Growing your cleaning business, whether it’s a house cleaning company or a commercial one boils down to one thing. You need leads.
Basically you need to get leads, find the prospects within, then convert them to customers. If you can do that, you are off to the races as they say.
I know that sounds kind of simplistic, but’s that all you are really doing. The place many people get off track is at the beginning, as they don’t even know where to start.
For the record, there are a lot of ways to get cleaning leads. A few would include joining some networking groups, spending some time handing out flyers, advertising in the paper or even cold calling.
Today I’ll go into a different area. We’ll focus on getting leads for direct mail. This is nothing more than obtaining addresses that you can then mail some information about your cleaning business to.
This is a real simple process. In fact I did TONS of this when I first got started in the cleaning business. I did so much that I felt like I was stuck in the Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day”. Wake up, get addresses, write envelopes then stuff them with info.
Next day…repeat process!
Anyway… there are several ways you can get cleaning leads (addresses) to mail to. Starting with the free techniques, you have several options to choose from.
- City Directory – Mainly for homes.
- Online Options- Mainly for business.
When I first started my business, I was a “blend” between a house cleaning business and a commercial cleaning business. I actually started cleaning homes first then slowly focused on the commercial side.
This meant I used the City Directory quite a bit. So needless to say I was going down to the nearest library where it’s kept and making use of it regularly. I think I spent more time at the library as an adult than as a child growing up!
In case you didn’t know, this book not only contains all the names and addresses of anyone living in your town, but other information about them as well such as household income (in generic ranges only).
All you need to do is ask the librarian for the City Directory. The librarian will then probably ask for your ID which they may hold this until you finish with the book. This is done because the book is easily worth several hundred bucks, maybe more.
Keep in mind you are not allowed to take this book home, you can only copy the information contained within with a copier. You then take the copies home and make use of the information.
All I ever did was look for high-end neighborhoods in my area inside the book then copy the pages with all the names and addresses. I would then go home and take the info from the copies I made and start writing envelopes.
After that you just stuff the envelopes with your marketing and place them in the mail. I usually included a sales letter with a flyer plus my business card inside. This is a real simple process that works provided you have quality marketing material.
Switching gears now, I’ll talk about how I went about getting free leads on the commercial side of my operation. This is not anything earth shattering mind you, as it only involves doing some Google searches for your area.
Basically I just picked a “type” of customer I wanted to focus on. For instance, lets start with real estate offices. They were a favorite of mine in the beginning. In fact my very first commercial account was a real estate office.
Choosing real estate offices when you are new to the business is a good idea because the offices are generally small. This means they are quite easy to bid. So even if you make a mistake bidding the job, it’s only a small mistake.
Anyway, this technique just involves typing “Realtors” or “real estate offices” into Google ALONG with your zip code. This will generally bring back many results for you to choose from.
All you do after that is take the addresses that you just you found online and start writing envelopes. Then just start stuffing the envelopes with all your material and drop it in the mail. A sales letter and flyer as well as a business card is recommended.
Now we’ll talk about paid leads from a list service. This approach means you will pay a provider for access and use of a mailing list. The possibilities are endless for both the residential and commercial cleaning market.
You can build custom mailing lists that will give you as many potential leads as you wish to purchase. The cost just depends on how many you wish to purchase. The more you get, the cheaper the cost per unit normally.
If you don’t know where to start, a company called NetPostmaster may be of help. They offer free quotes from several different companies. Just fill out a short form to get prices.
The benefit to the paid option of getting mailing list leads is that the process can be a lot quicker. You just download the list in some cases and then do a mail merge and PRESTO, you are ready to roll. No time-consuming hand writing of addresses, it’s all automated.
I’ve done all of the methods above at one time or another. It all boils down to how you want to approach the process. If you are tight on money go the free route, but if you have cash to work with then renting a list may be a real time-saver for you.
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