Looking for businesses that need cleaning services? Here are some of the first places you should search.
Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a commercial cleaning company just like yours almost went out of business. The business was so wildly successful, that the owner neglected to look for new clients, and gradually, one contract after another expired, leaving just enough in the bank account to launch a final, business-saving plan. The first step? Finding businesses that need cleaning services.
Does this sound at all familiar? Your business is taking a downturn and you need a quick increase in clients? Or you’re just starting out and you need to find new customers? Where do you look? How will you know which types of jobs to take and which ones to pass?
The cleaning industry can be a daunting one. After all, there are plenty of businesses that need cleaning services—all of them, in fact! The trick is finding companies that are looking to hire new cleaners and winning them over. It can be a challenge, especially if you haven’t worked to cultivate a good reputation. Or you might be new to the scene and don’t yet have customers to leave you positive reviews online. And it’s not like there are databases of businesses that need cleaning services. (Well, not exactly. More on that later.)
So how do you secure contracts as a cleaning company? How do you jumpstart your business?
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How to find and sign businesses that need cleaning services
Contact the right industries
To make the process a little easier, you might want to choose a few industries to focus on. You can specialize in cleaning schools, office buildings, hospitality locations, stadiums, or any other types of businesses that interest you. This makes the bidding process a bit less overwhelming. That’s not to say you can’t expand your business later, but for your first few contracts, find an industry that suits your business model and stick with it until you’ve secured a customer base.
One of the more profitable industries is government cleaning contracts. These can be tough to come by, but they can turn into long-term, lucrative work. You can find government cleaning contracts on sites like www.governmentbids.com or www.bidnet.com.
If the government work doesn’t interest you, you can find plenty of other businesses that need cleaning services using a site like www.bark.com, which connects you with people who need cleaners (and other services) for a nominal fee. This is a great place to start looking for new customers without investing a ton of money.
Strategize your marketing and advertising
Another strategy is to put some dollars into traditional marketing and advertising. Create direct mail flyers and send them to businesses that you’d like to work with. Take out an ad in a local newspaper. Be active on social media and start connecting with customers there. Send out emails and offer incentives. There are so many different marketing strategies you can use, surely you’ll find at least a few that suit your needs and bring you the business you’re looking for.
When you create your marketing strategy, make sure to include the benefits your cleaning company offers that perhaps others don’t. If you offer specialty services, like carpet cleaning, mention that. Many customers also like to see that your cleaning business uses modern technology like Janitorial Manager to streamline and organize each cleaning job as well as client communication, inventory control, and more. Use this to your advantage. Businesses that need cleaning services are sure to notice that you’re on the cutting edge of your industry
Incentivize new clients
What incentives can you use to drum up new business? You can offer discounts, free first cleanings, one-time additional service, and more. You never know which prospective customers may be frustrated with their current cleaners and are willing to make a change when they see a deal on the table.
Incentivizing your new clients is also a great way to bring in more business. Once you have your customers signed on, offer incentives for them to spread the word about the great work that you do. Offer discounts or freebies for every new customer they refer in. Rewards programs are an effective way to find businesses that need cleaning services because they encourage word-of-mouth advertising, which is one of the best ways to develop new leads.
Attend industry networking events
It may seem counter-intuitive to source new work from industry colleagues and competitors, but you might be surprised. Maybe someone there knows of a lead that’s outside of their company’s jurisdiction, so they make a referral. Or perhaps a cleaning company is at capacity, but as a gesture of goodwill, wants to recommend another service to inquiring prospects. Whatever the case, talking to people who work in the industry can unexpectedly bring about a variety of new opportunities that you might not hear of elsewhere.
The other great thing about networking events is that they help you get to know your competition, which is essential when crafting your service offerings and pricing. You can also learn a lot from competitors about what works and what doesn’t in the cleaning business, what clients want most, and what’s least useful or attractive to potential customers. (Networking events are also a great place to pick up new employees, as well.)
Finally, you can always try cold-calling to find businesses that need cleaning services. One survey found that 41.2 percent of respondents said the phone was still their best selling tool. It may not seem like it, but calling businesses to find out their needs is useful because it’s more personal than sending an email or a flyer. Human interaction builds trust, which is what you need to develop with these businesses before they’ll sign on to work with you. Taking the initiative to reach out by phone shows that you’re interested in connecting with that business specifically, and that’s likely to elicit a positive response from the decision-makers, even if they don’t sign you on right away.
No matter which of these methods you use to grow your business, remember that building a customer base takes time and effort. Though there are ways to increase your chances of winning someone’s business, at the end of the day, it’s a numbers game in a lot of ways. Keep at it for a while, and soon you’ll find that you’ve got a robust database of business for your now-thriving cleaning company.
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