As a business owner in the cleaning industry, you’re willing to roll up your sleeves in order to grow your company. From writing business plans and marketing your services, to providing excellent customer service and training your cleaners to do the same — you’re wearing a lot of hats.
Growing your cleaning business takes dedication, perseverance, and a ton of elbow grease, but there are ways to make it more manageable. Find out how you can become more profitable, get more clients, avoid pitfalls, and grow fast.
How profitable is a cleaning business?
With margins of up to nearly 30%, cleaning businesses can be very profitable when they are well-run. The combination of high profit margins and low capital requirements make growing a cleaning business a worthwhile endeavor.
Commercial cleaning offers an even higher profit margin than residential. These jobs are often in large retail or office buildings and are needed more frequently.
You can make money cleaning professionally, as long as you make sure you have new clients coming in and a great team.
How do I get clients for my cleaning business?
Setting up a referral program is one of the best ways to grow your client base. More on this below.
Cleaning is a trade that’s especially personal. Not only do your clients need to be happy with your quality of cleaning service, but they also need to have deep trust in you. Earning a client referral isn’t easy, but by having a great reputation with your clients, you’ll develop a steady stream of new business.
But cleaning customers aren’t everything. It takes a lot more than a thick Rolodex of clients to build a profitable, thriving company.
Why do cleaning businesses fail?
Cleaning businesses fail for five main reasons:
1. Bad management
There are a lot of things to keep track of in your cleaning business. Cleaning business owners need to be proficient in managing their clients, employees, company vehicles, and cash flow. To make that happen, they need to have good systems in place so they can stay on top of it all.
2. Untrustworthy employees
You want the most trustworthy and responsible employees you can possibly get. Always perform background checks on applicants to filter out people with a criminal record. With the nature of your business being so personal, you can’t afford to have untrustworthy employees on your team. Although this step takes some work, it’s well worth the investment of time and resources.
Pro Tip: Keeping employees accountable is just one benefit of a fleet management system.
3. No business plan
Failing to write out a business plan and really get clear on how you’re going to make money — and where you’re going to spend it — has the potential to sink any business. Make sure you take the time to write out a thoughtful, data-based business plan.
4. Poor customer service
Although profitable, the cleaning industry is competitive. Providing outstanding customer service is essential to winning and keeping good clients. Trust takes time to build and just a second to lose. Without impeccable customer service practices, you risk losing market share to your competition. If you’re going to be going into people’s apartments, houses, or offices, you need to give them peace of mind that you’re trustworthy. You can only do this with the help of your cleaning teams providing excellent service.
5. Poor marketing
In an ever-changing world, more and more marketing is being done online. The visual nature of cleaning services play well to this digital medium. Having a marketing strategy that serves your target client means being where they already are. That could be on Instagram, in local papers, on Google, or elsewhere. There are tons of free resources online to help you expand your marketing knowledge and reach new markets.
5 tips to grow your cleaning business fast
Growth relies on a strong foundation. By steering clear of the most common reasons other cleaning companies fail, you’re on the right track for success. But to make it you to your final destination you have to hit a few key stops on the way.
Here are the five key actions you need to take in order to scale up your cleaning business:
- Write a Business Plan
- Build a Referral Network
- Canvas your Community
- Level Up your Digital Marketing
- Embrace Technology
1. Write a Business Plan
You can’t have success without vision. A business plan will act as your roadmap for growing your business fast. Whether you choose to write this on your own or hire a consultant to help, consider including the following:
- Executive summary: This is your elevator pitch on paper. It often includes a table of contents, company background, market opportunity, management overview, competitive advantages, and company financials.
- Define your business and company structure: Get crystal clear on your business and value proposition to your customer. Are you servicing residential or commercial cleaning customers? If you’re helping both types of customers, how are you going to stand out from your competition? Detail how your business is going to make money in this section.
- Market Research: Complete a market analysis, and determine your marketing strategy. Make sure to include sales forecasts and a plan to reach your projections.
- Financial documents: A good plan comes down to the numbers backing up your organizational and marketing plans. Take the time to forecast your profits and losses, then detail your projections for future growth.
When you have a business plan in place, setting goals to grow your cleaning service company becomes a lot easier.
2. Build a Referral Network
Forming strong relationships with businesses in complementary fields to cleaning — like real estate and home construction — is a strategic way to grow your company. Some of the best referral partners for cleaning services are:
- Real estate agents: They’re often looking to gift cleaning services to a new client or need help preparing their listings for sale.
- Property managers: They’re always on the lookout for reputable cleaning companies to help keep their properties in good shape.
- Home builders: They’re often looking for post-build cleaning services and can be a source of referrals for large commercial and residential cleaning contracts.
To start building your referral network, either join an established networking group in need of a cleaner or attend local networking events. Websites like Meetup, Eventbrite, LinkedIn, Business Networking International (BNI), and Facebook show events near you to meet other business owners. If you service a particular niche in the cleaning industry, try to find a group your organization can most benefit from.
3. Canvass your Community
For cleaning companies in particular, being well known in the community is one of the most effective ways to get new customers. If you specialize in residential cleaning, it’s even more important to have brand familiarity and trust amongst homeowners in the communities you serve.
Look for opportunities to sponsor community events, organizations, teams, and groups to help get your name out. Despite the world going more and more digital, you can still find cork boards in community coffee shops and local malls to post your business cards and flyers.
4. Level up your Digital Marketing
Having a strong online presence is critical to growing your cleaning business. Online marketing can feel overwhelming, but by focusing on a few key areas, you can make a big splash.
To maximize results from your digital marketing, focus on the following strategies:
- Website – Work with an expert to ensure your website is fast, engaging, tracking key business metrics like requests for quotes, and is up to date with SEO best practices. Bonus point is your new customers can book cleaning services directly on your website.
- Social media – Find out what channels (Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest for example) your ideal customers use, and post content that serves them there. @gocleanco is an incredible example of savvy social media for cleaning companies. Incentivize your customers and cleaning teams to help create content for your social media accounts. If you don’t have the skills to run your social media, there are many free resources to learn how to use it online, or consider hiring staff for this.
Pro tip: Sounding human on your social accounts will help grow your following and engagement. Don’t be afraid to share your story, or feature employees on your account. People like learning about the staff working at companies they know and support. If you work with a special kind of cleaning product, that’s another topic you can share about online. Give people a reason to talk about your work and your accounts and business will quickly grow.
- Paid ads – For as little as a couple hundred dollars a month, your company can stand out on popular search engines like Google. This is a great way to target your ideal customers and increase the performance of your online marketing.
- Local SEO – People who are looking for cleaning services will often search Google for ‘cleaning companies near me’ — make sure your info shows up for them by having a Google My Business listing. This is an easy way to gain new customers who want your service.
- Review sites – One of the best ways to monetize a word-of-mouth referral is to ask your happy clients to write you a review on Google, Yelp, Houzz, Angies List, Home Advisor, and on your website. Most of these sites will offer you a free page to get started and have options to increase the performance and reach of your reviews.
5. Embrace Technology
‘Tech’ might feel like something that’s for the big guys. But getting helpful insights from digital tools is likely what made the most successful companies what they are. Taking advantage of these technologies is one of the most effective ways to grow your small business, streamline operations, and maximize profits. If you can think of an area in your business (or life) you’re struggling with, you can bet there’s an app or software for that.
New technologies are available to help book new clients, schedule staff, manage cleaning product inventory, automate bookkeeping and accounting, and track your fleet of cleaning vehicles.
Try GPS fleet tracking software
Force by Mojio is a fleet GPS tracking software and app that’s perfect for cleaning companies that are ready to expand. Our technology is simple and effective to use. Simply plug the tracking device into the OBD-II port of each company vehicle and stay connected to your fleet and drivers at all times.
You’ll gain access to our user-friendly dashboard on a web browser or smartphone app and gain valuable information like:
- Live location of vehicles
- Trip history
- Vehicle health
- Fuel efficiency
- Driver behavior
Force also helps you provide top-notch customer service. You can share real-time location links with your customers on the day of their appointment, adding confidence and building customer retention.
Try Force for 30 days FREE. We’ll send you a tracking device to get you set up on the dashboard and you can see for yourself how our fleet software can help grow your business!