New to Town

How to find new accounts

Dear Janet,

My daughter and I own a housecleaning service. We have just moved to a new town and all of our business is still in the old location 23 miles away. We drive back there five days a week to service these accounts. Each of us has other full-time jobs, too. We have so little time for ourselves, it’s frustrating. How would we go about finding new accounts in the town we’ve moved to?
–Running Out of Steam


Dear Running,

With so many two-income families these days, finding customers in your new town should be a breeze. Here are several strategies you should try.

  • Find out what newspapers or weekly shoppers people read when they want to buy services. Place a classified ad in those periodicals that reach your target market. Chances are, that will be two-income families in neighborhoods with large homes
  • Look in those publications or in the yellow pages for companies that clean rugs or provide other services to homes. See if they’ll rent you their mailing list, or refer customers to you. Offer an incentive for referrals.
  • Call nursery schools and see if they’ll rent their mailing list or hand out fliers for you in exchange for referral fees.
  • Order an ad in the yellow pages. If the book has already closed for this year, it may be quite a while before your ad shows up, however. 
  • Contact organizations and religious groups in your area. Ask if they have any fund- raising events coming up soon, and if they do, offer to donate one cleaning as a prize. Ask the event organizers to give you the names of the people who enter the contest to win the free house cleaning. Send each person on that list a mailing periodically to remind them of your service.
  • Talk to your neighbors in the new community. Tell them you’ve just moved in and ask them for referrals. 

One final thought. Consider hiring employees to do the work in the homes in the community you’ve just left. Or, try to sell that part of the business to another cleaning service in that location. Your customers will be more likely to give you good references if you haven’t left them in the lurch. You’ll also make extra money.

Good luck!

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