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7 Business Trends for Residential Cleaners in 2019

We asked residential cleaning entrepreneurs and experts across many disciplines to tell us what’s on their radar going into the new year. Get ready to take notes.

In 2018 we saw the rise of the online marketplace: Facebook, Google, Amazon—the big tech players got into the game, which was predicted by contributors in our 2018 trends article.

This year we’re seeing that no one single issue is dominating the narrative for business owners in the home services. Our contributors in residential cleaning, HVAC, landscaping, arboriculture, pool service, contracting, window cleaning, pressure washing, accounting, consulting, and more, have all identified trends and priorities across a variety of areas.

An important common denominator this year is the need to take a 360 degree view to growing and differentiating your business. Everything ladders up to creating a memorable service experience for customers in a crowded landscape, and it pays to take a holistic approach.

The themes of having a strong online presence, building out a team you can trust, continuously adjusting your digital marketing, and looking for automation and efficiency opportunities aren’t new—they’re table stakes. And maybe that’s the overarching theme: 2019 is the year of getting back to basics, and ensuring your business is ready to crush the year on all fronts.

– Sam Pillar, CEO, Jobber

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1. Make it easy for homeowners to contact you and hear from you

During 2018 we invested in our digital presence. We rolled out a new website that is equipped to attract prospects and stay in touch with them as they go through the sales process. We just added the convenience of online scheduling with Jobber’s partner Responsibid and this is turning out to be a great addition.

In 2019, we will be focusing on improving the customer experience on our website by adding blog posts and adding video to the website. Also, we will continue to build out the follow up emails that Responsibid sends to prospects and customers alike so that we are able to stay top of mind, no matter where the prospect or customer is in the sales cycle.

– Royce Ard, Owner, My Amazing Maid

 

Business owners need to step back and take a look at their responsiveness. Customers expect their questions and problems to be solved immediately. If they want to: know the cost of your service, book an appointment, ask a question or buy something, it has to be instant.

Business owners can accomplish this through live chat on their website, being extremely responsive on social media, and having an automatic email response with FAQs and links so customers can solve their problems in the meantime, while they wait a few mins to hear back.

Service-based businesses need instant quote and appointment booking features and everything has to be easy to do on mobile phones. One tap on their phone to contact you is absolutely necessary.

– Katie Pearse, The Maid Mentor

 

Facebook Messenger is a relatively new platform to communicate with your customers and it’s just starting to really take off right now. Right now with Facebook and Instagram, the organic reach you can get from posting is slowing down. We’re even seeing that with paid advertising on Facebook because every business has jumped into digital advertising.

What’s super exciting about Facebook Messenger is that it’s a brand new platform. There is not a whole lot of competition on it right now and the return on the investment that we are receiving from it is incredible.

Email is still good, but what do the numbers look like on email? The open rate may be 20 to 30 per cent, then the click through rates may be one to eight per cent. We sent out a message on Facebook Messenger to our community for Black Friday. Almost 100 per cent of those people received and opened that message. The open rate on Facebook messenger messages for us is between 86 and 100 per cent.

Every time your email beeps, you usually don’t look at it. You know, there is so much junk in there and everything. But when that little bing goes off and that little red flag comes on in your Messenger—I always check it right away.

– Kevin Reynolds, Owner, Handmaid Cleaning

2. Develop a tried and true hiring process to build out a solid team

Hire the best staff for your business. Align your business with employees who hold the same values as your company does. It is not foolproof but once you put your values to the forefront your employees will be more engaged and stay with you long term.

[During the hiring process] I use cards that each have a value on it. I mix our core values in there. If they pick more than five of our values then will be a good fit. It is a very easy and cheap solution as a lot of our staff don’t speak English very well. So investing in a DISC assessment or any other would not be valuable for us.

– Judith Virag, Owner, Harding’s Cleaning Division

 

2019 will be the Year of the Employee. With unemployment rates at record lows, coupled with low inflation rates holding prices steady, companies are going to have to get creative in order to hire and retain the best employees.

First, companies need to review their job application process. Are you putting the recruit through unnecessary hoops just to schedule an interview? Is your application process completely online and mobile friendly? Are your interview appointments flexible to fit the needs of the applicant?

– Royce and Tamara Ard, Owners, My Amazing Maid

3. Have a game plan ready to compete locally for great candidates

Companies need to understand how their compensation ranks against their competition. This can be tricky in the cleaning industry where some companies only pay employees for the time they spend cleaning and others pay for total time spent on the clock. Your $10/hr rate may be the same as the others $14/hr rate. You need to understand this and be able to explain it to the prospective employee.

Companies also need to take a look at the benefits and perks they can and do offer. Today’s employees place a high value on flexible schedules and time off. Can you incorporate this into your business plan?

For the company that understands their local job market and anticipates how to compete, 2019 can be an exciting time. If they are forced to react to the competition, it may be a difficult year.

– Royce Ard, Owner, My Amazing Maid

 

There’s a real paradigm shift that I believe is felt in any industry in any type of role whether you’re employing more seasonal or long-term employees: People are not willing to stay in places where their personal values don’t align with the company. Everyone is looking to make an impact.

The majority of us aren’t saving lives, but we can still have an impact. You can put a smile on someone’s face, and they’ll tell a friend at a dinner party that they had a great experience with your lawn care business.

The people you want to have as employees, who are going to help build your company, are searching for a way to make impact.

Think through the following questions:
1. Why am I asking people to be here?
2. What is our purpose as an organization?

You will win, you will scale, you will achieve revenue growth, if you take time to focus on the impact, the vision, and the culture of your business. Organizations who think those things are fluffy and don’t have a place in business will continue to operate at mediocre growth.

And customers have a higher expectations than they ever have. So why not have employees that meet those changing expectations?

– Danielle Strang, Head of People Operations, Jobber

4. Never stop looking for automation and efficiency opportunities

For most service companies your single largest monthly expense is payroll. Automating business processes with software can provide huge employee savings, improve the quality of your service, automate your marketing, and greatly reduce your management time. And if someone asks you “Why don’t you just make a spreadsheet for that” feel free to quietly smirk on the inside.

– Lars Kristensen, CEO and co-founder, NiceJob

 

Automate your business as much as possible, and keep an eye on emerging technologies that help you do this. For a long time, powerful automation tools didn’t exist for small business owners—they were targeted at large businesses with big budgets.

Small businesses are now getting access to this tech for a fraction of the price, and in some ways it’s better than enterprise level tools. Look at accounting software: at the enterprise level it’s very expensive, always needs to be updated, and it’s hard to use, with a clunky user interface. QuickBooks Online is easy to use, always up to date—and available for a fraction of the price. Software companies are now developing new tools for small businesses first, then sending them up-market, so there is more software innovation than ever in the small business space.

These automation tools are not only going to help you reduce costs, maybe you can delay hiring an administrator or a bookkeeper, they should give you better visibility into your business so you can operate more strategically.

– Darren Wood, Director of Finance and Operations, Jobber

 

Improve your time management. Use your calendars effectively. Block tasks and have specific time allocations to them. This way you don’t spend too much time with one item. Also, keeps you on pace to complete important tasks without missing anything. This is an important process that helps to control your workflow and keeps you organized. Here’s an example:

Monday
8:30am to 9:15am: CEO time
9:30am to 10:30am: prospecting calls
10:30am to 12:00pm: onsite
12:00pm to 1:00pm: lunch/flex time
1:00pm to 1:25pm: follow up with X project
1:25pm to 2:00pm: flex time
2:00pm to 2:30pm: marketing review
3:00pm to 4:00pm: sales meeting

– Brad Halliwell, Business Coach, Halliwell Business Coaching

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5. Make sustainability a priority in the new year

Sustainability should be a core focus for any cleaning service provider in 2019. The industry needs to be committed to real measurable green initiatives. We need to recognize the importance of reducing our impact on the environment. It’s time to make a better decision for both business and the environment.

– Peter Panos, Financial Director, Clean Focus Services

6. Level up your paid marketing game in the digital space

Google is coming out with a tool that will become more widespread in 2019: local service ads.

At the very top of a results page it will show three or four plumbers in your area that you can book directly from Google without ever visiting the plumber’s website. Right now, you still have to click an ad, visit the website, and then find out how to book your service.

This feature is becoming available throughout the US and is likely on its way to Canada. Early adopters are paying $20 to $30 per lead, but this will go up and likely double as others adopt the service—so get on there before everyone else figures this out!

You also don’t need to worry about finding an agency to help with your Google Ads spend: it’s set it and forget it. It’s built with the entrepreneur in mind, eliminating Google Ads management time.

– Rafael Valdez, PPC Analyst, Jobber

 

Facebook continues to outpace any other ads platform in terms of revenue growth. For a long time, Google AdWords was the biggest digital advertising platform for every type of business, but when Facebook unleashed its new advertising platform it specifically started outpacing Google on mobile.

In particular, people are spending more on Facebook mobile ads than they are on Google mobile ads. Facebook will continue to dominate the mobile advertising space, and increasingly become an important channel for small businesses.

Looking at trends, I think more and more, people will be going to Facebook on their phones to find their next service provider making it a strong lead source for small businesses. That will bleed into you needing to be able to accept new work from Facebook.

– Nick Keyko, Director of Marketing, Jobber

7. Align your equipment and technology wishlist with your goals

In terms of technology, we have Jobber. Honestly it is the best program any service company could invest in as it is so well-rounded. It covers all your business needs from quoting to collection. And we are always in search of the best vacuum or microfibre cloth.

– Judith Virag, Owner, Harding’s Cleaning Division

 

Live chat, appointment booking apps/software, and online payment is imperative to not only succeed but to survive!

– Katie Pearse, The Maid Mentor

 

From a technological standpoint, further implement software automation tools to enhance customer service, operations and transparency across both staff and clients.

In terms of equipment, we are looking at changing over to energy star certified vacuum cleaners whether battery or electrically operated.

– Peter Panos, Financial Director, Clean Focus Services

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