How to create a referral program with your professional cleaning service business

How to create a referral program. Picture of multiple trash cans and wiping a ceiling fan blade.
This post may contain affiliate links. Feel Free to review our Private Policy. Thank You!
Pinterest Hidden Image

If you’re thinking about expanding your cleaning business, create a referral system.  Not sure how to do that, keep reading.  We’ll show you how to create a referral program for your professional cleaning service that works for you, your employees, and your customers.


A lot of service-based businesses shy away from asking their current customers for referrals.  They simply don’t ask for a variety of reasons.

THIS, is leaving money on the table!


I’m not suggesting to be pushy or forceful with your agenda to expand your cleaning business.  There is certainly a way to create a win-win program that everyone can be excited about.


There’s a happy medium.


A simple plan made plain, for everyone to understand and would want to participate in.  But first let’s see what a good referral program is and how it can work for your professional cleaning business.


What is a referral program and how does it work for your professional cleaning business?


A good referral program is when your business will reward customers, employees, or anyone else that sends more customers your way.

The “reward” can be a physical gift, an additional service you provide, a discount of some sort, or monetary.


The thing that you want to establish is a system that works for you and for the person(s) referring.  You would want to look for an equal balance.  Your incentive should be comparable to what you’re receiving.

When your current customer sends a family member or friend your way, the first thing you do is thank them!  Right?!?!

Seriously, there’s no better way you can feel appreciated than for one customer to recommend your business to someone else.


It feels so good to know that your customers think so highly of you that they want their friends and colleagues to experience that same satisfaction with the cleaning services you provide.


In fact, it makes your customers feel good to know that they can help their friends in this way.


So, you might think, “well if they’re showing their appreciation for my cleaning services, then how can I show my appreciation towards them?”.

(Good thinking!)


You can show them by doing more of what they appreciate about you!  And that is…. cleaning.  After all, good quality cleaning is what makes your customers happy.


Check out this related article about what customers really want from cleaning companies.

how to clean trash cans and recycling bins. White trash can and silver and brown can.

One recommended referral incentive is providing a free cleaning task.

Nothing too over the top.  Just something that may take you or your staff about one hour to complete.


Something like, washing all of the trash bins around the house if you provide maid services.  Or, cleaning their ceiling fans as opposed to just dusting them.  (That’s if you don’t do this task on their regular cleaning schedule.)


If you have a janitorial business, maybe offer to give the restroom walls a complete wash down as opposed to spot wiping which is done on the regular cleaning routine.



Also, you want to be sure that you acquired the new cleaning contract first before you give “the gift” to the referring customer.


Remember, you don’t want the clean time to exceed an hour.  This would be fair in this industry.


If you want to go wild and give something spectacular like carpet cleaning, by all means that would be up to you.  Just a word of caution, the amount in which you will receive from the new customer should at best balance the value of the cleaning that you’re “gifting”.


Got me? No?


Just in case, let’s rinse and repeat.  If you’re receiving $200 for the cleaning of your new customer, you should not let the value of the “gift” (cleaning task) for your current customer exceed $200.  In most cases, it should not come close.


Because as a good business practice, you must always, always, always consider your expenses before “gifting” any services.  After all, you will have to pay labor costs and material costs.


A good referral system can work especially for start-up cleaning businesses.

Creating a good referral program is a fantastic way to grow your professional cleaning business.


Think about it.


Think about how much you spend on advertising and the time you put into gaining more customers.  Well, you wouldn’t have to spend anything to get this new customer.  (You’ll only spend an hour of time/labor costs as the “thank you gift” to the customer that recommended you).


Another positive thing to chew on is that “birds of a feather flock together”.  If the one customer is good, respectful, never a hassle, and always pays on time, then more than likely their friends are the same.



Having a good referral program in place was very effective in how we grew our cleaning business.  Here is a list of just a few of our customers.


How to price professional office cleaning. Person general cleaning office building with cleaning cart

Create a referral incentive for your employees too.

Maybe something like this: For every team member, offer 1 referral $25.  If they refer 2, $40.  For the 3rd new customer, $60.  You can, of course, adjust the amounts to your liking.


Can you see the big picture?  Everyone on your staff is going to want to refer as many people as they can!  The ultimate prize can be $100.  Then after you “gift” your employees for the month.  Reset it.



If you prefer not to give money to your employees, how about offer time off work.  Perhaps offer them PAID, 3 hours off work for the first referred customer.  5 hours off work for the 2nd referral.  One full paid day off for the 3rd customer they send to your company.



Either way can work.  You may want to check with your local employment laws about implementing this strategy.  Every country is different, and you will not want to break the law while trying to grow your cleaning business with a referral program.


Remember, you should only disperse the rewards after you get the job.



Once you’ve created this referral program, spread the word.

Let all team members in your company know about the new cleaning business referral program incentives.


Place it on the bulletin board at your office.  Send them notifications in your private Facebook Group.  Call them one by one.  However you get the word out, just get started.

Be sure to let your house and commercial office cleaning customers know as soon as you possible too.


Email them, leave a flyer in their home, text, or call them one by one.  Get the word out as soon as possible.


As soon as people start responding, began to keep a spreadsheet of some sort.  Something internal for tracking purposes.  You’ll want to keep good records in order to respond with the appropriate gift(s).


Lastly, don’t let fear hold you back.  You started your cleaning company for a reason – to grow it.  And this is a perfect way to do that!



Develop an easy to understand system that your house and commercial office cleaning customers, employees and even suppliers to your company will want to use.  Offer an extra cleaning task to the referring customer.  Give paid time off for any team member that refers customers.  (Check the governing laws where you do business).  Get the word out as soon as you can.  Well, that’s the nuts and bolts of how to create a referral program with your professional cleaning service.



“Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.” – Oprah Winfrey


Until next time,

Happy cleaning!!!



I grew my office cleaning side hustle into a ½ million-dollar corporation with the partnership of my husband and our amazing staff. In 2020, I retired my service-based business to shift my focus and passion from serving cleaning clientele to serving cleaning business owners.


Utilizing my 27+ years’ experience, I offer free and paid products exclusively for cleaning business owners and cleaning side hustlers at A Janitor’s Story® Website and my VIP Group Coaching Membership App.


I’ve served other cleaning pros by helping them to turn one time cleaning jobs into high paying recurring customers, create excellent client retention practices, develop hiring systems that really work, build marketing techniques that convert and so much more.


If this is a place you’d like to explore, I’d love to serve you too. Simply sign up to my free weekly email newsletter for tips and inspiration. I can’t wait to meet you inside.



You may also like


  1. Scarlet Aaron says:

    Thanks for sharing such an informative blog!

    1. says:

      You are so very welcome! Enjoy. ~ Stacey

    1. Stacey Freeman says:

      You are very welcome. Happy cleaning!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *