Locating customers and landing new contracts keeps some would-be entrepreneurs from moving forward with their goals of business ownership, but it shouldn't. Marketing and building a business costs anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the method of marketing chosen. In the cleaning business, there are many low-cost methods for obtaining new contracts.
- Skill level:
Establish a presence on the Internet. People look for both goods and services online and many use the Internet as their first place of inquiry. When office managers look online for a janitorial service for their company, you want your name to show up at the top of search results or at least on the first page. You will find potential customers calling on a regular basis from this exposure alone.
Spend time cold calling offices in your area. Prepare some pertinent information to give to the office manager and a brief speech to introduce yourself and your company. Keep it short and don't expect too much on your first contact with a company. The point is to let them know you're there and would appreciate their business. Keep in regular contact by sending discounts or monthly newsletters to interested parties. If you keep your business at the forefront of their mind, they'll call you the next time they need a new janitorial service.
Network with like-minded entrepreneurs online and in person. Attend seminars, conferences and other professional gatherings in your community to improve your business skills and meet your peers. Owners of complementary businesses sometimes agree to refer potential customers to each other. This is a great way to get qualified leads for new office cleaning contracts.
Present yourself professionally at all times. From your first meeting to your bid proposal to your actual cleaning, you should show professionalism to potential customers. This includes your personal appearance and the appearance of your business materials. Another sign of professionalism is having all the details handled and being prepared, so have references available, provide proof of insurance and bonding, and submit your bid by the date you've promised.
Learn how to bid accurately. Not only will this save you the frustration of a contract that makes you little or no money, but it also ensures against submitting an unreasonably high bid and failing to win the contract at all. Office cleaning firms calculate bids based on the square footage though other considerations such as the type of cleaning being done, the frequency and whether or not you employ other people also play a role in pricing.
Tips and warnings
- Consider teaming up with an agency dedicated to bringing together office cleaning companies and those looking for janitorial services. These services are typically online and provide pre-screening of janitorial firms, marketing and exposure for those firms, and sometimes training for the business owners in areas such as marketing and bidding.
- Once you've picked up some initial office cleaning contracts, ask for referrals and ask to use them as references in the future as well. Most people are happy to do this and leads you get as a result of referrals are very likely to become customers because they've already heard good things about you and expect to be happy with your work.
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