I was on the phone talking with one of our members at The Janitorial Store about an order she had placed. During the conversation she asked if she could share her success story and of course I said yes, I'd love to hear your story.
She started out by telling me that she'd spent several years battling cancer, which is a success story in itself! After getting through that challenge, she needed to figure out what she could do to make a living. Someone had suggested she start a cleaning business because it's so easy (ok, for those of us in the business, we know it's NOT so easy!).
So like many people who start cleaning businesses, she looked under her kitchen sink, pulled out her cleaning bottles, loaded up her household vacuum cleaner and started her cleaning business. Somehow, through the school of hard knocks, she found her way and has now been in business for 11 years, grossing over $200,000 per year.
But this is not the end of the story. Recently, she lost a couple key accounts, which has put her business in a somewhat precarious position since she has employees that depend on her for their livelihood. The accounts were not lost due to poor service. In fact, they gave her a written reference! The accounts were lost due to another company low-balling the price. In her area there are dozens of new cleaning businesses starting up every week so the competition is fierce. Another member who also lives in this area agreed that it's gotten very difficult to keep cleaning accounts when the "newbies" come in with such low prices.
Not to be deterred, our member is starting a new marketing campaign, utilizing new written referrals from customers, refreshed marketing materials, and pounding the pavement. I admire her perserverance, as many people would simply give up at this point and go back to working a regular job rather than struggling to keep their head above water.
I'm also reminded that we should never become complacent with regards to marketing our cleaning business. If you wait until you need the business, it might be too late. A better strategy is to market your business all the time - even when you think you don't need the business. You just never know when circumstances might change -- a customer might go out of business, or a new property manager might come in and replace you with a friend who has a cleaning business -- you just never know.
If you'd like to refresh your marketing strategy, then check out Marketing and Sales Success for Cleaning Companies. It just might give you some new ideas!