The world is going green! If you haven’t already, now is the time to add eco-friendly commercial cleaning supplies to your offering.
A common argument against eco-friendly commercial cleaning supplies is that they are too expensive in comparison to traditional commercial cleaning supplies. That may be true, but consumers are changing the way they look at business, and that may be worth the extra spend in the long run.
According to the 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study, a staggering 91% of global consumers expect companies to act environmentally responsible in addition to making a profit. Another 84% said they would seek out responsible products whenever possible. Those numbers overwhelmingly suggest that in the cleaning industry, eco-friendly commercial cleaning supplies should, at the very least, be an option.
Why go green?
Apart from the clear public demand for greener products, there are some benefits to going green. One is that both your employees and your clients will spend less time exposed to harsh, toxic chemicals that can cause health problems in the long term. Another is that you’re sparing the environment from pollution primarily in the water and air. Third, despite the assumption that eco-friendly commercial cleaning supplies are more expensive, the truth is that they’ve become much more competitive in price, which becomes an easy investment with quick returns in the short term.
And don’t forget the big picture. People are paying increasingly more attention to corporate social responsibility—the idea that companies should behave more ethically and with more concern for customer safety and health instead of just focusing on revenue. If you want customers to view your business as socially responsible—and from the results of the survey above, you probably do—offering eco-friendly commercial cleaning supplies is a great way to do so.
The actual cost difference
Before you can determine how to make eco-friendly commercial cleaning supplies a value-added service, you have to know their value in the first place. The answer changes from business to business, based on location as well as standard pricing. In general, though, customers pay $5-$10 an hour more than they would for traditional services. That’s not a bad rate for them or you, and it’s at least enough to cover any extra overhead on your end.
Another thing to keep in mind with costs is that eco-friendly commercial cleaning supplies are highly concentrated, which means you use less product. So even though you’re paying more for a gallon of floor care product you use less of it which practically (if not completely) negates the cost difference.
How to make green a value-added service
There are plenty of ways to use green products to your advantage both with current customers and with new ones. The first and most important way is, of course, to offer green cleaning services. You can provide them in addition to traditional services, as many companies are doing now. If you make the price gap small enough—and if you inform your customers even briefly about the advantages of eco-friendly commercial cleaning products—you’ll likely find most people making the switch, at least to see if they notice a change.
To that point, you will surely have some skeptical customers who might feel that green products are gimmicky or trendy and nothing more. No problem. Offer them a month of green cleaning at the same price as the traditional cleaning and see if they notice a difference. The odds are good they’ll feel better after just thirty days of working in a less-toxic office, and that will be enough to sell them on the benefits of switching to green.
Another thing you can do is to offer a 10% cleaning discount to customers who refer your green services to other businesses. The reality is that while many cleaning services are going green, they’re not all there yet. Use word-of-mouth advertising with incentives for those doing the talking, and you might be able to expand your green business to new customers who never even used your traditional services.
The added value of good health
The bottom line is that both your employees and your customers will work in healthier environments when you clean with green products. Yes, it will cost slightly more in the short-term, but the long-term savings—financially and ethically—of fewer sick days and less employee turnover make this an investment that’s probably worth more than the money you’ll have to put into it.