NORTHBROOK, Ill.—May 13, 2020—In this edition of Straight Talk with Jeff Cross, Howard Partridge, industry veteran and consultant, discusses marketing strategies for cleaners during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Partridge is the owner of Clean as a Whistle in Houston, Texas and author of a new book, F.T.I (Failure to Implement): The #1 Reason People Don’t Reach Their biggest dreams and goals in business and in life. He began his business during a recession and subsequently weathered the Great Recession of 2008, and those experiences taught him two helpful things for carpet cleaners:
- When you’re working with high-end clients, they are less affected by recessions.
- During a recession, customers are more likely to clean than replace carpet.
In this recession, Partridge has focused on increasing his cash on hand and lines of credit, including a PPP loan from the federal stimulus package, so that he would be able to keep his team employed even during the downturn. “I decided I would rather have a mortgage on my house, I would rather have less money in the bank and keep my team,” said Partridge, who believes that good employees are among a company’s greatest assets.
In fact, this is one area where Partridge sees the recession as an opportunity for business owners. Until recently, finding good employees in an economy with low unemployment was a major challenge for many businesses. One of the opportunities coming out of COVID-19 for companies that want to grow is that there will be good employees available and eager to get back to work.
Partridge also expects that the cleaning industry will be stronger in the middle and upper markets, so cleaners have an opportunity to grow their businesses if they do strategic marketing. Here are Partridge’s best marketing tips:
- Market to existing clients: Partridge says the biggest marketing mistake that small businesses make is not marketing to existing clients. During the pandemic, stay in touch with your clients through e-mail messages, phone calls, or mailers.
- Offer discounted services. A strong offer can generate business and increase cash flow.
- Offer new services. Consider ways to branch out and offer sanitation services, janitorial services, or even outdoor services like power washing.
- Stay in touch with your referral partners. Even if they aren’t able to operate or give referrals right now, this is a perfect time to build relationships by connecting with them.
- Make yourself “top of mind awareness.” Make your presence known by building up your e-mail list, increasing your social media presence, and putting out mailers. Even if clients don’t respond now, they may in the future.
In addition to marketing, Partridge says another important area to focus on is your finances. “How people respond during this pandemic really depends on their financial position,” Partridge said. He encourages owners to take this opportunity to reevaluate their personal and business finances, assets, pricing, and profits and create a plan going forward. Partridge notes that in a recession, business owners need to get cash any way they can, even if that means working another side job or partnering with other businesses.
For owners who do have down time during the pandemic, Partridge advises to use the time to improve your management systems, spend time with your family, and change your mindset because when you change your mindset, you change your behavior, and that changes your life. “If you’re a business owner, your responsibility is to generate income, add value to people, take care of your team, plan for the future, and make sure that you are around to serve the community—and you need to take care of your family.”
Watch the complete episode of Straight Talk with Jeff Cross below, and find more Straight Talk episodes on cleanfax.com. Take part in the engaging online conversations on industry topics by joining the Straight Talk Facebook group today.