Advertising. . . the Essential Element in the Carpet Cleaning Business
On the average in the carpet, furniture and drapery cleaning business, it takes several hundred jobs per year per truck to build and maintain a reasonably profitable operation.
Where do you find that many customers and how do you keep the orders coming with any degree of regularity?
Most cleaners don’t really think about that question until after they have invested in their truck, their equipment, their chemicals, perhaps a helper, someone to answer the phones and the necessary office supplies. They overlook the one essential element that will keep the telephone ringing and make all of the other investments worthwhile. . . ADVERTISING.
Just how essential is advertising to the carpet cleaning business?
Fortunately we live in a free economy, an economy where we can profit personally through the willingness to invest, take risks and earn proportionately to the initiative, knowledge and expertise that we put forth.
But in a free economy it isn’t just a matter of manufacturing a product or setting up to provide a service and then expecting customers to come to us automatically. We have to let potential prospects know that the service or product is available, and we have to convince prospects that our service or our product is better or more beneficial to them than our competitors’ . . . and when you have to have several hundred customers per year, per truck, you don’t accomplish that by simple word of mouth. . . you need ADVERTISING.
There are several factors to consider in determining just how essential advertising is to the cleaning business: the degree of need people have for your service, the size of the market you work in and the number of competitors, the "newness" of your business and the constantly changing nature of the market.
Doctors, lawyers, accountants and businesses involving so-called essential products (e.g. utilities) and services, don’t have to advertise much because people will automatically come to them when they need their particular product or skill. Other businesses like cosmetics, for example, have to advertise heavily because the essential need for these products is low. It must be "created", so to speak. How essential then is carpet, furniture and drapery cleaning? At best we would say optional. Carpets, furniture and draperies should be cleaned periodically, but don’t have to be. Cleaning can be delayed, unless the prospect has a particular reason for doing it or having it done. If money is a problem, they can attempt to do it themselves rather than having it done professionally. For this reason, the professional cleaner needs to advertise.
That means getting your message across to perhaps several thousand potential prospects, and mass media advertising (direct mail, newspaper, radio, etc.) becomes the only practical and economical way of reaching that many people.
Again, as we stated above, the market is constantly changing. 20% of the people of this country change addresses every year. Sure, you’re going to get a certain percentage of repeat business, but experience has proven that 30% to 40% of the professional’s customers each year should or will be new customers, customers who call because of recommendations received or because of advertising.
Yes, advertising is a very essential element in the carpet, furniture and drapery cleaning business. . . so essential in fact that without it, no cleaning business will survive for long. Advertising is a necessary investment in building and maintaining any profitable cleaning operation.
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