Ever found yourself wondering how to get clients for your cleaning business?
You’re not alone. It’s challenging to bring customers in to your cleaning business, especially if you don’t have any clients who’ve followed you from previous cleaning jobs. Starting from scratch can feel difficult, but fortunately, there are plenty of helpful hints and tricks to finding clients who are ready to pay you lots of good money for your hard work.
Ready to find them? Then get ready to read our guide on how to find customers for your cleaning business!
Pick your territory
Knowing where you’re going to clean is critical for finding customers, for obvious reasons. While it’s unlikely you’ll be the only cleaning service in the area (unless you get really lucky!), you don’t want to operate in an area that’s overrun by competition. Plus, if you’re strategic enough, you can develop a territory that’s easily commutable, so you don’t end up spending the majority of your time in traffic.
Before I dive into the details on picking your territory, let’s take a second to talk franchises. A lot of cleaning franchises will claim that they have “protected territories” - and they’ll try to trick you into thinking you can’t offer your cleaning services in those territories. But, quite frankly, that’s just a scare tactic. Cleaning franchises can only guarantee that their company won’t operate a competing franchise location in the same area.
In other words, as an independent cleaner, you can operate wherever you want!
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk territories. For now, your territory should encompass a couple of neighborhoods that are close to where you live, are easy to drive to, and have plenty of houses for you to clean. If you live in a more rural neighborhood,you might need to expand your territory a bit so you can get more clients. As a general rule of thumb, keep your cleaning territory to within 15-25 miles of your business base. It’s a drivable distance, and it should expose you to a few high-volume residential areas where you can pick up lots of clients.
If you know anyone in the area who works in the cleaning business, don’t hesitate to reach out to them for some feedback. Find a couple of cleaners who are pretty established, so they won’t feel threatened by the thought of helping out someone who’s new. Ask them where they like to clean, and what residential areas might have some potential for more work.
That leads me to my next point...
Get referrals from your competition
I know this sounds like crazy advice, but definitely try to see if any of your cleaning competition could use your help with customers. Some of the most successful cleaning businesses may have too many customers to handle, so they might be willing to pass you off some work.
Keep in mind that if you ask for referrals from your competition, you may end up having to pay for part of those leads. This is probably a better method if you’re just starting out your cleaning business and are looking to make some money as quickly as possible. Try to avoid relying on it as your sole source of cleaning income, as you’ll probably end up putting a ton more work for less money than you deserve.
If you end up accidentally taking on too many referrals, try to find a way to scale back so you can take on more projects where you earn 100% of the payment. Ask your referrals to recommend you to their friends and family members; word-of-mouth marketing can be a powerful way to build up your clientele base without spending money on advertising.
Investigate the best social media sites
Wondering what social media sites have to do with finding customers for your cleaning business? Simple: Some social media websites can provide you with the most direct access to potential customers in your neighborhood - for absolutely free.
NextDoor is a great example of a social media platform where you can connect with neighbors and figure out if they’re in need of your cleaning services. Here’s how it works: Just post in your particular group (you’re restricted to posting to your specific town) that you’re a cleaner and you’re looking to take on new clients. Post your rates, contact information, and any specials you’re willing to offer new clients (more on that later). Once you create that post, NextDoor sends out an email to its members with an update. That means you’ll get your cleaning services in front of lots of people, all without having to spend a single dime.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t post every day about your cleaning service; if you do that, you risk annoying other people who are on the site. Try posting twice a week so you can get maximum attention without annoying others. If you’re looking for a few more helpful hints on using social media sites like NextDoor to find customers, check out this article here.
Leave your card in mailboxes
Here’s a really cool tip that I’ve heard from in-demand cleaners: Grab your business cards, cruise through new neighborhoods in your area, and leave them in mailboxes. This tip is especially useful if you have new developments in your town or city, as these folks may be more open to finding a cleaning service.
The next time you have a day or two off, take a ride through the neighborhoods where you intend to work and see what kinds of new developments are being put up. Be sure to carry plenty of business cards with you - you never know when you might run into an interested homeowner!
Work with a real estate agent
If you’re searching for new customers, a real estate agent can be a real lifesaver. Think about it: These professionals are staging viewing after viewing, and probably need a cleaning service they can rely on to help. That’s why it’s worth reaching out to real estate agencies in your area, since they may be able to throw some great work your way.
Note: Working with a real estate agent may not be the best way to make a decent profit, but it can help you find new customers who will be willing to pay you full price once they settle into their new homes. Like with referrals, try not to get stuck in this mode of finding customers, since you’ll be working longer days for less money. Having an exit strategy will ensure you walk away with more customers (and therefore, more money!).
Go where your customers are
Apart from driving through neighborhoods with new buildings, here’s another great piece of advice you can use to find more customers: Go where you encounter the busiest people.
One cleaner recommends searching for customers near schools, as those people usually represent the perfect example of busy individuals who may be most in need of a cleaner. Think about it: You’ve got people who are dropping their kids off, picking kids up, shuttling their children between activities, and trying to fit everything they can in their insane schedules.
If you have a kid, then this makes it pretty easy for you - just take a bunch of your business cards with you during your next drop-off and pass them out to other parents. If you wait with your kid for the school bus at the local bus stop, provide business cards to other parents. The point here is that you’re exposed to lots of people who represent your ideals clients, so you should try to network as much as possible.
Ask your social circle for help
A lot of cleaners make the mistake of being afraid to ask for referrals from their family members and friends. If you count yourself among them, don’t! Your personal social circle could lead to pretty solid leads, so don’t cut yourself off from them just because you’re hesitant to ask people you know to vouch for you.
I made this point in my guide on word-of-mouth marketing, but I can’t stress how important it is for business owners to make sure they understand how important it is to do their best work for referral customers. Here’s why: If you ask your cousin to recommend you to their colleagues and you end up doing really bad work, it’s not just you who’ll get the bad rap - it’s your cousin, too. You’re asking people in your social circle to put their reputations on the line by recommending you, so be sure to treat it with all the seriousness it deserves.
When asking members of your social circle to recommend you to others, be sure to put a system in place where you can follow up on your request to see how many recommendations were made. For example, you don’t have to put a ton of pressure on your aunt to tell her knitting circle about you, but you should mention to her that you’ll talk to her in a couple of weeks to see how many people she talked to.
If a family member or friend doesn’t end up recommending you, don’t take it personally. Instead, try to put yourself in their shoes. Maybe they haven’t experienced your cleaning skills before, so they felt uncomfortable making the recommendation. Maybe they just totally forgot. Either way, use personal referrals as only one facet of your overall strategy for getting customers. That way, you won’t end up putting too much pressure on your network to do your marketing for you!
Entice business with a new customer special
Most people are constantly on the hunt for a new deal, so don’t be afraid to lure new customers your way with a special rate. Advertise that rate as often as possible, whether it’s on the back of your business cards or on your website. This discount can go a long way toward convincing people to try out your services - and once they’re in the door, all you have to do is wow them with your excellent cleaning skills!
Finding new customers for your cleaning business can be a challenge, but following these eight steps should really cut that learning curve in half. Try out one step or all of them to watch those customers start rolling in!
And don't forget, before finding customers, run a cleaning business insurance quote to ensure you're covered. That way, your new clients will be protected while you work on their properties.
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I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!
This content is for general, informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting, or financial advice. Please obtain expert advice from industry specific professionals who may better understand your business’s needs. Read our full disclaimer
28 November 2018 • 6-minute read
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