5 Low Cost Ways To Promote Your Cleaning Business

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by Tom Watson on March 8, 2011

I get a lot of emails from people looking for low cost ways to get more customers.

So many in fact that I thought it’s best to write a post on the topic.

While four of the five methods have some cost associated with them, I think they all fit the low cost model that people are looking for.

At one time or another, we have employed each one of these tactics to find more business for ourselves. Each one is rather easy to pull off and can be accomplished at not some distant point in the future, but in the next day or two. Here we go…lets get started.

Low cost ways to promote your cleaning business

One –I recommend you go to every real estate office anywhere near you to raise awareness of your company. Bring a dozen or two of donuts and a bunch of business cards. If you have a flyer that advertises your services bring a few of those to.

Winning people over through their stomachs is a time tested way to get yourself noticed. Odds are you will make a few contacts that will send business your way. We have had a lot of success with this tactic over the years. To investigate this further, read the post Sue wrote a while back.

Two – Stop by commercial or residential construction sites and ask for the supervisor. Give him your card and ask for a chance to bid the construction clean up. 

There is good money in this market, and if you do the job well the supervisors tend to call you back the next time they need you. Do your best to master your 30 second commercial before you go visiting job sites.

Three – Advertise on Craigslist. This is absolutely free and should be on your short list. I think this method can be a big winner for many of you.

With this method, you just need to take the “long view” so to speak. This means that it may not pay off today or even next week, but it will give you plenty of FREE exposure, and you can’t beat that.

For the record, it probably takes no more than 2 minutes to post an ad once you know what your doing. This equates to only six minutes per week, which works out to about 5.2 hours a year.

If you did it for a whole year and only landed one paying customer that earned you $300.00 per month net profit, that would equate to $3,600 in yearly profit for 5.2 hours worth of posting to Craigslist. This in turn equates to $692.31 per hour.

That type of return on investment will make you feel like one of those Wall Street sharks you see on CNBC. Now imagine if you landed two or three cleaning accounts in one year, WOW, the return on investment would be even higher. I posted on this subject a while back, you can get the details here.

Four – Join a networking group. Do your homework by looking into several in your area. Pick one that has other small business owners in it, then join.

Networking will work wonders for you. Some clubs can be joined for $100.00 or less. It’s well worth the investment. This is because you get to meet new people who may need your services, or know someone who does. Sue has wrote quite a bit on the subject of networking.

Five –Locate all the office parks in your area and pay each of them a visit. Your mission is to go door to door with business cards and a one page flyer. Make sure you are well dressed for this part, as appearance is important.

Keep in mind that getting people to sign up on the dotted line is not what this step is all about. The goal is to only spread “awareness” about your company. If you try to make a 30 minute presentation everywhere you’ll just annoy people, so make it quick and to the point.

Just walk in and ask if you can leave some information for the manager concerning their cleaning services. Most people will take your information if you keep it brief. If they happen to ask you questions about your service, great (just don’t expect any).

This method may not get you any inquiries on the day you go door to door, but they tend to create interest in the weeks after the event so don’t get frustrated. For the record, we landed single jobs in excess of $25,000 a year this way. You can learn another similar approach to taming this market here.

Well there you go…five low cost methods for getting cleaning customers is now in your repertoire. Make the most of these methods and take your cleaning business to the next level.

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If you need detailed instructions on how to start your own cleaning business, then check out my value packed course by clicking here.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nicole Beckford March 26, 2013 at 12:32 am

Great Advice.

2 Tom Watson March 26, 2013 at 6:17 am

Thanks Nicole!

3 Kiran Bhinder April 7, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Great information Tom! I look forward to trying your tips!

4 Tom Watson April 7, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Hi Kiran! Thanks for stopping in!

5 Tom Watson April 8, 2013 at 10:12 am

Good luck Kiran!

6 Guillermo nieves May 8, 2014 at 9:21 am

Thanks for the advices

7 Tom Watson May 8, 2014 at 10:03 am

You are very welcome Guillermo!

8 jonathan martinez May 26, 2015 at 11:31 pm

thanks for this tips,im gonna try them!

9 Tom Watson May 27, 2015 at 8:24 am

Hi Jonathan. Good luck.

10 j.michael August 6, 2015 at 3:04 am

Interesting, I will try seriously. I appreciate it.

11 Tom Watson August 6, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Hi J Michael! I’ll be here if you need help.

12 Wayne garcia March 10, 2016 at 10:24 am

Brilliant tips! Struggling a bit economically,
My trouble was I used my friend who is also a subcontractor cleaning company to me, as he is cheap and good company and to make jobs go quicker. Not a good move! Unless you have plenty of business. So I do most myself now.

I spent a small fortune on flyers, 2000 quality ones. Hand out 150-200 per day in richer areas. Done that for days in a row now. Yet to get any response.
At least it’s getting the company “made aware of” as you say.

What kind of response (percentage) did you get back on flyers to post boxes?

13 Tom Watson March 10, 2016 at 11:43 am

Thanks Wayne. Overall response rate will be anywhere from 1 to 3 percent, but it will vary. Sometimes I mailed out 100 and got 6 calls while other times I mailed out 500 and got none. That’s the way it goes. It will average out though. To PO boxes… I never kept detailed records to those.

I can say it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks to get replies. That just depends. Normally a few weeks was the average if I had to guess. What type of jobs are you aiming for?

14 Wayne garcia March 10, 2016 at 11:54 am

Thanks for answer, I really hope it brings in something it’s time consuming driving around!

I’m looking at “end of tenancy cleaning” (change overs is It called in USA?)
Window cleaning, big cleans.
The regular 1-2 he clean is hardly worth it. The market here in Norway is flooded with Eastern European girls cleaning cheap for black money. We
Simply cannot compete.

I need to get some “template” direct mail for realtors, I just need to get the Norwegian translation sorted, I’m no master at the language despite 12 yrs since I moved over from London!

15 wayne garcia March 11, 2016 at 6:22 am

I’m looking for end of tenancy cleanings (not sure what it’s called in USA). They can pay well as Norwegians are spoilt and therefor lazy!

Window cleaning, floor treatment, commercial cleaning, stairwells etc.

The regular weekly cleaning is of no interest. People don’t want to pay much for it, the trouble is there are too many black money (cash in hand) from east Europe who will do it.

Out of curiosity what is the funniest/unusual way you have got some business?
I always try small talk with customers neighbours you never know! Anyway I got chatting today to a dog walker, where is made small talk about cocker spaniels (that I grew up with them). The lady looked at my van’s logos (a recent investment) and asked i would give her a price for pre sale clean (to make house shining for realtors photos) and then end of tenancy cleaning. Should I get the job it will pay for the logos. So you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

16 Jackie March 11, 2016 at 8:10 am

Thank you for your time!

17 Tom Watson March 11, 2016 at 9:54 am

I have had people stop me in the supermarket and ask me to give pricing on jobs (I was wearing my company t-shirts). Another time we were reading the paper in the office, and one story was about the town hall (a large building near us) needing to be cleaned due to construction. So we had someone jump in a truck to go to town hall.

Guess who was walking out? The TOWNSHIP MANAGER (the guy who hires for EVERYTHING). We gave him a card, he called us and were hired for roughly $8,000 worth of work over the next few months (cleaning, carpet cleaning and tile and grout).

18 Wayne Thomas William Garcia March 11, 2016 at 12:49 pm

That’s brilliant! I need to wear my company polo shirt more often to supermarkets!

You are very inspirational, I often go to jobs/quotations thinking “how would mrWatson handle this!?”

You need to make hour long podcasts! Just find the sponsors 😉

19 Tom Watson March 11, 2016 at 1:19 pm


20 Alicia Sullivan May 27, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Great! Thank you!

21 Isaac-Dafe July 6, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Great work here!!!
I am just starting a cleaning company, and i want to know how to make it grow faster. Thanks

22 Tom Watson July 12, 2017 at 10:08 am

Awesome… you are in the right spot.

23 Andrea October 3, 2017 at 8:55 am

I am really struggling with a cleaning business that has been in works for over 2 years now. I believe that there is money to be made, but finding the time to market the business has been tough. Do you have any suggestions for marketing other than social media that will work each month. I have not tried direct mail; however, we often hand out door hangers on a regular basis.

24 Tom Watson October 12, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Social media is for ESTABLISHED businesses with a following. Direct mail is best. Just make sure your marketing material is VERY GOOD.

25 House cleaning Lynnwood January 26, 2018 at 3:45 am

Great tips! I believe these still hold a lot of value even after 7 years. I will definitely try all of these methods for my new cleaning business. Thanks, Tom.

26 Tom Watson January 28, 2018 at 10:11 am

The tips are timeless. They will be valid years from now. THANKS for commenting.

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