Ideas for Growing Your Cleaning Business
Starting and building a new residential cleaning business or a commercial cleaning business takes a lot of hard work, dedication—and most importantly—customers.
Finding your place in the market and building your reputation is important, but simply providing great service and quality work isn’t enough on its own.
A little research and putting in some leg work can make building a strong client base easier and give you some ideas you might not have thought of.
There are lots of ways to build your customer base when you’re starting out, but it’s important to think about growing on an ongoing basis too. Here are just a handful of ideas for how to gain customers and spread the word about your business.
You can also watch our video, “How to Grow a Cleaning Business The Right Way,” to get advice from experts in action:
1. Improve your networking skills
The heart of any business is having a strong network, whether you’re dealing with your suppliers, your clients or even your accountant, the majority of your work day revolves around people.
Even if you’re networking with people that won’t necessarily become customers, leaving a good impression can go a long way towards getting referral business.
Making connections through networking helps grow your business but sometimes finding the right place or situation can be a challenge. Some things that you can try are:
- Attend trade shows: Trade shows are a great place to meet both clients and other business owners. Consider renting a booth and displaying your products and cleaning services. You could even try catching people’s attention by having a contest for a free cleaning package—and who knows, you might just have some fun, too!
- Join a community association: Every community has lots of associations, and joining one is a great way to meet people. Many communities even have associations specifically for businesses and business owners. Joining one of these associations opens up new possibilities for promoting your cleaning business and helps you keep your finger on the pulse of your community.
- Go to community events: Community events are great business opportunities. Volunteering or contributing is a great way to build your reputation while helping your community out and getting some cheap advertising. Every event needs cleaners, so if you have some spare time, throw on your company t-shirt and get helping!
2. Set up a referral program
Big companies have known for a long time that a customer referral program is a great way to build your customer base. This works for almost any business, whether it’s cleaning, landscaping or even software.
Try a discount incentive or a free service if your customer sends you new business. While it may seem expensive in the short run, in the long run, it’s a great way to extend your client list. There’s a reason they say word of mouth is the best source of advertising.
If you want to keep track of your referral customers, you may want to consider a client manager (CRM).
Attach tags to clients in your field service management software so you know that they came from a referral or another channel. View, manage, and act on leads, so you can close jobs quickly and grow your business.
3. Canvas in your community
This might not seem like much fun, but it’s actually a good way to get your name out there, and can be very effective in gaining new business.
Door knocking is a great way to create face-to-face contact and leave a lasting impression. Canvas in the evening to ensure people are home, but make sure you’re respectful of their space if they don’t want to chat or have a sign indicating they’re not interested.
If nobody’s home, make sure you have a house cleaning flyer or brochure to leave so that when they need a cleaner, they think of you and have your phone number on hand. This is also a great opportunity to include a discount offer.
4. Build partnerships with other businesses
Building partnerships with other service providers can be a great way to build a mutually beneficial business relationship.
For example, a window washing company can refer you to their customers and you can do the same for them. Other good options are carpet cleaning companies, landscaping businesses, and nanny services, just to name a few.
READ MORE: How to get cleaning contracts
Besides referrals, partnering with other companies can increase the value of your service to your customers.
You save them the time and headache of finding and hiring someone to perform additional services and can vouch for your partner companies, providing ease of mind for your customer.
Just make sure that you’re confident in the quality of the work your partners provide.
FREE TOOL: Try our free cleaning receipt template
5. Advertise on a budget
Advertising can be expensive, but there are lots of opportunities available to get your message out on a shoestring budget:
- Put up posters in local businesses and community centers.
- Print company t-shirts and give them to your employees and customers.
- Customers research services online, so build an online presence and take the time to manage it.
6. Encourage word of mouth
This point bears repeating. The cheapest possible way to advertise is to have someone else do it for you. While that may seem like a pipe dream, the reality is that successful businesses get this right—every time.
The trick is to get people talking. The only catch is that “local cleaning services” and the “best maids in town” aren’t very common dinner conversations—so what can you do to get people excited about your business?
First and foremost, maintain the highest quality service. Make sure your clients aren’t just content with your work—amaze them. After the work’s over, try going above and beyond to really connect with your clients to make sure they’re happy.
Remember birthdays, share a funny joke, or make a small gesture of appreciation around the holidays to increase the likelihood of people mentioning you to their friends and family.
Remember word of mouth has as much positive power as it does negative. If you’re rude or provide poor service, you can bank on your customer letting their friends know.
7. Ensure top-level security
The nature of the cleaning business means you and your team will often be working unsupervised in people’s homes or offices. This can make your clients nervous, so doing everything you can to make sure they feel safe is a great way to outclass the competition.
Try getting background checks done on all of your team members and on any prospective employees, and make sure your customers know that you’ve done this. Another thing you could consider is offering a personal guarantee in writing.
Here at Jobber, we deal with our customers’ sensitive data every day, so to ensure that they feel safe we hold our security standards to the same level you would expect of online banking.
This means our customers feel completely at ease, and they pass this sense of security onto their clients.
READ MORE: 12 best apps for cleaning services
Finally, always follow up with your new contacts. Make a quick phone call or send them an email. Don’t be afraid to follow up a few times—don’t stop at just one.
People are busy and sometimes don’t have time to respond, but one day they’ll be looking for the service you provide. You want to make sure you’re at the top of their mind!