I’ll have all the links there as well.
So I want to go back to the very beginning of Truman Steemers. I want you take us back to when you got started. Walk us through kind of that journey from the start all the way up until where we are today.
I got into this industry when I was 19. Long story short, you know, I didn’t go to college. I come from a laborer family, a family who just basically went to high school and after high school we were taught to go straight to work. So I tried to follow my dad’s footsteps of going straight into warehouse work. Over a year of doing that, I just realized that such an early stage, that was not the path that I wanted for myself, so I wanted something better and that was back in the day where you can actually pick up your local newspaper and find a job.
And I would never forget the ad that I read in the newspaper and it said ‘hard work, high pay’ and it sounded good, you know, especially the ‘high pay’ part. So I called the number and it happened to be a carpet kind of company and this was a company back then where they advertised low prices and then when you get in the house, they told us to upsell like these tickets from $50 to $500 or $600. So I worked in that company for about a year. I will say I was very horrible at upselling, so I’ve never bene a good seller but I always had a good personality where after working for that company for about a year, I did work for almost 8 more companies from the age of 20 to 28. I really just felt in love with this industry. I fell in love with the freedom. And also the most important part, I felt in love with just meeting so many different people just to allow, be able to go into a customer’s home and sometimes those customers turn to friends.
At the age of 28, that’s the year that I had my daughter, is when I started Truman Services. Now remember, I didn’t say Truman Steemers, I said Truman Services. When I started my company, it was all offline. Basically I was just putting out little road signs, doing door hangers, postcards. So after about 3 to 4 years, I already knew that I needed to take my business to the next level with online marketing. Of course, you go out there and you find your domain name. So when I started putting in Truman Services, I noticed that there were already those other companies with that name of Truman Services, so what I realized is that I didn’t want to mix my business with those other businesses when customers search for me. So what I did, I basically came up with Truman Steemers and a lot of people ask me this, I said, “Well, it’s spelled with two E’s, and yes, I understand it’s spelt with two E’s.” I answered we just basically copied Stanley Steemer because they have also two E’s in theirs but I just put an S at the end of Steemers. And that’s how Truman Steemers started.
That’s awesome. You know, I wanted to touch on that one real quick. You said that you went into these homes 50 bucks and you had to get it up to $500. Now, when guys ask that question, how do these guys make money charging these rates? This is it, right? They’re not coming out with 50 bucks. They’re coming out with $500.
So what was that like? Walk us through what an upsell like that might look like – taking someone from 50 bucks to 500 bucks.
For me, it was very uncomfortable because I realized the mind games that I was playing with these customers. These customers, you know, they initially thought that they just want to get their carpets cleaned for 50 bucks, and that’s why I say I was very horrible at doing that because I used to have people that would kick me out of their house, people that would curse at me when I upsell this ticket. Because the way it worked, again, it was just a big game. You were going to a customer’s house and the 50 bucks is what they would get with the basic cleaning. And don’t get me wrong, this was on the coupon but it was a very, very small fine print and most people, as we know, they don’t read the fine print.
So anyway, we were going to these houses and we would say, “Hey, Ms. Jones, I’m here with this company and we want to go ahead and start the process.” “Okay, Ms. Jones, thanks for everything.” Everything was just going normal. While we’re upstairs cleaning, we were cleaning one room which is the basic cleaning and the other room would be what we call the deep cleaning. Well, what we would do, what this company would teach us, is the basic cleaning was basically just work, that’s all it was. No putting soap on it, no pre-treatment, no detergent. Just water. That’s what the basic cleaning was. The other room was the room that you pre-treated, you agitate it, you cleaned it, you made it look good. You would call Ms. Jones upstairs and say, “Hey, Ms. Jones, I want to show you something.” What we would do, we would show her the cleaning, the deep clean first, “Hey, Ms. Jones, look at this room.” “Oh, wow! That looks great. Oh, my god. Oh, thank you so much.”
“Well, let me show you something else, Ms. Jones.” Then you would bring her to the basic cleaning room. So we always showed them the clean room first, then we take her to the basic cleaning and then Ms. Jones will look at you like, “Well, what is this?” Because all she sees is lines on the carpet. “Well, Ms. Jones, this is the basic cleaning. The room that you just looked at was the deep cleaning. This is what you called us out for. But in order to get your carpets looking nice and clean like that room across the hall, we’re going to have to do all the rooms like that.” Once Ms. Jones will say, “How much more it’s going to cost?” that’s when you knew you had her.
So that’s when the game began. What we would do, these companies will teach us to basically write out the tickets as high as possible. They would teach us to write these tickets up to $600-$700. Most people are not going to go for it, so what we would do after you write up a ticket for $600, you say, “Hey, Ms. Jones, to get all the carpets cleaned today at this price, it’s going to be $600,” and you would give her a breakdown of everything you would be doing. Ms. Jones will say, “No, I’m not going to pay that.” Then, what we would say, we’ll say, “Ms. Jones, well, are you a first-time customer?” She’ll say, “Yes, I am.” “I’ll tell you what. How about I’ll call my office to see if I can get you a discount?” Ms. Jones will say, “Okay…” now I’ve got a chance, Dusty, we didn’t even call the office. We just stepped outside like we were calling the office but we really weren’t. Because what this company is did is step outside, feel like you’re calling the manager, go back, tell Ms. Jones that since she’s a new customer we can give her a 40% off. So again, now that $600 went to $350 and that’s a still big upsell but at the same time, the customer Ms. Jones thinks she just got something when she really didn’t.
Courtney’s business model
Now that’s a tough upsell right there for a lot of guys. That’s an uncomfortable conversation to have. It’s always a little bit of friction there. What was it about your new model? Tell us a little bit about how you do business now and why you decided to make that transition into the way you price things now?
I told myself when I started Truman Steemers, is that I want it to be upfront and honest with my consumers, with my customers. So when a customer called me, they know what they’re going to pay based on how many rooms they have. If a customer doesn’t want to pay, it’s because they don’t feel comfortable paying those prices but for the customers who are looking for quality, the customers who don’t want the tricks and the games, I’m the company for them.
So I would just basically turn my business model into a business where when you call Truman Steemers, as long as your amount of rooms add up to what you tell us, that’s the price you pay because our prices include everything from pre-vacuuming to pre-treating, pre-spotting, steam cleaning, and also rubbing. The only thing that I charge extra for and most customers do understand that, is if you have any kind of odor problem or you might need an odor treatment or if you want your carpets protected. So I just didn’t want to do that same business model as we know called bait and switch, where basically you bait the customer and then once you get to the house, you switch it up on them. I didn’t want to do that because I just felt like being in the business for so long, that business model only takes you so far. And eventually, you run out of customers, people don’t call you back because they don’t trust you anymore. And also too you’re building up a bad reputation for yourself.
So, you know, this is a totally different market now than 20 years ago when reviews were really nice and relevant. You know, you didn’t have companies all over Google and Facebook and people can read their feedback. But now, people can go and voice their opinion about a service or a product that they have bought or experienced and that will really make or break your business in the society, in the time that we live in now.
Courtney’s ideal client
Yeah, that’s such a good point because I’ve seen your reviews, I’ve seen your company online. You’ve got a fantastic reputation so this model that you’ve gone with now is definitely that way to go. What does an ideal client look like for you?
My idea of a client is going to be your upper middle-class family here in Georgia, just the people who work hard every day. Maybe the stay-at-home moms. Put it like this. My customers that I used to deal with are either people who have used a bigger name brand company and they didn’t have a good experience with those companies. So they wanted to find someone like myself, someone who is local and they don’t mind paying a little bit more as long as they’re getting the quality, as long as the quality adds up because I’ve heard that over the years, from the kind of customers that I work for, is that we don’t mind paying more. We don’t mind paying 40, 50, 60 dollars a room as long as it’s done right. The job that I did today was the exact same thing to this lady, so it makes you only go on recommendation. She had no spots, no stains on her carpets. Her carpets were almost in perfect condition but at the same time, she wanted someone that came highly recommended and that’s how she found me from basically asking her neighbors who did they use and my name came up a few times.
How Courtney scaled up his business
Nice. So you get a lot of work from referrals, I’m sure now. But you mentioned earlier that you kind of got started with postcards, a lot of offline stuff. You transitioned now to more of an online marketing. Can we talk about what your marketing looked like back in the day and kind of contrast it to what you’re doing now to grow your business?
Yes. Definitely when you first start, most guys, it’s just really copy and paste, what they see other companies are doing or what’s the cheapest way to go. So when I first started, my main source of marketing was what we call bandit signs. Those are the signs that you see on the side of the street in the freeway when we get off the interstate. That was my main source of marketing, usually just doing 5 rooms for 100 bucks. Again, those prices attract a certain kind of customer and I’m going to tell you a little story about that. And also, putting out door hangers and postcards, you know. It did enough what you’d pay for itself, but not enough where it was a great return. But the bandit signs was basically my bread and butter for marketing my business 10 years ago.
Well, over the years I just realized that I was not making a profit. I was working very hard and I just got tired of working for the kind of customers that I was working for because again, we’re 5 rooms for 100 bucks, you want to attract a certain kind of customer, usually what we call price shoppers. And these people usually have the dirtiest carpets, they usually don’t maintain their carpets. Some of these people never had their carpets cleaned before and a lot of these people, they’re the ones that expect the carpet to look brand new once you clean it.
So after dealing with that for so long, I just got tired of it and I just really have to switch my business model which was a very, very hard decision but I did it and I’m so grateful that I did make the transition to change my business model and basically work for better customers. But upon doing that, I also had to change the way my business also stood out to the community, so I basically had to work better on my cleaner skills. I had to reeducate myself about removing certain stains, certain spots. I had to basically invest in better equipment, so I had to go from portable to a truck mount.
I had to basically clean up my appearance; wear the proper uniform, the proper cleaning shoes. Also, presentation is which I’m so big on, is how does the customer feel about me when I come into their home. You know, treating your customer’s home like it’s your home, so protecting my customer’s floors, I’m using corner guards to protect the walls, using a floor mat, putting up a filler door, because all this stuff that we call presentation, it takes time to do. But when you work for a certain kind of customer, they really, really appreciate that.
How to stand out in your business
Well, you basically just took my next question right out of my mouth. Yeah, I was going to ask you to tell us a little bit about differentiating yourself from your competition. It sounds like it right there. You want to tell us a little bit about how you do that, how you differentiate yourself from the competition, what advice you’d give some other guys to separate themselves from the crowd?
Well, there are so many ways you can separate yourself. I think one of the best ways I do it is within my personality, my communication skills, how I communicate with my customers. One thing that my customers do like that I do have a system in place. When I was booking an appointment with one of my customers or any of my customers, they get an alert that lets them know that their appointment has been scheduled.
Also upon going to the job, they also get an alert that lets them know that I’m on the way. Also too once I’m done with the job, I always usually call my customers back within 24-48 hours which I call a follow-up call to just ensure that they’re happy with the services. And these kind of things right here would actually take your business a long way because it actually makes people proud of using your services because it shows that you care.
And again, it’s kind of hard to still hear a customer say this but I had customers say this all the time, where they don’t get follow-up calls from companies that they used in the past. Most cleaners are what we call ‘slash and dash’ cleaners where they’re basically in and out in like 30-45 minutes. Because most cleaners, they don’t understand this, Dusty, they don’t understand that most people are not confrontational, so which means that you go into a customer’s home and you do what we call a slash and dash job, most customers are not going to complain, but what they will do, they won’t use your service again. Because customers, they know this, they pay attention to this. When you’re in and out, when a customer is trying to talk to you, and you just kind of brush them off “yeah, yeah, yeah,” you know, “okay, okay, okay”, customers sense that. They sense that vibe that you’re basically giving off in their home. And when they sense that a professional is in their home and this professional does not want to listen to their needs, again, that’s a bad sign to the customer and that also gives the customer a reason not to use your services again.
So that’s why I try to educate other cleaners to listen to your customers. Sometimes just be quiet and let the customer talk because you’ll be surprised. You can go to a house and you might clean 8 rooms. Out of those 8 rooms, it might be that one stain that’s driving your customer crazy. If you can get that stain out or even if you can educate the customer to maybe why that stain cannot be removed but you have other options, you’ll be surprised of how far that will take your business and also give the customer comfort of knowing that they made the right choice by using your company.
Using video to help grow your business
I love it. I love asking questions, yeah. We just want to go in there and talk a lot, just tell them all about us and then all it takes is just asking a couple of questions and we get to figure out what their real pain points are, and then go after those.
I wanted to talk to you about using video. We’re talking about this earlier that you use a lot of video marketing to grow your business and I see you out there on Facebook all the time almost daily. It’s really cool. It’s kind of a behind-the-scenes look on a daily basis and that’s really refreshing just to see. But you’re using these videos to grow your business as well, right?
Yes, I do.
Let’s talk about that. Do you have any tips or tricks for us that you may want to kind of dive into some of that video marketing and how we can use that to get more business?
Yes, sir. Well, I’ve used video marketing again as a tool to separate myself from what we call competitors. When I moved to this part of Georgia, Gwinnet County, about 7 years ago, I basically looked at all the other companies that were in this area and just by going through their website, most of their websites were the same. It was just content. There were no pictures. Most of these companies didn’t even have before and after pictures. Also, no one had videos.
So this is one of the things that I did to separate myself, is not only doing before and after pictures but also doing videos. You know, we walk around with phones that have cameras on them. And to me, my phone is a tool. My phone is no different than my cleaning machine. Because this is what basically attracts customers to my business.
So I wanted to basically find a way to separate myself from the other cleaners and do that way with video marketing. I’ve been doing videos for almost 7 years. It’s just good to go back 6-7 years and watch some of my old videos of me cleaning with a portable and we kind of hosed our cleaning and the kind of tools that I was using and just to see how far I’ve come. So also when you do videos, your videos actually becomes a resume because it’s just amazing, Dusty, just last week I had customers that found me on YouTube. One customer, she was a fan. She’s been following me for almost a year. She was actually in a certain part of Georgia that I didn’t even service. But when she called me and she asked me did I come to Buckhead, Georgia, I told her I don’t come. Well, she must have recognized my voice because she said, “Is this Courtney?” I said, “Yes, it is.” She’s like, “Oh my God, Courtney, I follow you on YouTube and I follow you on Facebook, I love your work, I watch your videos all the time.”
So it kind of made me feel bad if I didn’t go clean for her. She was actually in a high-riser. But we made it happen. That job took about 250 to hose. So luckily I had enough hose on my van to get the job done and she also left me a positive review on Facebook two days ago, which was great. And she also sent me some pictures of before and after that she took herself.
So with videos, it just basically separates you. It gets the world and also your potential customers to see what you do on a daily basis. So that’s why every day I do videos. And customers, they don’t mind me doing the videos because that’s how most of the customers find me, but when they see the video, it basically gives them a sense of security that, Hey, if this guy can clean this kind of a carpet or this kind of upholstery, or if he can get those hardwood floors that clean or the tile and grout that clean, wow, well he can get my floors clean.
So what the videos do is basically give the customers something to judge you from instead of them just calling and asking are you going to do a good job. Now they can go to your YouTube page or they can go to your Facebook page and they can see that you do a good job. And not only do you do a good job one or two times, you’ve done it 700-800 times.
Overcoming your fear of getting in front of the camera
You know, what I caught on too there is this lady, when she called you, she said, “Is this Courtney?” you know, that’s one of the biggest challenges of marketing, right, is getting people to know, like, and trust you. That’s the goal. But when you have a video, people get to see you, they get to know who you are, they get to like you.
We chatted a couple of times before this podcast, but this is really our first time chatting to an extent. Because I watch your videos on Facebook over the past couple of months, you know, when I first called you I felt like I knew who you were, like I know this guy, I already like this guy. This is like I’m reaching out to a friend. So that’s one of the great things about doing the videos there. Like you’re so natural. You open up the camera all day every day, just any time to kind of a two-part question. Were you always that good on camera? Do you have any advice for guys who may be a little bit shy, a little bit timid and not really wanting to get on camera?
Yes, I do. Actually, growing up, Dusty, I was a shy person. I was a very close person. Growing up especially my teenage years, I didn’t really hang out with the fellas. I didn’t go to parties. I was just going to school then come home and go on my room, close the door, and just play videogames all day. So I was a very shy person growing up. I did go through low self-esteem as a teenager. So my teenage years were not very great years throughout my life but it did teach me valuable lessons – is that you can’t always stay the same. Again, that’s why I love this industry so much because it gave me the opportunity of not just being in the same space all the time. I’m able to get out and meet new people. I’m able to get out and meet so many different people of different races and religion. Just people. And you just don’t realize how much we have in common until we really start talking and bonding.
So when it comes to the videos, I just know I needed to do something to separate myself and that’s what the videos did. But I will say is that I have a lot of cleaners that reach out to me and they say, “Courtney, I want to do the videos but I’m so shy,” or, “I don’t talk well,” or, “I can’t hold a camera good.” It’s something that’s keeping them from making that change of recording their work or even recording themselves.
It does take courage to do because when you put your videos out there, you are exposing yourself to the world and you’re going to get a lot of people that criticize you, you’re going to get a lot of people who say negative things about your cleaning or about you. And I just want to say to those people who do want to make that change of showing the world what they do is that you have to just make up in your mind you can’t worry about what people think about you. Because no matter who you are, no matter what you do in this world, there’s always going to be someone who’s going to have something to say.
I think I draw such a big following because of the realness that I put into my videos. My videos are not scripted. It’s not something I rehearse. I just let it flow. When I first started doing videos, I would always stop the camera and re-record. I kept doing it because I had a very bad habit of always saying “um… um…” But I had to teach myself and I had to understand that the more I do it, the more I practice it, the more I will stop doing it. So I couldn’t let always saying “um” after every sentence keep me from doing videos. I had some guys said I have missing teeth or I don’t speak well, well, that’s when you practice, it’s your weaknesses and the more you practice at your weakness, you become strong at it.
So when it comes to the videos, I actually did a video about this yesterday on Cleaners Connect. I really believe video marketing is going to be the next big thing, you know, when we talk about pay-per-click, Facebook ads, Google ads. I really believe video marketing is going to be the next big thing because when people see my videos, there is no question about using someone else. They want to use me. When I go on vacation for a week, I have customers say, “Okay, Courtney, I will just wait till you get back.”
Getting started with video marketing
You know, I agree. Video – everything is going that way and a lot of guys are still intimidated. And like you said, though, you recorded yours over and over and over again, and eventually, you get good at it. You get to where you don’t have to do, that but the great thing about this is we can record these videos and if they don’t turn out good, we can do them over and over and over again. It’s just all you need is one take and then you can do it again and again, and then your confidence will start to grow.
There’s a lot of guys that are going to pick at something but the sad thing is, you have hundreds of people that are just positively impacted by what you have to say and then there’s that one person that just says, “Oh, that’s not the way you pre-vac,” or, “Well, you mean you don’t pre-vac?” And we focus on that one negative opinion and it’s crazy with all these other people who are behind us and just love what we’re doing and getting a ton of value out of it, we focus on that one person.
Courtney, I want to see if we can get real tactical here. Let’s say there’s someone listening and is inspired to start making some videos, what are some things that we can do just to get started? What are some next steps? Is it to create a YouTube channel? Is it to put something on Facebook? Do we start small? How do we go about this?
Definitely start a YouTube channel. I mean, now it’s a job title when people say “I’m a YouTuber.” People get paid for doing videos. So the first thing you want to do is start a YouTube channel. And I tell guys you don’t have to even talk when you first start doing your videos. You don’t have to say a single word. Just show you’re cleaning. Just focus on the cleaning. Focus how to hold the camera. And also, put the right keywords into those videos.
So if you live in, say, Chicago, you do ‘carpet cleaning Chicago’. When people search those key terms, your video will have a chance of coming up depending on how powerful your presentation or your web presence is.
So with that being said it’s just the first thing, is you just start. Just start with a YouTube channel, also Facebook, if you have Instagram, and at least just show your work. You don’t have to talk. You don’t have to put your face in the camera and try to educate people. Just show people what you do because that’s how it actually starts. That’s how I started, just showing the work.
And eventually, as I got comfortable doing videos, because the way I start talking is that customers start asking me questions why I was doing the video. So when I went back and watched the video, I said, “Man, that’s so real.” I’m in a customer’s house, I’m cleaning the carpets. They’re telling me how great the carpets are coming out or they’re asking about a spot or a stain or a this and that, and I actually have the chance to answer their question while I’m recording. So when I put it out there on YouTube and Facebook or Instagram, now whoever watches it, they say, “Wow, this is real.” You just told that customer it’s not going to come out with the cleaning, but he can treat it. It just told that customer your carpets are worn out in the hot tropic areas, they are still going to be clean but in order to get these carpets looking brand new, Ms. Jones, you might have to end up replacing the carpets next year.
So it basically brings real life to your channel. It’s not scripted. It’s not something that’s made up. It’s actually something that you see every day and people can just tell watching the videos, they say, Man, this guy is out here doing it, he’s doing it every day, he’s showing different situations, different problems every single day.
Courtney’s YouTube channel and what it’s about
I love that. People just want to see that realness. I’ve got a friend here locally who he got started right around the same time I did. He had money and he went out and literally hired a film crew to make a commercial and that’s what he used. I didn’t want to compete with that. I didn’t go out there and start making videos for… it was a couple of years until one day I saw a friend of mine, he literally just started his company, within three weeks has a website up. Held open a camera and just recorded a little intro video, “Hey, here’s who I am, here’s what we do, here’s how we can help you.” And I was like, “That is it. This is just real,” he’s just talking as he’s walking up to a job. And he used that for the intro video on his website. It was crazy.
Hey, where can people go to see those videos? I’d love to take a look at your YouTube channel. I know some other people might like to take a look at some of those as well. How do we find you on YouTube?
You just go to YouTube, put in my company name. It’s Truman Steemers Carpet Cleaning. Again, that is Steemers with two E’s. I have a lot of cleaning videos, a lot motivational videos, a lot of educational videos. So my video is a mixture of customers finding me and also cleaners finding me. So most of my following are cleaners that follow me, a lot of positive feedback that I get back from my channel of videos that I’ve done to help cleaners separate themselves or make their business model better; how to increase their prices, how to make their cleaning better, also cleaning agent reviews from different companies.
My channel is not a channel just for watching me clean but it’s a channel that if a potential customer want to use my services, they can go right to my cleaning videos. If a cleaner just wants to know a few tips, they can go watch my videos. If someone wants to know how a product performs, they can go watch my video. Someone who wants to get in the business and just see how the business runs and then what it takes to be in the business, they can go watch my video. So my video, my channel actually brings a lot of people, it draws a lot of people in because my channel has so much to offer to different people where it’s just not a carpet cleaning channel. It’s a channel for not only carpet cleaners but also potential customers who are interested in my services.
Other events and seminars Courtney is in
Well, that’s a good point. You know, if someone is listening right now, if you think “man, I don’t really want to go out and create this huge following on YouTube,” it doesn’t have to be like that. Courtney, you’ve got different goals than I have. My channel, for example, we’ve only got a handful of videos. We don’t have very many followers, but they’re embedded to our website. We get a ton of clients that view those and they say the same thing when they call. “Hey, I saw your video. I never knew that…” you know, they see the corner guards, they point things out.
So, a lot of your clients will still view those. So it doesn’t have to be a huge channel with a lot of followers. It can be but it can just be something really small, really simple and still be very, very impactful.
Hey, what are some of the things that you’re working on right now that you’re excited about in the future?
Oh, seminars. I have a seminar coming up here in Atlanta, April the 19th. It’s going to be hosted at Truckmounts & Cleaning Solutions in Norcross, Georgia. Also I’m going to be doing my first hands-on hardwood cleaning class. I’m very good at cleaning hardwood floors. I have a lot of videos about that, we show them the process. There’s a lot of cleaners who watch those videos and they want to add that service to their business model.
But, you know, again if you’ve never done it, you know, a lot of cleaners, they’re afraid to use a certain pad on the hardwood floor because they don’t want to ruin or damage the customer’s floors, so I’m going to offer a hands-on hardwood cleaning class. We have the Mikey’s Fest, one of them at McDonald coming up, done by a guy who has a good industry impact on different cleaners, Mike Pailliotet. I think you were just at the last Mikey’s Fest, right?
I was. It was amazing. I mean, I can’t really put it into words. I didn’t really know what to expect. Everybody told me about it. Once you’re there, once you experience it, these cleaners coming together for just an amazing cost, you get to learn all different types of things. There’s a girl there, for example, who had never cleaned a tub before but she was able to learn from just 5-6 guys that came around and mentored her throughout the morning. She was a pro afterwards. If you haven’t been to one, I know he’s got one coming up here shortly and there’s a big one I believe in November, Scottsdale or something like that. But I’ll look that up, I want to put links in the show notes again at TheCleanersBlueprint.com for the Mikey’s Fest as well as your YouTube channel. And if you can give me the links to your events, we’ll get those in there as well.
Yes. What else? Mikey’s Fest, that’s going to be on the 15th, 16th and 17th of February. The seminar, just again, man, just taking it one day at a time. just trust the process and these doors will start to open up as we continue to just stay on the right path.
So I really don’t rush anything. We don’t try to just make things happen on my own because you will be surprised of how many opportunities will come to you just by staying on the right path. So, you know, I’m just going to continue to grow Cleaners Connect, also my YouTube channel, my Facebook page, and just see where it goes from there. But I do have just a great feeling about how things are going and just not only for my part but also just the industry within the whole. I think just so many cleaners have come together and how we’re just making a positive impact on other cleaners to become better at what they do. So the more of us that basically come together and we continue to educate one another, we continue to educate our community, our customers, it just makes the whole industry better and in that way, there’s really no competition. Now we all connect or now we all can bond together. Now we all can go to these events and these seminars and just have a great time together without looking at each other as competition.
You know, one of my favorite quotes right there is “A rising tide lifts all boats” and that’s it. That’s exactly it right there. We all help each other, the whole industry lifts up as well.
Hey, we’re about to roll into the lightning, we’re around the final two questions, but before we do, anything else that we can cover or anything that you wanted to share with us?
You know, I think I’ve covered most parts. Again, you want to put the links up so anybody who want to join the Cleaners Connect family are welcome to join. New cleaners, existing cleaners or people who just want to get in the business and just do a sneak peek of what we do on a daily basis. And other than that…
Oh, just to talk more about the seminar, Dusty, the seminars are going to be basically just a great event of cleaners who are already in the industry or a lot of cleaners who have reached out to me, just want to come and basically get the understanding of what it takes to be successful in this industry especially starting out small because I have more small guys reaching out to me than your big guys because most of us start out as owner-operators. So just giving guys just a good road map of what it takes to be a successful owner-operator and then as you master it, then you can basically decide if you want to expand your business or what other services you want to add to your business by just giving guys the fundamentals of what it takes to be a successful owner-operator.
Also too, I’m going to have a few speakers there, Bruce Deloach. He is a certified cleaning teacher, a cleaning coach, so he’s going to be there talking about educating yourself, getting the proper training, the proper knowledge to be successful in the business. And also my good friend Will Dupe who’s also going to talk about helping guys get equipment, just getting the right tools that they need to be successful in the business.
That sounds like a great event. I definitely want to check that out.
Last two questions. So I’m a big reader and I always like to see what books people are reading. So any books that you’ve read recently or a favorite book that you could recommend?
Well, actually I’m reading one now that I’m really enjoying. I’m a big believer in the Law of Attraction. I watch a lot of videos about the Law of Attraction. I think the first big that I read, I think most people should read is Rich Dad Poor Dad. It’s just a great story. You know, I’m not going to say it’s going to just change your life, just make you rich, but it’s just a great story. Again, just giving you the fundamentals of being successful in your business.
But one of my favorite books is Working with the Law. It’s written by an author called Raymond Holliwell. Working with the Law. It’s basically the 11 truth principles for successful living. So not only does it basically give you the principles of living a great business life but also a personal life. Because I already believe that how we feel and how we act in our personal life, that also carries on to our business life. So if your personal life isn’t going too well, that would be the first thing that I would tell someone to do is work on yourself first because you don’t want to go into customer’s homes with bad vibes or, you know, people just get a feel. Have you been around somebody where something just don’t feel right about this person. So what we have to understand is that when we go into customer’s homes, customers feel that if you’re positive or you’re negative. Because again, we’re humans and what a lot of us don’t understand is that you give off a vibration. So when you get around people, you either draw people into you because you’re positive or either you push them away because you’re negative.
I went to a lady’s home. Let me tell you a story. I went to lady’s home about three weeks ago and I did some cleaning for her, an upper middle class family. They live out here in the Lawrenceville, Georgia area and she wanted some area rugs cleaned, she wanted some upholstery cleaned, some carpet cleaned and also some tile floors cleaned. It was a pretty, pretty good job. Anyway, when you walk up to this customer’s home, you’re looking around like everything you just cleaned, you know, at least to the human eye, I start talking to this customer and again, she found me from my videos. You know what she told me, Dusty? This is what she told me. She actually watched my YouTube videos. This is probably the first customer that told me this. She said “Not only did I choose you because of your videos,” but she said, “I also chose you because I like that you help other cleaners.”
So that was very, very good to her that come from a customer. So when I went to do the estimate for her cleaning, she said, “I just feel so comfortable with you,” which is why like you said earlier, she had already seen me in the videos, so when I came to the front door, she already knew who I was. So she told me, she said, “You know, I’m just going to be honest with you, Courtney,” she said, “I’ve had my carpet cleaned numerous times and every time a cleaner comes here,” this is the event where she said it, she said, “They’re creepy.”
So, you know, again, it just goes back to who are we as people and whoever you are as a person, that’s also going to reflect your business. So if you are a negative person, now I’m going to tell you you’re going to have a negative business and you’re probably going to drive customers away.
Yeah. I have a lot of favorite quotes but another one of my favorite quotes is Jim Rohn. He says “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” You know, for your business, so work harder on yourself than you do on your business. Love that.
Last question here. I love good business advice. I love hearing the good business advice that other people have received. What’s the best business advice that you’ve ever received?
The best business advice I’ve ever received: don’t grow too fast.
Well, Courtney, I think that’s it. Thank you so much for taking your time to join us today. Thanks for chatting. We really appreciate it. I know we got a lot of good stuff here. And thanks for coming on the show.
Alright, Dusty. Man, I thank you again for having me. It was such a pleasure and I can’t wait to meet you and shake your hand. And again, thank you for the opportunity.