A cleaning business can be a very lucrative start-up. The low cost of overheads and high demand make it relatively simple to break into the market. Advertising locally and on a strict budget is definitely possible, and the work doesn’t usually require specialized training, at least to begin with.
However, there are many things that can set your business apart from the competition. With a little bit of knowledge and planning, and a commitment to good, honest work, it’s more than possible to rapidly grow your customer base quickly.
If you’re more experienced in the industry and your company has been around for a while, many of the methods for growing your base are the same, but there will be some other strengths available to you.
Whichever stage you’re at, you’re looking to get clients quickly and keep hold of them. Here’s how you’re going to do it.
How to Get Clients for a Cleaning Business
Getting clients for your new cleaning business will involve a dedicated focus on multiple areas of business. These can be roughly broken down into:
• Customer satisfaction
Marketing is going to involve knowing your customer base and tailoring media to their needs and interests. This can involve promotions, social media outreach, and classic advertising.
Once you’re established, your reputation in the industry is really important too. This boils down to doing a good job for a fair price but includes your attitude towards and consideration for customer needs.
As part of increasing your reach, you’re going to need to know how to network. Networking involves many of the same skills as marketing but might be more focused on communicating directly with other professionals, rather than customers.
Your competition will be a consideration, especially as you grow. The market might feel saturated when starting out; anyone can start a cleaning company and many people do. But this doesn’t mean that they’re any good. At the early stages of a business, the quality of the competition is relatively low. As you grow, you’ll find a lot more competition from fewer companies.
To overcome most of the hurdles of growing your customer base, customer satisfaction needs to be a priority. Cleaning is a recurring service, and most of the success will come from return customers. In turn, these customers could be a valuable link between you and your next customers through referrals.
If you’re well established and looking to grow, you need to figure out how to find the next set of clients. If you’re starting out, you need to do is let your customers know you exist. Either way, this is done by marketing.
There are a lot of ways to market a new cleaning company that don’t involve spending too much. Social media, Linkedin, blogs, or websites often cost nothing but time, and for a little money spent, flyers or local ads can go a long way to reaching the customers you’re looking for.
For starting up, focus on the cheapest options, and pay attention to where you see other companies advertising. If you’re smart, you can make use of their market research and pedal your services in the same places.
If you’re already set up and you want to grow your base, it can be useful to think a little outside the box. Whether it’s domestic or commercial jobs you’re looking for, you have to make sure you leave your mark. Displaying your brand while you’re on jobs, and leaving your business cards around can be a handy way to let people know you’re there.
Word of mouth is a valuable tool, but it requires people to already know who you are and how you work. If you’re established, this is something to focus on, but if you’re looking for your first clients, you’re going to have to be more active.
Developing a market plan is useful at this stage. Who are your customers, what do you offer them that nobody else does? How are you going to utilize the tools available to you to reach them?
What do customers want from a cleaning company?
The first step to marketing a product or service is to know your customers. Without an understanding of whom you’re selling to, not only will you find it difficult to get customers, you run a strong risk of disappointing the ones you do find.
One of the strongest draws to any company is its reputation; customers are going to be looking for reviews and comparing their options. Cheap isn’t always better, but expensive has to be worth it, and the difference can come down to what others have said about you. But if you’re still looking to get your first clients, then you’re already at a disadvantage. This means you’re going to have to build your reputation from the ground up, and in order to do that, you need to know who you are, and who your customers are.
Different demographics have different needs and these will determine how you design your marketing strategy and where to look for your next clients. Knowing the needs of your customers takes some investigation and planning, but it will be a worthwhile investment.
As a cleaning service provider, you’re going to be working in some very intimate spaces. Customers’ homes and bedrooms are sacred to them, and it’s important that the cleaners they hire not only provide reliable service but give an impression of trustworthiness and respect for the space they’re in.
To an extent, the same is true for commercial buildings; the nature of the space, whether personal or professional needs to be maintained and the cleaning staff are responsible for that. In most cases, customers will want the cleaning process to run in the background and create as little disturbance as possible. Professionalism, competency, and respect are three of the most important qualities that customers are looking for.
Since you don’t have a reputation yet, here are a few ways to begin building one that pays attention to the needs of your customer base:
• Hire hardworking staff - Once you find people with dedication and integrity, hold on to them! Skills can be improved, principles less-so.
• Focus on customer satisfaction – Showing up on time, delivering on more than you promise, following up and fixing issues that arise from any complaints you do get, and making sure the work that gets done is better than it needs to be. All of these things will create a positive association with your company and increase the strength of your brand through reputation.
• Make sure your staff is trustworthy - As mentioned, they will be entering private and confidential spaces; it’s critical to your reputation that these are respected and that nothing is at risk of going missing.
• Be knowledgeable and approachable – You need to be able to confidently answer any questions your customers have to make them comfortable in your expertise. You also need to be available to receive questions and to give advice
Of course, there will be more specific needs, depending on the exact type of customer you’re looking for with your specific cleaning service, but these are the fundamental needs of any client looking to hire a cleaning company. Growing your customer base involves considering each one, and making a plan for how to meet them.
How will you meet these needs?
As mentioned, the client’s confidence and sense of security in your work are paramount to your success as a company. Most other client needs are easier to meet, but here are three pointers to get you on the path to customer satisfaction:
1. The hiring process – you’re going to need people with a clean criminal record and preferably plenty of cleaning experience. The hiring process involved putting a lot of work into picking the right resume, conducting the right interview process, and implementing the right training. Once you’ve hired, make sure you’re coaching your staff on the importance of the client’s expectations.
2. Perform better than you promise – it’s no good making lots of grand promises and failing to live up to them. Showing up late, missing some small details, or generally presenting a bad attitude are all ways to disappoint your clients and will cost you your reputation
3. Make sure your expertise is on display – When you’re available to your client before, during, and after you provide a service, you’re going to need to be on the ball. Your experience in the industry should be enough to act as a professional consultant to your inquisitive customers and help them choose an appropriate service. After the job is done, following up with clients is a nice touch to make sure they can happily voice any concerns or areas of improvement and give you the opportunity to complete the task to their satisfaction.
Implementing all of these factors will go a long way to building your customer base, but if you’re just starting out and you need customers now, what kind of marketing can you do to break into this industry immediately?
How to Get your First Cleaning Client
If you’re starting from the very beginning, you’re going to have no reputation, a small team, and a small marketing budget. So, it’s important to implement optimized marketing that will reach the most people for the least cost and effort.
Here are some suggestions for how to get clients for a cleaning business when you’re just starting out:
• Referrals – You can use the people in your social network to reach customers. Ask your friends and relatives if they know anyone who needs your services. This is the cheapest and easiest way to reach out at the early stages of your business.
• Promotions – offering discounted rates to first-time customers is a great way to introduce yourself to the market. People love a good deal, and if you’re already planning to put out flyers, this is a perfect opportunity to advertise your discount.
• Social media – getting your personal network involved in your new social media pages can really help boost them. Give some free or discounted services to your friends and family and ask them to leave testimonials on your pages.
This should explain how to get your first cleaning client, and build your initial customer base Once you’re getting your first few cleaning clients coming in, you’re going to want to ramp up your reach and find more clients to build your cleaning business quickly.
How to get cleaning clients fast
You now know how to get your first cleaning client, but if you’re relatively new with few customers, or even if you’ve been around for a while and you want to expand, you’re going to want to reach more people quickly. Here are some pointers on how to get cleaning clients fast.
• Referrals – these work here too! Giving discounts to regular customers for referring others to your company is a tried and tested way to increase clients.
• Reviews – Customers who have tried and liked your services should be encouraged to leave a review on your website, blog, or social media. People who are looking for a product or service of any kind are likely to read reviews on it beforehand, and if you don’t have anything to show them, you’re already behind!
• Promotions (again!) – promotions work just as well for expanding as they do for starting out. If there’s a customer base out there looking for discounted prices or unhappy with their current cleaning provider, offering first-timers a discount could sway them to your side. Once they’re in, your solid service should keep them coming back.
• Interact with customers – Most service websites nowadays offer live chat options and yours should be no different. Being available to your customers when they need you is a hugely beneficial element of customer care that will pay dividends. You’ll miss out on plenty of new customers if there isn’t a human behind the internet presence, so options like live chat and customer outreach are important.
• Work on your image – your uniform and your vehicles are part of your representation. Make sure logos and contact details are easily visible on both and keep them clean and professional-looking.
• Insurance – as your business grows and begins serving larger, corporate clients, many will want to ensure that your company is insured.
Now you know how to get cleaning clients fast, you’ve got to figure out how to keep them.
How to keep customers.
In growing a business, it can be easy to become fixated on growing your customer base and lose sight of the people who have stuck by you as you’ve grown. Regular customers will feel mishandled if they see that new customers are continually getting perks that they’re not privy to. Loyalty rewards, service follow-up calls, effective complaints and resolutions procedures, and of course, continued good service are all important ways to remind your loyal customers that you care and keep them coming back to you.
An area of business that is often overlooked is customer complaints procedures. A dazzling customer service experience can reverse a bad client experience immediately, and more than makes up for any initial mistakes that might have led to a complaint. Customers are so used to being let down and ignored that basic human decency goes a long way to budling a reputation. If your profits have to take a hit in order to tidy up an error on your part, so be it. These acts will pay back tenfold in customer loyalty and reputation.
Keeping customers is of course important to the success of any recurring service company, but it’s also a vital way to gain new customers.
There’s no way around it – if you want to succeed in growing your customer base you’re going to have to do a good job. This alone shouldn’t be too difficult, but without knowing whom you’re looking for or how to reach them, no amount of experience or know-how is going to make people come to you. Knowing exactly how to get clients for a cleaning business is the key to the rapid expansion of your enterprise.
Perhaps you’re starting out and you’re looking for your first customers. Or maybe you’ve been around for a while and you need to expand your base. Either way, many of the principles to growing a successful cleaning company are shared.
Learn your customer base, tailor your marketing to them, treat them with respect and make them comfortable. Use your specialist knowledge to make them secure in your expertise and look after them even when the job is done. If you’re starting out, get referrals from your social network and use the first clients to get testimonials on your media pages and marketing materials. If you’re already established, give loyalty rewards to make your customers feel welcome and discounts for referrals they make.
Remember, a faceless company is not the image that your customers want to let into their intimate spaces. Keep a human presence in all your interactions and focus on your customers’ needs and you’ll be growing in no time.