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The cleaning services market was already a growing industry, but Covid-19 sparked a huge increase in demand for these services, especially in the lucrative commercial market.

As with any business, though, there are challenges to scaling your cleaning business, but there’s also the opportunity to increase its revenue if you can overcome these common obstacles.

To become a successful cleaning business, use these cleaning business tips as a step-by-step guide to help you optimize your cleaning company, attract new clients, and make more money. 

Topics covered in this article include:

5 Challenges of Starting a Cleaning Business

Ninety-five percent of cleaning businesses, maid services, and janitorial services fail within the first year. Let’s take a look at why so that you can avoid these potential startup downfalls.

1. There’s a lot of competition

It doesn’t cost much to start a cleaning business, there are minimal entry requirements, and it’s a thriving industry, so there are a lot of competitors, including large chains like Merry Maids.

2. It’s difficult to get business

It’s hard to attract new customers to a cleaning business in a saturated market when other businesses offer the same services at a similar price.

3. Costs are rising

Vehicle maintenance, cleaning supplies, and labor costs have all increased and are cutting into cleaning businesses’ profits.

4. It’s hard to find and keep good workers 

You need staff to take on commercial contracts, but with cleaning jobs generally offering a low hourly rate and no clear career path, it’s hard to hire employees(and keep them). Plus, since the cleaning industry is such a saturated market, turnover is high because workers can easily find another gig.

5. Training can be inadequate 

It’s estimated that commercial cleaners lose more than half of their business due to poor cleaning practices, so it’s essential for cleaning business owners to invest in effective training.

5 Tips for Starting a Cleaning Business in 2021

Luckily, there are ways to overcome these challenges and scale your business. Follow these cleaning business tips to operate more efficiently and attract and keep new business.

1. Find a niche

After you’ve come up with a business plan and decided on a business structure — e.g. sole proprietorship vs. limited liability company (LLC) — you then have to find a  way to stand out from the competition. One way to do this is by concentrating on a certain type of cleaning or offering specialty services.

For example, you may decide to focus specifically on residential cleaning services, commercial cleaning, window cleaning, carpet cleaning, pool cleaning, or even biohazard cleaning. Or you may make a name for your cleaning company by providing specific services, like chemical-free eco-friendly cleaning. You can even obtain cleaning service certifications on top of your business license to demonstrate that you have the know-how and expertise to do the job.

By specializing like this, you only need certain pieces of cleaning equipment and supplies, and you can more easily distinguish yourself from other local businesses.

Another great idea? Brand your cleaning business as specializing in “cleaning on the clock” and provide customers with real-time notifications of their cleaners’ arrival. This is a cinch with OptimoRoute’s live-tracking capabilities.

2. Utilize route optimization software

Increase your efficiency and cut costs with OptimoRoute. Route-optimization software plots the best schedule and route for each employee, taking into account numerous factors, such as business hours, lunch breaks, and traffic.

Since your business requires you and your staff to bounce from one customer to the next throughout the day, make sure your schedules and routes are optimized with cleaning business software, so you can increase efficiency. The more stops you have, the more important this is (e.g. a house cleaning business where you clean several houses in a day). Here’s how OptimoRoute features benefit your cleaning business.

  • Save time from manually planning routes by letting our software handle scheduling and route planning for you. Put the time saved into focusing on other business priorities. 
  • Reduce your gas and vehicle maintenance expenses with efficient routes to improve your bottom line.
  • Make sure your employees are on schedule with live tracking. Both you and your customers will know when their cleaners are on the way. 
  • With our Proof of Delivery feature, your cleaning crew can let you know when a task is complete by sending a picture of the completed job and add notes including what cleaning products were used and the exact services they provided.

3. Optimize your website

Your website is a virtual storefront, and it takes about 50 milliseconds for visitors to form an opinion about your website that determines if they’ll bounce or not. So entice them to stay on-site—and book your cleaning business—by doing the following.

  1. Brand your website with your cleaning business’s name, company logo, and more.
  2. Check your website load time. If it takes more than three seconds for your site to load, it’s estimated that 40% of visitors bounce. Check out this comprehensive list of ways to improve page speed.
  3. Ensure your site is easy to navigate so that visitors can find the information they need, such as pricing details, in the fewest clicks possible.
  4. Optimize your site for search engine optimization. This involves using keyword-rich headings and meta descriptions, finding quality backlinks, and more so can get more organic traffic—and more customers.
  5. Add calls to action. CTAs are essential for a small business’s website because, as the name implies, they prompt users to take action. Consider a CTA like “Schedule an appointment” for your cleaning business.
  6. Feature reviews and customer testimonials. This type of social proof establishes credibility and persuades potential clients to want to work with you since 92% of people trust peer recommendations more than they trust a business’s claims.

4. Reward employees for their hard work

The leading complaint of many line-level cleaners is a lack of respect, so treat your employees as you want to be treated. Set goals, and when employees reach those goals, reward them for their hard work. Perks like these make employees feel valued, which increases productivity and improves culture. And it also reduces turnover.

5. Market your business

To increase brand awareness and generate leads, you need to invest time and money into marketing your business. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends that “small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7-8 percent of their revenues to marketing.” With a budget of $6,000, if you were to get five new cleaning clients, based on the average lifetime value of a customer, your ROI would be almost 130%. Referrals and word of mouth will only get you so far, so having a clear marketing strategy to reach your target market is a critical part of growing your business.

But with so many ways to market a business, where do you start? Your best bet is to create an online presence while also trying to reach potential customers through other means, like direct mail.

Invest in Google Local Services ads

These ads connect your business with people searching Google for the services you offer. They work by putting your business’s name and phone number at the top of a potential client’s search results when they google a relevant query, such as “house cleaning services in Atlanta.” Local Services ads appear within your service area only, and you only pay for the placement if a customer contacts you directly through the ad.

Place Yelp ads

Eighty-two percent of Yelp users visit the crowd-sourced reviews site with the intention of purchasing a product or service. And 89% of them actually follow through with that purchase within a week. So place Yelp ads on relevant search results pages and competitor business pages to capture customers’ attention.

Try a direct mail campaign

Send promotional information about your business straight to businesses or neighborhoods that you want to target. Although the focus is often on digital marketing these days, direct mail is still a relevant investment. It has the same 15-17% return on investment as social media, and 60% of customers say they actually prefer direct mail for promotions. Plus, there are several ways to combine direct mail and digital prospecting for an even higher return.

With OptimoRoute You Can Save Money and Grow Your Business

With the increased demand for cleaning services today, there’s an opportunity to grow your cleaning business’s income potential. And with our cleaning business route optimization software, you save time that can be spent on improving your services, you reduce expenses, and you provide a better experience for your client base by arriving exactly when you say you will.

Sign up for a free OptimoRoute trial and see how we can help grow your cleaning business and improve your bottom line.

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