Is Your Custodial Marketing Working?

Start measuring your results and find out

custodial marketing, ROI, Robert Shor

Finding an affordable marketing strategy to grow your cleaning business can be challenging. Companies often make marketing decisions based on cost without considering return on investment (ROI). To measure your results and set realistic custodial marketing goals, you should be able to answer these questions:

  • What is your customer lifetime value for a new custodial account?
  • What is your cost to acquire a new account?
  • What is your ROI of the marketing strategy you’re using?
  • What marketing budget do you need to meet your goals?

If you’re having difficulty answering these questions, you probably haven’t been measuring your marketing results. If that’s the case, here are some tips that will help you make more informed marketing decisions.

What are your business goals?

Before deciding which marketing strategy to use, you should ask these questions:

  • What types of accounts would you like to target (considering aspects such as minimum square footage, cleaning frequency, and industry type)?
  • How many new accounts would you like to add each month?
  • What is your attrition rate—on average, how many accounts do you lose each year?
  • How many new accounts can you handle operationally and financially?
  • What marketing strategy can you use to acquire the contracts you want?

Calculating your customer lifetime value

Do you know what an average client is worth to your business’s bottom line? If you can’t assign a dollar value to your clients, you can’t evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing program. Customer lifetime value (CLV) represents the total profit you can expect over the life span of a custodial account.

As the size and life span of accounts can vary, you need to look at several years’ worth of current and past client data to calculate an average CLV.

For example, let’s assume the following:

Number of accounts


Gross income


Net income


Average account life span

2.5 years

You can calculate your CLV in two steps.

Step 1: Calculate the annualized profit per account

$75,000/25 accounts = $3,000 (on average) of profit per account per year

Step 2: Multiply the profit per account by the average account life span

$3,000 × 2.5 years = $7,500

The average customer lifetime value for this example is $7,500.

Calculating your cost per acquisition

Your cost per acquisition (CPA) is best defined as the cost to acquire a new client, not a lead. The CPA for any marketing strategy will depend on your cost per lead and your close rate—the percent of leads that become clients. Your close rate can vary from one marketing strategy to another. For the following CPA calculation, let’s assume marketing costs of $1,000 per month and that you close two contracts per month. Divide your monthly marketing spending by the number of contracts closed to calculate your CPA:

Monthly marketing spending


Contracts closed per month


Cost per acquisition


The CPA for this marketing strategy is $500.

How is your close rate?

You can’t close every account you bid on. Unless you’ve had years of sales experience or a good mentor, you probably won’t close the majority of custodial accounts you quote. However, the higher your close rate, the better your ROI, so it behooves everyone to get better at bidding and find a reliable source of qualified leads.

Your close rate depends on you and the quality of your lead

Marketing strategies can help you get more leads, but the ultimate goal of any marketing program is to close accounts. Pay-per-lead services and online marketing strategies will get your foot in the door, but once your walkthrough appointment is set, three factors will determine your close rate:

  • The competitive landscape
  • Your sales and bidding skills
  • Whether or not the lead was qualified.

The competitive landscape is difficult to control, and you will close more accounts by fine-tuning your sales and bidding skills. If you aren’t bidding on qualified leads, though, you could be wasting valuable time and money.

What is a qualified lead?

Most marketing agencies would define a qualified lead as a potential client who has expressed interest in the services of the seller. If you aren’t getting qualified leads, you won’t close as many accounts as you could be closing. For best results, prequalify your leads before setting appointments.

Calculating your custodial marketing ROI

ROI can be defined as how many dollars in profit you get back for every dollar you spend on marketing. If you earn $10 for every $1 you spend on marketing, your ROI is 10-to-1, or 10 times your investment.

Once you know the CLV of an average client and your CPA, you are ready to calculate your ROI. For our purposes, ROI will be calculated based on net profit to show how much it impacts your
bottom line.

To calculate ROI, divide the total profit from the accounts you’ve closed by your marketing spending. Here’s how the formula would work using our example:

Customer lifetime value


Accounts closed per month


Total profit realized


Monthly marketing spending


Return on investment


Many marketing agencies consider a good ROI to be at least 3-to-1.

Setting a custodial marketing budget

Now that you know your CPA and CLV, you can set a realistic custodial marketing budget to meet your goals. Follow these five steps to calculate your marketing budget:

  • Step 1: Set goals for the number of new accounts you want to add for the year
  • Step 2: Add the number of accounts you lose on average to attrition
  • Step 3: Determine the CPA for the marketing strategy you’ve chosen
  • Step 4: Multiply the CPA by the number of accounts needed
  • Step 5: Divide by 12 to determine your monthly marketing budget.

These steps can be applied to the following example:

New account goal


Account attrition


New accounts needed


Cost per acquisition


Monthly marketing budget


The monthly marketing budget for this example is $1,125.

What to do if you aren’t meeting your custodial marketing goals

If you haven’t been meeting your marketing goals, it could be due to one or more of the following factors:

  • Your marketing strategy’s ROI is low
  • Your marketing budget isn’t adequate
  • Your close rate is too low.

Custodial companies have an advantage

Unlike many industries, custodial companies can track the source of a lead that results in a sale. This provides a precise method to measure the success or failure of a particular custodial marketing strategy.

ROIs can vary based on the marketing strategy used and other factors. If you’re not meeting your marketing goals with the strategy you’re using, you can either find out why the strategy is underperforming and take steps to improve it, or you can look for a different strategy.

If your custodial marketing results don’t improve, you can seek help from a marketing professional with cleaning and maintenance industry experience.

Robert Shor

Robert Shor

Robert Shor is the CEO of Local Jani, an agency dedicated solely to marketing for the custodial industry. He has been providing marketing and consulting services since 2010 and has developed an online marketing program specifically for commercial cleaning companies. Shor can be reached at

Topics Tags

Also in Business and Management

Three Steps to Conquering Your Growth and Revenue Challenges
December 16, 2019 Pam Washington

Three Steps to Conquering Your Growth and Revenue Challenges

Sponsored in Business and Management

GoFree Flex Pro Cordless Backpack Cleans Historic Theatre Pro Team
September 29, 2017 Sponsored by ProTeam

GoFree Flex Pro Cordless Backpack Cleans Historic Theatre Pro Team

August 1, 2017 Sponsored by ProTeam

GoFree Flex Pro Cordless Backpack Boosts Productivity at Miller County Hospital

July 18, 2017 Sponsored by Sanitaire

Shedding Light on Day Cleaning Opportunities

October 1, 2016 Sponsored by ProTeam, Inc.

Jan-Pro of St. Louis Recommends ProTeam Backpack Vacuums to Franchises

Recent News

office building, office facility, work facility
September 24, 2020 CMM Daily News

The Future of Office Buildings

September 24, 2020 CMM Daily News

Hand Sanitizer Accessibility Calls for Increased Poisoning Vigilance

September 24, 2020 CMM Daily News

Hygieia Network Schedules Diversity Seminar and Awards During ISSA Show 2020

September 24, 2020 CMM Daily News

Straight Talk on the Customer Experience Journey

Is Your Custodial Marketing Working?
Share Article
Subscribe to CMM