The House Cleaning Business Startup Manual – Part III

Advertising

Spread the word. Let friends and family know that you have started your own home cleaning business. Ask them to spread the word at work and wherever they go. Personal referrals can help at this level to get the first customers. Serve the first customers as good as you can. These customers can be the make or break foundation. If you treat them like king they might refer you to their friends. Word of mouth is the most successful form of advertising for small businesses of that kind. “Word of mouth” can carry your business further and also help to cut down on marketing expenses.

Business Referral Program: I already mentioned the “word of mouth” advertising. Taking this a step further can really help your business to take off. Implement a referral program. Pay customers if they refer new customers to you. This can be in form of cash or free house cleaning services

Start advertising in local newspapers: Concentrate on the smaller local community newspapers and less on the large metro area newspapers. Pricing will be much more affordable. A local news paper in the area where I live gets distributed to about 75,000 residential customers (not households). A business card sized ad in a reasonable location costs around $95.00 per week. You can also just work with classified ads. These ads run anywhere from $10.00 per week to around $45.00 per week. If you can – don’t choose the weekly run, but go for a monthly or quarterly deal. Don’t try to put too much information into a classified ad. Keep it short, but easy to understand. Example: “Affordable house cleaning services. No job too small. Free estimates. (123)-555-1234”

Magnetic Signs or decals for your Vehicle: If you drive a decent looking vehicle use it for advertising. If you drive an old, rusty looking piece of the 80’s – skip to the next section. Car advertising can be very effective if you follow some basic rules. It has to look professional. The message has to be short and easy to understand. Do not drive like a maniac when having advertising for your business on your car. Magnetic signs can be purchased for around $75.00. Decals are available starting at around $25.00. Look at other cars that carry an advertising message to get ideas of what to do.

Flyers: You could print nice looking flyers on your home computer, but I recommend to rather spending a little money on professional printing. Design a flyer first. Then talk to local print shops for pricing. You can also check out Internet printers like http://www.gotprint.com. 1,000 (color print) flyers at Gotprint.com will set you back around $125.00 + shipping. Try to beat that with your home computer. Paper, ink, time, and wear and tear will cost you 2 or 3 times as much. How to distribute the flyers? Start with hanging flyers on bulletin boards in supermarkets and coin laundries. Ask store owners in your area if they are willing to show the flyer in their store somewhere (if appropriate).

Do not put flyers on car windows at local groceries stores and businesses. You might violate local laws or property owner’s permissions. Rather spend a morning in large residential areas and walk from door to door and place the flyers at the front door (bring plenty of scotch tape). You can even go a step further and ring door bells and drop of flyers in person and mention that you are expanding your services to that area to see if people are interested. DO NOT put flyers into mailboxes – that is against federal law.

Have you ever seen those advertisement door hangers? Pre-printed door hangers are pretty much an extension of hanging flyers at front doors. They are already shaped with an opening for the doorknob so that they can easily be put on a doorknob when walking by. Scan the Internet for best pricing or talk to local print shops. We do not endorse a specific shop, but we have seen prices for about 5,000 door hangers for $189.00.

Business Cards: Business cards can be a very effective marketing tool. Check out different websites on the Internet. Often these websites (like Vistaprint.com or Gotprint.com) have online tools to design your business cards on their website. Always carry business cards with you and use them frequently to market your business. Keep in mind – it is a little more cumbersome reaching a large group of people with business cards compared to using flyers.

Internet: Get a good domain name and have a website build for you. More and more people search for service providers online. It starts when being in need of handymen and does not end with finding a reliable house cleaning service. A website and an email address also leave a good impression on your business cards. Statistics show that a lot of working women shop for services around their house online while at work. Purchase an online listing in your local yellow pages. The Yellow Pages are still a great way of advertising your business. The online version on the Internet is gaining more popularity compared to the print version and a listing online will help you to get more customers.

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