Marketing No-No’s for Cleaning Contractors

While there are a variety of ways that small- to medium-sized cleaning contractors can build their businesses, there are also a few that should be avoided.  Here is a sampling of those that I tell my clients they should avoid:

Direct Mail

Several years ago, a marketing company told a cleaning contractor in Northern California that they thought one of the most effective ways he could build his business was through direct mail. The program involved sending attractive, postcard-sized mailings to more than 1,000 building managers in the San Francisco Bay Area. The results: zero. This was an expensive marketing program, and one that small- to medium-sized cleaning contractors should certainly avoid today.

Radio Advertising

At one time, in smaller communities, radio advertising could be a cost-effective marketing strategy. However, today, it has few benefits for cleaning contractors.  The number of people still listening to the radio has plummeted.  Further, consumers have moved away from non-interactive marketing, where someone just talks about a product or service. They prefer to search online and learn about a product or service by doing their own research.

Newspaper and Magazine Advertising

In its heyday, advertising in publications could be very beneficial for retailers, even though it was costly.  However, it was never an effective marketing option for cleaning contractors.  The only segment of our industry that still has success with newspaper and magazine advertising is carpet cleaning services, and they must be very selective in where they place their ads.  The bigger picture is that even for carpet cleaning companies, the power of newspaper and magazine advertising is simply not what it used to be.


Some large cleaning contractors send e-newsletters to their current clients.  This is not so much as a marketing strategy as a staying-close-to-the-customer strategy, and it can prove useful.  While marketing e-newsletters were once very effective, they have lost a lot of their novelty because so many organizations are now sending them out.  Further, business consumers have shorter and shorter attention spans.  In time, instead of marketing your business, these could work against you because they can frustrate recipients. We never want to frustrate potential clients.

The world of marketing for all industries has changed greatly over the years. What small- to medium-sized cleaning contractors need to know is that it is likely to change even more over the next few years.  Because of this, contractors of all shapes and sizes must stay very focused on how they market their companies.  What works today may have disappeared by tomorrow. 

For hands-on consulting to help you build your business, contact Ron at 650-315-8933