Monthly Updates

CBR Clean – January 2018 Update

It has been way too long between blog posts and there is plenty going on, so let’s dive straight in!

January got off to a slow start with most of my commercial clients closed for the Christmas / New year period; however, the domestic work kept me plodding along. I managed to have four days off over the break, and hit the water a few times for a paddle and a fish. I even hooked a PB Yellow Belly in one of the local lakes.

I rounded out the break by completing and submitting the final assessment for a business course I’ve been taking as a part of my goal to continuously improve CBR Cleaning Services’ business operations.

“Don’t try to be the “next”. Instead, try to be the other, the changer, the new.” – Seth Godin


62cm Yellow Belly

I often receive requests for end of lease cleans and although it’s not my usual market, I’ll occasionally take them on. Such was the case earlier this month when I took on a job in Yarralumla, which turned out to be a lot of fun.

Too many of these beautiful old Canberran homes are being knocked down and replaced by giant cubes with plenty of ostentation and no character. It’s nice to see a few of these gems still exist in their original condition. This one even had original Canberra red brick floors under the timber!


End of lease clean in Yarralumla

I had two new domestic clients come on board this month and successfully quoted another two to start in early February. I have my current clients to thank as most new domestic jobs come through referrals. There are only four domestic slots available before I’m booked out for 2018!

From mid to late February, my focus will shift to growing the commercial side of CBR Cleaning Services.

“Focus on being productive instead of busy” – Tim Ferriss


New regular clean in Braddon

In mid-January I was sitting in my car waiting to be let into the BASC showroom for its regular clean when I was approached by some big, bald bloke asking if I was a cleaner. Turns out he was the regional manager for multi-national gas distribution company, ENGIE, and wanted a quote for his Mitchell office. Fifteen minutes later, I had the job. Talk about timing!


Right place, right time

My old Suzuki Ignis finally gave up the ghost. Luckily, I found a replacement work van at the right price and it was delivered a couple of days later. There will be some CBR Cleaning Services signage coming soon!


They see me rollin’, they hatin’

I finished January with a once-off domestic spring clean and window clean in Gordon. All in all, a very eventful month. Bring on February!

Happiness is a clean home

Building a Business

Starting a cleaning company (Part 8) – Marketing on Instagram

“Marketing is a contest for people’s attention” – Seth Godin

Instagram is a great tool to showcase products and services and engage with potential clients. When starting out, it’s important to create a content strategy. Content needs to be engaging and relevant to your target market.

Personally, I’ve taken a service-centric approach. I regularly post photos of completed jobs, as well as before and after pics. Video’s and Stories have the same theme and complement the marketing strategy.

A portfolio of work on my Instagram page
Occasionally I’ll showcase ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of my day. This could be my daily routine, meetings with clients, networking events etc. This gives the viewing audience a chance to get to ‘know’ me and better understand the culture behind the company.

Consistent posts increase visibility, engagement and number of followers. I don’t tend to schedule posts. I generally have a bank of photos saved to my phone that I can post at optimal times to increase reach. These times include:

  • Monday to Thursday between 0600 – 0800 and 1930 – 2030
  • Sunday between 1930 – 2030

Regarding frequency, I tend to post ever three to four days, preferring quality and consistency over quantity.

I try to add a comment to each post to increase engagement. These can also be related to the photo and the company. Some examples include:

  • We don’t cut corners, we polish them
  • We clean it like we own it
  • I’ve got 99 problems but customer satisfaction ain’t one


Hashtags are essential. Again these are directed toward my target market, service and industry.

Something that I haven’t tried yet is Instagram promotions or contests. These are generally used to increase engagement and get your followers talking about your product or service. Ideas include:

  • Comment to enter
  • Photo contests
  • Sharing posts to other platforms
  • Clicking links that redirect to websites or product pages

Paid advertisement is also an option for Instagram. I’ve used this in the past in tandem with a Facebook advertising strategy. I was able to generate click-throughs to my website and converted three leads into ongoing contracts. However, I get just as many leads through the free strategies mentioned above.

Lastly there’s the instant messaging function. I’ve successfully used this by reaching out to potential customers to introduce myself and offer my services. For example, I recently picked up a lead by reaching out to an organisation, messaging them the following:

“Hi ……. I just wanted to briefly touch base to see if you were currently in need of a cleaner for your showroom in Fyshwick? I service a number of showrooms throughout Canberra including the …….. showroom in Mitchell, which is very similar to your own. Feel free to drop me a line if you’d like to chat. Best, Brendan”

This messaging strategy is simple, easy and free. Your prospective client can also view your portfolio of work which adds weight to your proposal.

“The best marketing of all is happy clients” – Susan Stripling

How do you use social media to market your product or service?

Building a Business

A day in the life of a Canberra cleaner – Commercial and cricket

An early start this morning. Up at 0500. Shower. Breakfast. Coffee.

I was at my first job, Subsdance dance dtudio by 0630. I vac’d the three MDF dance floors, polished the twenty odd mirrors and cleaned the office. I polished the glass entrance doors, emptied the bins, sanitised the common surfaces and was on my way by 0830.


I got to the Bom Funk dance studio by 0900 and took a quick coffee break before hooking in. I scrubbed the toilet blocks and kitchenettes, catch mopped the studio floors, vac’d the corridors and polished the mirrors. Lastly I wet mopped the studio floors and common areas, finishing up around midday.


Left-over pizza and coffee for lunch.

I reached Special Eyes Optometrists in Woden by 1230. A general dry dust followed by a moist dust of all the surfaces, chairs, reception area and optometrist equipment. I cleaned the kitchen, vac’d the floors, polished the glass entrance doors and mopped the wet areas. Back on the road by 1400.


I reached my last job, L & D Consulting by 1430. Again I started with a general dust including the skirting and sills before cleaning the kitchen and toilets. I vac’s the floors, emptied the bins, polished the glass entrance doors and mopped the wet areas.


Home by 1630. Hot chocolate. Cookie. Cricket. Admin. Invoicing. Blog writing.


Building a Business

Starting a cleaning company (Part 7) – Marketing on Facebook

“Social is not a place for a hard sell. It’s a place to build trust and credibility” – Julio Viskovich

It goes without saying that in this day and age, social media marketing is a must. Dr Cal Newport may disagree, and good luck to him, he’s doing well. But the benefits of social media marketing are obvious when starting a business from scratch.

With over 1.23 billion active users, Facebook is here to stay. At least for the short term. Therefore, marketing on Facebook was one of my main priorities.


There are three Facebook tools that can be used to market the business – Pages, ads and groups.


The first thing I did was set up a business page. This outlines my business particulars and includes a link to my website, as well as contact details and opening hours, while the ‘about’ section tells visitors a little something about myself and the company. People can ‘like’ the page and receive updates every time I make a post. Pages are cost free and easy to set up, though building a strong following can be difficult.

I use this page to upload images of completed jobs and before and after photos. I also post links to related articles and recent blog posts. These posts can be like and shared, which in turn increases their reach.

Around sixty percent of my new domestic clients found me through my Facebook business page. I’ve found that using relevant hashtags and engaging with your audience can improve your Facebook SEO.

I think the key here is to go easy on the frequency of uploads. No-one likes to be spammed. Focus on quality over quantity. Add value with relevant articles while occasionally spruiking your product/service.


Once I’d set up my business page and defined my target market, I created several customised Facebook ads geared towards my ideal audience. Facebook gives you the ability to target specific geographic areas, gender, age and occupation among others. There is a cost involved when creating ads. This varies depending on your ad campaign but it can get quite expensive.

FB Ad Campagin

I’ve run several ad campaigns in different formats with different goals in mind. I generally use this method to target potential domestic clients, and it does work. I generated three leads with my last month-long Facebook ad campaign, converting all three into ongoing contracts worth $6,240 annually. If your thinking of running a Facebook ad campaign, here’s some more info to help you out.

“Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad”. – Howard Gossage


I haven’t yet created a group. Groups are essentially forums. You can create a group based on your particular product or service, giving potential customers a place to engage with you and others through online conversation. Groups are free but time consuming as they involve constant active participation on your behalf.

You can use groups to build your community or offer exclusive deals on your product or service. You can promote events such as product launches or stay in touch with brand ambassadors or staff members.

Do you market on Facebook? Share your strategies in the comments section below!


Building a Business

Starting a cleaning company (Part 6) – Email marketing

“No matter how old it gets, email marketing will still be relevant” – Paras Arora

Now that I’d defined my target market and purchased my cleaning equipment, I was ready to start finding clients.

I had no idea how to approach this as a new business owner with no business or marketing experience, so I thought I’d just ask. I figured that if I asked enough people to do business with me, one of them would eventually say yes. And if one business said yes, then so could three, or ten, or fifty!

So with ignorance and energy to spare, I drafted a ‘cold-call email’ that basically said “this is who I am, this is what I do, how can we work together?”. The email I created was based on these principles. Once I was happy with the email, I got online and started looking for businesses that fit my commercial target market. I did this in two ways. Firstly I focused on a specific type of business such as dance studios, yoga studios, gyms, law firms, bookkeepers etc. Secondly I focused on suburbs or particular areas, starting closest to home and working my way out. I’d compile lists of businesses, find their contact details online and shoot them an email.

A typical list of potential clients
I had little to no hope of this succeeding, but after only 20 emails I was contacted for a quote. This gave me a lot of confidence, and I continued to compile lists and send emails. It goes without saying that most of my emails were ignored and understandably so. At one point I had a tally counter on my phone that kept track of emails sent and contracts tendered. I deleted the app after I reached 1000 emails. Compiling so many emails in my spare time was boring and tiresome work. I’m sure there are many more efficient ways to market a business but like I said, I was new to it all and this system was working, albeit slowly.

“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read”. – Leo Burnett

After two or three months I had twelve commercial cleaning contracts to my name and was feeling pretty proud of myself. I was servicing five dance studios, a yoga studio, two offices, two showrooms and two health centres.

I still use email marketing as an effective tool to approach prospective clients. I’ve refined the email over time, however my conversion rate remains about the same. Have you used cold call emails to generate sales? If so, share your story in the comments section below!

A day in the life of a Canberra cleaner

A day in the life of a Canberra cleaner – Commercial, domestic and a long lunch

6am. Shower. Breakfast. Coffee.

In a bid to start taking better care of my health I decided to pack my morning tea and lunch, rather than purchase something from the bakery.



I was at my first job by 0800. A domestic clean (2 bed, 1 bath + common areas) for $80.


Back on the road by 1000, I reached my second job in Jerrabomberra by 1030. Another domestic clean (3 bed, 1 bath + common areas) $80. The owners were home and I had a good chat to them before finishing up at 1300.

KD 1

I took an hour for lunch and sat under the shade of a tree eating my packed meal. I did some reading too. I usually read a lot of business related books, however I’m currently making my way through ‘Wherever you go, there you are’. I guess I’m trying to be more mindful in the way I go about my days while focusing on what really matters.

I started my next job in Fyshwick at 1400. A glass and glazing showroom that I clean on a fortnightly basis (2 hours, $120). A thunderstorm passed over and brought with it a lot of rain which was nice to listen to while polishing glass.

EGlaze 1

I was finished by 1600 and made my way to the final job of the day, a registered training organisation in Gold Creek (1.75 hours, $80).

Mantra 1

I finished up by 1815 and was home for nachos and beers by 1830. I even caught a few episodes of the new ‘Humans of New York Series‘. I don’t watch a lot of TV but I highly recommend this series. A lot of the stories really put life into perspective.

Building a Business

Starting a cleaning company (Part 5) – Domestic target market

“Understand why you are different and how you help, recognise your target market and give them something they might not even realise they’re missing” – Chris Murray

We explored the definition and importance of a target market in our last post: Starting a cleaning company (Part 4) – Commercial target market. So lets dive straight into domestic target markets in this post.

Focusing on the greater Canberra region, there are approximately 581 domestic cleaners employed throughout the ACT, however:

“As with the commercial cleaning industry, it is hard to determine exact employment numbers”. (ABS, 2016)

Demand for residential cleaning is reinforced through high and dual-income households and the ageing population. Several in-home aged-care programs now offer cleaning services, particularly through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

“The cleaning industry is forecast to continue growing steadily over the next five years, with revenue rising at an annualised 1.7% to reach $8.6 billion in 2019-20. This growth is lower than in the previous five years because the industry will continue to mature and high competition will limit pricing growth.” (ATO, 2017)

Workers in Canberra’s domestic cleaning industry are generally employed by small family owned companies and franchisees. Most are sole traders (including CBR Cleaning Services).

GK 1

Canberra’s aging population and a push by the ACT government to promote aging in the home is increasing demand for domestic cleaning services. Having busy lives and having an active role in family life is also likely to drive demand in the residential sector.

“Customer service has been identified as a major skill gap.” (IBISWorld, 2015)

With the above in mind, I can refine my domestic target market to three categories:

  • Time poor female professionals, aged 35 – 50, single, with or without children and an annual income of $100,000+
  • Time poor couples with or without children, aged 35 – 50, both working full time in professional roles
  • Singles or couples, aged 65 – 80, retired, with age related complaints that reduce their ability to perform activities of daily living

The last target market in this list is well catered for. The Australian government has many aged and disability related funding schemes set up to assist these individuals with activities of daily living (including cleaning), and to become a provider through these schemes is too complicated to get involved with at this stage. Therefore, I’ll be focusing most of my effort on the first two target markets.

In Part 6 of ‘Building a cleaning company’ we’ll take a look at how we can start to market our services to our commercial and domestic target markets.

“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic” – Seth Godin