by Jeff Cross, executive editor

Ordering cleaning services is starting to get as easy as ordering a pizza. Well, sort of.

It’s happening just about every day now.

Everywhere I turn, everywhere I look, there it is. I can’t escape it. It’s like it follows me, knows I’m there.

Perhaps the most intimidating of all, it knows what I want and will do next.

No, it’s not the potential storyline for a horror movie. It’s something that you can probably relate to as well. I’m speaking of looking for and purchasing products and services off the internet.

It all starts with searching to see what’s available. So, you hit a website or two. They cookie you, and not the edible kind. The type of code that identifies you so they can target you moving forward, at least until you “clear your cache” or “delete cookies.”

Now you are seeing those products everywhere you go. You hit the CNN page to catch the latest news, and…. there it is again! Same when you visit your local weather channel. And when you check the sports scores on Yahoo. That (insert product name here) is following you all over the internet, and we all know the internet is a vast wasteland of places to go.

This is something I’ve harped on many times, once to a crowd of nearly 1,000 at an industry convention. What are we going to do moving forward when the trend is online, real-time ordering, while many of us are stuck in the “call us” attitude? When you get a customer to call you and you book a job, that’s great — your marketing is working. But how many jobs are you missing, not booking, because your potential customers are finding it easy to book online with one of your competitors?

I’m not talking about an online form, often called a “web form,” in which you might get back to the potential client in maybe a day or two. I’m talking about real-time ordering, where your customers choose the type of work they want, see the price, and book the date and time that both of you are available.

Here’s what I suggest. Do some research. Find an online, real-time ordering tool for your website and get it started. Your customers are wishing for — no, they are demanding — convenience. You can give them the convenience they want. If you don’t, they are just a quick click away from other cleaners in your area.

Make it easy for them to do business with you. Give your company the edge it needs. Make it “on demand.”

But continue to answer the phone. There’s nothing wrong with those old-fashioned results.

Jeff Cross is executive editor of Cleanfax. He can be reached at

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