So you’re thinking of starting a carpet cleaning business. You might also be thinking about what unseen pitfalls that could be lurking ahead if you push the go button. Buying the van, getting the equipment, choosing the carpet cleaning chemicals and doing the technical training might be time consuming but in the most part it’s relatively easy to organise and complete. Often these aspects of starting a business are exciting and enjoyable too. Now the question is, how will you first get the phone ringing with potential customers and how will you book enough jobs so that you get profitable fast.
The vast majority of carpet cleaning business owners are technical, hands on people. You might be the same. Having the technical know how and a good equipment set up are must haves. But what about running the business? Marketing the business? Growing the business? Making marketing mistakes is expensive and could be the difference between success and failure in your carpet cleaning business startup. Do your own research but to get started here’s some marketing mistakes that are worth watching out for when getting started in carpet cleaning. If you avoid these you’ll be way ahead of the pack.
1. Not having a Google My Business page
Google My Business pages are free. They are a must for any local service based business. Getting good reviews on Google My Business will also help your ranking.
2. Not having a professional looking website
Your carpet cleaning business shop front is its website. Clients want to be dealing with reputable businesses that will look after and support them. A professional website helps give your clients confidence in you and also gives you a place to send people from Google’s search results.
3. Spending the majority of your startup budget on a van and equipment
4. Using an SEO company that guarantees first page on Google
Don’t get sucked in by online marketing companies who promise the world for a small amount of money each month. If it’s too good to be true it probably is or there’s a catch and perhaps some small print you didn’t know about.
5. Trusting Yellow Pages to look after everything for you
The Yellow Pages advertising business has declined significantly over the years. Ask yourself why and whether there are better options available.
6. Not answering your phone or not getting back to people
No point having great marketing if your phone isn’t answered promptly in a friendly way. People are not very patient anymore and expect great service and good manners.
7. Not understanding online marketing yourself
Most people getting started in the carpet cleaning business will trust their online marketing to someone else. This is usually a big mistake. You are a business owner now and you will need to know about online marketing. Successful operators have a good understanding of this area.
8. Not keeping a database of past customers and contacting them regularly
The hardest and most expensive thing to do in marketing is create a new customer. Once you have a new customer, stay in touch and do everything you can to delight and impress them. Regular customers are great for business.
9. Not up-selling enough
There are services you can provide that your customers will appreciate and get great value from. Make sure you tell them about everything you do. Think about upholstery cleaning, fabric protection, specialty stain removal, tile cleaning, odour control and leather cleaning.
10. Up-selling too much
When greed and profit alone becomes the primary motivation for up-selling you might make some short term profit but long term your business will suffer.
11. Putting all your eggs in one basket
Be careful your business is not all commercial or all residential or all real estate agents. Having a balanced customer base protects your business from the big ups and downs.
12. Using only broad match terms in Google AdWords
Don’t waste your Google Adwords budget with broad match keywords. Investigate the use of “phrase match” and [exact match] keywords for a better bang for your buck.
13. Not using very specific geographic targeting on Google Adwords
When you start out in your carpet cleaning business you have the luxury of being very focused with your marketing. Try and dominate small pockets geographically that you want to work in. You’ll cut down on your drive time between customers and earn more each day. Your focused efforts will be much easier to measure and adjust if needed.
14. Not having a clear business model
What’s your strategy? How will you charge for your services? What services are primary and secondary? What will you market? Could you lead in with a specialty service and up-sell carpet cleaning instead of the other way around?
15. Not knowing how to do a good job
Technical training is essential before you start a carpet cleaning business even if you are not going to be on the tools.
16. Not keeping your startup simple
Having too much equipment, too many tools and too many carpet cleaning chemical options can be a distraction to what’s most important… giving your customer a great experience. When you get started it’s best to keep things as simple as possible. Keeping it simple at the start means you’ll grow in confidence faster and confidence is the key to winning new business.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to starting and marketing a professional carpet cleaning business. You will try things that won’t work. It’s important that you don’t get discouraged, move on quickly and find things that do work. Speed is important, getting to a profitable position quickly in the first year of your operation is critical to your long term success and survival.
Got any more ideas to help startup carpet cleaning businesses master their marketing fast? How do you get the phones ringing? Maybe you’ve done something for your carpet cleaning business when it first started that made a big improvement to your growth and your bottom line. Or perhaps your business was in trouble and you changed something that made all the difference. We’d love to hear about any of your thoughts, experiences and tips for building a successful carpet cleaning business for the long term. Please get in touch, it might even be something we could add to this page to help others. Left field out of the box ideas are welcome.
And feel free to call our customer care team on 1300 123 499, if you require any help or advice about what you need to get your carpet cleaning business started (including machines, chemicals and accessories) and going gangbusters fast. For more information you can also visit XO2's carpet cleaning products online.