How to Get Clients for a Cleaning Business

In this post we take a deep dive into the marketing and sales tactics to gain clients for your Cleaning Buisness.
Like with any business, one of the biggest keys to succeeding or failing is gaining clients. Whether you're a solopreneur cleaner or want to grow a large cleaning business, there are several steps that can help bring clients to your door.
Commercial Office Cleaning Crew at work

Commercial cleaning business

A commercial cleaning business focuses primarily on cleaning other businesses.  This market has some advantages and disadvantages.  

Pros of Commercial cleaning

One of the main pros of a commercial cleaning business is that there's a lot of demand for it. Businesses are always looking for ways to reduce costs, and one way they can do this is by hiring a cleaner.

This means that there's ongoing work available for an office cleaning business. Another pro is that commercial cleaning businesses usually have higher margins than residential cleaning businesses. This is because residential cleaning businesses are more competitive and have lower prices.

Another advantage is that you are cleaning "company" property and that usually means less attachment (fewer knick-knacks that need to be babied).

Cons of Commercial cleaning

There are some cons though.  Higher startup costs, to buy more equipment and supplies.

And often more overhead costs such as hiring staff. And more robust business insurance.  

There is also a longer sales cycle to gaining commercial clients.  And typically they are more "walled off" than residential.  Meaning there will be much more work involved in getting the first few projects.

Also with office cleaning services your schedule is when the office is closed.  

Cleaning Services

The first part of business success is deciding what services you want to actually offer.    Do you want to focus on residential or commercial cleaning services?   Do you want to specialize in a certain type of cleaning, like window washing or floor care?

One common mistake that people make is thinking - I will do everything.  It's almost always easier to get started by focusing on one specialty at a time.    

If you struggling with picking a niche there is a decision matrix I like to use:

Decision making Matrix
Decision Matrix

Ideal Customer Profile

An ideal customer profile is a generic representation of the ideal type of clients you want to work with.  It captures all their demographic information (usually stated as a range), needs, and psychographic.  To take it one step further try to discover where you can place your message that the ideal types of people will see.  

Marketing Assets

Marketing assets are the specific content you will generate, in order to attract your ideal clients.  Many people make the mistake of thinking that marketing is all about advertising. But it's really about attracting with a message.

Marketing Assets include items such as your website, brochures, and business cards.  

When you are just starting your business, you can create the minimum amount of Marketing assets. At a minimum, we recommend setting up a Logo, Google Business Profile, website, and business cards.  

What you should seek to do has have consistent messaging and imagery between all your marketing assets.

Channels to reach them

In marketing, you think of the places where you place your message as a channel.   This is where you put your assets to reach your ideal customer.

There are many channels that you can use, but it depends on the industry and what will work best for you.  Some of the most common channels are online advertising, print advertising, PR, trade shows, social media, and networking events.

My recommendation for the beginning is to try 5 channels to focus on max.  In my experience having a mix of paid and free is most effective. A really effective mix is 3 free channels, and 2 paid channels.

What you need to focus on is a return.  Calculate the cost of your time and costs for the advertising.  And compare that with the "return" in new sales.  But, by focusing on the return you will become increasingly more efficient.


There are many paid channels.  There are popular ones such as Google Ads, and Facebook Ads (Meta Ads).  

But there are many more specific to certain niches.  

The key is to test which ones work for you, and then focus on those that have the best return.


There are also many free channels.  And in fact the more inbound marketing you can do, the better. It is essential to network.  This is the best way to gain a potential client. People like real estate agents, lawyers, CPA's and other professionals often are connected.

The free channels include social media, SEO (keywords/content), Outreach (emails/calls), and organic search.

At a minimum, a Google Business Profile will help small businesses to be found.  This is one of the best ways to establish your online presence for local businesses.

If there is one thing to focus on for business success, it's the return on investment.

Lead Capture

One thing that you need to do is capture leads.  Leads will come in many forms, website visitors, referrals, and phone calls.  

The most common way to capture leads is through a contact form on your website.  But there are other ways you can do this, including business cards or postcards.

One key point of lead capture is to have consistent messaging. This includes what you say and how it's said in your marketing assets (website content, advertisements, and content).

Nurturing leads

Once you have someone's contact information you need to nurture that potential customer.    Nurturing is about understanding their needs, and getting them into the buying cycle.

The first step to nurturing your leads is to identify the different stages of the buyer's journey. The four stages are awareness, interest, conversion (sale), and loyalty.  Each stage has specific messaging that you will need to focus on.

Set Goals

Successful business owners focus on setting goals.  Setting goals allows you to measure your success, and what you should be doing. For example, if you are getting leads, but not sales, then you know there is a problem with your lead generation strategy.

You can also compare different strategies against each other. This will allow you to understand which ones are more effective.

When it comes to getting clients for a cleaning business, there is no one size fits all answer. However, by using a mix of paid and free marketing channels, you can increase your chances of success. Additionally, it's important to focus on lead capture and nurturing in order to convert leads into customers.

Basic Sales Process

There are many steps in the sales process. But the best basic sales process to gain new clients is listed below.  Your marketing strategy is to get people to talk to, and sales is to get cleaning contracts.

Set Appointments

The main Call to action in your nurturing and sales process is to set an appointment.   Your main objective for this process is to get the prospect on your calendar, and in front of you.

This is your foot in the door (literally).  And this is where you can discover if this is a good client. They will also be judging you from the get-go.  So make sure your transportation, clothing, and presence is professional.

Conduct a walkthrough

During a walk through with prospective clients, pay attention to the details.  Try to gain an understanding of what their needs are, and what areas will be difficult.  During this process, you should be trying to qualify the amount of time, and materials it will take to perform a high-quality job.  

Ask Good Questions

Based on your walkthrough you should generate a series of questions.  This will help you determine if this is a viable project, and how much they are budgeting.

Create your proposal and Followup

Based on your findings, generate a proposal. The proposal includes the estimated time it would take to complete the work, materials needed, and what you will need from the client.

Clearly define what will be accomplished.  Ans also set the correct expectations. For example, if there is a difficult stain, clearly explain that it might not be possible to remove.  

Your goal is to turn potential clients into new customers.  And always keep in mind "under-promise, over-deliver".

This is also a crucial stage where you should follow up on a regular basis.  Especially with busy people, asking for a job is a key to getting a cleaning job.

Ask for Reviews and Referrals

When you have finished your first job, ask for a review on Yelp or another site.  Also, ask the client if they know anyone else that needs work done.  This is a great way to get more customers, and it will cost you nothing.

You should network with current clients and seek customer referrals. This is one of the lowest cost methods to gaining cleaning clients.  And oftentimes these will be ideal customers because they are qualified by their friends.

Cleaning Contract

One area that is overlooked is the cleaning contract.  This is a document that explains your service, and frequently asked questions.   It will also include the pricing, deposit requirements (if any), and payment schedule.

Once you have finished your walkthrough with a prospect, make sure to get them to sign off on the contract.  This is helpful in case they cancel or do not show up for an appointment.

This document is especially important for commercial cleaning contracts.  If you have any interest in doing commercial research we recommend researching and spending the money on a good lawyer.  They can draft office cleaning contracts that will protect you and your cleaning accounts.

Common Questions

How do I get my first cleaning client?

The first client is one of the most difficult.   It can be time-consuming and even frustrating.  The best way to get your first client is to offer a free estimate.  This gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your abilities, and present a proposal in person.

How much does a cleaning business make a year?

There is no definitive answer to this question.  It depends on a variety of factors such as the size of your company, and the services you offer.  However, with a well-executed marketing plan, it is common to make six figures a year. As a solopreneur.

What do customers want from a cleaning company?

A certain level of professionalism is expected.  Make sure your employees have dressed appropriately, and you follow up with them on their progress. This shows customers that they are valued, and makes you stand out from the competition.

How can I get more commercial clients?

In addition to local networking, social media is a great way to get the word out.  This can be especially effective if you offer a promotion for new clients.  There are also sites like Thumbtack and Angie's List that help customers find professionals in their area.

Marketing to companies is more challenging than direct to consumers.  You will need to Network with your target market.  Once you gain an ideal client really leverage that relationship to gain more clients. A business owner often knows other businesses that are part of the target audience.

How do I get contracts for my cleaning business?

Contracts are the fruits of your labor. You need to define a marketing strategy and execute on that.  Maximize every opportunity to meet potential clients. Especially for commercial cleaning clients leaving marketing materials in business parks can help you get noticed.

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