Strategy and Implementation Summary
The strategy of Like New Carpet Cleaning is to expand rapidly within Fairfield County, CT, targeting residential customers only, with an eye towards proving its model as scalable on a statewide level. To that end, it will seek funding for its initial five years of growth and then an additional round of funding to support that growth after five years. The strategy includes the following priorities:
- Ensure high-quality, moderately-priced service using a web-based model of sales and customer support.
- Keep overhead low by operating out of one office and keeping full-time staff at a minimum.
- Build its brand around the fact that carpets will look "like new" after cleanings, saving customers worry and expense.
The website of Like New Carpet Cleaning will offer complete sales, service, and scheduling applications online. This allows the business to reduce its operating costs, establish a business that can scale up quickly, and still provide a good customer experience. This online scheduling approach lets customers sign up for carpet cleaning services any time, day or night. This is a convenience that will be appreciated by the customer. It is an asset which it will be difficult for competitors to imitate because of the high cost of implementation.
The marketing strategy is to promote and build a base of residential customers within a five-mile radius of Danbury, CT.
This will include:
- A direct mail campaign targeting homeowners with large homes (more than 5,000 sq. ft). This group spends a higher amount on carpet cleaning per home than the other target markets, and they are more likely to create positive word-of-mouth about the service.
- Poster advertising built around the simplicity with which the company can make customer carpets look "like new." Locations will include bus stops, public parks, the sides of buses and taxi cabs, and movie theater advertising.
The marketing campaign will then move to web advertising via search engine marketing (Google Adwords) and search engine optimization to capitalize on converting those searching for carpet cleaning services locally into sales.
Like New Carpet Cleaners will automate its sales on its website. In the first year a target of 75% of sales will be conducted entirely on its website with minimal need for interaction with a salesperson. By its fifth year of operation, 90% of sales will be conducted entirely on its website. This includes the customer entry of details on their needs, the quoting of prices, client acceptance of the price and entry of a credit card, and scheduling of the services. The back-end of the website will store customer data and allow the owners to change pricing and services offered.
The owners, Rebecca and Fred Smith, will answer client queries which cannot be handled by the website service, based on specific emails that come in or website inquiries which are flagged as requiring personal attention. They will serve these clients with home estimates when necessary, using this experience to develop a stronger web-based model going forward. No commissioned salespeople will be hired, as the intention is to create a web-based model.
The primary revenue streams for Like New Carpet Cleaners will be carpet cleaning and intensive spot treatments. As the company will brand itself as the leader in making carpets look "like new," these will be the drivers of growth. Additional services will be sold primarily to customers who seek out Like New for its carpet treatments.
Average services are defined as the following, for the purpose of the sales forecast:
- Average carpet cleaning is two rooms (a small, semi-carpeted apartment)
- Average furniture cleaning is one large couch
- Average intensive spot treatment is one carpet
- Average area rug cleaning is one area rug
Cost of sales is expected to be 35% for the labor of cleaning staff. The remaining 4-10%, depending on the service, is for cleaning supplies and gasoline applied to the job to transport crew and equipment.
Over the first year, rapid growth is anticipated month over month as customer reviews come in and the simplicity and assurance of the web model is tested by the customer. A 25% annual growth is estimated as the business expands to cover all of Fairfield County, with additional bases of operation throughout the county. Growth will be primarily through the company's geographic expansion and secondarily through deeper penetration in each town as word-of-mouth grows.
The main impediment to this rapid growth would be the reluctance of customers to switch from their current carpet cleaning services. This risk will be mitigated by offering incentives to customers who switch and no-commitment trial prices. Competitors are unlikely to offer the same web-based model as their entire infrastructures are built around the use of salespeople, customer service reps, and in-person sales appointments.
The marketing program depends on timely completion of the key marketing tasks. Before any public marketing can begin, the website service must be well tested. This will happen over a two-month period. Upon completion of this work, direct mail and poster/movie screen advertising will begin concurrently with the goal of making thousands of local residents aware of the new business and its value proposition. Web advertising will follow with the goal of converting those locals searching for carpet cleaning to sales.