Whether you are just starting or you have been in business for years, continual and consistent marketing is critical to grow your cleaning business.

Getting into the cleaning business is relatively easy. There is a low cost of entry, the opportunities are vast, and the potential for profit is enormous. Once you’re in though, how are you going to grow your cleaning business? Sales and marketing can be very expensive! So unless you have a substantial war chest of cash you can dedicate to the effort, you will need to come up with some creative alternatives. The one thing you cannot afford to do is nothing. If you let the sales pipeline dry up, you will one day find yourself desperate for new business, but have no prospects on the horizon.

There is a great deal of emphasis these days on digital marketing, i.e. your website, social media, and email campaigns. These can be incredibly valuable tools, but they can also be expensive. You really do need to invest some time and money here, but that is not the topic of this discussion.

Here are some options you might want to consider to generate leads without spending a fortune.

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Always Be Ready!

You never know who you will bump into next. You should always be ready with a smile and your elevator pitch! If you are not familiar with the idea, an elevator pitch is a 30-second spoken advertisement for your company. Your pitch should clearly identify what you do, why you’re better, and why you’re more memorable. You want it to stick when someone hears it.

It takes a little time and practice, but it is critical to have a highly polished, effective pitch ready to go at all times!

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Don’t Be Out of Sight, Out of Mind

This may seem obvious, but 100% of your potential clients will not contact you if they don’t know you exist. You have to be visible!

Hiding is easy. For most of us, it’s easier than getting out there and meeting people. Especially when we have so many other things we need to be doing. The pile on your desk isn’t getting any smaller, right?

Pick one day a week or once a month dedicated to marketing efforts and carve it in stone. Don’t let anything interfere and get out into the community!

Participate in networking events. Check local community calendars and other publications for networking events. It doesn’t even have to specifically be an event for networking. Any event where your potential customers might be will work. Just go ready to meet people. Have your elevator speech queued up and ready. Meet people, smile a lot, and let them know what you do.

Don’t be afraid to expand your network outside your industry groups. Ask lots of questions and listen carefully to what people are saying (and not saying).

Even if you live in a small isolated town smack dab in the middle of nowhere, there is still something going on. Every event that you can attend and effectively represent your company is an opportunity to generate new business. They can also be fun!

Your Employees are Living Advertisements

What is the first thing someone might think when they see your average employee? Is their first thought professionalism, or is it something less complimentary? Your employees are the front-line. The image they present directly reflects you and your company. If a non-customer sees one of your employees on the job, does it make them want to hire you?

Turn your employees into a consistent and effective advertisement for your services. Create and enforce uniform standards for attire, appearance, and behavior for your employees. Make it something the entire team can take pride in!

I recently heard a brilliant idea from an associate who is a BSC. He ordered business cards for his key employees with the name of the company, the employee’s name, and company contact information. Many of these employees never had a business card before and it meant a lot to them. The business cards served two functions. First, they served as another means of advertising the company. Second, the cards served as a recruiting tool for new employees. This strategy was very affordable and highly effective!

It’s Your Community

If you’re reading this, then you are most likely human and currently alive! You live and work in a community of other humans who are living and working. In a world that has become cold, calculated, and impersonal, be human. Be someone who cares. Kindness is always right! Get involved locally. Find a cause you care about and give some of your time. Not only will you be making your community a better place, but you will be getting to know people and getting your name out there.

While you need to always be ready to respond if a lead is ready to sign up for your services, you also should focus on building long-term relationships with real people in your area. This is your community, and while most people will not sign up for your services today, if they know you, someday they will.

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Knocking on Doors

I know, I know…no one likes cold calling. I certainly didn’t like the idea when I was just starting out, but it did work. I used to get a map of my community and circle areas with concentrations of business that would need my services. I would then pick a day and knock on every door in that section. I made sure to look my best, have my elevator speech ready, and bring some print material I could leave behind.

My theory was that most of them would turn me down because they already had a service or they thought they couldn’t afford one. However, eventually, every one of them would know who I was and would have my contact information. Frequently, I would get a request for a quote, occasionally someone would sign up on the spot, and often I would get calls months later when their current service was a no-show.

It kind of makes sense that door-to-door sales can be a very effective sales strategy for commercial and janitorial cleaning businesses. You are meeting them at their facility and offering them something that they need! It’s an excellent habit to establish early on and maintain for the life of your company.

Build Referral Relationships

Don’t just knock on doors of commercial properties or make cold calls to residential clients. Develop relationships with real estate agents. Many real estate pros offer their clients complimentary cleaning services as part of a sale. Get to know local builders, bankers, and closing attorneys, for example.

Every relationship in your community is a potential source of new business for you and them, and it should be a reciprocal relationship. As you develop relationships with other business owners, make sure to refer business to them.

Never Stop Marketing

Whether you are just starting or you have been in business for years, continual and consistent marketing is critical. Too often business owners make the mistake of cutting off the marketing budget. Sometimes it’s because the budget is tight and marketing is an easy thing to cut. This is the worst expense to cut! How do you expect to generate more revenue to get you out of a slump? Owners may also cut the marketing budget when times are good and revenue is high. This is a mistake! Business is cyclical. It might be booming now, but then business dies down in the next quarter or next year. If you stop marketing now, you will be in trouble later.

Grow Your Cleaning Business

Whether or not you have a substantial budget for marketing, the objective is the same. You have to keep your sales pipeline full if you want to grow your business. Creativity can be effective regardless, but it’s essential when your budget is limited. Start brainstorming with your team for unique marketing ideas to grow your cleaning business, keep a list, and pick one to do this week!

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