Residential vs. Commercial - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
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post #1 of Old 04-30-2014, 03:48 PM Thread Starter
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Residential vs. Commercial

I have a quick question regarding commercial and residential:
My husband and I have started our cleaning business for offices this year. We have one account. I have been thinking today why not do residential in neighborhoods that look like they might own a business. Get the residential account and if my residential customer owns a business market that way. I guess that would be word of mouth.
Has anyone done this? Is this a good idea? I am licensed and bonded. It would be just me cleaning houses for a while I am looking at basically looking grow my commercial business.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated
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post #2 of Old 05-14-2014, 11:11 AM
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My husband and I have also started a commercial cleaning company. We went back and forth about residential work and decided its not worth it.

Your idea makes logical sense, but its a big assumption that the residential owner would own a business. on the plus side, if you only have the one commercial contract, residential is a great way to earn a continuous income until you find more commercial offices.

Where are you based?? We are based out of Toronto Canada. is offline  
post #3 of Old 05-15-2014, 12:50 PM
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We are both residential and commercial but are, ...and will be leaning, ... to commercial more and more. We're finding residential clients are way more difficult to handle with expectations. They tend to want to many changes from the scope of work that was agreed on and without any changes in billing.

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post #4 of Old 05-15-2014, 01:31 PM
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I think this is a good idea and it's definitely "outside the box" type of thinking. I do have to agree with DMJ though that you're making an assumption these people 1) own a business and 2) need a cleaner for their business. Can you send out flyers or join a networking group? Those 2 methods have scored me several commercial contracts.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." -Winston Churchill
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post #5 of Old 05-15-2014, 05:25 PM
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We've also had luck by approaching project managers at construction sites to get the post construction clean up contract. After that, as the project nears completion, the owner of the establishment comes in for a walk through and that's when we do our introductions ask if they need office cleaners etc. is offline  
post #6 of Old 05-19-2014, 11:12 AM
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We do both residential and commercial cleaning. It works for us well, since most of the commercial cleaning is done after work hours or on the weekends. Most of the business owners asked us if we do residential cleaning and asked for quotes. So, there is a potential in promoting your services to both sides. You just have to get to the person that is actually making the hiring decisions.

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post #7 of Old 05-27-2014, 06:19 PM
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You are on the right track to be looking for ways to leverage your activities in one area to drive business in another. I think you are going to find that the number of residences where business owners live is a very small percent of the overall and unless you do it 'cause you want the residential also I think your approach is not optimal. Also, it may be that commercial company owners already use their corporate supplier for home use and so you will be left with the remaining residential only ones.

What I would do is scout out 100 businesses you would like to penetrate. Find out who the owner is and where they live. If they are big enough find out who the facilities manager is and where they live. Now do a focused campaign directly to those homes and maybe a couple surrounding residences. Drive special deals at them to get them interested. This will be much cheaper and probably more effective. Good luck.

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post #8 of Old 06-10-2014, 08:21 PM
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I don't personally think it's a good plan but who knows... it could work! But I'd say the odds are slim to none. Out of about 15 years of cleaning I think we had about 3 commercial jobs come from residential clients. But give it a shot... the worst that can happen is that you end up with a residential cleaning business.,
I'm wondering why you chose to go commercial over residential? When you are your husband talked what was the deciding factor? Thanks
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post #9 of Old 06-18-2014, 09:18 AM
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I was just about to say the exact same thing as Jim - Pacific Steam. That is how I have done it and it has become very easy to do so with the Internet! Excellent tactic!

I do think that residential cleaning can be much more lucrative than many cleaning pros experience. You need to get clients that value quality and not quantity. There are ways to do that through out the process, but it involves one discipline that most cleaners simply cannot bring themselves to do and that is turn down work! You need to sculpt and mold your clientele like an fine artist and not just take work as it comes, you need to go out and get the best jobs and get clients you absolutely love. Too many service pros love to hate the client, sad to say.

You can use real estate valuation websites to find the wealthiest clients in your area that are not going to nickle and dime you to death. You also want clients that are not at home for work.

To the original post - I did get many office cleaning jobs from residential clients, you will run into all kinds of situations through word of mouth. with all 4 of my cleaning services I only had to do marketing for the first 6 months, after that it was all word of mouth.

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post #10 of Old 06-19-2014, 12:02 AM
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While I do agree that many cleaners will not turn down work they should not take on, I don't agree about getting customers who have a lot of money or think they have a lot of money. The bigger the house the harder it is to clean and the less profit can be made. Sure, one might make $125 profit on a big job but in the amount of time it takes to clean that 1 house I could have had 4 houses cleaned and made $250 profit.

Rich people don't blow money..... CREDIT CARD RICH people blow money. It's kind of like being welfare rich at the 1st of the month except credit cards can last for several years before people realize that in order to find out their real net worth they must subtract all that debt and that they actually have to repay it.

Real rich people ended up with money for a reason.... they KEEP it! I'm thinking real hard and he is correct about the wealthy person not working from home because none of my friends that are wealthy work from home. They also don't spend a crazy amount to have their house cleaned. They didn't get rich giving their money to a cleaning company. They either have an office or no longer work. My friends who own Cabelas worked from their kitchen table for several years way back when they first started but they have offices now and haven't worked from home since they were young. My buddy Ray who owns City Vending never works from home. Shawn at PrintPlace is rarely even home let alone work from home. My friends Holly & Michael worked across town from each other and have now bought an office building so they can be together and work outside the home. My buddy Alfie and my best friend Kasey have an office at home but they normally just read and pay bills from home. Rob owns the largest dry cleaners in Nebraska has a great office at home.... I think him and Craig (ambulance chaser) use it to sit and talk about racing and Harley's. I could go on and on...... these are all wealthy people (actually have a net worth of millions) and ALL of them are El Cheapo's! So don't be thinking that you will get an actual 'rich' person with a real net worth of more than a million to clean for because while there is always a chance of that happening.... probably not.

Last edited by sprintcar93; 06-19-2014 at 12:05 AM.
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post #11 of Old 06-19-2014, 09:18 AM
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There is no question that targeting rich people is not necessarily a big win. All people (most) are careful with their money and try to get a good deal. Nobody wants to feel taken. A big house can mean a bigger cleaning job which can reduce the cost of transit time overhead and that can be worth something.

Don't see business owners working from home either but that doesn't mean that you can't develop a relationship with the owner that can transition over to their business operations. Just one more networking opportunity.

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post #12 of Old 07-14-2014, 01:28 AM
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Residential customers will turn into commercial cleaning referrals.
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post #13 of Old 07-14-2014, 10:05 AM
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Whatever you do, never stop selling yourself to your customers. Two key points: 1) don't let them get apathetic. Continually let them know the little things you did for them that is special and 2) continue to let them know you are relying on them for both residential and commercial referrals.

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post #14 of Old 07-23-2014, 10:18 AM
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Surviving those first months after starting a cleaning business and getting customers does rely quite much on local advertising and word of mouth. Yet, residential cleaning seems to be easier to start with than being a commercial cleaner. Try contacting business owners with hard-to-decline discount offers.
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