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  • #997831
    SaraWillard
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    Hi everyone,
    I’ve recently started my own cleaning business Level Up Cleaning (http://www.levelupcleaning.com). I’ve been in business for 2 months and offer residential cleaning, end of lease cleans, housekeeping and AirBnB host services. Whilst the ‘once off’ cleans I’ve completed so far have been successful with happy customers, I can’t seem to hold them down for a repeat service.

    I’m currently on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and updating fairly often with both pitches and humourous pieces. I’ve started brochure delivering in various areas of Blacktown, Kellyville and intend to continue through to Surry Hills. Where possible, I also advertise on Facebook groups.

    The use of websites like OneFlare and HiPages are quite costly, and as a start up, it’s too much of an investment when most people are just looking for quotes. The goal is to have a consistent client base of 2 houses per day, I currently only have 2 clients with odd jobs here and there. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    #1214124
    Greg_M
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    Welcome to FS.

    You seem to be off to a pretty good start and 2 months is not very long to establish a long term/repeat client list.

    Brochures etc work OK but don’t always have a huge strike rate initially, but often result in calls down the track. Possibly need to do the same areas a couple of times to get a result imo (have used them)

    First thing I’d be doing is adding your preferred service locations to your website… a lot of search results depend on location as part of the query.

    I’d also be searching online for the local competition and what they’re doing and how good their web presence is. My experience has been for this type of service business they often don’t have one, or only directory listings (apart form agencies -which plenty don’t want to use)…with locations on your website especially in mobile search (where location is usually turned on) you can often pick up enquiries and your site backs you up well from there.

    The other one is Adwords, but that’s dangerous territory ($) without an expert.

    #1214125
    SaraWillard
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    Thanks for your tips, Greg.

    I hadn’t considered re-working areas with brochures, but that does make sense. It’ll help get some more exercise in too haha

    I’m ashamed to say I’m quite cocky in terms of my web presence by comparison. I conducted some investigations initially because I thought of becoming a cleaner under some one else’s business – that was until I saw the pay rates. I’ve found that the most attractive businesses have the cheapest rates because they pay their employees in peanuts. I will definitely need to look at being more specific with the areas I service to up my website hit rate.

    What I’d like to do is try and network with similar businesses (carpet cleaning, home maintenance, gardening, etc) to create some sort of affiliation of sorts. Not entirely sure how to go about that without risking my (lack of) reputation though. I’m also trash at selling myself B2B, so it will be a learning curve.

    #1214126
    Greg_M
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    Sounds like you’ve done your research, rare but beneficial.

    I develop websites for a few businesses like yours and local search is an easy target if the competition is weak or generic…you can obviously write copy, it should be simple to wind a few locations of choice into the conversation, you might be surprised by the results.

    Networking is a good idea, just walk up and have a crack when you see someone operating, you’ll improve with practice. Over the years some of the best connections I’ve had were people walking in off the street looking to have a go.

    I’d look at building reno and maintenance companies too, in a past life I used detail cleaners extensively before contract handover…I’d stay away from the volume operators in this sector, they operate on price and panic…I don’t know the areas you mentioned but if there’s any upmarket operators they’re more likely to be interested in quality and the security stuff (which you seem to have covered).

    #1214127
    bb1
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    SaraWillard, post: 256618, member: 105479 wrote:
    Whilst the ‘once off’ cleans I’ve completed so far have been successful with happy customers, I can’t seem to hold them down for a repeat service.

    Sound like your advertising (don’t like the term marketing, that’s so today) is working to some extent as you are getting some clients in.

    My question is are your clients really happy?

    If they were truly happy they would be taking you on for repeat business. I can see 2 reasons why they may not be happy.

    1. Price,
    2. You are not doing an adequate job.

    But your clients say they are happy. It’s an interesting thing that a lot of people say they are happy even if they aren’t. How often have you sat in restaurants when the wait person has asked if everyone is enjoying their meals, and everyone has said yes, even though 2 minutes earlier they were having a good whinge about them.

    I was helping a competitor once as he had exactly the same problem, he was getting a much higher enquiry rate then me, and scoring the jobs. But unable to convert to repeat jobs, he always asked for feedback, and it was always positive. I happened to get calls from a couple of them asking if I would quote, and as I always do i asked what didn’t you like about your previous gardener (its a good ploy), and the answer was a lack of attention to detail. Yet they had said they were happy.

    So I gave him the feedback from those couple of one of jobs and even went out on a job with him, and with not much extra effort his retention rate picked up immediately.

    #1214128
    SaraWillard
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    Greg Thanks for that! I’m not sure if I’m understanding you properly in regards to the building reno. If you’re talking about post-reno cleans then I would be required to get a white card and for now that is way out of my league as a solo cleaner, more importantly out of my expertise.

    BB1
    That was my concern too, and I’m honestly putting it down to price. I haven’t had many one off jobs and those that I have had were really wonderful, personable experiences. That said, I guess I will never really know. As a standard I charge about $125 for a weekly cleaning service, but with customer enquiries, I find people aren’t willing to pay more than $80 for a weekly clean, and due to overheads it’s just not feasible for me to cave in to those offers either. This will probably change once I hit more upmarket areas.

    #1214129
    ajkeal
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    Hi Sara,

    Firstly, congratulations on going solo!

    I have a client/friend in fence creation and installation who also started a business and generated leads from Hi-pages. The only thing being that you would be put up against two other local business owners to quote up. He managed to beat local competitors fairly well, so he ended up paying about $30-50 per conversion. A tad pricey but still worth it.

    He was also using AdWords Express which is a simpler version of AdWords for people who don’t know too much about it. This wasn’t going well at all and he had hardly any customers from this despite pouring a few hundred dollars into it.

    I did a really quick and temporary WordPress site for him and set up an AdWords account, did some keyword research, set up some suburb focussed ads and in 2 months we have cost per conversion down to $13, and he is getting roughly 6 or 7 enquiries per month.

    It could be worth looking into depending on your competition environment, if you have a website, etc etc…

    All the best!

    #1214130
    SaraWillard
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    Thanks Ajkeal! I’ll send you a PM once I have money to play around with.

    #1214131
    Greg_M
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    SaraWillard, post: 256626, member: 105479 wrote:
    Greg Thanks for that! I’m not sure if I’m understanding you properly in regards to the building reno. If you’re talking about post-reno cleans then I would be required to get a white card and for now that is way out of my league as a solo cleaner, more importantly out of my expertise.

    BB1
    That was my concern too, and I’m honestly putting it down to price. I haven’t had many one off jobs and those that I have had were really wonderful, personable experiences. That said, I guess I will never really know. As a standard I charge about $125 for a weekly cleaning service, but with customer enquiries, I find people aren’t willing to pay more than $80 for a weekly clean, and due to overheads it’s just not feasible for me to cave in to those offers either. This will probably change once I hit more upmarket areas.

    Yep, you’d probably need a whitecard, last time I looked you could do it online and it wasn’t hard…

    I wasn’t talking about a serious site clean, often at the end of a job there’s a final, final clean not too much of a step up, probably cleaner than plenty of houses are before you start…just an idea anyway.

    #1214132
    SaraWillard
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    Greg_M, post: 256631, member: 38207 wrote:
    Yep, you’d probably need a whitecard, last time I looked you could do it online and it wasn’t hard…

    I wasn’t talking about a serious site clean, often at the end of a job there’s a final, final clean not too much of a step up, probably cleaner than plenty of houses are before you start…just an idea anyway.

    Ahhh, I see. I haven’t looked into it too much since I assumed I would be out of my depth. I’ll do more research. Thank you :)

    #1214133
    PristineCleaningPerth
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    Hi Sara,

    I run a cleaning business on the west coast and can let you know what worked for me. We have lots of regular clients now but it was definitely a learning curve getting to this point.

    What I would suggest to you, based on where you’re at now:

    1. Make sure you have a google business listing and get reviews on there, like yesterday. I did a search for you and couldn’t find a business listing. Google really favours local search results for local searches so the sooner you’re on there, the better.

    2. Join lots of fb community chat groups in and around your area. You might notice that in the active ones, there are lots of posts like ‘does anyone have a hairdresser recommendation’ etc. Do searches using the filters to regularly search for ‘cleaner’ posts and comment with your business fb page to generate interest. These search results will usually only come up when you’re in the group, so have to join first. Some will also let you advertise yourself on certain days a week/month. We still get several bookings per week from doing this.

    3. Don’t be cheap but make customer service the #1 priority. We are one of the more premium cleaning services in Perth but we have clients on a waiting list to book in with us as we do amazing cleans and have great customer service. Also, believe that you’re worth it! The day I started to believe that we were worth the highest rates in Perth, the day clients agreed to these rates without hesitation.

    4. Every time you do get a client, find a way to incentivise them to refer you to their friends. The ones that love you will do it anyway but for many it doesn’t occur to them to pass your name around unless you ask. Perhaps leave a flyer with them that they can pass on, or offer them some kind of bonus if a referral books in. Word of mouth is everything.

    5. Make sure your marketing material is definitely pitching you as a solo residential cleaner. A lot of people will choose a ‘company’ for bigger jobs like vacate cleans but want a ‘cleaning lady’ for their weekly/fortnightly needs. Because we do both, we have separate marketing material (eg. Flyers) for different services.

    6. Work on how you take phone calls/enquiries. Each quote I do is about 15 minutes minimum, and not because it takes that long to work out a price, but because I spend as long as possible building rapport with the client by asking what they’re looking for, talking about what we can do for them and all the features and benefits of our service (ie. What sets us apart from the competition). As a result, our conversion rates are very high. There is really an art to this so if you’re feeling out of your depth, look for sales techniques videos etc to watch by people that are experts at this.

    Hope this helps. Feel free to get in touch for any questions you have :)
    Good luck!

    Satya | http://www.pristinecleaning.com.au

    #1214134
    OperiteMichelle
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    Hi Sara,

    In a market so flooded with cleaning companies it really pays to be showing high up in the search on search engines. Not knowing the backend of your site, pay attention to the meta descriptions and ensure you can be found using the keywords. I would focus on building your blog especially around the areas that differentiate you. i.e. AirBNB cleaning Sydney. For one of my clients, a blog in a specialty area of theirs is now the number 2 entry page point for organic searches.

    #1214135
    OnlineBizConsultant
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    You can consider the following:

    1. Use of Eco-Friendly Products and tell your customers you do so
    2. Loyalty Cards / Discounts for repeat business
    3. Buy 2 get 3rd 1/2 price type of offers
    4. Cleaning Subscription service – pay X every month/fortnight and you will get their place cleaned.
    5. Think OutSide the BOX

    #1214136
    karensaid
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    If I may make a few suggestions Sara: Coming from a helpful place. Fix the basics with your online presence first.

    Likelihood of a [ .com ] ranking above a [ com.au ] is unlikely in your niche. It’s a common/popular marketplace, so your competitors in the same area or nearby, will no doubt have [com.au]. Google will favor Australian extensions. It makes sense right.

    http://www.pristinecleaning.com.au as an example above.

    I wouldn’t say it’s a flooded market. These are more used services. I think your niche is booming.

    Think about changing your domain name to a .com.au it’s not expensive at all to purchase and change over.

    I noticed your platform is on WIX

    Another reason it will not rank well (sorry). These free website making platforms make me mad. Too much to explain, but they are not effective for your brand or business going deep.

    I understand budget comes into play, so maybe you were thinking of transferring over to wordpress in the near future, and hosting with your content, that is yours and yours alone! You control it and can switch up the site anyway you want to suit your audience.

    I see there are a lot of web developers here on the forum, perhaps reach out for more advice.

    2 tweaks to consider.

    Good luck.

    #1214137
    karensaid
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    [USER=102148]@PristineCleaningPerth[/USER] I love that tag line you have in your slider “We’ll get your bond back” such a creative hook to use and definitely in the mind of your consumers [USER=105479]@SaraWillard[/USER] Perhaps brainstorm a list of pain points or concerns tenants or landlords or home owners may have, that they potentially stress over and think of incorporating some taglines that resonate. I don’t mean overly annoying or smarty’taglines (hate those). Just a thought.

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