Originally Posted by Cleanfreak
...my wife is a perfectionist and they love her to death.
At least for residential cleaning I think you should follow Karri's advice:
...find a niche, be unique, offer something above and beyond the usual services people would expect from your type of busieness and charge more, not less, than the competition.
Your wife is a perfectionist when it comes to cleaning. Lots of people will absolutely be willing to pay extra for a perfectionist when it comes to their homes. I'd keep Karri's advice in mind.
Along with the great ideas that have already been suggested I'd like to toss out a couple more marketing ideas.
First, I'd visit every take-out restaurant in the area... pizza, chinese food, chicken, etc. Pay the owner or manager (or barter) to have one of your flyers included with every delivery. I've mentioned before that a tanning salon did this with a pizza restaurant I worked at. The number of flyers that went out glued to the top of pizza boxes was amazing. Oh, and I worked at one of the big national franchise pizza places so you can approach managers with this kind of deal as well.
At my kids' Tae Kwon Do school there is a place for people to leave business cards. The waiting/viewing room always has parents watching or waiting for their kids. To me, grabbing the attention of a busy parent when they are at an activity like this really has potential. Imagine leaving a business card that said "Let us clean your house while you're at Tae Kwon Do!" That's weak ad copy but you get the idea.
So, visit every type of school where parents take their kids for activities. There are tons... Tae Kwon Do, Karate, gymnastics, dance studios, etc. Get the attention of the parent while they wait and let a business card or flyer pitch your services for you.
Go visit every nail salon or day spa you can find. Cut a deal for them to hand your brochure or flyer to every customer. The ladies have time to read them while their toenails are being done. Or, they can pop it in their purse and read it later.
Sponsor a little league team. Pay for their uniforms with your company logo and website address on the back. A great way to grab the attention of busy parents.
For local businesses like yours, the ads that run on that back of the receipts at grociery stores may be worth investigating.
Get a bumper sticker with your website address printed on it.
And be absolutely, positively sure you have a website that answers the questions prospective clients will have.