October 10, 2017
We've been asked about the best ways to get customers for a soft washing business.
This article focuses primarily on getting domestic soft washing work, which is the market we have most experience of. But you'll be able to easily adapt the principles for contacting businesses and organisations.
All decisions are made by people, and the ability to talk easily to a prospective customer will ensure your success whether you are aiming at the domestic or commercial soft washing market.
Several of the soft washing business-building tips below will apply equally to building a window cleaning business. Many contractors who are primarily window cleaners also soft wash, and other contractors who are primarily soft washing also clean windows. So we hope there will be something in this article for everyone.
Quick tip: Leo built his window cleaning business on the exact principles you are about to read about. He was the most expensive window cleaner in his area and the only problem he had was being inundated with work for the entire 10 years he ran his window cleaning business. It was a good problem to have ...
Leo taught Ben the principles you are about to learn, who has enjoyed similar success. Using these principles Ben was able to set up a highly successful window cleaning business in a very short time.
Following that success he went on to create his soft washing business (now integrated into Benz Softwash as Benz Softwash Services) the same way.
1) Create a simple A5 flyer.
2) Create a simple website.
3) Knock on doors and introduce yourself and your service. Do not just shove leaflets through letterboxes – that will achieve very little.
The only time we recommend putting leaflets through letterboxes is when you cannot find anyone at home after the 3rd visit, in which case delivering a leaflet is better than nothing. The secret is to talk face-to-face with prospective customers.
4) Get your first soft wash customers at whatever price they will pay, although obviously charge as high as you can. The work you do on their house is going to sell your services to many others. Give them your flyer so they will remember you and have your contact details to refer you to their friends and family.
5) Take plenty of before and after photos and put them on your website (with your customer's written permission – it is illegal to use photographs of other people and their property for commercial gain without their consent).
It's also a good idea to build up a physical portfolio showing photos of previous work you've done, which you can use to demonstrate what your soft washing service can do for prospective customers, when standing on their doorstep.
6) Learn from experience and continually improve both the effectiveness of your work and the quality of your customer service.
7) Keep putting your prices up until you get more "No's" than "Yes's". You will then have found the "sweet spot" that customers in your geographical area are willing to pay.
As a rough rule of thumb, soft washing prices are approximately twice that of a successful window cleaner in a given area.
Remember that what people are willing to pay can vary wildly around the country, a factor that is mainly determined by their financial affluence.
8) Canvas the neighbours of your customer – and eventually everyone on the same road or estate – using your first customer's home as a demonstration or show house for your service. Say something like, "Would you like your house to look as clean as Mrs Jones next door?"
9) Rinse and repeat ...
Of course many people are reticent to knock on doors to promote their business. And many of those who do, fail because they attempt to talk customers into having soft washing (or window cleaning) work done.
But soft washing contractors who are willing to learn to communicate simply, clearly, ethically and effectively can discover a vein of gold waiting to be mined.
This is what keeps many people hiding behind a marketing approach based on impersonal advertising, leafleting and websites.
Now, don't get us wrong. Certainly have a website as a point of contact. These days it is also a way of establishing your credibility. And have a flyer to give to your customers, and to put through the letterbox of prospects you can never find at home.
But if you just sit back and wait for customers to find your website and beat a path to your door you could be waiting a very long time.
The reality is that simply introducing yourself and politely telling the prospective customer how you can help them really is easy.
You do not have to become a salesman. You do not have to put on a "friendly sales smile" and pretend to be someone other than who you are. You do not have to try to manipulate people into buying your soft washing services.
Simply relax and talk naturally. Most people who answer the door to you will not have two heads. And most will not bite ...
Just do not waste your time trying to talk people into having work done.
If they say No, thank them and quickly move onto the next house.
Keep it honest and simply draw your prospective customer's attention to a problem with their property. Your opener may be something like, "Hi, I'm Ben and my company is Benz Softwash. I noticed you have a lot of unsightly green algae growing on your render. Would you be interested in having it removed?"
If they say "Yes" follow up with something like "Great, I can give you a quote if you like. Would you like me to do that?"
If they say No, say something like, "Ok, thanks for your time and have a good evening".
If they say Yes to receiving a quote, ask for their permission to wander around their property and put a quote together. Use a clipboard to work out your quote and look professional. This really is easy peasy.
There are many permutations of an opening "one liner". The principle is to get your prospects attention as quickly as possible and get them saying "Yes" as much as possible.
You'll want to get in front of as many prospective customers as possible within a 2-hour period of canvassing. You can save time and energy by not arguing with someone who says No, and is probably never going to be your customer.
Simply thank them for their time and move on to the next prospect.
Why two hours? Because we've found that's the optimum time during which we can maintain a state of high enthusiasm. After a couple of hours our energy sags, which means the number of sales drops off.
Also, the best time to find people at home is the sweet spot of 6-8 pm. Earlier than this and they are either at work or coming home from work. Later than this and knocking on stranger's doors can feel too intrusive.
Saturdays are also a good time to canvas for soft washing customers, and are the best alternative time during winder when evenings are too dark to see properties clearly.
Remember that canvassing is a numbers game. Talk to enough people and you are assured of getting work.
These are the simple keys to success we've found to work for creating highly profitable soft washing and window cleaning businesses. And they are principles that will earn you an endless stream of referrals.
And ... do remember to KISS your business: i.e. Keep it Simple & Straightforward ( or,"Keep it Simple, Stupid" as some say ... ) Soft washing is a simple business and some newbie contractors tend to over-think it, which makes life harder than it needs to be.
One last tip - invest in our Benz Softwashing How-To Manual. It's based on the hard won trial and error practical experience Ben has gained from several years of running Benz Softwash Services; a soft washing, pressure washing and window cleaning business.
It's a full-colour illustrated printed paperback that ...
is clear and easy to read – with loads of photographs showing the principles of soft washing in action.
explains the how-to of soft washing in a straightforward way that's easy to understand.
contains practical knowledge that comes from several years trial and error experience.
We hope this information is helpful and sincerely wish you great success in your soft washing business,
Ben, Leo, Fiona, Stevie & Anthony
How to find answers to most soft washing questions: Simply enter a relevant "keyword" or short phrase – e.g. keyword for the above link = "how to" – into our in-site Search Engine (magnifying glass icon on the main menu).
Click here to download our Product Documentation Pack (includes Application & Dilution guides, SDS, PDS, RAMS, PPE & Mask info, COSSH, sample Contract and more)
GB (England, Scotland, Wales)
Phone: 0800 70 74 222
Ireland and other countries
Phone: 00353 214 622 978
Lines open Monday - Friday, 9am – 5pm
Please note: The above numbers are for orders only (click here for tech support)
PS: Click here to set up your "Clean & Maintain" programme. After completing an initial soft wash treatment, put your customer on a "Clean & Maintain" ongoing maintenance programme. Your customers will enjoy a permanently clean property and you will enjoy a steady stream of repeat business.
This is clearly a win-win arrangement for you and your customers.
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It's a free resource for people wanting to learn about the soft washing industry, to expand an existing business, or build a new business.
Soft washing reduces, or even eliminates, the need to use high-pressure washing.
Instead, once the build up of algae, lichen, fungus and mould – the root causes of properties looking "dirty" – has been treated, the natural "self-cleansing" of sun, rain and wind removes the surface residue through time.
By educating the cleaning trade and public about soft washing we are helping develop an industry that offers sustainable treatments to clean and maintain exterior hard surfaces.
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