Marketing guide for starting or growing your pressure washing business

This guide provides an overview for many of the online and offline marketing strategies that pressure washing business owners should be working on and paying attention to for their power washing business. While it is true that growth will come from word of mouth referrals if you are doing quality work, in today's world you still need to pay attention to physical and digital marketing resources at your disposal. Whether you already have too much work or you are just getting started or you are looking to grow your business the resources in this guide can help. The goal of this blog is provide enough insight to marketing to get a strong foundation so that you can keep focusing on the day to day operations of your business from selecting the right nozzles and making your customers driveways look new again to keeping up with your customers and much much more. This guide will not have specific marketing templates that you can use but does provide the steps for tactics like tutorials you can use to grow your marketing presence.

The basics: Make sure that you treat every customer like family.

To start, it is important to focus not only on how to find new customers but how to make the most of customers you already have or will have. This can serve as part of the foundation for your business plan for your pressure washing services. It is critical to build relationships with your new clients and treat them as family not just another number in your contacts, especially for small businesses. This is true not only for doing the right thing as a business owner, but also to ensure you are not missing out on potential "Lifetime value" of your clients.

Let's look an example Pressure Washing business that generated 100 new customers in their service area for power washing services last season.

  • Each customer spent on average $550 with the business (some lots less and some lots more)
  • The average customer will stay with you (if you're doing a good job) for 5+ years (let's assume 5)
  • The lifetime value of a customer (5 years x $550/year) is $2,750 or future lifetime value (if have been with you for 1 year) is (4 years x $550/year) is $2,200
  • Therefore 100 new customers are worth $275,000 in future income (100 customers x $2,750 future value)

Why do we start with this lesson. The reason is so that you remember the importance of not only closing the first job with a customer, but how critical the customer experience is. In today's competitive age it is no longer just who does quality work, but also who makes the customer feel like a priority.

Let's imagine the scenario in which you have 10 unhappy customers that you gave a full refund on a job for because something went wrong. Assuming that 50% of those customers come back vs. 0% if you didn't give a refund you will make an incremental $5,500 than if you didn't make a refund (5 customers *$2,200 for 4 future years of work - 10 customers *$550 per job). Now, this advice is not recommending to give full refunds to customers when something goes wrong, but it is suggesting that the upfront cost in building a relationship can be worth it in the long run if you can afford the cash flow.

Before you can get focusing on how to grow your business, you must first have the foundation in place. You wouldn't try to build a house on top of a swamp without any foundation. That's what it's like to try to grow your business with designs you tried to draw yourself. Let's face it 99.9% of us pressure washers are great in the field and not in branding design.

Where to get started: branding and set up

The top 4 things you can do to build a reputable brand as a power washer small business owner are below. These actions have relatively small startup costs for your pressure cleaning business vs. the benefit that they will bring. Note that this is with regards to marketing and not the foundations of getting the proper business licenses, forming an llc as part of a sole proprietorship or a corporation, setting up a business bank account, getting the right liability insurance or even the right pressure washing equipment, etc.

1. Get an attractive logo professionally designed

A logo that is professionally designed not only builds trust but also will add to your brand recognition.

What to do / Tools to use:

  • Utilize a logo service like 99designs (a base package should cost ~$300) or a service like Fiverr for freelancers to generate your logo
  • If you would prefer to work with a company rather than a freelancer you can ask the team at ProPhone for help as part of their custom design package
Source: Dirty Deeds Exterior Cleaning

2. Get a professional website made

A website helps to build your online presence (we will cover this from a marketing standpoint below), but also makes your brand seem more reputable to customers. There are many reasons to have a custom website even if you have enough business today.

What to do / Tools to use:

  • You can try to create your own website utilizing tools like Wix or SquareSpace - be prepared to spend several hours formatting the site and deciding on the content you'd like.
  • Work with a service like ProSite by ProPhone to have a custom website designed within 1 day tailored to your business. This is a great middle ground option if you don't want to make the site but do not want to spend several hundred to thousands of dollars on an individual developer
  • Work with a full service marketing agency or individual freelance developer to make a highly customized website (at a much high price point - several hundred to thousands of dollars)

If you are still unsure about how to create a website you can learn more here.

3. Paint or wrap your vehicles

Your vehicles will be one of your primary marketing assets! It's like a billboard you don't have to pay additionally for that will be parked at your customer's homes for neighbors to see or even just other homeowners driving on the highway. A simple magnetic sign of your logo can do the trick as well if you cannot afford a full wrap.

What to do: Make sure to include

  • Company name, phone number and website
  • Company colors
  • Something that makes you stand out and be memorable

Example wrap to not to pick as the company info is too small on the side of the truck.

4. Get swag (t-shirts) for your team

This will not only make your employees happy, but it will make your crews look professional and help be "free" marketing for you.

What to do/ tools to use:

  • Use a custom swag company to get t-shirt or other merchandize - SubEffects

Good old fashioned physical marketing tactics

According to the Data & Marketing association, 56% of consumers trust print marketing more than other marketing mediums. Additionally according to Marketing Sherpa, 76% of people trust ads they receive in the mail. In a digital age consumers are frustrated with scams just like pressure washing professionals are! Most scams do not occur through print ads so many consumers trust them. Thus, this section provides some more tactics beyond social media marketing, instagram and other online channels. Additionally, the average individual is cluttered with 121 emails per day on average so standing out in physical form. If you can imagine, most people are not thinking about their deck, patios or other outdoor surface that needs cleaning on a daily basis so it can help to remind them about the importance of taking care of these personal assets through promotional content in person.

Lawn Signs, Flyers and Door Hangers

What to do:

  • Ensure your website URL and phone number are listed (for Door Hangers you can put a QR code for your website)
  • Ask customers you are the closest with if they would be willing to put a sign in their yard. You can offer a discount in exchange - ask enough and some will take you up on it!
  • Create a schedule for your Pressure Washing business to post the signs, flyers and door hangers. By making a schedule it will keep you on a regular cadence of having a physical presence

Tools to use:

Direct Mail

While you may assume that direct mail campaigns are a thing of the past, they can be effective if targeted and designed correctly. It is important to note that a direct mail campaign can cost between 30 cents and $10 dollars per recipient. These costs can fluctuate depending on the medium, design costs, distribution, and so on. An example from Inkit, a direct mail campaign sending postcards to 1,000 recipients can cost about $1,150 ($1.15 per recipient).

What to do:

  • Ensure that your graphic has a consumer benefit to drive interest, have an illustration that allows the homeowner to quickly identify your service and to have broad based offers.
  • Align your campaigns to the right times of the year. It is helpful to advertise during the off-season, but do it close to the start of business and not in the dead of the winter.

Tools to use:

Example:

Photo credit: http://www.kbkgraphicdesign.com/eddm-postcards.html

Word of mouth and referral marketing is your best friend

Word of mouth growth is not only "free" but also a sign that customers love the service you are providing. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust referrals from people that they know. As proven by Referral Rock, more than 61% of consumers have referred a local business to another person. It is important that you don't sit back and expert referrals to work without any encouragement from your end. If you want referrals, you need to ask for them and make it easy for the customer to do so.

How do you get more referrals:

  • Keep up with past customers and thank them for their business. Think of occasions that you can reach back out such as the holidays or change in the seasons. Remember that a personal handwritten card can go a really long way.
  • Start a referral program: offer clients a discounted service for each referral or give them a few business cards that they can hand out. It helps to offer your customers a referral benefit for them and the customer they refer (e.g., $50 off for the new customer and a $50 credit for the referring customer)
  • Do some jobs for free to high value customers (e.g., local town organizations or road associations) in hope that they promote your business to others
  • Stay on top of customer reviews in your google searches and follow best practices for getting customer reviews
  • Share your website with your customers even if they didn't find your business from your website. A website is the easiest way that customers will pass along information to someone they are referring to you.

Partnerships as a pressure washing company

It may be strange to read about partnerships for a pressure washing business, but the great thing is that there are plenty of other trades that you are not directly competitive with that know homeowners. If you know other home service pros it doesn't hurt to give them your business card or ask if they can make any introductions for you? The alternative to other home service partnerships is you can look for stores that have a physical location that can promote your services to homeowners (e.g., your local hardware store).

What to do to get home service referrals:

The list goes on, but think if you know anyone in: pest control, home inspection companies, plumbers, electricians, pool companies, garden shops, fence installation business owners, HVAC professionals, hardware stores, real estate agents or community organizers. Offer these partners a referral credit if they are willing to pass along a good word about your business. If you can vouch for the partners credibility then you can also refer them to others. This is another example of the benefits of having a website to simplify sharing information in referrals.

Online Marketing Tactics

Online marketing is essential in today's world. While it can seem overwhelming and complicated, there are a lot of easy to do actions that will help. The overview below is meant to get you started, but does not go into advanced strategies for online marketing. It also does not go into the depths of marketing on social media platforms but it is recommended that you build your presence on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and other places that homeowners searching for information about finding pressure washers and contractors.

Organic traffic generation

Organic traffic is any customer visibility that your business gains without paid promotions. There are a few things you can do to start for free.

What to do:

Create a modern website!

  • According to a Stanford University study, 75% of people judge the credibility of a company based on the design of its website
  • Tips for a pressure washing website:
  • Have a contact us form or action button to make it easy for customers to reach you. It is best to have a button that allows customers to reach you from their computer or their phone. If you make it too difficult to reach you from a computer customers may move on.
  • Avoid the words "submit" on a form as it send the wrong message subliminally. Try to emphasize what a prospect is getting when they click the button, like "Get my free quote" or "get in touch" or "send us a text"
  • To learn more about creating a website and the tricks to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) check out this post on how to make your business show up on Google
  • Tools to create a website:
  • You can try to create your own website utilizing tools like Wix or SquareSpace - be prepared to spend several hours formatting the site and deciding on the content you'd like.
  • Work with a service like ProSite by ProPhone to have a custom website designed within 1 day tailored to your business. This is a great middle ground option if you don't want to make the site but do not want to spend several hundred to thousands of dollars on an individual developer

Create a Google My Business Listing

  • You will need to make sure the following information is up to date
  • Your actual business name for your google business listing
  • Address (Google will verify it and this process can take a few weeks)
  • Phone number
  • Hours of operation
  • Category of your business
Example Google My Business Listing (Source: Google)

Create a profile page on Yelp

  • Similar to google you will need to ensure your proper business information is listed
  • There is an option to pay Yelp for certain profile features and advertising, but simply having a free profile is better than nothing

Create a Facebook Business Page

  • You will need a personal Facebook profile to start and then can create a business facebook page under the create tag on the home page
  • Make sure to input your business details, upload a profile and cover photo (best if these are real and not stock images), update your 'about' section, and include an online booking CTA to collect leads
  • The CTA will be possible by "Adding Button" on your home page and the best option is to use "Book with you" or "Message Us"

Paid traffic generation

If you have capacity to increase your traffic and have tapped out the free options for growth paid marketing is a great option if you pay attention to the ROI (Return on Investment) for your online marketing. It is critical to be aware that online marketing costs can add up quickly if not monitored closely. It's best to start with a small experimental budget to see if the investment is worth it for your business.

What to do:

Google Local Service Ads

  • Google Local Service Ads appear above organic search results and even Google pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Local Services ads are only available for certain regions in the U.S. and Canada. To check if your region is eligible, visit the Google LSA signup page.
  • With Google LSA, you pay per lead, not per click (CPC) like you would if you were bidding on keywords. You won't pay whenever someone clicks on your ad in search results like you would with Google Ads. You only pay when you have a legitimate phone call from a qualified lead.
  • Google Guarantee - this is like a vote of confidence from google that provides customers a money back guarantee up to $2,000 if they aren't happy in the quality of work.
  • The cost per lead from google service ads can range from $5-$100+ but on average should be around $20

Facebook Ads

What about lead generation services

Given the intense feeling over lead generation services, there is not a recommendation for or against using some of the online lead generation tools. If you do chose to use a lead generation tool make sure you treat each phone bill like a $50-$150 bill because that's what some leads can cost. You are best set up to utilize a lead generation service if you have capacity to handle in incoming calls and be immediately responsive to closing on the leads.

And of course, it's only customary to include a Home Advisor meme:

What if I still have questions about online marketing!?

If you still have questions about online marketing for pressure washing businesses, give the ProPhone team a call at 857-856-6777 or checkout additional blogs on this topic here.