11 Ways to generate more leads for your cleaning business? Part Two

Following on from last month, here is part two of my list of ways to generate more cleaning leads for your business.

6 – Become a subcontractor

Even the biggest cleaning firms in the world subcontract. They can’t be everywhere and cover everything. Approach some of the larger regional/ national companies, they may be looking for partners like you. Any company hoping to expand will welcome the local support. Nobody likes to say no to a client if they can’t help, particularly if mileage is an issue. With the digital world as it is, many of us get speculative calls via our website for areas of the country we don’t cover. Think about it, would you rather lose a job, or pass it on to partner? If you’ve paid the generate that lead so why let it die. It’s better to have a 20% subcontractor fee than nothing and who knows what doors it could open with that client.

7 – Start a blog

Blogging is not just about content creation and keeping your website updated. It can be so many things, a communicator, educator and an out reach tool. Do not think for one second “but, who is going to read it?” Well, it depends on what you write. People are not interested in you and how great you are. Think about, “how can I give back”, “how can I help people” and more importantly “what are my customers looking for”. A Google search for ‘The benefits of outsourcing cleaning’ for example will show results for this very blog, on or near the top of page. With the right customer focused mindset, your blog can generate new business leads for you, as well as increasing your credibility within the industry and with Google.

8 – Google AdWords

So many people think of AdWords as a waste of money for cleaning companies. With the right management and more importantly an effective website though, you can increase your sales dramatically within a very short time frame. Lets take a scenario – Lets say you do high level cleaning. At the moment Google will charge you about 70p per click on your advert. You may get 200 visits a year, costing you £140. A good benchmark for a lead generation service site is 5%, giving you in the region of 10 enquiries a year. If you’re converting just 1/3 the jobs you price, that means you’ll win about 3-4 jobs a year through AdWords. I’m sure you all know that just one high level factory clean is going to be a lot more than £140. With the ROI (return on investment) sometimes in the 100s of percent, how can you ignore.

Now be warned, this isn’t for all. If you use the above example and you sell cleaning consumables for instance, Google are charging you 70p a click on your advert, you get 200 visits a year at £140, but your mean product sale is £5, that £140 pound has only made you £15-20. Take time to work out your CPA (cost per acquisition) and CPC (cost per conversion) and you may just find that AdWords could really kick-start your sales, especially if you’re a wide service range.

9 – Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the big brother of AdWords. He takes longer to mature, but he is in it for the long haul. A good healthy CTR ( click through rate) for an AdWords ad is around 3%. The top result in Google gets around 33%, if not more. Despite the many charlatans out there that have given the industry a bad name, their a many more reputable companies out there that can and will deliver. Do your research on suppliers, ask for testimonials from them. Ask a business associate or a customer for a referral or recommendation. Once the right connections is made, the positive difference that effective and ethical SEO can make is unquestionable.

10 – LinkedIn groups

Confession time – For the cleaning industry, I thought LinkedIn was next to useless. How wrong I was! Ask our self this “Who buys your services?” Facility managers, Bursars, production managers? All these people have groups on LinkedIn. Cleaning it is the same, if your looking for industry expertise, subcontractors or just somewhere to syndicate your blog posts, now is the time to really consider LinkedIn. I can recommend the NICE group and NICE for Cleaning & FM as great groups to join and start exploring.

11 – Forums

Going back into the noughties and beyond, forums were the go to place to virtually discuss the industry. Some of these groups are still going and flourishing. Cleanitup and Cleantalk are two that are worth a look. As well as there being some great freebies to download, shared by the community. They also have lengthy boards of contract tenders and job postings.

If you are already doing all the above fantastic! You’re well on the way to cleaning greatness. For those that aren’t I hope it’s sparked some new avenues for you to explore in search of that next big contract. I’d love to hear some of your techniques for finding new business, so please share in the comments.

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11 Ways to generate more leads for your cleaning business? Part One

It’s easy to be stuck in a rutt when it comes to marketing. The digital landscape is always changing and the latest cutting edge ideas soon become the norm. For many, word of mouth and canvassing is seen as the only affordable and effective way to generate new business. This post, published in two parts, covers some of the most effective marketing techniques avaiable to cleaning marketers.

1 – Construction Tenders

Glenigans/ Barbour ABI/ QSL – There is plenty of choice out there. Try not to think of them just as builders cleans opportunities. Contacted early enough there is the possibility of daily cabin clean contracts. A good sized 12 month build could have a number of site cabins that will require daily cleaning. Their is also the consumables supply to consider. Construction is all about relationships, a satisfied Quantity Surveyor or site manager, will use you again and again as they move to new projects. Construction Tenders also provide contact detail for the end client who may need daily cleaning services upon occupying the new build.

2 – Regional Procurement Portals

If you are looking to work within the public sector, regional procurement portals are a must. The days of councils supplier list of favourites are long gone. In many regions, any contract with an annual value of over £4000 now has to go to tender through these portals. To be considered for lower value work, you also need to be registered on the portal, as companies are chosen at random to provide the service required. Along with the regional portals, there are also portals for the NHS and the Police force. There is no need to limit yourself category wise so register with them now as it’s free.

3 – Join a Networking Group

If you’re in local/regional business you need to network, it’s that simple. You can have the best PR engine around, but if you don’t put your face out there, you’re missing valuable opportunities. Networking can be hit and miss, you don’t want to get caught in the trap of using it as an excuse to get out of the office for an hour for a pot of lunch. I recommended committing to a BNI Chapter. Joining a structured referral based networking group is best way to maximise your networking efforts.

4 – Telemarketing

Telemarketing in cleaning is not a dirty word. In fact, to call it telemarketing is an insult to what it is. Cleaning by its nature is repeat business. Who is developing your clients to sell your full service range? rebooking jobs at month 6 or 12? Ringing your construction tender leads and building your pipeline. The web is great, but local telemarketing will always have a place. For example, if a company is approached by three cleaning firms via the phone to price for the daily cleaning contract when is due, are they going to use the web for a solution? No.

5 – Google Alerts

Google Alerts are emails sent to you when Google finds new results — such as web pages, newspaper articles, or blogs — that match your search term. You can use them to find out what is being said about your brand, keep up to date on competitors activities or keywords relevant to your business. In this instance ‘cleaning contracts’ or ‘cleaning tenders’. It will work as a capture all, including news stories of contract awards, but you’ll also receive alerts for new contracts listed on.

Next month we’ll be looking at 6 more, mainly digital ways to generate for business for your cleaning company.

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A Breath of Fresh Air on the Hottest Day of the Year.

The first of a series of Team and Lean seminars promoted by NICE (National Institute of Cleaning Education) kicked off at Capital Cleaning Supplies in Kent last week.

A long drive on what was one of the hottest days of the year was amply rewarded with an honest and straightforward action packed showcase of cleaning equipment innovations, software and discussions on the way forward for cleaning industry training.

Hosted by Steve Wentzell in Capital’s purpose built training centre in Kent, over 25 industry professionals gathered to see, touch and try cleaning equipment which could give the forward thinking contractor a whole series of USP’s in today’s competitive market place.

With an introductory talk by organiser Des Fulcher extolling the benefits of ProTeam backvacs in square feet per hour efficiency terms and in user friendliness. Reduced bending and less wear and tear on the arms by substituting almost a figure of eight type mopping movement as compared to the usual push-me-pull-you vacuuming action.

When used in conjunction with the Sidewinder floor tools and extending vacuum poles the possible time savings, improved cleaning efficiency and H&S benefits were stunning and would impress any potential client with an eye on value and improved standards.

Indeed this was also the case with the Spacevac high reach vacuum system designed for high level vacuuming, gutter cleaning and accessing hard to reach areas. It is achieving record sales with contractors wanting to add on a specialist service or simply remove the hassles of using industrial subbies. Utilising impressively light, carbon fibre, standard diameter vacuum poles the system removes the need for MEWPs with obvious financial, training and H&S benefits and can be used both internally and externally and can come with a mounted video system so the quality of clean can be presented visually to your client.

The Vikan Easy Shine extendable pole system is one of those simple ideas which make you wonder why you hadn’t thought of it first! It’s a hygienic telescopic pole system incorporating a flat, swivelling base pad to hold a micro-fibre cloth. Ideal for de-skilling internal window cleaning, speeding up the cleaning of glazed wall tiles or even leaving stainless steel lift doors and panels streak free and shiny.

Nico Roos introduced the latest developments in The Cleaning System estimating software package. Developed in Denmark over 20 years ago this benefits from continuous improvement to meet the increasing challenges of the cleaning marketplace. Utilising ISSA standard times but fully capable of customisation based on actual site based work experience it is possible to offer clients a relatively quick ‘what if’ scenario to any suggested changes to their building cleaning programme and indeed benchmark against current best practice to highlight areas of inefficiency in their current cleaning regime.

An interesting and refreshing day which is highly recommended to both contractors and end users. The series continues with the next event being in Northampton.

NICE – www.trainnice.com
The Cleaning System – www.thecleaningsystem.com
Vikan – www.vikanspecialist.nl/en/component/allvideoshare/video/vikan-easy-shine-kit
Sidewinder – www.centecsystems.co.uk
Spacevac – www.rscompressors.co.uk
Pro Team – www.proteamvacs.co.uk
The United Kingdom Cleaning Professionals Academic Service – www.UKCPAS.co.uk

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Interview with Des Fulcher, Founder of NICE

This week on the Newlife blog, we’re pleased to welcome Des Fulcher, founder of NICE (National Institute of Cleaning Education). Des has a wealth of experience and knowledge of the cleaning industry and we managed to catch up with him as he prepares to launch the NICE to the industry.

Des Fulcher of NICE

Can you give us an introduction to how you entered the cleaning industry?

I spent approximately 15 years working with a leading health & safety distributor in the UK, which was on the fringes of the cleaning industry crossing many different sectors, this included my specialist knowledge of the food processing industry which we have quite a large proportion of in East Anglia. This lead to being ‘headhunted’ into one of Nationwide Hygiene Supplies largest founding members as Group Business Development Manager, giving me a ‘baptism of fire’ (and water, appropriately) experience initially managing their depot and business in London, dealing with FM giants such as Carillion (both Health and Defence divisions at key sites in or around our capital city) and the Royal Veterinary College amongst many others.

What inspired you to set up N.I.C.E?

The first version of NICE was inspired after seeing a BICSc membership regeneration meeting in London, after realising we had no independent training providers in East Anglia that could bring their schemes to a market place which seemed woefully neglected in respect of adult education for the cleaning industry. After seeing the damage BICSc and BICS Business Services have created more recently a new version of NICE is being developed, aiming to afford individuals and businesses a better informed choice for adult education, including giving clarity with pricing and performance with a unique ‘rating system’

How has the recession affected the cleaning industry does business?

From what I have seen companies have cut budgets and hours of staff in an attempt to maintain profits, switched on people are starting to realise better ways of doing things, Lean process is something the UK is following behind the USA with now.

Why do you think the US is so far ahead in the cleaning industry?

To begin with I believe the Americans have a much bigger market, plus appear eager to innovate and develop equipment to do a better job, some of that I’m sure is to improve operator health and some to do a better job in less time (freeing up time to use the same amount of staff for more contracts, and minimise or remove health risks)

How can we improve the quality of cleaning overall? Particularly in offering new methods, training and staff education?

The quality of cleaning overall needs addressing in many respects, simply saying ‘that’s how we’ve always done it’ isn’t good for anyone. New methods, training and staff education needs to be taken on board and fully supported at the highest level in any company, noting this does NOT mean stick operatives on Government funded NVQ’s, QCF’s or Apprenticeships hoping that does ‘your bit’ for the industry and staff – remember the saying ‘you don’t get ‘owt for nowt’ well here it speaks volumes!

Where do you see the future for cleaning in the UK?

If I had a crystal ball I’d answer that easily, but a parting thought is cleaning is quite often a critical service for just about every walk of life, ask yourself the question: Who is more important in an operating theatre, the surgeons or the cleaning staff? – infections kill more people than surgeons do…….

On the 11th July NICE will launching its first FREE seminar (details here) exposing the key aspects of Lean Cleaning, at Aylesford, Kent. Supporting the event will be: ProTeam, The Cleaning System, Sidewinder Vacuum Tools and Vikan.

N.B. – Other benefits to be included are , ways to improve operator health, improving Indoor Air Quality and making your cleaning business more efficient!

For more information or to reserve a place send a direct e-mail to: des@trainnice.com

You can find NICE on the web at www.trainnice.com or on  the NICE LinkedIn Group

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Top Safety Accreditation for Newlife Cleaning Systems

Local business Newlife Cleaning Systems has been awarded accreditation from safecontractor for its commitment to achieving excellence in health and safety.

SafeContractor logo

safecontractor is a leading third party accreditation scheme which recognises very high standards in health and safety management amongst UK contractors.

Employing 300 people, Newlife Cleaning is is principally involved in the cleaning services sector, specialising in the industrial and construction industries and with a £4 million turnover. Newlife Cleaning Systems most recent clients have included major players such as Carillion Enterprise, Balfour Beatty and J.D Wetherspoon.

The company’s application for safecontractor accreditation was driven by the need for a uniform standard across the business.

“Health and safety has always been core to Newlife’s business operations. Through our quality, H&S and environmental systems we aim the offer our customers the most professional service possible. Safecontractor is one way of fulfilling that promise to all our customers” Shaun Causer – Marketing Manager

safecontractor accreditation will enhance the company’s ability to attract new contracts and its commitment to safety will be viewed positively by its insurers when the company liability policy is up for renewal.

safecontractor is applicable to most sectors although it is particularly relevant to food manufacture, property, facilities management, retail and leisure sectors, all of which are big users of contracted services.

John Kinge, technical director of safecontractor said, “Major organisations simply cannot afford to run the risk of employing contractors who are not able to prove that they have sound health and safety policies in place.”

“More companies need to understand the importance of adopting good risk management in the way that Newlife has done. The firm’s high standard has set an example which hopefully will be followed by other companies within the sector.

safecontractor plays a vital role in supporting our clients in meeting their compliance needs, whilst working with their contractors as they progress through the accreditation process.”

Under the safecontractor scheme, businesses undergo a vetting process which examines health and safety procedures and their track record for safe practice. Those companies meeting the high standard are included on a database, which is accessible to registered users only via a website.

Client-organisations who sign up to the scheme can access the database, enabling them to vet potential contractors before they even set foot on site. These clients agree that, as users of the scheme, they will engage only those who have received accreditation.

Over one hundred and seventy major nation-wide businesses, from several key sectors, have signed up to use the scheme when selecting contractors for services such as building, cleaning, maintenance, refurbishment or electrical and mechanical work.

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