How Do You Get More Referrals for Your Cleaning Business?

Published on June 26, 2018

Getting referrals from your clients is one of the best ways to market and grow your cleaning business… if you do it right.

The truth is, you probably face at least one of these major stumbling blocks to getting more referrals:

  1. You’re afraid to ask.
  2. Your clients might forget or they’re hesitant to refer you.
  3. You don’t want to get “one-time cleans” from your referrals (this is the worst one!)

How do you get around these problems?

What is the “right way” to ask for your clients for cleaning referrals?

Most successful cleaning companies have figured out how to build a process around this.

I want to share that process with you right now. Here are the 3+ secrets to getting a constant stream of cleaning referrals.

Why Do You Need to Get More Referrals?

Referrals are powerful.

They are the most impactful form of marketing you could ever do because they leave the longest lasting impression.

While advertising and online reviews are important, referrals carry so much more weight.

Why are referrals stronger than ads?

Because there’s no personal connection to that ad. You don’t know the person in the ad. You’ve never used that product or service. And you’ve become so desensitized to advertising that you go into an ad thinking, “What’s the catch?”

But when a friend tells you, with all the confidence in the world, about how much they love their new cleaning service, you immediately break through that wall of trust.

Referrals allow you to get into your clients’ “zone of trust” so much faster - which makes them one of the easiest ways to gain new, high-quality clients.  

So, let’s dive into the secrets that will get you vastly more referrals...

Secret #1: When Should You Ask for Referrals?

You must ask for more referrals for your cleaning business… otherwise, you will never get enough of them to grow your business.

But when is the best time to ask for referrals?

The answer is two-fold:

  1. After you’ve earned your client’s trust
  2. And right after you’ve done a really fantastic job.

If a client makes a comment about how great you did, that is the perfect moment to ask. Find a way to thank them, and then ask them if they have any friends or family that might be interested in your services.

Delivering a great value for the prices you’re charging should be a given for you. Be sure to always put your best foot forward and WOW your clients.

Start with Trust...

1. Listen to your clients.

Ask your clients these two simple questions… then DO THEM.

  • What is the number one problem you want us to solve for you?
  • What is one area we can focus on that will seriously impress you?

2. Show up on time and ready to work.

Your clients’ have expectations that you’re going to get the job done when you say you will do it. If for some reason you’ve run into a time snag, be sure to communicate with your clients.

3. Always look like a Pro.

Make sure your attire is clean and pressed to start the day. Carry an extra clean shirt in your vehicle for those super messy days. Above all, be confident, but pleasant.

4. Hire solid people with clean background checks.

Make sure you’re holding your employees to the same high standards you would put into your jobs. Train new employees on what you expect of them. ALWAYS conduct a background check before letting a new employee into a client’s home.

...then, put in 110%.

After you’ve proven how professional you are, take your work to the next level.

If you want to get more referrals for your cleaning business, you need to impress your clients. Add those extra touches (we’ll get into more of those in the next section) that really make your work shine.

This is the moment when your clients are most excited about your work. AND, this is the best time to ask them for referrals.

Secret #2: Why You Need to Leave Something Behind

Leaving little touches behind helps you with the WOW factor for your clients. It’s about going above and beyond for your clients and giving them even more value than they bargained for.

What kinds of things can you leave behind that will make them appreciate you more?

  • Extra special touches on the cleaning job
  • Birthday or Anniversary cards that show you’re thinking about them
  • Cleaning “Gift Cards” that you can give to friends/family (see Secret #3 for more details)

All of these ideas are great surprises for your client to come home to and serve as a reminder of your business long after the job is done.

They’ll also inspire more word of mouth marketing as your passion for the cleaning business shines through!

But there is also a way to make your “leave behinds” twice as successful… Let me show you!

Secret #3: Are You Offering “Attractive Incentives?”

Incentives are a great way to gain new clients and make it easier for your existing clients to recommend you.

Leaving gift cards behind can be something easy that inspires clients to hand to friends:

“Oh, remember my cleaning service I was telling you about? They left this new client gift card. All you have to do is call them and give it to them. They’ll give you a bonus on your cleaning. If you tell them I recommended you, I’ll get a free cleaning.”

Incentives for new customers could include:

  • $10 off a cleaning service
  • 20% off your first cleaning
  • A bonus service with a full cleaning (i.e. fridge or oven cleaning free)
  • Buy 5 cleanings, get 1 free
  • Spring Cleaning special
  • 1st Hour of Cleaning Free!

Incentives for referrals from your existing clients could be a free or discounted price ($25 off, 20% off, etc.) on their next scheduled cleaning.

Warning! Only offer these bonuses IF the new client becomes a regular client.

Make sure you find a way to say that to your clients, otherwise you’ll end up with a bunch of “one time jobs” which won’t help your business grow.

(Bonus Secret) - Do You Treat Your Best Referrers?

If someone refers one great client to you…

...they can probably refer more.

Did someone just refer a great client to you? Deliver on your promise - and then over-deliver. You want to show these people how grateful you are.

A gift card to a local restaurant with a “Thank you note” and a promise that if they refer more clients, you’ll be able to give them more free cleanings.

This way, you’ll turn some of your happiest clients into “brand evangelists” for your company.

They already love your work - and they already want to refer you - so make it even easier for them to talk about you!

Great Cleaning Businesses Grow with Great Referrals

Perfecting your referral plan will be one of the BEST things you could ever do for your business. Identifying your best clients - the ones that are most likely to refer you - will cut your ramp up time in half.

They’ve already proven they love your service and YOU. These are the clients you’ll test your plan out on first.

Having a thoughtful, carefully crafted referral plan - one that you’re continually working - will bring your company up to speed against your competition.

Strive to be THE top cleaning company in your area.

Word of mouth, online reviews, and referrals are the easiest and fastest ways to get there.

Related: 15 Ideas to Amaze Your New Cleaning Clients

Lisa Marino

Lisa Marino is the Sr. Marketing Director for Service Autopilot. She uses her 17+ years in direct marketing, sales, and product development to push entrepreneurs beyond their limits. She's passionate about helping others grow their businesses through time-tested marketing techniques. When not writing, you can find her belting out a mean Stevie Nicks at a local karaoke night.


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