The first professional home cleaning businesses were started in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s to serve the often neglected housekeeping needs of an emerging generation of single businesspeople and dual-income families. These were new professionals and second income families that were increasingly short on the time and energy needed to adequately care for their homes. June Cleaver and Alice Mitchell had finally taken jobs and family life and housekeeping would never be the same again.
The demand has continued to grow as more and more people are outsourcing their house cleaning chores – not because they want to – but, because of quality of life issues that often get in the way.
The luring appeal of high profit margins and relatively low start-up costs, combined with incredible growth potential is attracting many people from all walks of life to give the residential (and commercial) cleaning business a try.
What looks so simple from the “outside looking in” is often very misleading. There is much more to owning and running a professional home cleaning business than just sweeping and mopping floors and dusting off furniture. In fact, to run the business properly and maximize one’s earnings, there are people to be hired; equipment and supplies to be ordered; “books” to be kept; and clients to be gotten and satisfied.
Employee turnover in this business is high. Cleaning equipment, maintenance supplies and insurance premiums are expensive and they are all recurring expenses. Getting new clients requires a significant marketing, sales and retention effort. Maintaining clients calls for strong oversight and excellent customer service, based on relationship building.
Managing a home cleaning service industry is no easy job. It can certainly be a lucrative enterprise when it is supported by informed business research, strategic planning, unwavering dedication and plain hard work.
Those most successful are sure to have carefully studied the intricacies of the residential cleaning business, including the market costs and – especially – the competition. It is most important to learn the different services that you can offer to your target market, as well. What can you offer your customers and what can you charge for these services to remain competitive?
Planning your marketing strategy and assigning it a realistic budget will be an essential part of your near success. Make sure to take your time and figure out the best approach. Lock down all the details in a well thought out business plan. This document will become your how-to guide to and check-list for running a top-notch cleaning business.
There is no Substitute for an Effective Business Website
A professional-looking and effective business website will play a major role in successful business development. Your website is likely the very first place your For Hire recruits and those interested customer prospects will visit to assess whatever your business has to offer.
Websites are useful tools for extending the effectiveness of phone book ads, flyers, door hangers, business cards, mailer’s, post cards, broadcast media, networking and face to face solicitations. By referencing your website address in these traditional advertising media, you can provide the customer with a way of reviewing your services and of communicating their needs to you quickly and easily, at their convenience.
Your website must be specially designed for the needs of your business and your customers. Most often included in the websites of professional cleaning services are:
• Your business logo
• Eye-catching, industry specific graphics and photos
• Easy and logical site navigation
• Industry/Business relevant content
• Clearly spelled out “calls to action”
…and all of the things that go into effective search engine optimization (SEO).
Just as many customers and potential new hires consult the phone book to find cleaning services, increasingly, these customers are searching for services, on-line. A strong SEO infrastructure will help you get found ahead of your local competition. Having a professional-looking website also helps to establish your credibility within the customer community.
Within a website, Special Offers make sense. Most customers love an opportunity to get more for less and to save money. An element of fun that may come in the form of a contest or drawing often adds to the interest and excitement. Keep this in mind if you really want to stand away from your competition.
Traditional and Social Media Marketing Call For an Effective Business Website
Having a great website is – by itself – NOT enough. It represents “taking care of business” in the expected way, but your website needs to be supported by well-planned Social Media Marketing (SMM) activities.
It is important to understand that Social Media is a tool. Nothing more and nothing less. And, if used in conjunction with a strong business philosophy, foundation and plan of action; its awesome power can be unleashed.
The truth is that you need to have a solid small business foundation before your social media marketing efforts will be effective. You need to have a unique selling proposition; a dynamic landing page (on your website), an enticing offer, captivating website and a well-informed blog. That’s when Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn will work best for you. And, these (and many other platforms and tools) are all free or inexpensive to leverage.
Taking advantage of free advertising means using social media to your advantage. You can do this in several ways. You can encourage current customers to post a review of your business on a site like yelp. You might also start a Facebook page and encourage customers to “like” you so they can take advantage of any special deals you offer, or to find out about deals with specialty companies (such as the chimney sweep) that you have partnered with.
The best ways to find clients once you start up your home cleaning business is by being aggressive with a well-blended traditional and Social Media Marketing plan with a professional-looking website where your target audience will land and, hopefully, take the appropriate call to action to either become a new client or to apply for a job with your cleaning service.
If all your Ducks are in a row, it is easy to spiff up your marketing efforts; polish off your competition and leave those competing businesses behind in the dust.
by Marc LeVine