Garage Cleaning Ad for Craigslist Critique

by Rob28x
20 replies
Ok so I am starting a garage cleaning business. ( see original post about it in the offline forum here: )I am unemployed and need to start making money right away, so I am going to start with posting on CL.
Here's two ads I have posted so far just to get the ball rolling. Would love to hear some feedback and suggestions on them and how I can improve on them.

Tired Of Looking At That Messy Garage? I Can Help!

Have You Been Putting Off Cleaning The Garage?
#cleaning #craigslist #critique #garage
  • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
    Those may get you some calls. IMO, there is room for improvement in making the prospects visualize the dusty, messy garage and the upcoming cold Michigan winter snow and ice.

    If you have testimonials, use them - they can be powerful on CL.

    Here is a quick ad example I put together that might be useful:

    Have a Clean Garage Again - Quickly and Easily!

    Let’s face it - cleaning the garage is no fun. It’s dusty, messy, and probably has spiders.

    Are you tired of stumbling into bikes, boxes, dust, and spider webs? Of course you are!

    Do you want to be scraping snow and ice off your windshield every morning while your coffee gets cold and your fingers get numb? Of course not!

    Your garage was clean, once – remember all that storage space you had? But now - you can’t even get your car into it, and winter is coming. It’s a mess - but it doesn’t have to be that way.

    With my help, you’ll quickly have a clean, usable garage again – and you’ll protect your car, too.

    I’ll clean your garage for you – you won’t have to lift a finger. I also install storage solutions such as shelving, bicycle racks, tool holders, and more. And I even work weekends! It’s never been so easy.

    Call today – right now – to get on my work list. Your neighbors will envy you as you drive away while they are still shivering and scraping stubborn ice from their windshields. You’ll love using your garage again!

    Call Rob the Garage Guy at 810-545-8098 today, or reply to this ad for your free estimate. You’ll be very glad you did!
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  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
    Or you could go whacked-out. Like this memorable New Zealand washing machine ad - Scary washing machine. No really, its terrifying! | Trade Me
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Originally Posted by Rob28x View Post

    Ok so I am starting a garage cleaning business. ( see original post about it in the offline forum here: )I am unemployed and need to start making money right away, so I am going to start with posting on CL.
    The before and after pictures are very effective. Whatever changes you make to your ad, I'd leave them in.

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  • Profile picture of the author Rob28x
    Thanks guys for the tips and suggestions. Very helpful.

    Steve - Love that ad copy. Thank you for the help.
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  • Hi Rob,

    It would be good if you gave yourself a "title" something like "Garage Cleaning Specialist"

    Also you want referrals from your happy customers, so make sure you've got some Flyers to give them. And maybe an incentive so they give you names and numbers or once the new customer has hired you - discount off the next clean, cash back, a gift - like a box of cookies, chocolates etc.

    Another thing you could do - once the garage is sorted out, the yard may need tidying up - have a look when you're at the house and become "The Yard Cleaning Specialist" as well.

    Only if you want to - the thing about the garage is - you're under cover and protected against the weather.

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  • Profile picture of the author Rob28x
    Yup that was my thoughts. I plan to also pick up a portable heater I can use when it gets colder to heat the garages as I am cleaning them.
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  • I mentioned Flyers, I know money isn’t flowing just yet, but you might consider them so you’re not relying solely on the Graig listing.

    Flyers don’t have to be in color. Often it’s best if they’re not. Because they can scream "I'm an advertisement" and you want them to look more informational. And the more jazzed up they are the more expensive the customer thinks the service is.

    So black and white is good (you can print on both sides) and it helps to print them on card - the readership soars and they are far less likely to get binned.

    Distribute them in the best most affluent neighbourhoods with big garages and they can bring you a super fast response.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob28x
    Fliers aren't a problem as I have my own color laser printer.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marvin Johnston
    Another service you might offer is to take away unwanted "stuff." Offering cleaning would give you an advantage over those people who only offer to take away unwanted "junk."

    Another aspect that you might want to test in your ads is to emphasize your trustworthyness.

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  • Profile picture of the author EaglePiServ
    Another idea - take photos with the owners in the before state (looking sad) and then after you've cleaned it (looking happy). Coupled with a testimonial a few of these would be very compelling.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
    You've gotten some good advice here to get started with:

    1) Brand yourself/your service (Garage Cleaning Specialist, Rob the Garage Guy, etc.), so you're not just "some guy named Rob." It makes you unique, and makes it easier for people to search for you online. It also builds trust and credibility in the mind of prospects. ("I used Rob the Garage Guy!" as opposed to "I found some guy named Rob on CraigsList...")

    2) Use before and after photos, and use testimonials if you have them. Appeal to the quick and easy benefits (they've been meaning to do it all summer after all, and now it's nearly Halloween), while mentioning the negative factors they don't like (it's dusty, full of spiders, and who knows what else!).

    3) Have flyers of some type as a takeaway to leave with clients, with possible new customer or repeat business incentives, and as a way to target specific areas.

    4) If you have a truck or know someone that does, being able to offer full service cleaning including haul-aways is always a plus, and sometimes a revenue bonus. Sometimes people will give away really good furniture, etc. to someone that will haul it away, just to be rid of it.

    5) Keep an eye out for other obvious opportunities (yard care, maintenance, etc.).

    Good luck with your ventures - opportunities are always available for those willing to seek them.
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  • Profile picture of the author linkmetro
    Steve Hill,

    who will read a 'novel' on CL?? I think nobody. Use test and photos?? He just starting out..???
    I agree with EaglePiServ, take photos before and after from your jobs and use it later on your website.

    Hey Rob, keep it short and sweet! Also search w/larger cities for 'garage cleaning' and check ads. If you find ad that posted several times, it is working, so use it changing just a lit'bet.

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  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    /\ CL is one thing I do fairly well with and what Steve recommended is exactly what I do. I actually go beyond that. Equating what he said as a "novel" is a huge mistake imo.

    #1 I have tested long page sales copy on CL and it works great if the copy is great. Some of the leads that came in that way were nearly sold by the time they got on the phone. I have tested both long copy, short copy, image ads, html ads, text ads... only thing I haven't tested yet on CL are thumbnails that link straight to videos.

    #2 What he mentioned is the opposite of what 90% of your competitors are doing. Thats WHY you do it. Being new is no excuse imo. If you know you're suppose to do this stuff, do it. It helps A LOT more than not doing it, and you SAVE TIME by doing it right the first time.

    #3 Last time I checked, this was a copywriting forum. People are looking for every bit of leverage they can get. If I showed you one of my ads, they are probably 2 inches longer than what the OP posted. But guess what? I have testimonials (short and sweet), a facebook button with 3,400 likes, our bbb logo, how many customers we've served, and an IAQ certification logo.

    This stuff BARELY takes up space. Its all put on the bottom, and I doubt most people even read it. But their eyes DO SEE it. And that is the point. I made a "frame" for my ads that is social proofed to hell and back. It has pictures on the bottom. Then on the top I have about a paragraph or 2 worth of space to write new ads.

    I ALWAYS use the same frame (I've tested probably over 400-500 ads on CL) and it works very well. It also attracts higher paying customers. It has all the stuff Steve mentioned and more. The point of anything you do in marketing, is differentiation and positioning. If you only want before and after photos like everyone else, with a short/bland paragraph of text, be my guest. But I can't tell you how much time I've wasted on CL making ads like that and barely getting any response.


    ps. I always try to write creative headlines.
    They don't need to be spectacular, just different.

    "Your Garage Contacted Me Today. He's Very Sad Because You Won't Clean Him! ".

    Anything different tends to work great on CL.
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  • Profile picture of the author linkmetro
    For me short and sweet works best.
    I reaaaally don't think so people like to read novels on CL...when there is 150 other ads to read..and 600 other categories
    Anyhow good lucj to you Rob whatever you decide to do.

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    • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
      Originally Posted by linkmetro View Post

      For me short and sweet works best.
      I reaaaally don't think so people like to read novels on CL...when there is 150 other ads to read..and 600 other categories
      Anyhow good lucj to you Rob whatever you decide to do.

      You haven't checked the Best Of, have you? Worth a look, lots of long ads there. Just 'cause you don't read them doesn't mean others don't. Try not to assume your preferences hold true for the market - you'd be surprised by how much your bias sways you in marketing decisions.

      Aspiring copywriters: if you need 1:1 advice from an experienced copy chief, head over to my Phone a Friend page.

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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Solem
    I think they're both a good start and certainly worth testing, but have a couple of comments that might help.

    I believe it was Robert Collier who stressed that "you enter the conversation already going on in your prospect's mind" - and the more questions you can answer in your ad to keep people interested the better.

    If I came across that for example, I'd be wondering things like 1) Who is this guy and why should I trust him? 2) Why would I let a stranger into my garage? 3)what if he breaks or steals something from me? 4) is he insured or bonded in anyway? 5)what if he gets hurt while on my property?

    Some people who have questions after reading your ad may call and inquire, but I think most would pass if they have to wonder or think too hard about this. IF you can answer the questions they have upfront by letting them know who you are and why then can trust you, I think you'll get better response to your ads here.

    Also, maybe work a story into your ads like "Remember when your home was new and you had room for everything in your garage? Your tools and toys could easily be found, and you didn't spend hours searching for that one item you just "know" is out there? I can return your garage to it's "like new" condition, get rid of the clutter and help you make room for all your vehicles and toys.

    Also, while CL can certainly help you get some work, have you considered joint ventures with other businesses who are in or at peoples homes on a daily basis? Painters come to mind of course, but landscape companies, hvac companies, carpet cleaners can all be good people to pass out flyers for you. You could either offer to pay them a percentage of each job they refer, or as you grow, you can reciprocate and offer to pass out their flyers to your customers too.


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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
    @linkmetro - I've sold a ton of stuff and vehicles (not services) on CL using a very similar format to what was mentioned to Rob28x. Many people have told me they bought BECAUSE of the ad being thorough and different like RedShifted noted. Some people have even said "I'll take it, will be there in 15 minutes" with no further questions.

    If someone is interested, they'll absolutely read long ads. CL is full of vague, poorly-worded ads, so when people see a good readable ad that is clear and reveals everything (both good and bad), they can decide right then and there. The quality of the responses go up, everybody saves time, and the items usually sell quickly (sometimes within minutes).

    On the other hand, long hype-filled ads just drive people away - the copy has to be genuine and engaging.

    Steve S. also has some good points about establishing credibility, especially for situations where the prospect is asking strangers to come to their home.

    The bottom line in my experience with CL is the easier it is for the prospect to trust and buy, the more likely the sale.
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  • Profile picture of the author guderfuta
    I can help you posting your cleaning service ads on craigslist. I have long time experience in CL posting service.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr. Subtle
    Originally Posted by Rob28x View Post

    Ok so I am starting a garage cleaning business. I am unemployed and need to start making money right away, so I am going to start with posting on CL.
    Here's two ads I have posted so far just to get the ball rolling. Would love to hear some feedback and suggestions on them and how I can improve on them.


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  • Profile picture of the author Casper1990
    Well its good, you are doing very well, because these are the primary steps for advertising.. but you need to throw some leaflets in town where you are starting this business and do some advertisement on social sites..

    PHJ Services
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