You never get a second chance to make a good first impression. You don’t get much time to make one, either — 27 seconds according to this study. Even less than that amount of time, according to other research.
Although that might not sound like a lot of time to win over customers, it’s plenty of time to help yourself out if you think of things you can do ahead of time. Maintaining a spotless commercial space is one of them.
In this article, we’ll tell you about the importance of hiring a cleaning service to keep your commercial space squeaky clean. From how it can attract shoppers, keep them in your store longer, and eventually lead to more sales, to why it should matter to you beyond the customers (think the health and safety of your employees).
We’ll also offer suggestions on where to focus your efforts to make the biggest impact.
Let’s keep it clean. Here we go.
I live on a street of about 20 homes. Tuesday is trash pickup day — for most of us at least. Since there are a few garbage services in my town from which to choose, a couple of my neighbors use different trash services than the one offered by the town.
I made my selection based on what I noticed around me when I moved in. Most homes in my neighborhood had the same brand-new looking trash and recycle bins by their garages. I liked the size of them. I also liked how clean they looked.
The same goes for the trucks that hauled away the trash. They looked like they belonged to a business that takes pride in the service they provide. At the end of the day, cleanliness was the clincher for me. I went with the cleaner-looking service.
Truth be told: I could have paid less and gone with a different company. And I probably would get the same reliable service that I do now. But I don’t want trash bins that look like they belong in the dump with the rest of my trash. Call me a trash snob, but filthy bins with crooked lids bother me.
Which brings me back to my point — if cleanliness matters for a customer like me who judges the tidiness of garbage trucks and trash bins, imagine how much it could matter to your customers.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why.
A clean, organized store creates a positive first impression. It looks like a well-run business. When you hire cleaners, it shows that you pay attention to detail and are efficient and professional. It also makes it look like you care about your customers.
All these feelings combined help build customer trust and brand loyalty.
Whenever you can put your customers’ minds at ease, you’re doing something right. Making it easier for them to find what they’re looking for can make the shopping experience so much better. It also might help increase sales.
According to this survey, 92% of Americans said the cleanliness of a business affected their decision to return. And 90% said that simply reading a review that mentioned poor housekeeping would be enough to keep them from going there in the first place.
So if you’re trying to attract new customers and retain current ones, it may make sense to create a clean atmosphere that invites them to visit and return again and again.
Germs are resilient. They can hide out on doorknobs, shelving fixtures, at the checkout counter, and in all sorts of other places waiting to hitch a ride on a customer or employee. That makes it doubly advantageous to hire a professional deep cleaning service.
Sanitizing surfaces with disinfectants can help protect your customers from sickness and disease. At the same time, it can keep your employees healthy, potentially cut back on their sick days, and perhaps make them feel more productive and motivated.
The bottom line is a cleaner space can be a healthier place to shop and work.
A friend of mine went into a small grocery store a couple of towns over from me to pick up a few dinner items. She said aisle 8 was full of spills, the freezer units in a different aisle were leaking all over the place, and the “fresh produce” section reeked of something rotten.
As a result, she abandoned her shopping cart and walked out. Clearly not a positive customer experience. Probably not a place she’ll ever return to. And now that she told me this story, it’s not a place I’ll ever visit either.
Fortunately for that store, she didn’t post her story online, where it could have spread to other people than just me. Word-of-mouth advertising, good or bad, can spread like wildfire. You can’t always control it, but you can control how clean your store is. And that could make all the difference.
Customers may be the most important judges of store cleanliness. But they’re not the only ones. Food inspectors and landlords are, too. If you run a business in a leased building, check the rules in your store agreement. They may require you to meet certain standards. Food inspectors certainly do.
Imagine if your messy store is forced to close due to regulatory infractions or eviction from your landlord. You might find yourself with more to worry about than just lost sales.
Customers aren’t the only ones who benefit from a clean commercial space. You and your employees can, too. Here are some examples:
Imagine walking into your business every day and it looks like an utter mess. You have tasks to do, but you have to cut through the clutter first. Not super motivating.
Conversely, if what you see looks neat and tidy, it can inspire you to take charge of your day. You’ll probably feel more motivated. And as a result, you’ll probably get more done and increase sales.
Let’s face it, your business is your baby. You should feel proud about how hard you have worked to get it where it is today. Keeping it clean is a good way to add to that feeling of pride and personal satisfaction.
I mentioned the importance of reducing the spread of germs earlier — for both customers and employees. However, cleanliness goes beyond physical health. It can affect your mental health as well.
A business that’s clean and organized is one that can decrease your stress and anxiety.
So far you’ve learned why it’s important to keep your business clean. Now let’s focus on what areas to clean so you don’t waste time on the wrong things.
If you run a business that uses shopping carts or reusable baskets, remember that they’re an important part of your store’s appearance and are typically touched by a lot of different people and therefore carry germs. If they’re run down and look dirty, even after they’ve been cleaned, you may want to trade them in for new ones.
A bright, fresh-smelling restroom that’s fully stocked with toilet paper, soap, and paper towels says a lot about your business, especially if you sell food. According to a study by Consumer Reports, nothing quite turns off customers as much as a filthy restroom.
If your restrooms are clean, you may be able to convince customers that everything in your store is clean.
This is an easy one to overlook, but a super-important one to address. Air quality is just as important as a clean surface. Air vents on walls and ceilings should be removed periodically and the grills cleaned to remove dust and grime.
Give your customers something they’d want to look through and walk into. Clean, streak-free panes of glass and doors that look like they’ve been wiped down regularly are invitations to come in and shop around.
First impressions are often made, even before a customer sets foot in your door. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the outside, too. How does your storefront look? Are the sidewalks power-washed? Does the signage look good?
If you lease your space, it may not be your responsibility to deep clean the outside. However, it may be worth having that conversation with those who are responsible — like your landlord.
Expectations for cleanliness are a two-way street. You and your landlord both have businesses to run and reputations to uphold. It benefits both of you to keep things clean.
First, let’s talk about what it really means to “deep clean” your business. Deep cleaning is the process of cleaning a space beyond the visible dust and dirt.
Mold. Grime. Bacteria. They can build up over time — in both easy-to-reach and hard-to-reach places. A deep clean wipes them away from their hiding spaces and often uses disinfectants to kill germs that may be lurking around.
Although a deep cleaning is something you think you might be able to do, it’s probably best that you leave it to the professionals. Here are pros and cons of hiring a professional deep cleaner.
Who wants toilet duty? The truth is probably no one who works for you, including yourself. Why take time away from your employees’ other job responsibilities when they'd probably rather do what they’ve been hired to do.
Just like you specialize in running your business, deep cleaners specialize in theirs. They have the products, equipment, and experience to get the job done right. They’re probably faster at it, too.
Professional cleaners can be expensive. But the impact of this expense could be reduced by increased foot traffic and sales due to having a super-clean shopping space. Plus, it may be a tax write-off, but check with your accountant or a tax advisor to be sure.
The cleaning business is known to have a high employee turnover rate. That may make it harder to trust strangers walking around your business when you’re not there. It also may make it harder to rely on them doing the same great job every time.
The answer to this question typically depends on the type of business you run. However, the general rule of thumb is one deep-cleaning session every four months — or three times per year.
A neat, clean business isn’t just about keeping your customers happy. It’s also about keeping them safe. That goes for your employees, too. Showing concern for your peeps typically reflects positively on your business.
Business insurance can do the same. Having a general liability policy (GL) in place is more than a sound business practice; it demonstrates your professionalism, seriousness, and concern for your customers’ should they have an accident.
The same can be said for workers’ comp insurance. In most states it’s a legal requirement. But even if it isn’t, having it shows you genuinely care about taking care of your employees if they are injured or get sick on the job.
That’s all the more reason to review your policy, because as you think about deep cleaning your commercial space, you might consider a business owner’s policy (BOP) that bundles GL, commercial property, and other coverages under one tidy roof.
That way if a customer gets injured at your work location and files a claim, you could be protected from paying out-of-pocket expenses. And if your business, property, or merchandise gets damaged, vandalized, or spoiled, that could be covered as well, up to your policy’s limits.
At Simply Business, we’re retail business insurance experts who can help you get customized coverage that meets the needs of you and your type of business.
Spend a few minutes online, and our handy quote tool can help you get a quote. Or if you prefer to speak with a helpful human, feel free to call our experts at 844-654-7272.
Dirty floors, stained surfaces, and big ole dust balls aren’t doing you any favors when it comes to running a business.
So keep it clean and show how much you care about the business you run, the customers who shop there, and the employees who work for you. You might be surprised at what you get back in return.
I went to college to be an accountant and graduated with a degree in creative writing. Words won out over numbers, but barely. All credit goes to my parents. Had they talked about anything other than banking at the dinner table growing up—and had they never bribed me with Pop-Tarts to read books, play with my Matchbox cars and quietly exercise my imagination—who knows where my left and right brain would be today.
Chris writes on a number of topics such as legal resources, small business taxes, and social media marketing.
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
Simply Business1 Beacon Street, 15th FloorBoston, MA02108
*Harborway Insurance policies are underwritten by Spinnaker Insurance Company and reinsured by Munich Re, an A+ (Superior) rated insurance carrier by AM Best. Harborway Insurance is a brand name of Harborway Insurance Agency, LLC, a licensed insurance producer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. California license #6004217.