With a low entry barrier and a low concentration of large corporations in key markets, the commercial and residential cleaning industry is a profitable venture for small businesses. Even though the industry is relatively recession-proof, successful entrepreneurs understand that smart marketing and continued growth are critical to any cleaning business’s success and survival.
Whether you’re considering starting a cleaning business, or need some new ideas, here are eight ways to expand your cleaning business. Some of the small business experts and the cleaning industry’s top marketers recommended this.
How can I grow my cleaning company?
1. Visualize the cleaning business you desire.
We all start off businesses with a goal in mind, but as the days turn into months and the months turn into years, we often lose sight of our dreams and goals. So, as you consider expanding your cleaning business, take a step back and consider what your ideal business looks and feels like, as well as what it takes to get there. Your dream may be to have happy customers, employees, and owners – the type of setup that provides stability and satisfaction for all.
But how do you turn your dream into a reality? It all begins with identifying your ideal customer.
2. Be human and share what sets you apart
Differentiating yourself in a crowded market is critical. Customers want to know what you can offer them that other cleaning companies cannot. Begin by evaluating your competition – what do they do that is distinct, not only in their messaging but also in their actions? Listen to what the market has to say about your competitor’s services using Facebook, online reviews, and word of mouth. What aren’t needs being met? In terms of service delivery, it could imply a greater emphasis on green cleaning products, more flexible cleaning schedules, and so on.
Build more intimate relationships with your customers by clearly communicating how you are different through your marketing. Start a blog, send out newsletters with cleaning tips (you want to establish yourself as an expert in your field), or introduce your team (bios or videos are excellent) so that customers know who they are dealing with. Offering that information can help prospective clients connect with you, leading to loyal customers in the future.
3. Pay attention to customers at every stage of the marketing cycle
Many small businesses are so active in their company’s day-to-day operations that they rarely take a step back and consider how marketing can help them succeed in their business. What you really need is a marketing action strategy so you can lay out a way to do things.
To do so, you must first define your company’s purchasing cycle. You most likely have prospects and clients at every stage of the sales cycle, from awareness (customers know about your company but aren’t sure what you have to offer) to discovery and engagement (where they try to find out more about you and take action that may or may not lead to a sale), and finally to referral status (when they are so pleased with you, they want to spread the good news to everyone about you).
Certainly, there are other steps in between, but the point is that you should have a strategy that focuses on customers at each stage of the purchasing cycle. While some of the approaches may be the same, the messages and calls to action may differ – for example, you may want to use a direct marketing campaign to direct prospective clients to your website so they can find out more about you. Simultaneously, for customers in the engagement phase, you could provide a coupon as an incentive to hire you.
4. Increase your sales with email
Email marketing is not a new concept.
Companies of all sizes have been doing it for years. You may already be doing it, but there are probably ways to gain more ground in your campaigns. If you’re still mailing a single newsletter to all of your customers rather than segmenting them and tailoring campaigns to each segment, that’s a good place to start.
Why don’t you make your next marketing and customer retention action plan to set up automated email campaigns if you haven’t already? Email automation is simpler than you think, and it’s a highly effective way to convert a prospect into a customer or engage a part-time customer for repeat business.
5. Continue knocking on doors
According to “Stringer,” a business expert and AskMeHelpDesk.com member, door-to-door sales can be a very strong sales strategy for janitorial and commercial cleaning businesses ranging from restaurants to churches to medical practices.
Here’s what he has to say about it: “[You must] spend a significant amount of time knocking on doors. Never, ever stop prospecting for leads. When you make a quick stop at a building to make a call, you can get any contact information (and email addresses) of the correct person to contact later when you ask who you would like to speak with that ‘contract’ for their nightly janitorial service. Too often, this follow-up does not occur, which is unfortunate because this direct line is your lifeline to new business.”
6. Get in front of clients by using the back door.
Do not simply knock on commercial property doors or make cold calls to residential clients. Get in front of potential clients by using a back door. How so?
- Present your company to real estate agents. Many real estate agents provide free cleaning services to their clients as part of the home sale, which leads to more business for you.
- What about the building industry? They also send in cleaning crews after the houses are built.
- Pay for new home buyer email lists and send out direct marketing pieces to higher-income households once a month. Melissa Data, Experian, and others are among the list sellers. You can also narrow your search to very specific demographics.
7. Increase Your Networking (and More)
There are almost undoubtedly multiple groups for your business niche or industry these days; you just need to find them! On Facebook, Linked In, and Alignable, look for networking groups for your company, services, and location. If you’re looking for local networking events for professionals and business owners like you, Eventbrite and MeetUp are great places to start.
Consider attending events that cater to your ideal customer or target markets in addition to meetups and events for entrepreneurs like yourself. It’s a great way to meet new people while also learning about what makes your customers tick and how to win them over.
Making networking connections can help your business grow, but finding the right place or situation can be difficult. You could try the following:
- Trade shows – Trade shows are a great way to meet clients and other business owners. Consider renting a booth to showcase your products and services. You could even try attracting people’s attention by holding a contest for a free cleaning package, and who knows, you might even have some fun in the process!
- Join a Community Association – Every community has a plethora of associations, and becoming a member of one is a great way to meet new people. Many communities even have associations solely for business owners and entrepreneurs. Joining one of these organizations opens up new advertising opportunities and allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of your community.
- Community Events – Community events are excellent marketing opportunities. Volunteering or contributing is an excellent way to establish your reputation while also benefiting your community and obtaining free advertising. Every event requires cleaners, so if you have some free time, put on your company T-shirt and get to work!
8. Actively build your offline reputation
The internet is a fantastic tool for spreading the word, but it’s also a good idea to work on your brand offline. Elizabeth Smith, writing for eHow, emphasizes the importance of getting out in the community to build brand recognition both offline and online.
“Distribute flyers throughout the city in places where business customers will see them. Look for bulletin boards in shopping malls or large office buildings or post flyers in coffee shops near potential clients’ offices. Use a catchy headline that mentions office cleaning services, and consider including a few business cards with the flyer.”
Don’t pass up on community events or sponsorship opportunities. Festivals, fairs, and other local events are excellent ways to market your business to residents and event attendees while also demonstrating your community spirit.
9. Online marketing for your company
Whether you’ve just started a cleaning business or have been in operation for decades, having a digital presence is critical to reaching new customers.
It is relatively simple to create a basic website using free or low-cost tools such as WordPress or Wix. Some plans include tools for designing business logos, analyzing visitor behavior, and purchasing online advertisements.
You can also hire a professional developer to build a website and local SEO expert optimize it for search engine rankings if your budget allows.
Because social media platforms are excellent for promoting a business, you should create a Facebook page. It is free to create a Facebook business page, and its advertising tools allow you to target businesses and consumers based on location, age, occupation, and other factors.
10. Create a referral program.
For a long time, large corporations have understood that a referral program is an excellent way to expand your customer base. This applies to almost any business, including cleaning, landscaping, and even software.
If a customer refers new business to you, offer a discount or a free service. While it may appear to be costly in the short term, it is a great way to expand your client list in the long run. There’s a reason why they say word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising.
If you want to keep track of your referral customers, you should consider hiring a client manager (CRM).
Tag clients in your field service management software to indicate whether they came from a referral or another source. View, manage and act on leads to close jobs faster and grow your business.
11. Collaborations with other companies
Creating alliances with other service providers can be an excellent way to establish a mutually beneficial business relationship. A window washing company, for example, can refer you to their customers, and you can do the same for them. Carpet cleaning services, landscaping, and nanny services are also viable options.
Aside from referrals, collaborating with other businesses can increase the value of your service to your customers. You save them the time and hassle of recruiting and hiring someone to perform extra services and vouch for your partner companies, giving your customer peace of mind. Just make sure you’re satisfied with the quality in the quality of your partners’ work.
12 Ensure top-tier security.
Because of the cleaning industry’s nature, you and your team will frequently work unsupervised in people’s offices and homes. This can make your clients jittery, so doing everything you can to make them feel safe is an excellent way to outperform the competition.
Try conducting background checks on all of your team members and prospective employees, and make sure your customers know this. You could also consider providing a written personal guarantee.
13. Provide adequate training to your employees.
As your company grows, you will need to rely on your employees to do their jobs without constant supervision (or any supervision at all). If you give them the proper training, they will be able to clean homes, offices, and other areas just as well as you. Spend time teaching employees any cleaning tricks you use to keep clients satisfied. They will value the knowledge they have gained, which will be reflected in their work and dedication to your company.
14. Host a Party
Have you ever considered throwing a community party?
A small party for your customers is a great way to connect with the community and show your appreciation for them!
Why not invite your top 10 or 15 customers (budget permitting) to a picnic in the park or a hot dog BBQ? You could even rent a few lanes at a bowling alley or a small recreation facility.
Tell each of them that there are no strings attached and welcome to bring someone with them. You want to express your gratitude and appreciation for their business.
I can assure you that if their neighbor or coworker asks for a recommendation for a cleaning company, they will recommend you!
15. Cleaning customer feedback
When deciding on a company that provides a service such as cleaning, people frequently want to hear from others who have used the service.
Request feedback from your best and most satisfied customers. Good reviews are wonderful, but bad reviews will inevitably occur. When they do, decide how to respond professionally to them. A negative review does not have to be the end of your business. It is a good sign when a provider responds with grace and resolves to do better the next time.
16. Obtain insurance for your cleaning company.
Some large commercial clients will necessitate your cleaning company to carry insurance before signing a contract with you, but having coverage also reveals to customers that you run a credible and reliable business.
Dissatisfied customers, accidents, and lawsuits can all bankrupt your cleaning company. Cleaning companies typically purchase a mix of the following policies:
- General liability insurance: Cleaning companies require general liability insurance to cover damages if a client slips on a wet floor or if you damage client property on the job site.
- Janitorial bonds: These surety bonds protect you if you or an employee is accused of theft or if you misplace a client’s property.
- Workers’ compensation insurance: Most states will require you to purchase workers’ compensation insurance as soon as you hire your first employee, which pays for injured employees’ medical bills and reimburses them for lost wages.
- Commercial auto insurance: If you have an accident while driving for business, your auto insurance may not cover the damages. Commercial auto insurance protects vehicles titled to businesses, whereas hired and non-owned auto insurance protects employees who drive for work.
17. Fire customers who are detrimental to your business.
As you gain new clients, you may discover that some of your old ones no longer fit into your expansion strategy. Perhaps they pay lower rates than you did when you first started your company, or they want you to provide services that you no longer want to provide. When you realize you no longer want a customer, cut ties so you can focus on new clients who will propel your business forward.
18. Keep a close eye on your competitors.
Knowing and researching your competition will help you stay on top of your game. Is there any way you can adapt and improve what a competitor is doing that is successful for your cleaning business?
By monitoring what your competitors are doing, you can ensure that your service remains distinct from theirs.
Remember that your company requires a specific reason for customers to return to you. It can make all the difference if you do something that your competitors aren’t doing.
Can a cleaning service make you wealthy?
Contrary to what many people think, cleaning businesses are a reliable way to earn more than six figures per year. The average cleaning business earns $36K – $100K per year, with net profits ranging from 10% to 48%, depending on expenses. Furthermore, the cleaning industry brought in more than $61 billion in 2019, making it one of the country’s fastest-growing industries.
Nonetheless, like any other type of business, a cleaning business will only be worth the while and profitable when and if it is managed effectively. As a result, you must conduct market research and develop a consistent business plan to help you achieve your objectives.
Furthermore, it would be best if you considered several factors that may impact your company’s profits. These include, but are not limited to, the size of the company, its location, its business structure, its pricing model, its initial investments, and its target audience. To put it another way, you can’t expect every business to have the same profit margins. Without a doubt, a cleaning company in New York City that employs 20 people and services 8-10 clients per day will not make the same profits as a cleaning company in Iowa that employs 2–3 people and cleans one house per day.
Hope this article helps you grow your cleaning service. There’s plenty of room for you to grow your business! And to help maintain your business, try our cleaning service invoice software so you can get paid on time.