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My favorate way to market my carpet cleaning business is very simple. I printed up a professional looking flier on my computer. Black ink on yellow paper with a well designed logo and some information on the benefits. I had some shirts made with my logo put on the breast. For sales calls I where my polo shirt when I clean carpets I where my T-shirt with my logo on the back and on the breast. I target the commercial market. I simply go from business to business and ask for the manager and give them a flier with my business card. I always find someone who will want an estimate right away. This is a very inexpensive way to market. Forget newspapers! I have wasted good money on newspaper ads. In addition I also joined the local Chamber of Commerce. I was introduced as a new member in front of over 300 people. I was fortunate enough to get the carpet cleaning job at the Chamber I did such a good job that the wife of the president of the chamber asked me to clean her carpets at home. She was very pleased with the results. Because of this the president of the chamber gave a little commercial for me at the breakfast in front of over 300 people. I was able to pick up a few jobs that morning. I hope to pick up more residential jobs by getting referrals from my commercial jobs. Thanks Mark!
That's good news Charles. I have a similar experience. I too began the business in Feb, but I was not up and running (sending out marketing material) until April. My first marketing attempt was in a church bulletin that gets about 3500 readers per week. Nothing at all from that ad (I bought a year for $284 - the ad will run every week).
After no luck with that, I decided to contact businesses directly with a letter advertising my services. I found a good commercial letter written by the fellow at www.excellent-supply.com. I sent his letter to 50 businesses and got one job. I only charged $150 for the job being it was my first, but it took me only 2.5 hours. That's not too bad for the first job. The owner loved the results. I encapped it.
I then sent out about 300 more (with ink and postage I figure it cost me about $150) and got 2 more jobs from those. I made $217.35 and $228.63
After that, I put an insert in a local newspaper (cost me $512) that got me 3 jobs and one referral. I offered 3 rooms for $99, 5 rooms for 125 and 7 rooms for 190. The 4 jobs were for the 3 rooms deal. Average time per job was about 2 - 3 hours and I made a total of $240. I won't go so low the next time. It did not cover the cost of the ad. I was not happy with the ad to be honest, It looked like everyone elses ad out there and I'll never run one like that again.
After that, I placed a small ad in a free bulletin. It cost me $20 bucks a week. So far, I got 5 jobs from the ad that amounted to $600 in total.
Last, I placed an ad in a larger community paper this week because they were having a 7 town special for $20 per week - 90,000 readers. I hope that will get me some more residential.
All in all, I sure have learned a few things.
Do not to go low in price just to get the job.
Newspaper ads get your name out there, but it seems they won't get you high paying jobs often enough. I'm thinking of buying a mailing list and targeting a group as apposed to the shotgun approach with newspaper ads.
I've found that this business is more word of mouth than I thought it would be. Today I got a call from a large gym that wanted a price on 4 area's. They said they got my name from someone I did a job for, but could not remember who that person was. I'm not in the phone book, so this person must have been impressed with the work I did to be able to give the referrel.
I got a call from my 2nd customer wanting his home done 1 month after I did his jewelry store. It is true that if you do a good job, other jobs will come.
sorry for being long winded folks