How to Promote an Office Cleaning Business

If you are thinking about starting up your own janitorial/ cleaning business, here are some low-cost promotional strategies & techniques you can use to get accounts for your office cleaning business.

Starting an office cleaning business is simple, and requires little start-up capital. For the most part, the only expense involves buying supplies and advertising.

Fortunately, cleaning supplies are cheap, and it costs even less to advertise in local newspapers, or online. Because most business professionals are busy, they are willing to pay a company or individual to clean their offices. You just need to learn how to brand your Office cleaning company in order to grow your business.

Remember, Almost anyone can clean. The trick is to hire others to do all the cleaning once you get things up and running. This leaves you free to generate new business. There are very simple and inexpensive ways to market your office cleaning accounts.

Here are just a few simple ways:

* Specialized Service:

If you offer your cleaning service for just one type of business.. let’s say , lawyer’s offices, by concentrating all your efforts in one type of clients, it will make your life easier, and your efforts far more better than being everything for everyone. Think about this, if a lawyer compares between 2 companies, company A is a general commercial cleaning company that offers service for all type of businesses, and company B specializes in just lawyer offices. Who would he choose?

By specializing in one or few types of service you give a message that you offer a service tailored for their needs,and that’s exactly what loyal clients want. Try to copy this idea by finding a small niche, like Doctor’s offices, dental offices, pharmacies, Real Estate, High Tech offices, etc..

Don’t misunderstand me here. You can still go after any type of offices to clean. But you can tailor your marketing towards each individual type of industry. In other words..You can have specialized services in many different industries.

* GIVE-A-WAYS:

One marketing strategy used by office cleaning business owners are giveaways”. Businesses love to try services for free. Once they see what a good job you do, and once you earn their trust, there’s a good chance you have just earned a client. If you’re running a cleaning business, you could give away a cleaning tips brochure, free cleaning guides, or color swatches. Once you begin giving away authoritative information customers will begin to perceive you as an expert in your field. (This may seem somewhat difficult and time consuming but I promise you it’s not).

* Business Cards:

This is one of the greatest marketing tool for any Janitorial/office cleaning business. The problem is most folks that are new to the office cleaning business don’t know how to do this correctly. If you know how to get your business card into the hands of the right people, at the right time you will generate a ton of business just from this one little strategy alone.

Simply learn how to Provide an irresistible offer on the back of the card for new clients. This has worked for office cleaning business owners many times over!

You don’t have to hand out 200 business cards and hope for the best. There are methods of getting leads that can actually help you obtain more business than if you were running an expensive full-page advertisement in the phone book!

* Print Advertising:

Start by setting an advertising budget. Once you set your budget, decide where to advertise. For a cleaning business it makes no sense and would be a waste of your money to advertise in a large magazine or buy a TV commercial that airs on a Saturday night. Besides being expensive, these ads will most likely not reach your target audience. The common print ad, run in your local newspaper or shopper, is the most basic unit of advertising.

Print ads have launched major office cleaning companies and created many success stories. Running ads in a local paper can be a great way to promote your cleaning business…but you must follow a few basic rules.

Your ad should attract attention! Although this sounds obvious, unless your ad attracts attention you are throwing your money down the drain. The most compelling way to have a “noticeable” ad is to have an interesting and visually appealing headline. If you are designing a large ad, think of using a subhead. This will provide added information and can be longer than the headline.

* Greeting Cards:

Greeting cards can be used as a great Marketing Tool when it comes to repeat business and referrals. Use them to thank clients for their business. Send them as greeting for most of the holiday occasions. Try to send cards as early as possible so they can be the first in your clients mailbox. Surprise them first so they can always remember you. Use handwritten messages to show more appreciation to your customers. If you use this marketing tool,you can always save money by buying cards after occasions, in quantity and keep them for next year.

* Electronic Media:

Buy banner ads in electronic media. Look for websites that target your potential customers, such as your local chamber. This can deliver your information right to the business that needs your service.

Copyright (c) 2008 Brent Wale

Are You a Business Person Or a Person in Business?

As a marketing and advertising professional, I have asked this very question many times to customers that I consult with. “Are you in business or a business person?” It isn’t meant to be rude or cut a business owner down, but rather to help them think about how they are currently managing their business. Too many people enter the world of small business ownership blindly without really having a good plan and the means to execute that plan.

In order to know if you are a Business Person or just in business, we need to break down some very simple principals that apply to small business ownership so you can decide for yourself.

1. A Business Person has a plan. Someone in business just wings it.

This doesn’t mean you need a long drawn out business and marketing plan. If you are a new business person, you may not even have an idea how to start. Your plan doesn’t need to be elaborate or detailed at first. It should be detailed enough to describe your business and how you are going to run it for the first year. As you begin your new business venture, take the time to write down some ideas about your business. You can break down your business plan with a SWOT analysis, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Your strengths are typically internal attributes. A weakness is any type of shortcomings your business might have. It is also considered an internal attribute. Opportunities are external forces that can affect the success of your business. Threats are external forces such as competitors or anomalies in the marketplace that could have an adverse affect on your business.

A simple business plan gives you some direction and guidance in starting your business. A business plan is a path that you can use to get off to a strong start and help you on your way to being a successful small business owner.

2. A Business Person has a plan to market their business; a person in business tries some ideas and hopes the customers will show.

Every business has to market itself in one way or another. Customers are an essential component of your businesses success. (Thanks Captain Obvious, right?) How do you get the customers to come to you? You have to market your business. There are a number of ways to market your business. So many in fact that the average small business owner doesn’t always know where to start. If marketing isn’t your specialty and your business requires a unique clientele it is always my recommendation to hire a professional to help market your business. A marketing professional can help you design a plan that will get your business off to a strong start and bring the customers to you.

If your business plan doesn’t include the initial funds to hire a marketing professional then at least have a plan. Look around, what are your competitors doing? Are they using yellow pages, billboards, TV, radio, personal sales or other out of the box marketing ideas. It is not always a given that your competitors are doing the right kind of marketing to attract customers. It could be they are lost in marketing as well.

Have a simple plan to market your business. Don’t overlook anything. Write down your ideas, analyze your competitors, and act on your plan. You will learn as you go what works and what doesn’t. Act on the ideas that work, refine and tweak them, then put them out there again. A simple marketing plan truly makes you a Business Person.

3. A Business Person works smarter, not harder. A person in business works hard, but doesn’t always succeed.

Working smarter could be as simple as analyzing the most tedious parts of your business to find a better way to complete them or outsource them to save you time. If you are drowning in paperwork, hire a part time bookkeeper. If you don’t have time to answer every call, hire an answering service. There are probably countless ways to work smarter and not harder in your industry. You need should carefully analyze your business to find those activities to tighten up and make your business run smoother.

If we sum up the few principals that we just learned, we can state that Business People operate businesses with a plan of action. A Business Person looks beyond today and sees their business for what it could be. A Business Person analyzes their competitors and business environment continually to capitalize on opportunities and avoid pitfalls.

Training For Success With Your Internet Business – Article 4 – Deductions For Use of Home

If you are working from home, you may or may not have an area of your home that you refer to as your office. It may be that you make your phone calls from the bedroom and complete your paperwork at the kitchen table and see customers or clients in the family room.

On the other hand you may have a separate room in your home which is furnished with a computer, printer, desk, comfortable office chair, phone, filing cabinets etc. from where you conduct all aspects of your business.

While from the point of view of maintaining an efficient office the latter option is probably preferable, many of us don’t have the luxury of an extra room that can be set aside for a home office and we end up working under circumstances much closer to those mentioned in paragraph one.

Regardless of how your “office” is set up at home, you may be able to deduct a portion of the operating expenses of your home and treat them as office expenses.

To qualify for these deductions you must use your home or portions thereof regularly and exclusively as your principal place of business for your home based business. Regular and exclusive use means that you can’t just point to a desk in the corner and call it your office. It must be broken in by regular use. This does not mean you have to use it every day, but it must happen frequently enough to show that you are actively engaged in your home based business.

If you think that the regular use of your office might be questioned, keep a log book (see Record Keeping article issued earlier in this series ) recording your home based business activities and business visitors for each day the office is used. You are not required to commandeer an entire room or a separate structure to meet the exclusive test. A portion of a room is acceptable.

Whatever space you do set aside, however, must be used exclusively for your home-based business. You can set aside more than one area of your home for business. For example, one room may be used as an office and another for meeting or entertaining clients. Your principal place of business is where: (1) you conduct the most important activities for that home based business and (2) you spend the most time.

If you meet with clients or deliver goods or services to customers, your principal place of business could be where those meetings or deliveries take place. However, if your home based business has no fixed location, you may deduct expenses for a home office if you use your home to conduct substantial management activities and complete necessary paperwork.

You can have more than one principal place of business if you have separate business activities. For instance, you may be employed and work in your employer’s place of business all day, then return home to run your own home based business on evenings and weekends. Or you may own a business that operates in rented office space and also conduct a second home based business from your home. Your home office expenses will be deductible, because your home is the principal place of operating your home based business. It does not matter if your businesses are closely related or share the same clients, as long as different tasks are involved. Do not bring work home from your employer or another business that does not qualify for the home office deduction, or you could lose the deduction for your home based business activities. You will fail the exclusive use test.

If your business is selling products, you may deduct expenses allocated to areas of your home regularly used for storing your inventory and product samples. Your home must be the only location for the business of selling your products. The exclusive use test does not apply to storage areas, but the space must be a specific, identifiable area. Suppose, for example, that you use a cupboard in your hall to store your inventory. Even if you use the space to store linens as well, it will be deductible as part of your home office.

Deductible office expenses include a portion of the following expenses:
Rent,
real estate taxes,
mortgage interest,
utilities,
home insurance.
If clients or customers regularly visit your home, the costs of lawn care, landscaping, and driveway repairs may also be included.
Repairs to other parts of the house and family living expenses (such as food) are not deductible.
However, a pro rate share of repairs that benefit the entire home, such as roof repairs or painting the outside of the house, may be claimed. The same is true for the business portion of the cost of installing and maintaining a home security system.
You may also include a deduction for depreciation on your home, but as this could well lead to a recapture tax upon the later sale of your home, you should obtain advice from your tax advisor before considering this.

The percentage of your home used for business is computed by dividing the square footage used for business by the total square footage of your home. Your home office deduction is figured by multiplying the total of your allowable household expenses by the percentage of the home being used for the home business. e.g. Total Square Footage of house is 1500 sq ft. Total Area used for business is 150 sq ft. making the percentage of the home being used for your home based business 10%. Thus 10% of total allowable household expenses can be used for home business deduction.

In most countries, the home business deduction cannot be used if your home based business already has a loss for the year. Neither can it be used to create a loss for the year. Usually however, any part of the deduction not used can be carried forward to future years. Verify with your Tax Advisor as these rules do differ widely between countries and also frequently change when tax authorities update legislation. If claiming the home business deduction you will need to record the following information:
Total Sq Footage of Home,
Sq Footage of Home Office Area(s),
Utility Costs,
Insurance,
Repairs & Maintenance,
Mortgage Interest,
Property Taxes,
Rent,
Although this sounds complex it is one of the most advantageous tax deductions available to home business owners and should not be overlooked. Should your home based business operate at a loss, you will probably be able to offset the loss against any other income that you have earned, thus reducing the amount of Income Taxes that you will be required to pay.

So now you should be able to see the very real advantage of operating a home based business.
Note: Taxation legislation differs between countries and each country may change their rules at any time. The information provided in these newsletters is accurate at time of publication. You should however seek specific information from your Tax Advisor or Taxation Department as it relates to your own situation each year that you are required to provide Income and Expense Statements.

Other topics in this series are as follows:
Number 1, Record Keeping,
Number 2, General Expenses,
Number 3, Purchase of Goods for Resale,
Number 5, Home Entertainment Costs,
Number 6, Motor Vehicle Expenses,
Number 7, Depreciation Costs,
Number 8, Business Meals,
Number 9, Salary Payments to Children,
Number 10, Travel Expenses,
Number 11, Demonstrators Samples & Promotional Tools,
Number 12, Gifts,
Number 13, Here Comes the Tax Man,
Number 14, Capital Items,