Finding The Secret To Marketing Your Cleaning Business

CleanFax / February 2, 2015 / Steve Marsh

Cleaning companies need all the marketing help they can get.

Success seems to elude most people starting cleaning companies, but you do not have to share that same fate. Most companies are fully capable of succeeding, yet the majority struggle to make that happen.



Most owners of carpet cleaning startups are making their first attempt at launching a company. Most have no formal business or marketing education.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, fewer than one in five startup companies succeed. With odds like that, those who make it must have found a secret.

Common mistakes

The secret to success is in finding the right plan. This plan is often counterintuitive and hard to find without some help. Many strategies can jeopardize the success of a new business. Common errors include the following:

  • Business owners think that success comes by being the best at what they do. When applied to a startup, this thinking leads them to assume that if they clean better than other companies, customers will surely flock to them. The problem here is that consumers expect professionals to be able to do the job for which they were hired. Doing it slightly better is not enough to draw the number of new customers needed to succeed. These owners place too much emphasis on cleaning techniques and do not put enough effort into finding a marketing plan that will attract the needed customers.
  • As owners realize that finding customers is difficult, they look around to see what other companies are doing. Many then make the mistake of copying the pricing and advertising of others without determining if it is a good plan for their own company. As mentioned earlier, four out of five companies will fail: Therefore, great care should be taken to ensure that the companies chosen to model are in fact succeeding.
  • Using an already successful company as a model would seem practical. However, there are two problems with this plan. First, those companies are no longer dependent on massive growth. Most of their work comes from repeat customers and referrals. Startups do not have this luxury. Almost all of their customers have to come from other sources. The second issue is that the startup strategies originally used by mature companies are most likely outdated. Marketing that worked great years ago is unlikely to work now.
  • Most startups depend on some forms of paid advertising. Avoid the mistake of trusting the reps selling it. The job of a rep is to sell their product even if it is not good for the startup. All decisions for using a particular advertising campaign should be based on the return on investment, not on the dreams told by the salesman. When you try a new advertising campaign, measure your results carefully and decide quickly whether the advertising should be continued. No matter how nice a rep may be, his or her advice should always be considered with discernment.

The secret plan

There is no universal plan that works for all companies. Strategies that work well for one company may not work for others, because each is unique.

There are two approaches to finding the best plan. First, you can personally become a business and marketing expert. Second, you may choose to hire experts to assist in finding the best strategy.

Good marketing plans have become far more complex in today’s age of electronic advertising and social media. The rules of the game are constantly changing and accurate measuring is increasingly important.

The bar for effective marketing has been raised to the professional level. It takes a consumer only a matter of minutes to compare any company with three of its toughest competitors.

In today’s marketing environment, the company that stands out as looking like it offers the best value is the one that will win. Marketing that looks less than professional will be poorly received.

Becoming the expert

The good news is that those who want to become experts have resources to do so at their fingertips. There is abundant training available online, 24/7. There are inexpensive or free webinars, articles and YouTube videos to provide in-depth training. Topics range from website design and SEO, to AdWords and social media, to getting the most from Yelp, Angie’s List and Google+.

The bad news is this is a time-consuming project in and of itself. Most companies are in a race against time to succeed before their investment cash is used up. There is already enough to learn about starting a business and the required technical skills.

Getting help

Hiring experts to assist in each field where help is needed may be an option. In many cases they can do a better job, in less time and possibly at less overall expense. These experts can become one of the normal expenses of being in business.

The other option is to hire a business and marketing consultant who can help devise a solid plan. A good consultant should have a team of specialists ready to assist in the various, specific and complicated marketing fields.

An excellent way to find a good consultant is to read the bios of the people who write industry related articles in magazines such as Cleanfax. The online version of Cleanfax offers the search capability to find articles according to topics and all articles written by a particular author. This type of search helps find consultants who specialize in the type and maturity of business you need help with.

Put the secret to use

Most people can attain business success. The secret is to find the right plan and implement it as fast as possible.

Understand that business has grown in complexity, requiring an owner to either become an expert in multiple business and marketing topics or to hire the experts needed to get the job done.

Those who think business is something that can be made up as they go, or that expertise is not required, are going to have a challenging time.

Steve Marsh has just launched an interactive website for new cleaning companies called and is also the creator of the Be Competition Free Marketing Program. He is a 40-year veteran of the carpet cleaning industry, an instructor and a Senior Carpet Inspector. Marsh is a marketing and business consultant who helps owners build their companies to attract higher quality customers. For more information, visit