Marketing Tips and Tricks

RE: Getting Accounts and Building Your Business

One of the great things about the janitorial business is we can go find our customers, we do not have to wait for them to come to us. There are several ways to do this, it all is up to you and how much marketing and how formal you want to go about it.

You can start marketing your business by just cold calling on areas where you want to clean. This is actually a lot of fun and you will find you do better once your realize that it is fun! Just smile, dress well and be as polite as you can. Even if you are told they are "not interested at this time" get the card of the office manager or business so you can begin your own "leads" database. You will get accounts this way and many, many people market this way very successfully.

Mailing campaigns can be good if you repeat them and mix them with cold calling or follow-up telephone calls. Buy lists from marketing companies with the manager's name. They cost about 10-13 cents per name. Mail them a letter introducing yourself and offer to bid on their cleaning needs. Every couple of months, send another note. Send a card, make a call, send a pen and pencil with your business name, etc. Eventually, the time will come when they are taking bids and you will be called if not sooner.

Telemarketing is very successful. There are times of the year it works better than other times. There are directories you can buy or lease that will help get you the names of offices in specific areas. In California, for some unknown reason, summertime was "get new bids time" for many companies. So, from May through September, we really worked the telemarketing arena.

The advice I would like to offer you is in one word: persistence. Just keep marketing, cold calling, telemarketing, passing out information, networking. Set aside three mornings per week for marketing when you are really serious about it. Two days per week is too little and five days per week too much.

On those days, set goals for yourself. Don't stop until you have called on 10 offices. Eventually, try and have at least three appointments each morning, three days per week. If passing out residential cleaning flyers, keep working an area until you have distributed 50.

Marketing is the most exciting part of the cleaning business. The more you do it, the better you get, the more you enjoy it.

Robert Kravitz,
Altura Solutions Janitorial Resource Center

Robert Kravitz
Great Post Bob, You always seem to have great things to say. Can't wait until the next one.

Talk to you soon

Dan Flynn
Flynn Service Pro
708 715-4205


Marketing Skills

I recently found that cold calling is getting really touchy. I have had a lot of complaints regarding the "do-not-call registry." I keep great books of all my residential clientele and after servicing a residence I inform the home owner that I have them on the books for next year and I will call them a week ahead of time to remind them of their appointment. Commercial accounts are a little touch and go. Usually you will have to bid them out year after year and they will call you unless otherwise specified.
I found that the best thing to do is call another service type company, not your local competition, and ask how they drum in business. Example, I call a few carpet cleaning businesses, janitorial, maintenance etc., and introduce myself and simply ask how they avertise. Not only is this a great tactic to figure out the best way to advertise, it helps get my name out on a referral basis.
If you do a great job word will get around fast. The first few years in business is going to be the hardest thing you will ever face. After you build your books with a strong recurring clientele I would then venture in on advertising. I've been in this business for 11 years and seen new companies come in to my area with strong advertising campeigns, television, radio, newspaper, and valpak. Only to go chapter 11 after 6 months.
I purchased the company I once worked for and now after two years I am going to advertise in valpak. After some market research I found that in my area this would be right for me.
A bad advertising idea is Yellow Page and Newspaper ads. Current surveys have proved that people are not interested in those big ads in the yellow pages. However, a salesman will make you think that the yellowpages are the only way. Simple is better! Keep it small and simple and you will get more calls. I cut my yellow page ad down from a third page advertisement to just a the company name and phone number. This year we have recorded an average of 9 more yellow page calls more per week than last year.
When I say keep it simple, don't cut corners or lower your companies image. Provide nice porfessional printed invoices and business cards. Find a local screen printer and get some t-shrts printed, again simple, NAME AND PHONE NUMBER in BOLD print. Steer away from your company icon, cartoon characters etc. You want people to see your companies name and phone number printed on your tee shirt! A good example, I weigh in at 300 pounds, when I'm up on a ladder 20' in the air, rubberneckers slow down to see if the fat guy is going to break the ladder, then they see in brigt red letters, "CAROLINA POWER WASH, (843) 828-5804. That's a voice mail number! no prank calls please! I receive at least 15 calls per week from customers saying they saw a big man wearing a Carolina Power Wash Tee Shirt. Purchase at least one Polo with a professional embroidered logo for meetings and bidding on new clients.
Magnetic Signs work great. Once again, simple, black on white! In my case the bulk of clientele in my area is retirees. If your traveling past ma' and pa' Kettle on the parkway with all that fancy writting on your vehicle, chances are they are going to catch up and run in to you trying to read all your graphics. Again, Name, Phone Number and they will call!
Advertising is what you make it. There is an old saying I heard from a salesman, "you have to shake a hundred hands to get one sale." Fortunately, with being a service related company, you can do one of these many things and shake thousands of hands on a daily basis. Just remember to do a good tactical survey and find a good niche in your area.
Oh yes, notice the examples I used above regarding 9 more calls per year on yellow page ads and 15 calls per week on my tee shirt. KEEP RECORD OF THIS KIND OF STUFF! I ask all new cliens how they heard of us and keep an accurate record of it too! This helps me determine what works best, what I need to spend money on and what I need to cut.

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