President and Co-founder of CleanGuidePro
With the truly, humbling success of CleanGuidePro, we’ve received a lot of questions (from companies all over the world) about a variety of topics in the janitorial industry. Allow me to share yet another one of them with you.
Hey Drake: We’re new to the janitorial business and looking for tips on how to advertise our services. Any suggestions?
Answer: Very good question. First, let’s distinguish the difference between advertising and marketing. Advertising is the media (print ads, billboards, flyers, etc.) that you use to promote a product, service, or an event whereas Marketing is the message.
Since this question is about advertising methods (or media), here’s my take on what has worked best for me over the last 25 years.
- Yellow Pages: When I first got in business and started to think of ways to advertise my services, the first thing that came to mind was the yellow pages. I called my local yellow page salesperson and discussed what would be an appropriate page size ad to start with. The first question was, “how many trucks do you want to have on the road?” They said a small ad would produce small results, but a big, full page ($1500/month) ad would guarantee (although nothing in writing) BIG results! I settled on a business card size ad for $247 a month that produced little to no results. After that, I went with the free listing in the yellow pages for every business that has a business phone and actually got better response. Unless you’re a bail bondsman, I wouldn’t suggest this medium.
- Local Weekly Flyer: Much cheaper than the yellow pages and can run for 1 weekly issue or 3, but not great results. Everyone wants the cheapest price. I don’t recommend it.
- Word of Mouth, Customer References: Do what you say you will do, do great work and your customers will recommend you! This has been a big one for me and it’s free.
- Radio: I tried this a couple of times. Zero response! Maybe I didn’t give it enough time, but I wouldn’t recommend it for the janitorial industry.
- Golf Tournament Hole Sponsor: I’ve done this a number of times for customers that have annual company golf tournaments and ask me to sponsor a hole for anywhere between $150- $500. They put my company name on basically a yard sale sign, on the tee box that says “This hole sponsored by, My Company Name with a phone#”. I haven’t gotten any new business from this form of advertising, but my customers appreciate it and I usually get a sleeve of 3 new golf balls, so I’m sure I’ll keep doing it. Plus, me “likey” golf!
- Team Sponsor: Name on back of jerseys: I’ve only done this once at the request of a hospital manager. He asked me if I would sponsor his softball team by buying jerseys for the whole team. Since he was using over $20,000 a month in my services, I readily agreed. It only cost $1000 for the jerseys and in fairness I did get my own personal jersey. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do…
- Television: I’ve never done it and have never seen another local or regional cleaning company do it. I have seen a number of national restoration companies on late night television touting their flood drying capabilities. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you own a restoration company or a car lot.
- Vehicle Lettering: I’ve had my share of calls from potential customers that saw one of our company vehicles and got our phone number from it. This is less about advertising and more about projecting professionalism for your company and your fleet. I can’t really quantify new business from it, but do it anyway.
- Business Cards: Ah, the little white card and the power therein. Have them, give them and you will get business!
- Direct Mail Marketing: This is the Holy Grail of advertising in my experience! You can “cheaply” mail out post cards, flyers and brochures to your potential targeted market. With the right message and a call to action, you will get an almost predictable 2-4% response rate from potential customers calling you to place a bid on their facilities!
Keep in mind that janitorial advertising done correctly, using the right media, with the right call to action, will produce potential customers asking you to place bids on their facilities!