Hiring Blues: Where Are All The Good Cleaning Technicians?

I've been hearing a lot of cleaning business owners singing the blues lately, and it's all because they can't seem to find good cleaning technicians. And just when they think they've found some good people, they either don't show up for work or they quit after a month or two.

The unfortunate result of this scenario is that there are a lot of frustrated owners out there who are no longer willing to put in the effort to thoroughly train employees for fear that it's all just a big waste of time. And thus begins that vicious cycle we've seen in our industry for years - high turnover.

The danger for business owners is the shift that happens when their frustration becomes apparent to the people around them. Frustration leads to bad attitudes, and bad attitudes will change the entire culture of your business. Even your most productive and most engaged employees are susceptible to that negative culture, and may seek employment elsewhere if they have to put up with all the negativity.

How Do You Find Cleaning Technicians That Stick Around?


Unfortunately there is no silver bullet to this problem. With increasing minimum wages, competition for employees, thin profit margins, and restrictive labor laws, it's becoming increasingly harder to find good help.

Even the companies that are succeeding have to actively recruit employees regularly in order to keep the pipeline full. But it's more than just having a steady stream of prospects to choose from. That phrase, "slow and steady wins the race" applies here. And it starts with you, the owner, and the culture you create for your business.

It's not easy to create a positive culture in an industry that is typically perceived as low-end and low-paying. But it is possible to attract and retain good cleaning technicians. I've seen companies that are making it work. In fact, here is a quote from one of our LinkedIn group members about how he is able to steal away employees from his competition:

"Trust me, if you separate yourself from the competition in terms of how you treat your employees, they will tell others who work for competitors and they will come knocking. This has been happening frequently with us for years now."

Another example of a company that literally wrote the book on creating a culture in the cleaning industry that helps it's employees thrive is Jancoa. The book The Dream Manager is based on what Mary and Tony Miller did to turn their company around.

The reality is that for most people, their cleaning job is a stepping stone to what they really want; so if you can get 3 to 5 years out of a cleaning technician, you're doing great. Jancoa is helping their employees reach their dreams, so they are retaining most employees participating in the program for at least 3 to 5 years.  

Market Your Business to Prospective Cleaning Technicians

People don't usually think about marketing when hiring employees, but that's exactly what you need to do. Marketing is all about attracting people to what you have to offer. It's no different when seeking employees. If you want to find good employees you must attract them. 

Think about it this way. Many of us rely on word of mouth to grow our business. When your customers have a great experience with your business, they are more likely to tell others about you. The same holds true for employees. If you have engaged employees that enjoy working for your company, they're more likely to recommend you as an employer. And the good news about that is, they're going to tell their circle of friends, who typically share the same attitudes and values. And if your best employees are recommending your business, it's very likely these will be the kind of people you want to hire. So encourage your best employees to promote your job openings to their circle of friends.

You'll also need a strategy for marketing your job openings in order to get even more candidates  in the door. But instead of the traditional employment ad where you list the position, FT or PT, and the hours they'll be working, focus on the benefits and experience they'll enjoy when working for your company. 

If you read our last blog post on attracting and retaining top talent, you'll know that 41% of employees say job security is a key reason to join an organization. So talk about that in your employment ad. Ask your best employees why they love working for you and use that to attract more candidates. Other things that are important to candidates are career advancement opportunities, learning opportunities, and your organization's reputation as a good employer.

Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill

If you don't want problems right off the bat, be sure to hire for attitude. As the saying goes, this job is not rocket science, and although not everyone is cut out for cleaning, most people can learn to do the job if they get the right training. It's better to hire a dependable, hard working employee with a cheerful attitude than it is to hire an "experienced" cleaner with a negative attitude. The point to remember is to hire people who will work well with the team and within your culture.

If you don't believe me when I say to hire for attitude, train for skill, then take a look at companies like Southwest Airlines. Southwest has followed this philosophy for 30 years and is known for its customer service. And the jobs available at Southwest are much more complex than a cleaning technician job. 

One more point about hiring decisions. And that is to look for people that are coachable. Being coachable means "the ability to accept and implement feedback from bosses, colleagues, customers and others". So ask questions that will help to uncover their coachbility, such as, "If I call your last supervisor, what will he/she tell me are your weaknesses?" If they can't come up with any weaknesses, they're probably not very coachable.

If you'd like more information on how to hire for attitude and how to determine if people are coachable, check out the book "Hiring for Attitude" by Mark Murphy. 

Remember that none of this happens over night (slow and steady wins the race, remember?).  Be patient through the process as you work on improving your hiring and training process as well as your marketing strategy for attracting better candidates. And keep in mind that your competitors are likely struggling too so if you can improve your culture, chances are you'll be able to steal away some of your competitors best cleaning technicians.

Employer vs Employee Perspective Differs When it Comes to Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

In 2014 Towers Watson conducted a Global Talent Management and Rewards study.  The study included 32,000 participants, who helped to uncover both employer and employee perspectives on trends and issues shaping the global workplace.

Here are some of the findings. The interesting thing about each of these findings is the differing viewpoint of employers versus employees. 

Job Security:

  • 41% of employees say job security is a key reason to join an organization
  • 26% of employers say job security is a key reason to join an organization



Attraction Drivers - Employer View:

1. Career advancement opportunities

2. Base pay / Salary

3. Challenging work

4. Organization's reputation as a good employer

5. Organization's mission/vision/values

6. Learning and development opportunities

7. Job security

Attraction Drivers - Employee View:

1. Base pay / Salary

2. Job security

3. Careen advancement opportunities

4. Learning and development opportunities

5. Challenging work

6. Organization's reputation as a good employer

7. Vacation / Paid time off

Retention Drivers - Employer View:

1. Base pay / Salary

2. Career advancement opportunities

3. Relationship with supervisor / manager

4. Manage / Limit work-related stress

5. Learning and development opportunities

6. Short-term incentives

7. Challenging work

Retention Drivers - Employee View:

1. Base pay / Salary

2. Career advancement opportunities

3. Trust / Confidence in senior leadership

4. Job security

5. Length of commute

6. Relationship with supervisor / manager

7. Manage / Limit work-related stress

As you can see, what is important to employees is not necessarily what is perceived to be important by employers. This may result in employers focusing on things that are not as important to candidates in their marketing efforts to attract and retain top talent.

My suggestion is to poll your own employees and have them rank these items in order of importance. Take a good look at the insight you can gain from this and how you might adjust your talent search to focus on what is truly important to job candidates in your type of business.

How To Get A Meeting With A Cleaning Prospect That's Gone Silent

One of the most frequently asked questions we get from cleaning business owners goes something like this:

"I met with a prospect who loved my presentation and seemed ready to hire us, but now he's gone silent. How can I get him to make a decision?"

First, you never want to leave a meeting without stating what will happen next (ie: you'll call next Tuesday at 9am). Assuming that didn't happen, here are some tips to re-engage your prospect. But first...

What NOT to do when following up with a cleaning prospect:

  • DON'T send an email follow-up that looks like this: "I'm just following up to see if you're still interested in hiring our cleaning company." It sounds desperate and does nothing to prompt them into action.
  • DON'T send a follow-up email that says how interested you are in working with him or her. That isn't going to make an impression or get him or her to take action.


Do this instead to nudge your cleaning prospect:

  • Find a better reason to stay in touch, instead of sending desperate emails. Everyone talks about adding value by sending an interesting article you think your prospect might be interested in. Take it a step further and send them an article that YOU have written that demonstrates your expertise. And make sure it's a topic they'd be interested in or that is important to their business. For example, maybe there's a recent flu outbreak and you've written a blog post on how to prevent the spread of germs in an office setting. 

  • Mail them something of value. Our clients loved our monthly newsletter. And yes, we actually printed it out and mailed it to them. They are much more likely to open something that lands on their desk than they are to open an email newsletter, where it's easy to hit the Delete key. We also sent it to prospects that we really wanted to do business with. In our initial meeting we gave them a copy, and then continued to mail it to them. In one case, our prospect was in the early stages of building a 50,000 sq ft, Class A office building. It took several months, but instead of badgering them with phone calls, we stayed in touch with the newsletter. And we were the first ones they called when it came time to submit proposals.

  • Think about what might make the timing of a follow-up meeting important right now. Maybe winter is just ending and you know their floors are in desperate need of professional cleaning. 
  • Give them a reason to be interested. You had them engaged in your first meeting, so find a way to re-engage them. Think back to what their issues are with the current cleaning service. For example, you could say something like, "At our last meeting you mentioned that you are tired of the soap dispensers running out of soap all the time. I have an idea on how to fix that problem." Remember, it's not about you; it's about your prospect's problems and how you can fix them.

  • Find a client or colleague who can give them a nudge. LinkedIn is a great resource for finding common connections with clients and prospects. Maybe a current client who knows Mr. Prospect would be willing to put in a good word.

A tip regarding your cleaning prospect's preferred method of communication

Many of us are so used to text messaging instead of actually calling people, that we simply assume that everyone is ok with it. But before you start bothering your prospect with text messages, find out their preference early on. 

During your first call or meeting, get their cell phone number. Afterwards, send a text message to say you've added him or her as a contact and are looking forward to your next meeting. You'll know by the reply you get (or don't get), whether or not texting is a good way to stay in touch. If they do reply, be sure to use texting responsibly: do not badger them with texts, text them during business hours only, spell out words and use short sentences. In other words, don't text like a teenager if you know what I mean (lol)...

If you've been following up regularly for about 3 months without response, it's time to give it a rest

Sometimes the timing just isn't right. It doesn't necessarily mean they'll never hire you. We've had prospects contact us a year or more after our initial meeting, finally ready to make the switch. Check back in 6 months or so to see if you get a response. If not, let it go and put the ball in their court by letting them contact you when they're ready. 

Go Deep Into One Target Market Before Being A One-Stop-Shop For All Your Cleaning Clients

One of our members at The Janitorial Store recently asked us about being a one-stop-shop for all his cleaning clients. This is nothing new in the cleaning industry and we do recommend that you provide many services to your clients. 

There are a couple reasons for being a one-stop-shop:

  1. First, you become the go-to service provider for just about everything your client might need. Not only is it convenient for them, it's profitable for you.
  2. Second, you keep competitors from getting these extra services and potentially stealing away your clients.

But before you start targeting several different markets and offering many different services, take a step back and come up with a plan to do it successfully. I've seen too many cleaning companies lose control because they're moving in a hundred different directions, quickly burning themselves out with the chaos of the situation. 

Are you a One Stop Shop for Cleaning Clients?

If you want to be a one-stop-shop for your cleaning clients, then consider this:

The first thing you want to do is to go deep into one target market, mastering that sector before diving into other markets. For example, if you want to target office buildings, then really learn that market well, and learn how to offer all those extra services like windows, carpets and hard floor care so that you're the one-stop-shop for that market.

Once you have that experience under your belt, then start thinking about how to approach your next target market and what you need to know. For example, if you want to go into medical office cleaning, what expertise do you need for that particular market? Your next goal might be to add educational facilities. That's fine, just keep in mind that you don't want to be all things to all target markets until you get really good at one or two in the beginning.

The added advantage of going deep with select groups of target markets

The added advantage of going deep with a select group of target markets is that you start to build a reputation for being an expert at that type of facility. We used to clean a lot of banks. We gained the reputation in town of being the trustworthy company that were experts at cleaning banks. In fact, when employees moved from one bank to another, they often recommended our service to the decision maker because they noticed their new bank wasn't as clean as the one they just left. The more bank branches we cleaned, the easier it was to build that part of our business.

Once you have things up and running with with a few clients in place and supervisors running the day to day operations, you'll have more time to research what you need to know in the new market you're going after. You need this time to get the education needed, to train your people and build the connections that will help you achieve your goal of serving this new market.

None of this happens overnight. But if you want to become a stronger, healthier cleaning company, then being strategic about your growth will help you maintain control and avoid the chaos of trying to be all things to all people. 

Do You Make These Mistakes When Terminating Cleaning Technicians?

No one likes to think about terminating cleaning technicians, but it's inevitable. As a business owner it's your job to determine when and how to terminate employees. It's also your job to make sure any management personnel know the rules for termination.

Some business owners hate terminating cleaning techicians so much that they put it off until they're "up to here" with frustration. But this is the worst time to let someone go. The chance that you'll make a mistake increases when you're frustrated and upset. So make sure you're calm and collected before you fire an employee.


Here are some common mistakes cleaning business owners make when terminating cleaning technicians

  1. Taking your anger out on the employee during termination. If you raise your voice, use foul language, or even fire the employee in front of their peers, there is a good chance the employee will retaliate. This retaliation could be in the form of a lawsuit for wrongful termination or filing an unemployment claim. He or she may even make threats against the company, other employees, you personally, or even your family.

    And don't forget about the power of social media. Disgruntled, terminated employees will spread the bad word all over the Internet. Whenever terminating employees, be sure to treat them with respect, no matter how frustrated you are. If they're not a good fit for your company, then explain it calmly and with as much courtesy as you can muster.

  2. Terminating without warning. There are some cases where this is acceptable, such as in the case of obvious theft or abuse against a fellow employee. But in most cases, terminating without warning is not a good practice.

    Give employees every chance to improve their performance. If they're not performing to standard, talk to them first. If the poor performance continues, create written documentation. Taking these steps helps you get all your ducks in a row should you need to terminate the employee down the road. And it ensures the termination won't be a surprise to the employee. It will also help deflect wrongful termination lawsuits and give you ground to stand on should you need to present your case to an unemployment judge.

  3. Putting the blame on something other than the employee's performance. Some employers will actually blame the termination on downsizing or lack of business. The problem with this is that your employee will probably go straight to the unemployment office and start collecting unemployment compensation, which will affect your SUTA rates. And you won't be able to fight it without the truth coming out, which won't go well for your company.

Termination Best Practices

  • Create a progressive discipline policy for your company so you have a process and forms for documenting all discussions and warnings.

  • Train all managers and supervisors on your termination policy and process. There is nothing worse than allowing your supervisors to terminate employees without training them on how to keep your company out of hot water.

  • Never terminate an employee when you are angry or frustrated. If it's a situation where immediate termination is necessary, take a few deep breaths to try and calm yourself before taking action.

  • Have a witness with you such as a manager or supervisor whenever terminating another employee -- especially if you anticipate resistance or anger from the employee.

  • Always terminate employees in a private location away from other cleaning employees or employees of the building in the case of a commercial location. If you're terminating a residential cleaning employee, do it in the privacy of your office - not in a client's home. If possible, do it before or after the employee's shift so as not to create a lot of disruption in the workplace.

  • Prepare paperwork ahead of time such as a termination statement, copies of previous write-ups to refer to, any forms relating to possession of company property, and your policy on final paychecks and termination of benefits.

Termination is never pleasant, but when you are prepared and calm, it doesn't have to be stressful. Treat the employee with courtesy respect, and move on quickly so you can fill the position with an employee that is a better fit for your cleaning company.

Getting Your Supervisors Ready To Run Your Cleaning Business Without You

As cleaning business owners, we've all given thought to what would happen to our business should an emergency happen and we couldn't be there. Are your supervisors ready to run your cleaning business without you?

If the answer is no, then it's time to step up and make plans for this day because it's inevitable. You know that if your cleaning business can't run efficiently without you there every day, then you'll never be able to grow the business. You simply can't expect the business to grow until you can step away and let your supervisors take over for the time you need to be away.

You also need to let them take over more of the day-to-day tasks of running the operation so you can use more of your time leading the business in the direction you want to grow.

The problem most business owners have is that so much of what happens on a day to day basis is locked up in their heads. They have no written systems. For example, do you have a system for how you'll get a job covered when someone calls in sick at the last minute? And what happens when someone doesn't bother to call? Who is checking to make sure every employee has shown up? And what is the process for making sure the work gets done when you have a no-show?

It's Hard to Let Go of Control of Your Cleaning Business

I get it...it's hard to do but it simply must be done! Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Get organized and teach them to think like you do

Before you relinquish control of specific tasks you must document your system. Perhaps the best place to start is to give your supervisors a Quality Control checklist so they know exactly what you're looking for when it comes to the appearance of each account. This is not just a specifications list. This is a list of your expectations. For example; no cobwebs behind doors and no dust on chair legs in the reception area. When they know what you look for, they're more apt to look for the same results when doing a post-cleaning walk-through.

Establish standards

Along with documenting systems, you must also establish operating standards. If you want the phone to be answered no later than the third ring, make sure they understand that. If you want client phone calls returned within an hour, make sure it's added to your list. Without these standards, they'll make their own decisions, which likely won't match your expectations.

Be open to other options

As cleaning business owners we set our own standards of acceptable performance and we expect our employees to follow suit. But it's important to be open to other options suggested by our employees and supervisors. Sometimes we must realize that other approaches to the same task may be as good, or even better that your own. So be open to their feedback before carving it in stone.

Compare results versus activities 

Some people take twice as long to do something as the next person, which impacts the bottom line. Train your supervisors to look for results first, then be on alert for productivity standards. If they're getting the results you're looking for in the time allowed, then congratulate them on a job well done. But if their results are slowing down the overall productivity of the team, then a course-correction may be needed.

Be a coach


Coaches lead their team and teach them how to be the best they can be. So if you want to be able to take a vacation away from the business, or be able to leave at a moment's notice when there's an emergency, then you must teach your staff how to run the business in your absence.

If you want them to take over your responsibilities then you must teach them how to do those tasks. In fact, if you are doing tasks that your supervisors are perfectly capable of doing, then you're standing in the way of their professional development. Plus it may be sending them the message that you don't think they're capable of doing the job properly. And your business may suffer if your qualified supervisors leave for companies that allow them to improve their skills and advance in their career. So get out of your own way and let them help you manage the business.

Start giving up tasks a little at a time

Now that you've made the decision to train your supervisors to take on more responsibility, don't dump it on them all at once. Start slowly. If you want your supervisors to start writing the schedule, teach them how do it and then let them get the system down before teaching them something new. And don't nit-pick if they don't "dot their I's and cross their T's" exactly the way you do. Instead, look at the consistency of their results. If they get the same or better results than you, then don't waste energy on pointing out a typo that really doesn't matter to the big picture.

Encourage them to make decisions and approach you with new ideas

If you never give your supervisors the chance to try new things or make suggestions on how to do something better, they'll shut down and you'll never know their true potential. In fact, they'll probably start coming to you with every little thing to get your stamp of approval in fear that they'll make the wrong decision. That defeats the purpose of having them learn to manage the day-to-day activities of your business.

Giving them that decision-making responsibility may slow things down a bit at first, but remember that it's part of the learning prcess.

Become a good listener and ask a lot of questions

To be a good coach to your supervisors, you must listen to their point of view respectfully and then get really good at asking the right questions. They'll respect you more if you ask questions rather than shut them down for making a bad decision.

Delegate, don't abdicate

The final piece of advice for getting your supervisors to run the business without you is to never simply "hand over the keys to the store", so to speak.

It's great to be able to hand over more responsibility to your supervisors, but without documenting, teaching and ongoing coaching, you're setting them up for failure. And you're setting yourself up for disappointment. So take it slow, follow the tips outlined here, and allow your staff to shine.

I like this quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower because when you have people that WANT to do something, they don't need you there to make sure it gets done.

"Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it." 

If you would like help with training your supervisors to run your business without you, invest in a training program that develops their supervisory skills.

Janitorial Supervisor Training Program

Team Leader Training Program
(for residential cleaning supervisors)




6 Reasons Your Cleaning Staff Isn't Doing Their Job

Every day cleaning business owners become frustrated because they feel their cleaning staff isn't doing their job -- at least not to their satisfaction.

In most cases we figure they just don't care. It's just a cleaning job after all. But not everyone is satisfied to just get by, and they really do want to do a good job. So before you write it off as their being just a marginal employee, take a deeper look into what the underlying problem might be.


6 reasons cleaning technicians fail to live up to your standards

1. They don't understand what you want.
You've been doing this a long time and know exactly the results you're looking for. But that doesn't mean your employees do. The things that seem obvious to you may not be obvious to an employee that hasn't been properly trained. Your employee may think they're doing a great job cleaning sink faucets. But they don't understand that leaving streaks on shiny chrome is not the result you're looking for. Yes, you can tell they wiped it, but you're looking for spotless chrome with no streaks.

2. They don't understand why it's important.
Your cleaning technician may think you're just being nit-picky when you point out that they left streaks on the sink faucets. But they probably haven't considered why it's so important to you. From your experience, you know that if the client comes in right after the cleaning and sees the streaks, they think your company does sloppy work and doesn't pay attention to detail. So don't just point out what they're doing wrong, explain why it's important.

3. They don't understand how to do it.
People are sometimes afraid to admit that they don't understand how to do something -- especially if they've been yelled at for doing it wrong. Instead of asking for help they might just keep their mouth shut. Maybe they're using too much cleaning chemical on their cleaning cloth, which is why they continue to leave streaks on the sink faucets. Ongoing training can help the employees that may not fully understand what they're doing wrong.

4. They've come up with another way to do it.
Sometimes people come up with their own way of doing something. Instead of immediately shutting them down and insisting they do it your way, look at their results. If they're getting good results and doing it within the alloted time, does it really matter that they're not doing it exactly the way you want? Maybe they've come up with a better way that can improve the rest of your employees' performance.

5. They can't do it.
If employees aren't physically or mentally capable of doing what you want, it doesn't necessarily mean they're incompetent; it just means they've been put into a position they're not meant for. For example, if you put a "people person" into a job that has no interaction with others, chances are they won't be happy and you'll end up with performance problems. But just because they're not good at the job you've given them, doesn't mean they aren't perfect for another.

6. They won't do it. 
If you've exhausted all the other possibilities, you've reinforced all their training, and the employee still isn't willing to do what you need done; then it's decision time. Do yourself and your employee a favor and free them up to pursue a job they're more suited to. That will free up their position and allow you to find an employee that can meet your expectations.

Sometimes the cleaning staff we hire are not living up to our expectations and don't seem well-suited for the job. But before you "fire fast", consider that it's not easy finding good employees, so make sure you do your part in giving them every chance to succeed before resorting to termination.

QUESTION: Do you ever feel your cleaning staff isn't doing their job? What are you doing to improve the situation? Post your comments below.

Survey on Holiday Parties Hosted by Cleaning Business Owners

Have you ever wondered if other cleaning business owners host holiday parties for their employees?

I just came across the results of an SHRM 2013 survey on holiday parties, so I thought I'd share these results and take our own survey of cleaning business owners. I'll share the results in a couple weeks.

Holiday Party Facts

(Based on SHRM 2013 survey)

66% of companies threw holiday or end-of-year parties last year.

8% asked workers to pay for guests.

45% didn't allow guests.

10% asked employees to bring food, decorate, buy tickets, give money or otherwise contribute.

42% held gatherings during business hours.

How did your cleaning business compare?

We asked cleaning business owners the same questions and here is how they responded.

36% of respondents own residential cleaning companies
36% of respondents own commercial clenaing companie
28% of responsents own both residential and commercial cleaning companies

Did you throw a holiday or end of year party this year?

Yes - 71%
No - 29%

Did you allow your employees to bring guests?

Yes - 46%
No - 54%

Did you ask your employees to pay for their guests?

Yes - 0%
No - 100%

Did you ask your employees to bring food, decorate, buy tickets, give money, or otherwise contribute?

Yes - 0%
No - 100%

Did you hold your gathering during business hours?

Yes - 46%
No - 54%

A few comments shared by contributors:

  • We have a staff of 8 and have regular pot luck gatherings and the ladies chose to do the same for Christmas this year. 
  • We catered lunch and desserts in and arranged the schedule  so that all could attend.
  • Bowling party with catered food.  Did not purchase any alcohol.
  • We do not have company parties because of legal issues. 
  • Middle Management and executive team only.
  • Everyone partook in a "Kris Kringle" gift exchange.  Gift not to exceed $15.00.  Refreshments were served, in our office. 
  • We do something different every year.  Last year spouses came for comedy show and dinner and drinks

If you did not take the survey, share your comments regarding holiday parties below.

SEO Tips for Residential, Commercial and Janitorial Cleaning Companies

Today, businesses in every industry have websites on the Internet; in fact, it is almost essential that companies have a website, because so many people search for products and services via mobile devices, laptops, and other digital means.  This includes residential, commercial and janitorial cleaning companies.  For every company, search engine optimization is vital to being found online. 

For those who aren't certain of what SEO strategies to use, here are a few tips focused specifically on cleaning and janitorial services.

Since most cleaning companies provide their services locally, it is important to optimize for local search.  This involves performing keyword research to learn what phrases people use to search for your services.  For instance, if you are located in Kansas City, perhaps your target customer is using "residential cleaning service in Kansas City" or something similar.  Be sure to use these keyword phrases in your content, including website pages, videos, blog posts, etc.


Be Sure Your Website Is Fully Optimized. Many of the tips below relate to ‘off-page’ strategies and techniques. Truth be told, your website needs to be SEO friendly, with optimized text and content AND needs to have a clear call to action in order to convert clicks into inquiries and sales.  While on-page SEO can get technical, there are great online resources such as free one-click SEO website reviews – some of these you may able to implement on your own while other you may need help from your web developer.  If you are considering building a new website, or re-designing your current site, be sure to do research on small business web development before you spend money on a new website.

Include your location in your website pages.  If your cleaning or janitorial service has an office location or location other than your home address, include your physical location (including city and state).  This helps Google deliver relevant results when users search for services in a particular city/state.

Create a Google Plus Company Page and Yahoo Local account.  In addition, it is helpful for Chamber of Commerce members to be listed on their website.  Listings in relevant business directories will also help.

Be Proactive About Your Online Reputation.  Online reviews, particularly Google reviews, can help your business in so many ways.  The best online exposure you can ever achieve is when your Google Plus Company Page appears first in Google Search results with a deep list of authentic positive reviews.  Clicks from high-star organic search results (assuming your website is optimized for conversion) are virtually guaranteed to result in a sale.  Yet, this is a “live by the sword, die by the sword” strategy.  In other words, you need to be proactive about gathering positive reviews and managing negative reviews, or this strategy can backfire on you.

Gather quality inbound links.  Links coming into your website should be of high quality and relevant.  If your janitorial service, or residential /commercial cleaning company is a member of various business associations, try to get a link from their site to your own.  The same goes for other local businesses.  You can also supplement organic SEO campaigns with pay-per click adverting, which is a great way to fill in any SEO gaps and maximize your campaign’s return on investment.

Engage in social media.  Today, social media participation is a huge component of effective SEO for all types of businesses.  Depending on which social media platforms your target audience uses most, you may want to create business profiles or pages on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.  Search engines "listen" to social signals, so the more your content gets shared, liked, re-tweeted, and linked to, the higher your rank will be in search engine results pages.

Make sure local citations are consistent.  Any time your company is mentioned on the web, it is known as a local citation.  In all of these, your information should remain consistent and include name, address, and phone number.  Be sure that addresses are all the same, for instance that all include Road or Rd, or Boulevard/Blvd.  Avoid using the full address on some, and abbreviations on others.

Above all else, make sure your content is of exceptional quality.  Today, content really IS king when it comes to SEO for your cleaning or janitorial company.  Content should be informative, valuable, and engaging.  Answer the readers' questions, and leave them wanting more.  Great content is what gets linked to and shared via social media, so make it awesome!

These are a few of the most important tips for improving your SEO efforts as a residential or commercial cleaning company or janitorial service.  Treat your website as a revenue-generating asset, focus on delivering what potential clients are looking for, and create great content on a consistent basis.

About the Author:
Phil Singleton is the owner of KCSeoPro.com, a full-service online marketing services company that provides organic search engine optimization and other Internet marketing services, and KCWebdesigner.com, a WordPress web development firm specializing in custom SEO-friendly websites and custom web applications.  Phil is also a Duct Tape Marketing™ Certified Consultant and provides small business marketing product and service at KCMarketingAgency.com.

Have You Ever Walked Away From An Opportunity To Make A Sale In Your Cleaning Business?

Walking away from taking on a new client is not something anyone likes to think about because we work so hard to gain each and every one of our clients. And when you have a prospect that is ready to give you their business, why in the world would you ever say no?


Why Walk Away From a Prospective Cleaning Account?

Sometimes, walking away is just the right thing to do. Several years ago we had a medical clinic account where we did all the carpet cleaning and hard floor care. The surgery center that was affiliated with the clinic called us up one day and asked us to give them a price for cleaning their space.

We met with them to find out more about their needs and found that they were practically ready to hire us that day because they trusted the fact that the clinic was very happy with our work. After walking through the space, we realized that if we were to take on the account we'd be getting in a little over our heads. You see at that time, we did not have enough specialized knowledge and training in cleaning a surgery center, and it would take time for us to get that type of training in place.

It would have been so easy to take on that account since they were practically handing it to us

But because we didn't feel comfortable in our ability to handle it at that time we decided to turn it down. It was the right thing to do for the prospect. Of course after that opportunity came along, we decided that this was a niche that we should become educated in, which we did over the next year. And that gave us the opportunity to re-connect with them in case they ever needed a new cleaning service.

What it comes down to is integrity and making sure you don't place more importance on dollar signs over what is right for the prospect. Customers today want to to deal with credible people who will tell them the truth. If you're walking into a situation that requires more skill than you have, or it's a much larger account than you're prepared to handle, then do the right thing and walk away.

Have you ever walked away from an opportunity like this? Please share your story by clicking on the Comments link below.