Marketing Commercial Cleaning Companies
It may not be a sexy business, but there’s an old English saying, ‘where there’s muck there’s brass!’
According to IBIS World General Building Cleaning Market Research Report in Apr 2016 there are 9,340 cleaning companies in the UK employing over 420,000 people and generating over £6bn in revenue. One interesting fact which came out of the UK research is there are no companies with a dominant market share in this industry. Which means that lots of firms are competing with each other to attract and retain customers.
When you look at the US industry size it is mind boggling. According to Scott-Macon Janitorial Industry Review there are an estimated 829,522 cleaning and janitorial services companies currently operating in the USA. As a result, the US market is expected to be worth nearly $60 billion in 2016, and to surpass that amount by 2017. The four largest companies in the US cleaning industry account for less than 10% of the available market, with much of the rest taken up by smaller, often independent companies.
So not only do commercial cleaning businesses keep other businesses open, and compliant with statutory requirements, they are net contributors to the economy.
Many companies specialize in one sector for professional janitorial and cleaning work: offices, houses, retail and hospitality, medical and healthcare facilities, schools and education establishments, warehouses and industrial premises and many more, some focus on specialist cleaning services such as window cleaning, carpet and upholstery cleaning, bathroom cleaning and floor cleaning, and others focus on broad categories such as domestic or commercial cleaning.
Customer loyalty cannot be taken for granted because there are always other companies trying to take over your contracts by offering more for the same price or simply just by promising of a lower price. Price is a major factor, when value should be on an equal footing.
So how can marketing help your cleaning services business?
Here are the top 10 ways marketing can help your cleaning business:
- Stand out from the competition - Having a recognisable brand and a clear proposition is key.
- But be careful how you choose your niche - It is quite tempting to just specialise in one sector, e.g. construction, but your business will suffer if that sector suffers, so better to have a service niche rather than a single sector niche.
- Plan for sustainable growth - Sometimes one client loves you so much you end up growing your business around them. But that is not a sustainable strategy for business growth. That is too vulnerable a position to be in. Relationships change and so do supplier-client relationships. So having a balanced portfolio of clients is something to aim for.
- Cross sell and upsell - Once you know what service you will provide, and for whom, make sure you communicate with your customers – if you sell additional services to the one that your customer is buying make sure they are aware. So often sales are lost because customers forget what services you provide and then go to another firm to provide an additional service. It is not unusual for one restaurant to have up to 7 different cleaning contracts with different firms. One firm to do daily contract cleaning, another to clean the carpet and upholstery, windows, kitchen deep clean, high level areas, toilets, or the outside space. So make sure you communicate not just at the point of contract, but regularly with your existing customers. Customer retention, cross-selling and upselling are easier ways to grow your business than finding new customers all of the time.
- Choose the right communication channels – Using one channel only is common. A lot of companies will just add information to their website but won’t push this information out to prospects or customers in places where they might be. Effective communication requires using the channels which your customers are using. If they are using Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook or LinkedIn so should you. Don’t underestimate the value of email marketing or direct mail.
- Distinct tone of voice and content – With so many competitors also using the same channels, being creative is one way to raise the bar and make sure your customers and prospects are aware of you. Think about doing something different, looking different, sounding different. Be the interesting person in the room and show the personality behind the brand.
- Create a value proposition - It should not just be about communicating 'we have a special offer' or 'we have the lowest price'. By elevating your message to appeal to a professional buyer, you can move away from just pitching on price only. Maybe people will want the service because it is so much better, will save time and money in the long run. People will pay more for a quality, responsive service. Cheap is often expensive, hardly ever good, or indeed fast.
- Engage with your customers – Once you have chosen the right channels to communicate try not to just broadcast. Encourage interaction with your audience, if they have interacted with you, they are more likely to read your emails or answer your phone calls. Build up a relationship, don’t just shout into the room. Don’t underestimate the value of a relationship. Many cleaning contracts have been lost because the manager changed in a business.
- Ask for feedback – Client testimonials and case studies are valuable tools to market cleaning businesses. So don’t be afraid to ask your clients for feedback, quotes and more indepth case studies.
- Be consistent – A start-stop approach won’t help you in a moving market with competitors snapping at your heels. Create awareness, maintain communication and do a great job!
Read our commercial cleaning case study.
Read more about our services for Environmental services businesses.
Author: Sindy Foster