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Beyond typical marketing

Marketing is what carpet cleaners want to talk about. You will be surprised to see what makes the sale.

By Taf Baig
From the March 2006 edition of Cleanfax magazine.
Marketing and how it applies to carpet cleaning is one of the most interesting topics to carpet cleaners.

Gather cleaners in a room and they often talk about how to get more work, not how to clean a carpet.

Good marketing is what carpet cleaning is all about; it’s what gets customers and helps keep them.

But the usual marketing terminologies, such as “price, product, place and promotion” (known as the four Ps of marketing), mean very little when not deciphered to apply to carpet cleaning,

They are also somewhat outdated.

They might still be the original pillars of marketing, but they seem to be evolving.

In the 1990s, Professor Dick Berry of the University of Wisconsin conducted an intensive study of basic marketing principles.

What he found was interesting.

New marketing strategies

Besides the original four Ps of marketing, he added a few more and then ranked them in order of importance.

The new mix ranked customer sensitivity as the first and most important part of the new marketing mix, followed by product, customer convenience, service, price, place and — in last place — promotion.

Let’s examine each and see how they apply to carpet cleaning.

Customer sensitivity

Employee attitude, customer treatment and response to customers fall under this category.

How does this apply to carpet cleaning companies? A friendly smile the first time and every time you see your customer is the most important marketing principle.

It doesn’t cost you a thing. (See “Common courtesy” to the left.)

Product

This is the equipment that you use. You have to use the best available and it has to be reliable and have other unique features that your competition will not have.

Your cleaning chemicals also fall under this category. What do your chemicals smell like? Will your protector work six months from now?

Customer convenience

Availability to your customer, customer convenience and sales are part of this category.

What is the question the customers ask most? “How long will it take to dry?”

Drying is probably the biggest part of customer convenience.

We need to leave the carpet as dry as we possibly can.

Answering your phone when a customer calls is also part of customer convenience. Having a sufficient opening relatively soon on your schedule is another aspect of customer convenience.

Service

Pre-sale service, service during cleaning and post-sale service are part of this marketing strategy.

Your pre-sale service is where it all starts, and is best with an “out-of-this-world” portfolio to show your customers. That usually makes the sale.

Your portfolio should consist of your accreditations, testimonials for your customers, guarantees and before-and-after pictures of your work.

Price

Price charges, pricing terms, pricing offers and methods of payment come under this category.

Honest and reasonable pricing is what the customer expects.

Place

Place is the area you service, your facility (your van), and your availability to customers.

Promotion

Advertising, publicity and selling fall into this category. Contrary to what most people believe, promotion is marketing.

Berry’s study ranked promotion last.

If you can’t smile when you greet customers, then don’t even bother with the promotion part.

Taf Baig, an Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)-certified Master Textile Cleaner, started a successful carpet cleaning company in 1991 and sold it in 2003. He is president of The Magic Wand Company, a manufacturer and distributor of all types of cleaning products. Baig’s marketing seminar information is available online at www.magicwandco.com, or call (877) 926-3748.