Starting a cleaning business is a low cost, low entry business to start. With that comes a flood of entrants trying to take advantage of the same opportunity. Seeing that competition can be intimidating. Making growing your cleaning business seem overwhelming and impossible.
To stand out from the competition you have to think out side of the box and get a bit creative.
Growing your cleaning business with low to no budget.
Brand your Car
At first, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a vehicle wrap for your car. (Though it will be something you want to add down the road when you have more revenue.) You can purchase vinyl lettering at Wal-Mart or craft store. Put your ‘Companies Name’, indicate ‘Residential Cleaning Service’, and your ‘Phone Number’.
Every time you pick up your kids from school all those parents in the car rider lot will see your vehicle, there are 180 days in a school year. Times that by 2 (for drop off and pick up), that is 360 potential impressions per parent!
Or each time you clean a home, that clients neighbors will see your vehicle. The longer they see your car parked in their drive way the same time, every other Wednesday at 9:00 am the more likely they will call. They will see that you are reliable (because they see your vehicle the same time), and you obviously do a stellar job because your client keeps having you come back.
Because you have your companies name plastered to your vehicle, be sure to always act accordingly. Remember everyone you drive past, may be a potential client. Drive politely. Don’t cut any one off. No road rage, and for heavens sake don’t give anyone the bird!
Another rule of thumb. If you are a smoker, don’t smoke in your car! You would not smoke in your office, so don’t smoke in your vehicle. There are several reasons why, but for this post I will just say because of the whole image. With the whole air quality and sanitation phase, most home owners do not want to hire smokers. So if you do happen to be a smoker, try to keep it out of your vehicle for the sake of your image.
My first 2 clients (I considered them my first, because they were complete strangers!) were obtained this way! Best $20 I had ever spent. One was a bi-weekly clean at $145 for 2.5 years, that was $9,425 in revenue off of a $20 investment. Not too shabby!
Join local Facebook groups
Local Facebook groups are a great way to get your name in front of a large group of potential customers. To find local groups on Facebook, type in your city’s name in the search bar. Choose groups similar to services offered, swap shops, parent related groups, realtor groups, and any neighborhood groups you want to service.
Once you join, don’t over populate the feed with advertising. This makes you look desperate and pushy. Instead create a strategy to add value to the group. It is OK to introduce yourself and service when you first join, but after that try not to post advertisements.
The best marketing strategy with these groups is to respond to cleaning needs, contribute to discussions with helpful, professional and friendly content. You want to be seen as a expert in the cleaning field. Someone who provides valuable services, and not as a pushy used car salesman!
You will find others offering cleaning service, so you will have to make sure to stand out (in a good way!). Rules to follow to preserve your brand is to always be professional. Don’t fall into the trap of negative posts, be personable but don’t divulge your dirty laundry.
It is important to build relationships with members. If they respect and grow to trust you, they will be more likely to refer clients your way or higher you in the future….even better 🙂
I have seen small business owners post about their services, only to post a few days later about the lady driving a Blue Ford Focus who cut them off on Hwy 301 Tuesday afternoon at 3:00. That kind of post may elicit more response, but it is not going to make you look like a professional business owner.
Offer a Promotional Sale on GROUPON
GROUPON can be a powerful tool for your business if leveraged correctly. To run a campaign you offer your cleaning services for a discounted price for a short period of time. Local buyers purchase your coupon upfront, then have a short period to redeem the coupon for services.
I know I am always saying not to under sell your services. But in this one instance I recommend the GROUPON sales. GROUPON has the resources to get your business in front of a ton of consumers. It does not cost any money upfront. You pay GROUPON a percentage of your sales.
I have written up an entire blog post on how to effectively run a successful GROUPON campaign so that you can grow your business and the number of recurring clients. Read it over here: Building your Business with GROUPON
Donate to local organizations
Community service is a great way to spread the work about your company. Silent auctions are a lucrative and popular way that local organizations/groups fund raise. Donating a 3 hour cleaning would only cost you your time. You will help. You will gain cleaning experience, a potential client, reference, and referral.
The people that purchase these gift certificates have the need for cleaning help, and usually are tied to the organization in one way shape or form. Which means they will be supper gracious to you for offering up your services to help support that group.
There are several ways to find these opportunities. You can utilize the Facebook groups. Contact churches or schools directly letting them know you would be happy to help support their group.
Donations are not only good PR, but it also helps get the word out about your service. Most all groups accept certificates, and only a few were even redeemed. You will gain more positive exposure commenting on these announcements as a reputable company willing to help and donate back to the community.
Join and network with your kids PTO/PTA
PTO’s are constantly looking for volunteers and donations. You can support your child’s school and promote and grow your cleaning business. There are so many different avenues you can take with this. I wish I would have implemented this with my cleaning business. There is something uplifting about helping the community!
Teacher appreciation is huge in schools, with budget cuts and stagnant salaries schools welcome any support they can give their teachers. Offer 1 free cleaning to the teacher of the month. Or better yet if there is no teacher of the month program you can spearhead it and put your cleaning company’s name as the sponsor of the program. Teachers put in a lot of time and effort into our kids so pampering gifts, such as a sparkling clean home, is always much appreciated.
Other ways to support your school include purchasing an ad space in the school newsletter or sponsor level, donate raffle items for silent auctions, provide the ‘clean up crew’ for after hours school events, set up a table/sponsor a game at any school carnivals. You can get really creative with this so think out side of the box!
Offer Discounted Services to Friends and Family
I did this when I first started my business. I only promoted it on Facebook, but knowing what I know now, I would have utilized my email list as well. Tell all of your family and friends of your newest business venture.
Do them a favor by offering a free service in return, ask for a review and to use them as a referral. This is a sure way to build your reference list and a review base to add to marketing material. Plus you will prove your value, so they will be that more likely to refer you to people they know….See how everyone wins!
Reach out to local Real Estate agents
Realtors work with home buyers. At a sale, a good realtor will give a gift to the new home buyer, welcoming them into their new home. What better gift than a move in clean! (From your company, of-course!)
Another way to service a realtor is buy offering cleaning services for house showings. It is no secrete that a clean home shows better and a home that shows better sells better! If a home seller does not have a house cleaner, their realtor could recommend bringing in your company!
Working for realtors can help keep you busy, plus build more repeat clients. They meet and work with a lot of home owners. Make their life easier and help them sell more houses and they will keep you in mind when their clients need your services.
Obtain a new home purchased list.
New home buyers are usually new to the area. They don’t already have a cleaning service and probably in the market for one. Put together a fun letter, or post card if you have the budget, and mail it to the address.
Make sure to talk about all the awesome ways you will make their life better. What value do you bring them? What makes your company better than the next? Offer them their first cleaning free! Or if you have a few extra dollars, throw in a free $50 Bed Bath and Beyond gift card so they can pick out something fun for their new house!
Get creative, be causal, be fun and be professional.
How do you find newly purchased homes in your desired neighborhoods? Visit realtor.com type in a zip code you want to service and search. It will then populate a list of homes, with street addresses, of recently sold homes, by date.
Now try it! Write down 2 ways you can promote your business this month at your child’s school and implement them!
A few things to keep in mind when growing your cleaning business. Always, always, (sorry I have to say it again) ALWAYS present yourself in a professional manner. This will help you stand above 80% of the so called cleaning businesses out there.
You don’t have to spend a lot, or have a huge budget to market your business in the beginning. Now get out there and implement these low cost steps. You have nothing to loose and only new clients to gain!!!