The cleaning industry has many different niche or market segments. When starting your cleaning business you first have to decide which market segments you would like to target. Focusing on one specific niche and specializing in that market segment only is a common approach although it is easy enough to cater to more than one cleaning market niche.
You should at least decide if you want to specialize in residential cleaning work or commercial cleaning, as these two markets are quite different.
Let’s take a look at some of the niches within the cleaning business to give you some ideas about the variety of work that is possible in this industry.
The big market is for consumer cleaning, maid service or the cleaning of residential homes. This is a large chunk of the overall cleaning market and many players focus their activities entirely in this area. It is an easy section of the market to enter and agreements with customers are usually less formal and easier to obtain than those in the commercial sector.
The commercial market is also huge. Janitorial cleaning services clean all kinds of businesses and public buildings such as offices, schools and hospitals. Commercial cleaning jobs are usually much larger in scale compared with residential and it can take a coordinated team effort to clean such large spaces within a cost efficient time frame.
Carpet and upholstery cleaning is another large and potentially profitable niche cleaning market. As this area requires the right equipment and knowledge, regular cleaning businesses usually leave this area to specific companies who specialize in this area. Customers usually only require these services occasionally though so carpet and upholstery cleaners usually target a wider market and charge a healthy premium for their services. Carpet and upholstery cleaners also usually offer other specialized services that regular cleaners are not capable of providing.
That covers the big three but there are an endless variety of smaller niches that you can also go after. Some areas that cleaners target include pressure washing, cleaning building exteriors and windows, post construction cleaning of new buildings or even crime scene cleaning services.
One of the keys to success with your cleaning start-up is to clearly define the market segments that you want to be in. Except perhaps in the largest cities, success in cleaning ultimately requires taking on a big niche and then also specializing in one or two smaller niches and becoming well known by clients in those market areas.
One of our best marketing ploys has been to promote the phrase “Need it done today? Call us now.” We include this tag line in our Yellow Page ads, our web site and all of our mass market advertising. This “have it done today” philosophy targets impulse buyers and price becomes much less of a factor in the buying decision. (Plus some of our best Cheerleaders come from our “same day” clients.)
NOTE: Obviously, if you are going to advertise this option you need to have the production capacity to work people in. We always keep an extra truck unbooked at the office with a “utility tech” doing plant work, repairs, etc. When “same day calls” come in our technician is off and running!
An interesting approach. On the one hand, some may say you are sending the wrong message as in “We’re desperate for work.” But I disagree. I think that by advertising this “Need it done today?” feature/benefit you are showing you are a large enough company to be flexible with people’s needs. (And of course when people are under pressure the good old “I’m just checking around on carpet cleaning prices” objection goes out the window!) Another way to say the same thing would be “Same Day Service Available.” I would also place this saying on the side of your service vehicles. After all, you don’t get much more impulsive than the sight of a carpet cleaning van working away on the neighbor’s carpets!