QUESTION on How to Expand a Janitorial Cleaning Business
Hello. We started a janitorial cleaning company. We currently have 8 contracts, but we want to get more clients. I think we are ready to grow our new janitorial business. Our clients are pleased with what we offer, and I think we now have a better understanding of the business. Please give us some ideas on how we can grow in this field and increase the number of clients that we currently have. We are hoping to expand our janitorial cleaning business locally. – Stephan
First, have you profiled your current clients? Do they fit into a particular niche? How are they similar? Size of business? Industry? Location?
Second, how did your clients come to you? Word of mouth? Industry association? Advertisement in a trade publication or local newspaper?
When you know the answers to these questions it will be easier for you to focus your marketing efforts. You need to know as much as you can with your existing customers. It’s easier to promote your business to a specific market than “everywhere.” Chances are, your new clients will come from the same pool as your current clients. By knowing your existing clients, you will be able to get information on:
- What types of sectors/segments you have successfully tapped
- What segments you need to reach that you have not done previously
- What types of marketing worked for you — which means you need to do more of them
- What marketing strategies you can employ that you haven’t used previously
- Why did your existing clients come to you
In addition to this general recommendation, here are a few specifics on how to grow your janitorial cleaning business:
1. Can you expand your services to your existing clients?
For example, do they have other sites you can serve? Consider offering a discount for multiple sites, and allow them to group with a strategic partner, e.g., a vendor or supplier of theirs.
2. Can you develop a referral system with your current clients?
Include an immediate incentive for referral plus a bonus after a six-month contract, for example. People like an immediate reward, and a reminder in six months will prompt them for another referral.
3. Do you know what qualities they find most important in a vendor?
When you’ve identified a profile client (e.g., size, industry type, etc.), poll the businesses in your area to find out what qualities in a janitorial service are most important. Price? Timeliness? Thoroughness? Develop marketing materials accordingly, and continue to promote to your target market using your identified best approach. Don’t take no for an answer; it may be six months to a year or more before a client is ready to switch. If you stay in front of them, you’ll be in the right place at the right time.
4. What strategies are you doing to build awareness?
Have your customers come to you by making a name for your business in the community. Many janitorial services are “underground” so it will be easy for you to rise to the top in name recognition, at least. Come up with a catchy slogan or tag line; tie it to your business name and use it in all of your marketing and public relations activities. Again, focus. One memorable message beats three competing messages any day.
5. How well do you serve your existing clients?
And of course, serve your current clients well. One dissatisfied client can undermine all your good efforts.
With focus and persistence, your business is sure to move up. Best of luck. Let us know how you do.
Yvonne Buchanan is a 20-year veteran of public relations, marketing and advertising. She teaches public relations courses online for career changers, freelancers and students through The PR Academy www.learnpr.com and is co-founder of Real-World PR www.realworldpr.com , a public relations information provider for small businesses. Real-World PR offers public relations toolkits (manual/CD combinations) that allow small business owners to create and maintain their own public relations programs.