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May 2008
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How a Cleaning Business Used a Marketing Kit to Market Their Business

We recently had a cleaning business owner share a story about how they put together a marketing kit using several marketing pieces from The Janitorial Store. Here's what they did:

First I downloaded several marketing forms from The Janitorial Store's Download Libary. I updated the forms for my business (name, address, phone, email). I even added some clip art -- it looked very professional!

Next I called some of the biggest Real Estate Management Properties I could find, and I noted the persons name that I spoke with . The next day I sent a packet.  The first item in the packet was a cover letter addressed to the person I spoke to on the phone.  And all the forms I'm going to mention here came from the Download Library. I also  included the "7 Reasons Your Business Needs Our Cleaning Service" sheet,  next was "About Us," which I wrote about myself and how my company was started, etc..., then I included a "Service" sheet describing services done Daily/Bi Weekly,etc.  Then I included "Why Use My Company" sheet  and finally "Frequently Asked Questions" sheet.  Again, I changed the wording to be specific to my company.

The company that I contacted called me the next morning after recieving my packet and said they were very impressed and asked me to bid. It just happened that they had gotten enough complaints on the current cleaning company that they decided to find someone else.

I also just did a walk thru today and I'm working on a bid for over 65,000 sq.ft.!

If you'd like more information on marketing your cleaning business, check out Marketing and Sales Success for Cleaning Companies: Ebook, Audio Class, Marketing Plans and more!

Maid Service Basics: What You Must Know To Grow Your Residential Cleaning Service

We're working on a series of interviews with residential cleaning expert, Debbie Sardone. In this interview Debbie discusses the biggest obstacles to growing your residential cleaning business.

And for those of you who own commercial cleaning businesses, you'll want to listen too - these important lessons apply to anyone who owns a cleaning business.

VIDEO: Are You Making Drop In Calls to Build Your Cleaning Business?

We've had several cleaning business owners tell us lately that they've either lost accounts or had customers request a drop in service due to the troubled economy. So we need to start thinking outside the box when it comes to keeping our clients and growing our business.

Do you know what a Drop In Call is? If you think it's the same as cold calling, you're wrong. Check out this video and see if it gives you any new ideas for marketing your cleaning business. And if you have any new ideas to share, click on the Comments link below.

Return to Job or Hire First Employee?

A cleaning business owner is facing a dilemma...

I have a difficult decision to make. Do I abandon my growing residential cleaning business to accept a job in my old profession (with all of the headaches that are involved) or, do I take on new headaches that will come with moving forward to fully grow my current business and hire an employee? I suppose these are simply growing pains but, I really don't know where to begin. I find that new clients are finding me and I can't possibly service them all by myself. I don't want to turn new clients away so...I'm stuck, not really knowing exactly where to begin. I am leaning toward using an employment agency or using my daughter to help me or, 1099ing someone. Any simple suggestions as to a first step...and maybe a second?

The following suggestions were offered...

1. Do you prefer working for yourself or for someone else? Which one gives you the most pleasure, makes you happy, gives you freedom and control? Anything we want bad enough is worth working for and working through the headaches. I would not use an agency. I would hire an employee.

2. I agree. You have to ask yourself several questions first. Then, the answer to those questions will drive your pursuits. If you want to be in business for yourself and don't want to return to your old job, then I recommend you stay in the business and look for ways to grow. There are incredible opportunities for growth in the cleaning industry. Hiring and training and growing and expanding your residential cleaning business can be rewarding and lucrative. But it can also be fraught with headaches and frustration as any business can be. Your vision and your dreams for this business need to be the driving factor. That said, taking the next step can be scary and risky. Here are a couple of suggestions that may help you in the short term:

First of all, when you get so busy that you are maxed out and turning away business, it's a good time to evaluate your rates. I have found most independent cleaners can't make the leap from cleaner to employer because their prices are too low. You have nothing to lose when you are full and turning away jobs. Now is the best time to test out a higher rate. It doesn't mean you have to raise prices on your existing clients (at least not right away or all at once). But you can quote new jobs at a considerably higher price and see what happens. Shop your competition, especially the franchises, and see what the highest priced services are charging. If you think you are worth that rate, quote your new business that high and see what happens. Higher prices will put you in a better position to hire additional staff as you'll have the margins to pay well.

When you are ready to hire, keep a few things in mind. Criminal background checks are not very expensive. Do them, even on relatives. Verify previous job references. Look for individuals who have been on their last job at least one year or more. Put the word out that you are hiring amongst people you trust like at church, or tell friends. College kids, moms of school age children, are good prospects. If you choose to make them 1099 workers you need to print off the list that the IRS provides and make sure you are in compliance; otherwise use a payroll service to make it easy to hire them as 941 employees.

If you use a staffing agency to furnish you with applicants you will need to treat them like every other applicant: do your own background checks and thorough screening process. Do not rely on their standards alone. This can be a viable option if you find the right service, but it can also be expensive.

If you are ready to really grow your business I strongly recommend you begin investing in industry specific training. It's worth the money and the time and can make the difference between years of mediocre to little success and a life time of fulfillment and financial success. I hope this helps.

Would you like to get great advice and encouragement for your questions? Join us as a member of The Janitorial Store and participate in our very active online discussion forum, where we offer advice, encourage new cleaning business owners, and share experiences.

Connecting With People at Networking Events

Last week we held a teleclass called Marketing and Sales Success for Cleaning Companies. In one part of the call we discussed networking events. The problem many people have with networking events is that they feel uncomfortable trying to connect with people.

This is a real challenge, especially since most people attend these events are hoping to sell their product or service. Most of us don't go to the event actually looking to BUY a product or service. Even so, this is an easier way to market your business than cold calling. And that's because it's becoming more and more difficult to sell cleaning services through cold calling. So take advantage of being able to meet people fact-to-face at networking events because it's a chance to meet them under friendlier circumstances and you've now got a chance to get to know them.

Now that you've got a chance to make some new connections, you want to make sure that you're making meaningful connections. Don't just tell them who you are, but engage them by finding out more about what they do and how they help people. Eventually you'll get to tell your story. The idea is to take it slow - don't worry about passing out a record number of business cards. The slower you go, the more you'll be able to make meaningful connections with the few people that you do meet. And the slower you go, the more likely you'll find yourself in a winning situation.

And here's a final thought. When you think about networking, think about how you can help people as a result of connecting with YOU!

Share your thoughts about this last paragraph by clicking on the Comment link below.