With low barriers to entry and high demand, starting a cleaning company can be hugely profitable—as long as you have enough clients.
But how do you find these clients? And when you do, how do you convince them that your services are the right fit for their needs?
Getting more clients for your cleaning business can be easier than you think. Follow these six steps (or start with one or two at a time), and your client list will begin to grow.
Learn how to get clients for a cleaning business in just six steps:
1. Offer amazing service
Make sure you’re ready to provide consistently great service at every visit, long before you start telling potential clients about your cleaning business.
Here’s how to get your first cleaning client through amazing service:
- Create a service process. Use cleaning checklists and follow standard operating procedure for every task to ensure the same results every time. This process should also include small opportunities to delight clients, like leaving a thank-you card after a job.
- Communicate clearly. Following up on estimates, sending on-my-way texts, disclosing problems with the work, and emailing invoices after the job is done are all ways to maintain good communication with your clients.
- Get a CRM. Client relationship management software (also known as a CRM) keeps your client files organized, helps you automate tasks, and even allows clients to approve estimates and pay invoices online.
By getting your business’s inner workings nailed down before your first job, you’re setting yourself up for success—and setting your business apart from your competitors.
“If a client asks you to do something that will take less than ten minutes, do it! Change sheets on an extra bed, unload groceries, or wipe down patio furniture. It sets us apart from nickel-and-dime services.”
—Bobbi Taylor, Lemon Blossom Cleaning Services
2. Understand your market
You may already know roughly what type of client you’d like to work with. But at this point, you need to get as specific as you can. That’s because your clients will dictate:
- The geographic area where you work
- How you position yourself in your target market
- The platforms where you advertise
- The audience demographics you advertise to
- How profitable your business is
Start by thinking about whether you’ll be serving residential clients, commercial clients, or both. This will help you target customers who are right for your business.
How to get residential cleaning clients
You can choose new cleaning clients based on which neighborhoods they live in. But if you want clients who will stick around, the easiest way to start is with the clients you already have.
Look at your list of current clients (even if it’s only a handful of people) and pick out the ones you like working with or who pay their invoices on time. These are your ideal customers—and you want more of them.
Ask these clients why they like doing business with you. Maybe it’s your friendly attitude or your close attention to detail. This tells you what your niche is, so take note of their answers and use them when it’s time to start advertising!
How to get commercial cleaning clients
When you’re looking for commercial cleaning contracts, start by looking in the geographic area where you want to work and identifying companies that you might like to clean.
From there, find out who the office manager is and whether the company employs their own cleaning staff or uses a cleaning service. Reach out, tell them about your services, and offer a free estimate.
PRO TIP: Some clients require their commercial cleaning companies to have cleaning insurance. It doesn’t just protect them—insurance protects your business, too, so make sure to get it!
3. Advertise your business
You have a great service process in place and you’ve identified the clients you want. You also know what makes your business different from competitors.
Now it’s time to advertise your cleaning business with these tactics:
- Business Listing: Create your Google My Business listing to provide information about your business and allow clients to leave reviews. Google is a popular place to learn about local businesses, so this listing will help a potential customer become a paying one.
- Website: A professional-looking cleaning business website tells clients about your services and can even let them book work online. It should also include client reviews, photos of your work, and blog content that shows off your cleaning expertise.
- Social Media: Your ideal clients are on social media. You should be, too. Create a Facebook page, Twitter feed, and Instagram profile where you can post before-and-after photos, link to blog posts, share cleaning tips and testimonials, offer special deals, and much more.
- Print Advertising: Flyers, door hangers, and postcard marketing are good ways to spread the word about your business and share your contact information throughout your service area. Just pick your areas carefully and make sure they allow you to send ad mail.
- Online Advertising: If you need new cleaning customers fast, try Google Local Services Ads and Facebook advertising. Unlike radio and newspaper ads, you don’t need a lot of money and you can send potential clients to your website with a single click.
- Marketplaces: Join online marketplaces like Thumbtack, Angi, and TaskRabbit. You can also advertise on Nextdoor to reach potential clients in your neighborhood and tell them about your business.
- Email Marketing: Email marketing involves sending emails to your client list to build loyalty, sell services, and give your clients value. You can offer discounts, promotions, and other incentives to encourage people to sign up for your email list. Cleaning business expert Katie Pearse explains:
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4. Network with other businesses
Connecting with other local business owners is one of the best ways to get your name out there. Try these networking ideas:
- Google your competitors and contact other cleaning business owners
- Take part in a local business meetup
- Join the Jobber Entrepreneurship Group
- Attend a trade show for cleaners (or for a group of your ideal clients!)
You can even partner with other home services that aren’t related to your cleaning company, like lawn care, carpet cleaning, and window washing businesses. When you recommend each other to your clients, everyone wins.
5. Create a referral program
People believe their friends and family when they recommend a service. But here’s the thing—you can’t leave referrals to chance. You need a referral program to encourage and track referrals.
Take these steps to start a referral program:
- Identify your most loyal clients and ask them for a referral. They’ve stayed with you this long for a reason, so invite them to share that reason with others.
- When a client compliments your work, take the opportunity to ask for a review. They’re already happy and they might be willing to tell more people!
- Asking for referrals can be hard, so practice, practice, practice. Set goals for yourself to help you turn these requests into a habit.
- Thank your loyal clients for their referrals. This could take the form of a discount on their next service, or a special thank-you item like cookies or local business gift cards.
- Track your results by client name or with promo codes. And whenever you get a new client, ask them if they were referred by someone else. This will show you which clients are your loudest supporters.
PRO TIP: You can do all of this with the help of commercial cleaning software!
“We used to offer 10% off but found that wasn’t incentive enough for our clients to do anything. At 50% off, we get tons of referrals that lead to recurring clients.”
—Emily Ann Mercer, Maid of Honour Cleaning
6. Encourage online reviews
Reviews, like referrals, shouldn’t be left to chance. Use a repeatable system like this to get more reviews and bring in new clients:
- Communicate your goal. Before the job, make it clear that you’ll be asking for a review when you’re done. That way, the client won’t be surprised when you do.
- Do great work. Finish the work, do it well, and pair it with a side of friendly customer service. A happy client is more likely to give you a review!
- Ask for the review. As soon as you’ve completed the job, invite the person to leave a review. You can include this message in your post-service follow-up emails.
- Follow up. Customers often forget to give reviews, so check in with them. Send a text or email, give them a call, or automate your follow-up process so you don’t forget.
“I used a NiceJob survey and crafted a text thanking them and asking for a 5-star review. We picked up 32 5-star reviews.”
—Royce Ard, My Amazing Maid
Ready to get clients for your cleaning business?
Now that you know how to get clients for a cleaning business, growing your client list doesn’t have to be intimidating. Just break up your marketing tactics into these six steps.
Not all of them will work for your business, and there will most likely be some trial and error.
But if you implement one or two strategies, be patient, and keep at it, it’s only a matter of time before new clients walk through the door.
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Originally published September 2020. Last updated September 13, 2021.