People are funny creatures. They can be hard working one moment, and the ultimate example of laziness the next.

Something caught my eye the other day in one of my favorite news magazines, the kind with lots of graphs and pictures, not too many words to read, because I suffer from laziness just like everyone else. It was a news report about how a new law in Oregon allows motorists, for the first time in state history, to pump their own gas.

What? Pump your own gas? You mean, get out of my car, put that nozzle in the side, and pull the trigger? This may not seem like a big deal to most of us, but to those in Oregon, this legal maneuver has proven to be a bit alarming.

I know in my travels there have been a few times when I pulled up to a pump and someone came out to fill my gas tank — and I was a little shocked. Felt weird. It was like I was back in the 1950s, although not really because I’m not that old. Not even close. But you know what I mean… old fashioned service. Kind of nice when you get over the shock.

In that same article, one Oregonian said, in response to the legal development, and I paraphrase: “I refuse to pump my own gas. I had to pump my own gas one time. I almost died!

Maybe this statement is a little over-dramatic, yes, but it encapsulates how people feel about how they want to be treated and what they expect from those providing various services. The motorist in Oregon, no doubt, will not die because he or she must pump gas. But the sentiment is there. He or she wants someone else to do it and is upset that it may not happen any longer.

Let’s connect this sentiment to the cleaning industry.

We all know there are potential customers of yours (key word: Potential) who clean their own carpet. Yes, they rent those little machines from the grocery store and end up screwing up not only their weekend, but also their carpet. They don’t want to do their own cleaning, but they do. The reasons could include a previous bad experience, or they don’t know whom to hire… it could be price, but probably not.

How can you get them to give up that rental machine and hire you so you can tap into their laziness and profit from it?

Think about it. We’ll hit this topic again next month and share ideas on how to do it.

After all, there are a bunch of homes in your marketplace you haven’t been in yet.

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