Economic Development, Human Resources, and Marketing, PR & Advertising

Professional cleaners flourish by word of mouth

Cleaning businesses see referrals multiply as companies expand, look to outsource janitorial work.

February 10, 2017
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Two local cleaning services companies are seeing steady growth without advertising.

Elaine Meyers, president of Meyers Cleaning Service in Jenison, said her company’s services were in such high demand last year, they had to turn customers away.

“We had a lot of companies that actually called us,” she said. “We weren’t out beating anyone’s doors down. We get a lot of referral business from companies who want to make a change in their cleaning service.”

Meyers Cleaning, which offers commercial janitorial services, residential and commercial carpet and upholstery care, and cleaning of grouted tile and hard floors, saw West Michigan revenue of $1,259,000 in 2016 over $1,132,885 in 2015.

Meyers said she attributes her company’s success partly to clients’ business expansions.

“There’s been a lot of growth for us with companies … opening up an additional facility,” she said.

Aside from gaining a boost from expansions, Meyers said her cleaning company also is growing because of its emphasis on customer service and quality.

“When you respond to a customer’s needs, they tend to like that,” she said. “With our carpet cleaning technicians, we get feedback that they are extremely satisfied; they’re polite and on time, and they’re willing to come back if there’s a problem.

“When customers know that, you get their repeat business, and they also refer you to others they know.”

Charlene Gritter, president of Pinnacle Cleaning Services Inc., tells a similar story.

“I don’t do any advertising,” she said, although the company is a member of Business Networking International. “We have our customers sharing about our company with other people who are unhappy with their cleaning service, and they want a new service.”

Pinnacle grew its West Michigan revenue from $1,010,000 in 2015 to $1,183,000 in 2016.

The company offers construction clean-up, janitorial visits, carpet cleaning, window washing, marble polishing, vinyl floor maintenance, and cleaning of tile, grout, rubber floors and warehouse floors in settings such as professional office buildings, commercial and industrial buildings, churches, manufacturing facilities, common areas of multi-tenant buildings, medical offices and warehouses.

Gritter said from 2008-12, Pinnacle lost several accounts because companies were turning to their existing employees to handle janitorial work during the economic downturn.

But now that many companies are in growth mode again, they’ve started to outsource the cleaning.

She said she’s seen growth in contracts with property managers, which allows Pinnacle to gain exposure to several companies at once.

Pinnacle also has secured contracts after construction clean-up projects, when companies liked their work and wanted to secure their janitorial services long term.

One trend Gritter pointed to is manufacturers becoming more cognizant of the importance of clean workspaces.

“They used to say, ‘Don’t worry about that,’ whereas now, the trend has definitely gone to, ‘We’ve got to make it look good in here.’ People can think better, work better if their space is cleaned up.

“We used to only clean a contractor of concrete once a week, and now they want it every day.”

Meyers said her cleaning company serves banks, churches, medical offices, office buildings, retail stores, libraries, city and township buildings, apartment complexes and nonprofit organizations, with most of its growth taking place in the banking sector.

A challenge Meyers Cleaning Services faces is the rate of employee turnover, coupled with a shortage of workers, and the expense of paying for health care.

“Other than that, we’ve managed to have continuous growth throughout all of our years,” she said.

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