CHAPTER 6-: This is the sixth chapter of “The Complete Guide to Starting a Cleaning Business.” Do you want to increase your cleaning service revenue? If YES, here is a sample cleaning business marketing plan template + killer marketing ideas to attract and retain clients.
Okay, so we have considered all the requirements for starting a cleaning business. We also took it further by providing an in-depth sample cleaning business plan template. In this article, we will be analyzing and drafting a sample cleaning service marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for cleaning businesses. So put on your marketing hat and let’s proceed.
Preparing to Write a Marketing Plan for your Cleaning Business
Before you can draw a blueprint of your marketing agenda, you need to first understand the importance of marketing itself. You see, marketing and business go hand in hand. One cannot survive without the other. There is no point in owning a business unless you have the ability to market the product to your target audience.
In other words, if your product or your service, in the case of a cleaning company, does not reach out to your potential clientele, then your business is bound for failure. You have to let people know that your company exists and that your company is ready to provide the best cleaning service in town. It is only then that these people will show an interest subscribing to your service.
Just like with any major decision in the field of business, your marketing agenda should be preceded by thorough market research. If you try to come up with a marketing plan without doing your homework first, you will perhaps end up making all the wrong assumptions which will eventually lead to poor execution of your mediocre plans.
A FREE Sample Cleaning Service Marketing Plan Template
- Our Current Business Situation
We are a start-up cleaning company that was established in the year 2011 in the state of Illinois. The principal owner of our company is Stephanie Ryder who currently serves as the President of the Executive Committee of our company. Mrs. Ryder has brought several years of experience in the cleaning service industry into our cleaning company, and it is this experience of hers that has helped the company overcome odds during the initial stages of its operations.
Our cleaning services company is going to open a new branch in New York City to the general public next week and we make bold to say we have been able to draft a comprehensive business plan, secure all the necessary license and permits, rent a standard office facility in a central part of New York City, we have concluded our requirements of both senior staff members and junior staff members, we have all our cleaning equipment in place and we have already secured two corporate clients who we will be working for as soon as we commence business on the 1st of December.
Our Mission & Vision Statement
The vision of our company is rather quite simple. We hope to become the first name in the shopping list of homes and offices when they are looking for cleaning services that can lend them a helping hand in creating a beautiful living or working environment.
We will reward our clients for making us their first choice by providing them with cleaning services that are equal, if not better, than the best cleaning service available to them, and one that is certainly most affordable if the client decides to sign a long term contract with us. We do not want to simply become a provider of cleaning services or a supplier of cleaning products.
Rather, we want to be known as a team of cleaning experts who the entire state can rely on to keep their homes and offices sparkling clean and refreshed. We want to help build a state where people no longer have to compromise with their living and working conditions courtesy of our cleaning services. A cleaner and greener world is certainly our primary objective for starting this start-up business.
- Our Marketing Goals
As a corporate cleaning company that is based in New York City, our corporate marketing goals are as follow:
- To secure a minimum of 10 corporate cleaning services contracts within the first 12 months of operations and to increase it by 50% in the next 5 years and then 25% annually.
- To secure a minimum of 20 domestic cleaning services contract within the first 12 months of operations and to increase it by 50% in the next 5 years and then 25% annually.
- To make it a point of duty to generate a minimum revenue of 500,000 US dollars within the first 12 months of operations
We aim to achieve the followings from our marketing efforts:
- We aim to achieve a sustainable growth at the rate of 25% annual sales growth
- We aim to win customers from every industry that is active in New York City i.e. the medical industry, the banking and financial Industry, real estate industry, the chemical industry, the automobile industry, the education industry and the agriculture industry, amongst many others.
- Aside from winning customers; we will also ensure that we work hard to retain all the customers that we are able to secure during our marketing activities.
- Lastly, we will work towards encouraging our loyal customers to give us referrals and recommendations.
Our Marketing Budget
It is very vital that money is set aside for the sole purpose of advertising our good. This is Because of what we have set to achieve as a corporate cleaning services company our marketing budget will be put at 50,000 US Dollars between our first years of operations and subsequently we intend to dedicate between 5 – 15 percent of our annual revenue to marketing of our cleaning services.
Cleaning Service Market Analysis
- Industry / Market Overview
The overall size of the cleaning industry according to most estimates is somewhere around $750 million in the United States of America. The state of Illinois is a major location in the industry mainly because of the highly industrialized and commercialized city of Chicago where cleaning services have become a necessity in nearly every neighbourhood that is flocked with commercial complexes and residential buildings.
The analysis of the cleaning industry be easily divided into two categories due to the distinct nature of the two kinds of services that cleaning companies in this industry concentrate on. The first is the commercial cleaning service and the second is the residential cleaning service. The market analysis for both of them must be done separately because the nature and intensity of the demand in both of them are highly different.
Commercial clients usually demands cleaning companies that can provide them with state of the art janitorial services and garbage removal and disposal services. Residential clients on the other hand look for cleaning companies that can provide comparatively less heavy duty services such as carpet cleaning, upholstery, 6 hour maid services, vacuuming etc.
Changes in the Cleaning Industry Marketplace
During the time of the depression, the office rent rates went up and that comprised the ability of several corporations and large businesses to afford cleaning services. Since the depression faded way into oblivion, the office rent rates have somewhat become flatter and companies and corporations have regained the need and ability to subscribe to cleaning services.
With that being said, certain cities in the state of Illinois are experiencing a rise in rent of residential spaces. If the rates continue to rise in a similar fashion, then cleaning companies who cater to residential clients will be forced to make their prices more competitive and increase the efficiency of their projects. This may sound like an intimidating scenario for most start-up cleaning businesses, but our company sees this as an opportunity to adapt, evolve and let the market changes mould our path to success.
One of the major changes that led to a boom in the cleaning industry in the recent years is the development and increased authority of the healthcare industry. Residing and working in unclean and filthy places posed several health hazards to residents and workers around the country. This forces the home owners and corporate heads to resort to cleaning services, since their personal cleaning professionals unable to meet the standards that were set by the esteemed organizations in the health care industry.
As a result, cleaning companies were suddenly exposed to far more contracts than before, and most of the clients preferred to have long term arrangements with the cleaning companies instead of having a one off affair with the cleaning services.
One lesser known factor that influenced the growth of the cleaning industry is the ever increasing demand for aestheticism and visual appeal in homes and offices around the United States of America. People want their homes and offices to look good from both the inside and the outside. As a result, they cannot afford to have dirt and filth lying around in their office or residential space.
This prompted them to seek the professional help of cleaning services. Cleaning companies around the company are making sure that homes and offices retain and maintain the visual appeal with which they were built so that they do not become labelled outdated or unsuitable for future tenants.
Market Segments in the Cleaning Industry
Most cleaning companies do not provide an all encompassing service. The cleaning service itself can be divided into various segments, and the demand for these segmented services in the commercial or residential market is quite different from one another. Some of the most common segmented services include:
- Janitorial services
- Maid services
- Window cleaning services
- Carpet cleaning services
- Dry cleaning
- Furniture polishing
- Washroom cleaning
- Waste removal and disposal etc.
We understand the diversity in the demand for these services across various platforms. For example, it would be erroneous for us to assume that the market demand for window cleaning in commercial complexes is the same as the market demand for window cleaning in residential homes in the suburbs of Illinois or New York.
Our Target Market
Our target market as clearly defined in our business plan cuts across every industry and of course households and schools inclusive. Here are our target market; the people and organizations that our business is designed for:
- Banks and Financial Institutions with offices in New York and neighboring states
- Private and Public Schools in New York and neighboring states
- Hospitals in New York
- Airports in New York and neighboring states
- Households within New York and environs
- Offices and business centers within New York and environs
- Hotels within New York and neighboring states.
- Factories and industrial estates in New York and environs
Cleaning Service Marketing Plan – Competitive Analysis (SWOT Analysis)
- Changes in the Market
One of the biggest changes in the cleaning industry that we observed while conducting our competitive analysis was how the need to establish a greener and more environmentally friendly business is influencing the growth of certain companies in the industry. Those companies which promote their business as eco-friendly and green are the ones that are receiving a competitive edge in the market.
As a matter of fact, green companies are soaring head and shoulders above other companies in the cleaning industry mainly because clients are inclined towards businesses that express a sense of social responsibility towards the environment and nature in general. Besides being preferred by the clients who are concerned about the ill effects of climate change and global warming, green cleaning service companies are also heavily favoured by the city and state authorities and find themselves in an advantageous position when pursuing government contracting.
Opportunities in the Cleaning Industry
The room for success in the cleaning industry is quite vast. As the number of commercial buildings and residential homes increase, the demand for cleaning services is likely to enhance along with it. Furthermore, the healthcare industry and organizations in charge of advocating eco-friendly business practices makes it quite a necessity for businesses around the country to improve sanitation and hygiene standards in their workplaces which compels them to seek the services of cleaning companies.
Therefore, this market offers us terrific growth potential, which we are planning to capitalize on with all our expertise and ambition. This market may not be the largest in the country, but it is certainly one where a newcomer like us will receive abundant opportunities to register progress in leaps and bounds as long as we have the correct business philosophy and are implementing the right business strategies.
- Threats and Risks
As a small cleaning firm that will be taking baby steps towards growth and development for at least the foreseeable future; we do not anticipate any major reactions from our future competitors upon the entry of our business in the industry.
We are expecting that our introduction into the industry will remain a low profile one and is likely to go unnoticed by some of the more major corporations which rule the cleaning service industry. We also do not think that some of the lesser known cleaning service companies that have been in the industry far longer than us will be have any distinct reactions to the initiation of our business.
However, in the case that they formulate plans to drive us further away from competition, we have come up with contingency plans of our own that will help us survive the threat of expulsion from the industry and assist us to overcome the risks that are associated with engaging in fierce competition with the experienced business owners of established commercial sector cleaning companies.
Cleaning Business Competitive Strategies
- Key Competitive Capabilities
Most of the start-up cleaning companies have their sights set on the residential sector, mainly because of their lack of confidence and belief to compete with the major players in the commercial sector. This will not be the case with our company.
We will become one of the very few start-up companies in the state of Illinois which will focus all of its finances, resources and marketing strategies in climbing up the ladder in the cleaning industry and rapidly acquiring larger portions of the market share. We will not have to compete with a big number of start-ups in the commercial sector, therefore our progress or advancement into the big leagues of the industry will not be hindered by too many competitive obstacles or hurdles in the way.
Our major advantage however lies in the incredible amount of expertise and experience that our principal owner Stephanie Ryder will be bringing into the equation. As an entrepreneur who has had her fair share of successes and failures in the last decade, Stephanie will have a clear understand of the strategies and tactics that are required to get us across the finishing line ahead of others and avoid major disasters that our competitors may push us into.
The fact that we will be assembling a cleaning team of experienced professionals blended enthusiastic and energetic college students will allow us to achieve a working dynamic that will push our efficiency higher than that of other companies. Basically, our company will form a cleaning staff that will strive to outwork and outsmart employees of other cleaning companies.
In an industry which is heavily reliant on service, the key is to employ workers who are willing to put in the best performance within the shortest period of time available. Our extensive and rigorous training programs will allow our workers to develop themselves, sharpen their skills at all times and stay updated with the latest developments in the world of cleaning products and equipment. Our training facility for the workers will turn out to be a game changer and a breeding ground for the best workers in the cleaning industry in the country.
- Key Competitive Weakness
Our key competitive weaknesses stem from our lack of experience being a start-up company. We may have the best cleaning staff in the country assembled, but that will not allow us to strike deals with numerous clients at the same time. Therefore, our availability is something that may compromise our revenue and income generation. We have a limited number of workers who will not be overworked severely according to the company policy.
Therefore, it will not be possible for us to bring in a massive number of clients every month. We hope to tackle this problem by finding ways to maximize our income and profit generation. That will allow us to employee more workers, even individual contractors with a part time schedule, and we can plan on increasing our portfolio of monthly or annual clients.
Since our current business plan (which is based on the current financing and funding that is available to us) only allows us to operate within the boundaries of the state of Illinois, our company will have limited reach unlike the other major corporations in the industry which are willing to provide their services all across the country.
Therefore, we will be missing out on a major chunk of the industry market which is outside the state of Illinois and New York. This will result in a series of missed opportunities that could quite possibly hurt our finances considerably in the long run. If we are to compete with the major names in the industry, we must generate enough income to expand our business beyond the borders of Illinois and give clients around the country an opportunity to be impressed by our top notch services.
Cleaning Business Marketing Plan – Sales and Marketing Strategy
- Marketing Strategy
Socialization will be at the centre of our marketing strategy. We believe that in order for our business to thrive, we must reach out to people and give them genuine reasons to subscribe to our services. Our brand of marketing will be an aggressive and effervescent one, where we will strive to convert every potential prospect into a client within a period of 30 days.
This is the reason why we will be channelling our resources towards inbound marketing, as it allows us to connect with potential clientele and stay in touch with them at all times. Not only will be having our own website, blog and newsletter programs, but we will also be taking our business to the social media platform, where the goal would be to change people’s general perception towards cleaning service businesses and keep them informed about the advantages and benefits of hiring a cleaning service company, using both a direct and indirect (more subtle) approach.
- Sales Tactics
Once a client shows interest in our cleaning service, our sales team will be implementing a number of different tactics to retain the interest of the client and make sure that a contractual agreement is reached. In order to do this, we will be offering our first time customers with various unknown complimentary services and discounts that will turn out to be a surprise package for them and will thus intensify their desire to contractually obligate us to clean their offices. The idea is to make the clients feel that they are getting more than what they are paying for.
Our approach to generating publicity for our business will be divided into three steps. The first step is to convince trade magazine to publish a feature on our start-up company and the potential of our services to change offices across the neighbourhood. The second step is to send our representatives to the local radio stations to promote our business and educate listeners on what we have in store for them. The third and final step is to partner up with manufacturers of cleaning products and provide discounts on our services to people who purchase their cleaning products.
Our Unique Selling Point: What Makes Our Cleaning Service Superior to Our Competitions
One of the first things that you need to concentrate on is developing a unique selling proposition, which is sometimes referred to as a USP. The idea behind the creation of a USP is to make your service different from the others that are already available in the market.
Our unique selling point is anchored on the fact that we are well trained to fit into any industry and deliver excellent cleaning services jobs unlike our major competitors who are specialized in just one industry or a niche in the cleaning industry.
Some of our cleaners are trained to clean crime scene, some are trained to handle medical cleaning, some are trained to clean offices, some are trained clean roof tops and some are trained on graffiti removal and street cleaning et al.
In essence we are positioned to bid for cleaning contracts from any industry since we have the required staff members (cleaners) that are trained in various niches in the cleaning industry to handle most of the cleaning jobs. Aside from that, we intend to deliver top notch cleaning services with the highest level of professionalism anytime we are hired to carry out any cleaning job.
The Benefits Our Clients Stand to Gain When They Patronize Our Services
We are quite aware that there are several top notch cleaning services companies that are in full operation in New York and environs and we know that there are competition in the cleaning industry hence we are able to carefully craft – out the benefits that our esteem customers stands to gain when the hire our services. We are certain that all those who patronize our services are going to get value for their money.
These are the benefits that a client stands to gain when they hire our cleaning services:
- Quality cleaning services delivery
- Timely cleaning services delivery
- Competitive prices and discounts based on loyalty and referrals
- Flexibility of service delivery to fit into the schedule of our customers
- Professionalism of the highest order from our staff members (cleaners, supervisors and management)
Guerrilla Marketing Strategies for a Cleaning Company
Creating a Brand Identity for Our Cleaning Services Company
Any business that wants to grow beyond the corner of the street they are operating from must be ready and willing to utilize every available means (conventional and non – conventional means) to advertise and promote the business. Boosting our brand awareness will a go a long way to endear us to the available market. Here are the ways we intend creating brand identity of our cleaning services company
- Designed a unique corporate logo
- Place adverts on both print and electronic media platforms
- Ensures that our workers wear our branded shirts at all times during working hours and also we will make sure we brand our vans, trucks and cars et al.
- Place our flexi banners with our company’s logo and contacts in strategic positions
- Sponsor relevant TV programs
- Maximize our company’s website to promote our business
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook ,Twitter, LinkedIn, Badoo, Snap Chat, Google+ and other platforms to promote our corporate brand
- Install our Bill Boards on strategic locations
- Distribute our fliers and handbills in targeted areas from time to time
Striking Strategic Marketing Alliance with Our Competitors in the Cleaning Industry
Ordinarily, it is usually not visible to form strategic marketing alliance with competitors in a same industry simply because every organization will be striving hard to gain their own fair share of the available market in the industry.
But because of the nature of the cleaning services company that we intend running, we will ensure that we explore every possible avenue to form strategic marketing / business alliance with key players in the cleaning industry. This is possible because most of our competitors in New York are specialized in one or a few cleaning niches and because our services cut across all the industry and we have all the required cleaning equipment, it is easier for us to get referrals from our competitors especially if they come – by cleaning contracts that they are not trained or equipped to do. Of course we are going to agree on percentage sharing formula that will be a win – win for both parties.
For example a corporate cleaning company that is specialized only in household and corporate offices cleaning may have the opportunity to handle a crime scene cleaning job. If they are not trained, equipped and licensed to carry out crime scene cleaning, then they can still make money from the deal by outsourcing it to a cleaning company that is trained, equipped and licensed to carry out crime scene cleaning projects.
Our Client Retention Strategies (Ways to Improve Our Customer Experience)
We are in business simply because we want to make money and we know that we cannot make money without having customers to patronize our services- hence we have been able to map out strategies not only to win customers, but also to ensure that we retain them and make them our loyal customers.
These are the ways we intend utilizing when it comes to improving our customer experience so that we can create a good impression and generate repeated businesses from them:
- Ensures excellent cleaning services deliveries at all times
- Ensure we carry out effective follow – ups on all the cleaning jobs we handle
- Tailor our cleaning service deliveries to meet the needs of each of our clients.
- Make use of effective customer relationship management (CRM) software to effectively manage our clientele base.
- Ensures that we carry our clients along when making decisions that directly affect them.
Possible Ways We Intend Offering Incentives to Our Clients (Bonus, Discounts, etc)
There is hardly any client who would not appreciate it when he or she receives incentives hence we were able to make provisions to give out incentives from time to time to all our loyal clients and also to new clients in other to win over their loyalty.
When it comes to giving out incentives (bonuses and discounts et al) to our clients, we will first and foremost reward loyal clients who have stayed with us for more than twenty four months (2 years). We will make room for our clients to earn commissions on any cleaning services business deals that they are able to secure for us through referrals and recommendations et al.
We will also give incentives to new clients so as to win over their loyalty and generate repeated cleaning business deals from them especially when it involves one – off cleaning projects.
After Sales Service or Customer Support
We will ensure that we offer after sales services and customer support services to all our clients. As a matter of fact, it is a corporate culture in our organization to always ensure that our customers are satisfied with our service delivery and also gives them room to give them room to tell us what else they would want us to do for them in – line with the services we offer.
We are a cleaning service delivery company hence the nature of our job involves our supervising team and quality control team going around to ensure that our cleaners are delivering the quality of cleaning services standard as expected by them and also that they are abiding by the health and safety rules and regulations as demanded by the nature of their job.
10 Possible Questions We Intend Asking Our Clients (Market Survey)
These are the 10 possible questions we are going to put forward when conducting marketing survey on our customers / clients. They include the following;
- Are you satisfied with our cleaning services delivery?
- If you are with our cleaning services delivery what areas would you want us to improve on going forward?
- Are you comfortable with our contract terms and conditions?
- If you are not satisfied with our contract terms and conditions, what areas would you want us to work on?
- How much are you willing to pay for corporate cleaning services?
- Would you prefer that our cleaners resume and close same time that you open and close your office?
- Would you prefer that our cleaners come in and clean only when necessary or as agreed?
- Are you satisfied with the cleaning chemicals that we are using in cleaning your facility currently?
- Can you comfortably recommend our cleaning services to other corporate organizations?
- Are you satisfied with our customer service delivery? If not what areas would you want us to improve on?
Actionable Marketing ideas for Our Cleaning Company
Cost Effective Ways We Intend to Advertise/ Promote Our Cleaning Services without Using the Internet
Here are the platforms we intend leveraging on when it comes to advertising and promoting our cleaning services business in the marketplace;
- Offer Pro Bono Services
- Start a Radio Show or TV Show on Cleaning
- Place adverts on national TV stations, Radio Stations and Newspapers / Magazines
- Sponsor relevant community program
- Install our Bill Boards on strategic locations
- Engage in road show from time to time
- Distribute our fliers and handbills to targeted areas from time to time
- Send out introductory letters to corporate organizations and households within our target market locations.
- Ensures that our workers wear our branded shirts at all times during working hours and also we will make sure we brand our vans, trucks and cars et al.
Smart Ways We Intend to Advertise/ Promote Our Cleaning Services on the Internet
We are quite aware that the internet is presently the biggest platform when it comes advertising / promoting any business and one good thing about adverting on the internet that is far cheaper than other conventional advertising platforms. This is why we will ensure that we explore all available options on the internet to advertise our cleaning services.
Here are they ways we intending leveraging on the internet to advertise / promote our cleaning services:
- Create an Official Website for Your Cleaning Company
- Leverage on social media platforms such as; Instagram, Facebook , Badoo, Snap chat, YouTube, Twitter, Google +et al
- Design an interactive corporate website and use the platform to promote our cleaning services business
- Place adverts on high traffic websites
- Engage in blogging and make use of the platform to promote or cleaning services
- Leverage on email marketing strategy to advertise and promote our cleaning services.
Creative Marketing Ideas Specific to Our Cleaning Services
No doubt any business that has planned to survive must ensure that they employ all the creative marketing strategies that are available to them. The truth is that if you don’t go out there to market your goods or services, you are likely going to struggle to generate sales for your goods and services.
These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that we will adopt for our cleaning services business:
- Direct Marketing
- Making use of sales Agents and sales reps
- Leverage on Online Marketing (via our official website, social media platforms, direct email marketing and blog et al)
- Leverage on Referral Marketing
- Revenue Sharing Business Partners
- Public relations during exhibitions