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Help with Marketing for my new business

swesleyswesley subscriber Posts: 1
edited May 2007 in Marketing
WOW WOW WOW...This is such an awesome site, and resource! Man, I thought the radio show was great, but this website is AWESOME! Everybody here is so great, it`s amazing how much everybody is willing to help each other!
Well, in less than a month my wife and I are going full-steam ahead with starting our business...No supporting jobs, same bills to pay, plus startup costs...Hopefully LOTS of hard work, determination, luck...we`ll start making money before we end up head over heels upside down.
Anyway, we`re starting a Cleaning business, focused on mainly upper middle-upper income level homes, small office parks and firms (real estate, law offices, doctors, etc.) and apartment building common areas (including hallways, stairs, leasing office).
Looking for advice on marketing. What we have planned for now is to print up some tri-fold brochures, business cards, and attempt a couple press releases. Being the very tight situation we`re in, the cheaper we can do it, obviousely the better. At the same time, if a few hundred dollars extra can give us a much better chance of making a better first impression and getting more sales, then it may be worth it. Usually when somebody has made up a brochure or business card on their home computer it`s obvious, unless they spent tons of money on state of the art programs, equipment, etc. We don`t have that, so if we make them at home, it would look like we made it at home. I`m not saying it`s going to be real cheesy, or crummy looking, but it just won`t look like a nice, glossy, professional made brochure/card.
Anybody any feedback, should we just bite the bullet and pay a professional? Find a local graphic designer? Use one of the DITY graphic design websites? Do the best we can on our computer to start with, until we have revenue coming in and can afford to pay for better? Also any marketing ideas/suggestions? Right now all we have planned is door-to-door w/brochure and biz card stapled to it. Hit neighborhood after neighborhood. Find office parks and start cold calling. So mainly ground pounding and cold calling. Any other suggestions? Positives/negatives of using these methods? Any more effective methods?
Thank you so much in advance!


  • LisaLLisaL subscriber Posts: 0
    It`s very important in your communications to always keep your target audience at the forefront. If your target is "upper middle-upper income families and office parks and firms," then any communications you send out must speak their language and be presented in a manner to which they are accustomed. With this target audience, I don`t think it will help you to do your printed marketing materials yourself. It`s imperative that your business looks like it belongs with this group. So, yes, I think you would benefit from hiring a professional designer. Keep in mind, too, that a professional graphic designer with marketing savvy may be able to offer you other solutions. For instance, it may be in your favor to do a quarterly direct mail campaign with a rented mailing list. Rather than spending your time going door to door, you could instead spend that time more constructively. With a mailing list you can specify almost anything: household incomes between a certain range, how many children are in the home, etc. You really will hit your target, but one mailing usually isn`t enough. I hope that helps.Lisa
  • DerrickDerrick subscriber Posts: 2
    No matter who your audience is, it is imperative that you have a professional looking image on the web.  Leave the web site to the professionals.  I do have one suggestion regarding some cost effective marketing - join your local Chamber of Commerce.  For about $100 (annual dues), you will get instant visibility in your area, your marketing materials are distributed among the group, and I would imagine many of members would be prospects and hopefully customer in the future. 
    Good luck.
  • TrueviewTrueview subscriber Posts: 1
    Presentation is Key!
    It costs the same amount of money to print a lously brochure as it does a good brochure, invest the time and money with a good graphic designer.  They will be able to increase the professionalism of your firm in no-time at all.
    Spend smart, not cheaply!
    Some good resources include:

    Trueview Services
  • swesleyswesley subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks for all the replies!
    Actually, I think we do have a couple unique angles. We are using on natural, earth-friendly, toxin-free cleaning products, we are also American, speak English, and are pretty typical "All-American" looking (don`t take it the wrong way, I just have a feeling that will help w/the clientele).
    Everybody seems to support we should probably go with spending the money and getting professionally made materials, so that`s our plan. Like somebody else said, after its all said and done, we`ll probably spend just as much trying to do it ourselves.
    CraigL you are very right, cleaning services are a dime a dozen, big whoopty do...It`s about being able to sell yourself, hey we`re going to charge more but we speak English, you don`t have to fear that we`re a couple crack heads that are going to steal from you, etc. I think we have a very good angle there, and that`s been our focus...Give off that trustworthy, you can trust us, professional look/appearance.
  • GetAGripGetAGrip subscriber Posts: 14
    To start off with, if you are trying to save some money, go to Kinko`s or any other office print shop and they will guide you to making a good brochure that looks professional (Your a start-up, start slow and inexpensive).  These shops do this kind of thing all the time.
    Secondly, beat everyone else`s prices.  If your shooting for upper-class as you said before, believe me these people are upper-class for a reason, that reason ussually is because they are frugal and make decisions that will save them money.
    Market to country clubs, law offices, doctor`s parks, or anywhere where your demographic of customer hangs.
    Offer to do a one time cleaning with a money back guarantee.  Clean better than you ever have before and beat your competitors prices, you just got yourself a new customer.
    My wife started a small cleaning business when my products started making money, mainly for something to do.  She made $40,000 last year with just a few clients and still alot of free time for herself.  You have picked a great business with alot of competition, be the best with the best prices and you are off and running.  If you are not keeping your job and do not have a source of income, please start slow and save as much as you can, where you can!  I have been where you are and it will seem tough for a while, but you can do it!
    Good luck to you!!!  I think you will do fine.
    Trent Rousey, President - 3R Products, Inc.
  • bookloverbooklover subscriber Posts: 8 Member
    I would suggest including the tip in the price cleaning, so people know
    exactly what they are paying.  No one ever knows what and if to
    tip a cleaning person.  That could alleviate a little stress.
  • swesleyswesley subscriber Posts: 1
    I work for tip income and I absolutely would NOT include tip information in your pricing.  That is a completely rude turnoff.  I would, however, post on your vehicle about your service.  As you drive around town you get free advertising.Your type of business does not need a website at this time.  When you have an income and want to sell your green products, then you need a website.  Your money can be better spent otherwise.Are you bonded and insured?  I`ve wanted to hire some occasional help and changed my mind when I found out they were not bonded.  Also, do you provide a scrubbing service?  So many cleaning companies damp mop the floors and simply are pushing the dirt around.Do you require a top to bottom cleaning first with maintenance cleaning afterwards?  Will you do one room cleaning only if that`s all the customer wants?Have you had a police background check so that you can offer that assurance to your customers?Jillybeans
    The magnet sign on the vehicle was something we were really thinking about. Besides great advertisement, wouldn`t that also enable us to write the vehicle off on our taxes as a business expense?
    Bonded and insured we are working on that. Actually, that was probably going to be another post...the best ways to go about this, suggestions for companies to go through, etc. Scrubbing service, I`m not sure...Can you give more detail on what exactly that would be? Do you mean like wiping down baseboards, getting up grime, mildew, etc., and not just mopping over?
    That`s what we were planning, do an initial cleaning, likely charge more that first time or two, then after it`s been given a through, treat all normal, repeat cleanings after that as maintenance cleanings. For police background...I`m not sure how to go about that? I just got out of the military 2 months ago, had a secret clearance when I was in Iraq a few years ago...So are you saying this is just something you tell the customers? Or would you have an actual document from the police dpt. showing a background check? If you mean having an actual hardcopy of something, then no we would have to do that, if that`s not what you mean, then I believe we should be ok there.
    Thanks for all the suggestions!
  • swesleyswesley subscriber Posts: 1
    Not exactly. Having a sign does not make your vehicle 100% deductible for tax purposes. You need to keep a very detailed mileage log for that.You can get a background check online, or through your local police department. Even people in the military have records - no joke.
    So that would be some type of document I would print out, make copies of, and offer to customers along w/the list of references, resume, etc.???
  • muttmutt subscriber Posts: 0
    You could go to your local College and ask their Arts/Business Dept if they have students that is majoring in Advertisement/Technology, they usually have a Dept  within these that help small businesses and they will help you put together Advertising materials and logos at their cost for class projects and no cost to you. Also your small business association within your area are ready to help small buisnesses with their needs usually free of charge.
  • Bizwordofmouth.comBizwordofmouth.com subscriber Posts: 1
  • showermanshowerman subscriber Posts: 1
      What has worked for me over the years in my cleaning business, is a really well drawn up flier that lists your services, a little bit about you and what kind of quality you stand for, and above everything else, face time and conversation with the people or management that you are targeting. When its all said and done, you are selling you, and if you are in fact a good cleaning team, you will never go hungry and your phone will always ring. Thats the easy part.. Your biggest challenge is to impress the rental companies and other places that you want to do work for as very flexible, trustworthy, presentable, and totally confident that they are making the right choice by having you do their cleans. All you have to do is get your foot in the door of a couple of these places and your quality of work will be your calling card.. Cant tell you how many times that I have had people referred to me from the rental companies that I work for.. Im not the cheapest and they know that, but they also dont have to worry about the quality of clean that they are going to get..Also, if these companies say that they already have a cleaner for them, ask to get on their vendor list anyways.. Something always comes up where they may need you in a pinch, and that will be the break  that you will be waiting for.. Another tip. Hit up all the apartment and condo complexes and ask to bid on their laundry rooms. After the first initial cleans, its easy money on a bi-weekly basis.Dont get discouraged by being rejected, because once you get two or three main clients, you will be on your way to consistent cleans.. Good Luck
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