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Advice with approach to companies


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Hi everyone,


Started up a small business doing exterior cleaning recently, was employed by a company doing the same thing for a few years so decided to go it alone. Pretty much all the work I've been getting is pressure washing which is fine as I enjoy it. There's too many window cleaners undercutting each other in my area so the pressure washing suits me as not many other people are really doing it in my area. I've been getting work doing driveways and patios but it's relatively small jobs. I was wondering if anyone could help me in my approach to companies. I've been emailing a fair few just basically telling them what I offer but haven't had any work as of yet. I'll keep plugging away but just hoped some of the experienced folk could give me some pointers. I've been emailing haulage companies, plant hire, caravan parks etc. Thanks in advance. 

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Just keep plugging away, you will always need a bit of luck to get to speak to the right person at the right time. Business clubs might help and it is more likely to attract someone's attention if you have any training / H&S certificates. If you have try and get to speak to the H&S department and ask them how you could get work. Property Management Companies are very hard to crack but once in can be very good business.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Have you got a website? Commercial customers are the same as domestic ones and if they need a local service provider it's very likely the first place they look is online. And all the data proves the higher ranking results on page 1 get the most clicks. Typically the top 3 organic results (1 to 10 on page 1) get over 60% of the clicks. Above the organic results is the Google local pack, usually 3 results from Google My Business. This is likely to reflect the organic results to some extent as the local pack and organic results have similar ranking factors so you will often find a business in the local pack also ranks well organically = increased chance of a click.

How you go about optimising your site, improving SEO and ranking higher is another matter completely. But for a start you need to do some keyword research and discover the sort of terms customers use to search for your services because they may well be different from the industry terms that you use. After deciding on a target keyword for a page you then need to create a page that also includes many of the variations of your target keyword. This increases your chances of ranking for those terms and adds relevance to your target KW, e.g. pressure washing services is your target phrase plus your location - you should also include phrases like pressure cleaning, power washing, jet washing etc.

What we refer to as pressure washing a member of the public is more likely to call jet washing. We know the difference but it's all the same to them.

A good free keyword research tool is Google Keyword Ad Planner which will produce many variations of the phrase you enter and approximate search volume (but I wouldn't say the numbers are too accurate but they do indicate the more popular terms you can prioritise).

You should create a page for each separate service you offer, optimised for the service + location, and use plenty of relevant and alternative search terms within the content of the text. Also make it clear that you specialise in commercial exterior cleaning services for businesses and include phrases like 'commercial exterior cleaning services'. Ideally you want each page targetted for a specific location and should create new pages for different areas for the best chance of ranking highly, but you can include within the text that you also cover towns A, B and C etc and the county as a whole or a region. If you do this you will show in results for those towns or 'near me' searches but are unlikely to rank as well as you could with a page optimised for a specific location.

If you do this then when a local company needs the services you offer you have a chance of putting yourself right in front of them when they search on Google - and Operations Managers use Google same as we all do. The more related search terms you have in your content the better your chances of ranking for more keywords, and they support and add context to your target KW.

But don't overuse keywords and stuff your content with them. Use phrases that fit naturally within the text as you write it. Keyword stuffing can be penalised and it doesn't help you to have badly written content that reads poorly.

Don't forget to optimise for the town as well with a liberal use of the town name including in page titles, headings, URL etc. If you have trouble ranking for a competitive KW like 'pressure washing services' target an alternative phrase instead.

It's not until you have a highly ranking website that you realise how much work it brings in. And don't forget the domestic/ residential market where you might well find there's a steady flow of new work coming in and a better earner for you than commercial work. Some companies can be a nightmare for getting paid by or imposing unreasonable conditions like 90 day invoices. But some domestic customers are a nightmare too and other companies are really good to deal with. But if you do want to target business customers make that clear in your content and choice of KWs. Websites don't have to be unaffordable and I'd recommend @Gavinfor a professional looking and affordable website and a Thrive WP care plan for essential security and protection from malware and hacking.

And make sure you claim your free Google My Business listing and Bing Places as well as free listings on Yell, Yelp and other authoritative business directories. Choose your primary category on GMB with care and keep additional categories to a minimum - keep it specific rather than choosing too many - that won't help you. Sorry this has been such a long answer (that no doubt I'll be criticised for but I had some free time!!) but a good website appearing high in search results is the best way of ensuring growth with regular and ongoing new enquiries all year round. And it's cheap - just the initial set-up cost and monthly hosting and maintenance. It's the best investment in your future success you can make. Keep plugging away as you are but that method relies on your email / letters reaching the right person and at the same time they happen to be thinking of a pressure washing service. Whereas ranking high on page 1 means you are already there at the exact time someone goes online to actually find a local service contractor. It puts you in front of customers when they're already at the buying stage and actively looking for what it is you do.

This is a high volume industry that requires a constant supply of new work. With windows you've got repeat customers wanting an ongoing service, but pressure washing / exterior cleaning are usually one off jobs. Yes, you may get asked back to do other things but that's not going to keep you going. The jobs are normally short term and so a high volume of new work is needed....and where does almost everyone go to first these days?? Google.  I can't see how any business can hope to succeed without an online presence and some sort of longterm strategy, or at least the realisation that they need to establish a presence and reputation online. It's perfectly reasonable and achievable to expect 200 visitors a week even at this time of year and more in peak periods. You won't get that sort of return anywhere else.

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Superb advice above.

Large scale works, commercial & industrial are not given out freely and as has been said an online presence is necessary but that online presence needs to show associated works, similar scale, be current & show capability, confidence & an ability to come up with the goods.

My works have been with the largest of contractors, major high street names & substantial in SQM. They are all on my website, the blog shows how recent works are but you have to get traffic to the website to see it.

If they don't know about super shiny, super capable, super dogs bo**ocks.co.uk you're going nowhere.

Some will say you need to be VAT registered, a LTD company, I'm no longer but have been in the loop for a long time.

Sometimes it's the right place at the right time but when it was the right time for me It had to be done properly, time after time after time - you don't get two chances with these companies.

Be better than the clients alternatives, show confidence in your service and abilities, in communication, site visits & one on one.

I've crisscrossed the country, seen a site and just walked in with always ready hard hat & boots and given site management a quality business card, a hand made portfolio got me the window cleaning for Britannia Building Society's head office, for nearly 5 years.

If you see a dirty building get in there with your info (I'd have a portfolio done properly now - if I wanted additional works), ask the front of house who the right contact is, they will either tell you or won't.

Maybe an alternative is not to contact individual premises but go direct to facility management companies, landlords, principal contractors but first have the background in order.

All the best


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