Nothing stays clean forever, so a cleaner’s services will always be in demand. It’s easy to assume that a cleaning business will grow quickly in the modern world, with so many schools, offices, homes and gyms that people don’t have time to maintain. But it’s not always easy to launch a new business or gain more cleaning customers in a competitive local market.
If you’re planning to start a cleaning business, or if you’re already running one and want to know the best strategies for growth, these tactics can help you beat the competition. In the best case scenario, many of these can land you more customers within weeks, if not days.
But of course, it’s not all about the short term. It’s important to follow through with a high quality service and make sure every part of the customer experience is up to scratch. If you don’t have the right staff or the right processes to handle a higher volume of cleaning jobs, making that investment will ensure your efforts pay off.
These ideas will help you reach potential clients, grow your customer base, and increase the revenue your cleaning service is generating. It’s up to you to make sure those new customers become long-term loyal fans.
Read on for our best tips on how to market a cleaning company – and increase your bookings quickly.
1. Start A Customer Referral Program
The best form of advertising for a cleaning business is word of mouth. People are more likely to believe something if they hear it from family members, relatives, friends, and colleagues. In fact, 90% of people will trust brand recommendations from strangers over advertising.
Asking your satisfied clients to refer you to people they know is a great place to start. Clients recommending your business based on their personal experiences is a powerful and cost-effective form of marketing. Giving a word-of-mouth recommendation also makes your current customers feel more attached to your business.
But that’s just half the work. Compared to traditional word-of-mouth, ‘word of mouth marketing’ doesn’t sit back and wait for the occasional recommendation, and neither should you.
Successful businesses in all kinds of industries use a referral system to reward clients for bringing friends and family on board. Consider offering current customers a discount or bonus service for each successful referral, whether that’s after the first booking or once they become a repeat client.
While giving freebies for referrals may seem counter-intuitive, it gives your current customers extra motivation to speak up and proactively tell people about their wonderful cleaner.
The goal isn’t to generate false positivity – it’s about overcoming the barriers that keep people from sharing their positive experiences. It’s also a way to say ‘thank you’ to your most loyal clients.
If you can deliver a high quality cleaning service, those one-off referrals can be transformed into long-term relationships.
2. Create Or Improve Your Cleaning Business Website
To stay competitive in the cleaning industry, a functional and well-designed website with your business goals in mind is non-negotiable. Your website is your business’s online persona, proof that your presence and business is legitimate. Your website is your store, staff, customer service channel, and more on the Internet.
In the digital age, without a website, you’re putting your business at a severe disadvantage. You’ll miss out on leads, sales, keeping a steady spot in the market, and even your credibility as a business.
Many people assume a cleaning business doesn’t need a website, but in reality, it’s one of the best investments you can make to take your brand from ‘amateur’ to ‘professional’.
With a professionally designed, well thought-out website, you can tap into these advantages:
- A website gives customers a positive first impression about your cleaning business. It lets viewers recognise you as a professional and legitimate service provider, and feel comfortable letting you into their home or business. Having a Facebook page for your business doesn’t build the same trust and confidence as a real website.
- Having a website means current and potential clients can always find you when needed. If you’re aiming to get word-of-mouth referrals, knowing people can easily go and look up your business increases the chances of getting that customer on board.
- It helps establish your business’s identity, personality, and reputation. Each element – like your logo, imagery, colours, content, and functionality – can demonstrate why your business is unique. A website is your own space to share your point of difference with the market.
- The features on your website can perform a huge range of tasks to help your business. For example, chat functionality or a contact form allows you to interact with your customers. A blog gives you a place to share news and demonstrate your expertise. A download function gives viewers access to critical documents such as flyers, prices, agreements, and licenses your business holds. It also gives you a place to receive or share testimonials.
- Being present on the internet means you’re in the ring when it comes to potential leads. Applying search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies makes your website more visible in search engine results, so if someone is searching for “cleaners in [local area]” they’ll know your business is an option.
- If you’re aiming to take on commercial cleaning work, having a professional website is a must.
3. Take And Share As Many Photos As Possible
Nothing sparks people’s imagination (and encourages them to actually hire a service) than seeing great results for themselves. That’s why photos of beautifully cleaned homes and surfaces make viewers want the same results for their own homes.
Don’t underestimate the power of great ‘before and after’ images. When you see someone’s grimy oven or shower screen polished to perfection, it’s impossible not to envy the results. Sharing before and after pictures is one of the most effective social media strategies for cleaners.
Because visuals activate many psychological triggers, it’s vital to display high-quality photos of what your cleaning business can do. Here are some tips:
✔ Consider some photography basics before taking a snap. You don’t need anything more sophisticated than a smartphone, but thinking about lighting, angles, and framing in images will make your company look more professional. If the lighting is too poor, skip the photo – and if a space is beautifully lit, you know it’s a good time to capture your handiwork.
✔ Practicing with some photo editing apps can make a big difference, and they’re not hard to use, either. Your phone should even let you tweak things like brightness, contrast and crop images right in the photos app. In an industry like this, the more professional looking your photos are, the better for business. Don’t over-edit, though, since you want the ‘before and after’ images to look authentic.
✔ Consider working with a professional photographer for some versatile shots. That can sound intimidating for a small business, but getting a collection of professional images to use across your website, social media, brochures and more can transform your brand’s image. The upfront investment offers long-term benefits when taking your cleaning business to the next level.
It’s important that all your staff are on the same page about taking pictures, so your entire team is on the lookout for photo opportunities.
Make good use of photos on your website and social media marketing, or share them in local groups to get the attention of new customers. You can also use these photos in your offline promotional material, such as flyers, brochures, posters, and sales kits.
4. Participate In Local Facebook Groups
One of the best places to promote a cleaning business and grow your audience is Facebook, and joining Facebook groups lets you reach a wider audience than just the people who ‘like’ your page.
Local neighbourhood groups are another great platform to find new clients. Join suburb-based groups based on your service area or the neighbourhood you live in. People looking for local cleaners actively post in these groups, and you can respond with your details and website link.
This will help you build not only a client base but also a reputation as a cleaner that is part of the local community. Some groups don’t allow active promotion from businesses, but you’ll be able to respond to any requests. Others are fine with small business posts, and this can be a great place to share your ‘before and after’ results.
You may be able to find competitors in these Facebook groups. By checking their posts, you can get an insight into their strategies. You can find inspiration to formulate your own strategy or modify yours to stay one step ahead.
You can also join Facebook groups revolving around cleaning. By reading the group posts, you can pinpoint trends, understand the issues, and identify what they want in a cleaning business. Again, promoting a cleaning business may not be allowed, but you can still make connections, share tips and gain valuable insights.
It can still be worth sharing your cleaning tips or before-and-after photos, even if you can’t connect it to your business name. Many viral news posts sharing cleaning hacks originally started with a Facebook group post in Mums Who Clean. As a professional, you may even be able to correct some misconceptions when you spot them.
5. Use Cost-Effective Lead Generation Platforms
It would be ideal to have enough leads from promotions or referrals alone – but in reality, it can feel like a ‘sit and wait’ game if you’re eager to grow your cleaning business immediately. Natural ebbs and flows in demand also mean you may need to actively look for ways to get more cleaning customers on your books.
One of the benefits of lead generation sites is that you’re connected with people who are already eager to buy. By skipping past the ‘raising awareness’ and ‘generating interest’ stages, you’re getting straight to the action, and this can actually be very cost-effective.
When you’re using social media or a flyer drop, the return on investment is never set in stone. It’s always possible the response will be underwhelming, and you won’t make a decent return for what you’ve spent – and it takes a lot longer to generate results.
The fastest way to get new leads for a cleaning company is to use a fair and reliable lead gen site. In comparison to traditional marketing, you know exactly what you’re paying to get that customer on board, and you know they actively need the service you’re offering. Even if you just need a few extra bookings during a slow period, paying for quality leads puts you in control of the work you take on.
Of course, it’s important to choose the right lead gen platform. There are plenty out there who charge excessive fees or force you to compete on price, and that doesn’t translate to profitable work coming in for a cleaning business.
You want to be looking for one that is trusted, has exceptional reviews from both the clients and businesses, and features a fair and reasonable payment model. A good example is Jim’s Plus, where you can pick up extra leads if there’s no Jim’s Cleaning franchisee available to take the job. Leads are exclusive and you don’t have to compete on price – in fact, these clients will be already expecting a ‘premium’ price.
Once you accept a lead with Jim’s Plus, they’re your client to handle, and if they’re happy with your service, they can become your long-term loyal customer. Learn more about how it works here.
6. Try Servicing New Niches Like Commercial Or Real Estate Cleaning
Virtually everything in the world needs to be cleaned, and so your pool of potential customers isn’t limited to home cleaning. If you’re looking to grow your cleaning business, branching out into a new market can open up a whole new source of revenue.
Due to their busy schedules, business owners will need your services to maintain the cleanliness of their properties, offices, and commercial spaces. Real estate cleaning – whether residential or commercial – is a great sector to get involved in, as any agency or property manager will have extensive cleaning requirements to manage.
But why stop at real estate? Why not branch out to car owners, schools, or gyms? Domestic and commercial cleaning do require different skills and equipment, so do your research and learn what it takes to win over decision-makers in these areas. Tap into new markets by learning the skills, techniques and language of a new niche.
You can also use Google Earth, Google Maps, and search engines to search for leads if you’re looking to specialise in a certain kind of business. Simply type in the category and the area you want to service. A list of all registered businesses in that category will appear, along with contact information.
You can also use industry directories to search for potential leads. Of course, you can also resort to online phone directories such as the Yellow Pages to gather leads, or use Facebook to reach out to local businesses.
Note, though, that using search engines and directories can take a lot of time and effort, and cold calling tends to be a fairly low-return marketing activity. You may have more luck using your existing networks to find your first commercial clients – for instance, do any of your domestic cleaning customers know someone with a business? Can they give you a referral or pass on your business card?
7. Carry Out A Local Leaflet Drop With A Special Offer
In the age of digital marketing, it’s easy to overlook more traditional marketing methods. However, offline methods of promoting your business can still be effective.
For an affordable yet personalised way of doing traditional marketing, consider doing a leaflet letterbox drop in your local area. Before digital marketing was an option, this was one of the most effective ways to raise awareness of your small business. While digital marketing should never be neglected, mixing it up with some old school promotional strategies can help keep your books full.
There are some pros and cons of doing a flyer drop for your cleaning business, though. The plus side is that your customers will be locals! Unfortunately, our own research into flyer delivery as a promotional tool showed that it gets very expensive over a wide area, and needs to be repeated to really make a difference to your business success.
However, it can still be a useful technique to get more domestic cleaning work, especially at key times of year, like when people are considering a spring clean or pre-Christmas refresh.
Design an eye-catching leaflet that details your services, what value you can give, and how to get in touch with you. For best results, include an offer such as a discount if they present the flyer to you.
8. Set Up A Review Funnel
When you know a customer is satisfied with your work, ask them to leave a positive review on your website or social media platform. These positive reviews will help you build strong social proof, boosting your credibility and giving people more confidence in choosing your cleaning service.
To make this process more convenient, you can set up a review funnel to consistently follow up and ask for reviews. Send an email or text message to clients after the service, or once they hit a certain number of repeat cleans.
In a review request email, you should introduce yourself and your business, and ask if they can leave a review on Google or Facebook to help other customers in future. You can automate this process or use an email or text message template each time. It can be helpful to send a couple of follow-up messages spaced out by a day or two, in case people forget the first time. A gentle reminder does wonders in this case!
Don’t dismiss negative reviews, either. Always respond and demonstrate you’re trying to solve the issue – be professional and don’t argue, as prospective customers will be reading your response as well. Even if the angry customer doesn’t cooperate, showing you’re calmly trying to make things right reduces the damage a bad review can do.
If you have successfully resolved a customer’s complaint, ask the client to edit their review if possible, acknowledging the issue was fixed. This is very powerful as it shows viewers that you’re committed to doing right by your clients, even when something goes wrong.
9. Contribute To Your Local Community
When it comes to big business, they call it corporate social responsibility (CSR), but we think it’s just being a good neighbour. It’s also proven that giving back to the community motivates customers to choose your business over another.
Taking part in local events or charity initiatives raises awareness of your brand, especially when it’s something that benefits people right here in your neighbourhood. Instead of just a cleaning business, you’ll be seen as a caring, responsible team that looks after the welfare of others. Doesn’t that fit perfectly with what a small cleaning business is all about?
For that reason, it’s a great idea to support important causes and efforts in your local community. For instance, donating a voucher for a local school or community group auction or offering a free clean to someone experiencing hardship. These generous actions can put you on the radar of thousands of local families while also doing a good deed for someone in need.
To suit your service offering, your team can also participate in environmental efforts like beach or reef cleanups, recycling programs, green fairs, and other local events. Have participating staff members wear their company uniform and remember to take lots of photos for social media!
You’ll be raising awareness and showing your brand’s community spirit at the same time, while also leaving the world a bit cleaner than you found it – just this time, it’s off the clock.
10. Network, Network, Network
One of the best ways to grow your cleaning business is to get out there and engage like-minded individuals. You’ll be raising the profile of your cleaning company and picking up valuable information at the same time.
Members of a professional network for a cleaning business could include companies who sell cleaning supplies, hotel managers, gym owners, environmental groups, the local chamber of commerce, and more. These are people that you would like to network with – but if you don’t know where to get started, we have some suggestions for you.
State governments and local councils in Australia hold regular events, workshops and training sessions for small business owners. Follow cleaning industry trade publications like INCLEAN to find out about industry events and conferences near you.
Check out local business events, seminars, and trade shows in your area; don’t be afraid to talk to as many people as you can! Bring along some business cards to ensure you can take advantage of any opportunities that come up. These events are also perfect occasions to learn new business skills and maybe find some partnership opportunities.
Don’t underestimate the value of online networking, either. Participating in cleaning industry and local business groups can really help you take your knowledge to the next level.
1. To Grow Fast, Join A Franchise Group
Building a cleaning company from scratch can be quite a challenge, especially if this is your first time starting a business. Alternatively, you may be doing well with your existing clients, but you feel you’re ready for something bigger and better.
One of the fastest ways to grow a cleaning business is to join a cleaning franchise. Instead of taking years (or decades) to build a high-profile business, you get to step in and benefit from the brand’s experience from day one.
When buying a franchise, you get full training in everything you need to know to run it successfully. All the branding, procedures, set-up and marketing are already taken care of, so you don’t have to start from scratch. As the brand is already a household name, you’ll be getting inbound leads as soon as you’re up and running – without even needing to promote yourself.
A franchise arrangement isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking to grow your cleaning business as quickly as possible – and tap into the benefits of a strong brand for yourself – it’s a great way to take your passion for the industry to the next level.
If you’re looking to expand your cleaning business and enjoy the benefits a popular brand can offer, joining a franchise family like Jim’s Cleaning is the quickest way to do it!
Is A Cleaning Company A Profitable Business?
Yes, the cleaning industry is a great source of profit for successful business owners. Because all interior and exterior spaces need to be cleaned regularly, you will always have a ready market for your cleaning services.
Like any other small business, you need to implement effective sales and marketing strategies to survive and grow in a competitive industry. Developing a well-balanced and consistent marketing strategy is the best way to ensure your cleaning business will succeed.
How Can I Make My Cleaning Business Unique?
There are several ways of making your cleaning business stand out. Here are a few suggestions:
✔ Choose a specialisation if your business has the skills, capabilities, and equipment to do so. For example, you might want to advertise that you can clean medical facilities, vehicles, restaurants, etc.
✔ Hit your audience’s emotions. Use humour in your social media posts, for instance. Publish heartwarming videos or stories and let people get to know your team members.
✔ Get involved in your local community. Doing so raises awareness of your brand and establishes your business as a treasured part of the neighbourhood.
Disclaimer: This article is published in good faith and for general informational purposes only. Jim’s Plus does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness and reliability of this information. It does not constitute financial or legal advice, and you should always consult a professional advisor on these matters.