The Coronavirus Impact on Cleaning Businesses

In mid-April, we asked cleaning business owners in Canada and the United States to report on the coronavirus impact on the industry. The results show a clear disruption as most cleaning businesses have been negatively impacted by the virus. That said, not everyone has been hit hard; some are even enjoying gains from this pandemic. 

Note: Survey responses were collected over a three-week period beginning April 13, 2020. Sixty-one responses were collected in total. Thirty-one percent of businesses are located in Canada and 69% in the United States. This report is a snapshot in time amid a constantly changing situation. We plan to repeat this survey in the coming months to track the impact.

Impact on Demand for Cleaning Services

We start with a question about the demand for cleaning services. Most businesses report a negative impact, which is no surprise. Only 18% reported a neutral impact, and 10% are even benefitting from this pandemic. 

coronavirus impact on cleaners - demand for services graph

Demand for Residential vs. Commercial Services

Cleaning businesses vary between the type of customers they serve. One clear distinction is whether they offer services to residential or commercial customers. The negative impact of the coronavirus is more felt for residential services than commercial services.

coronavirus impact on cleaners - demand for residential services graphcoronavirus impact on cleaners - demand for commercial services graph

Impact on Financial Projections

Next, we asked cleaning businesses how their financial forecasts have been impacted. These numbers are bleak, with over 90% projecting some amount of financial loss.

coronavirus impact on cleaners - financials graph

Financial Impact on Canadian vs. American Businesses

Interestingly, Canadian cleaners reported a more muted financial impact than their American counterparts. For Canadian cleaning businesses, 16% actually reported an increase in work because of the virus. However, only 7% of American cleaning businesses reported an increase in work.

coronavirus impact on cleaners - financial canada graph

coronavirus impact on cleaners - financial usa graph

What Are Cleaning Businesses Doing For COVID-19?

On the plus side, the responses to this next question shows the resilience of the industry. We asked what each business has done in order to adapt to the coronavirus. Almost all businesses have done something to adapt. Whether it’s simply to stay afloat during these unprecedented times, or to set themselves up for a strong rebound, it’s good to see cleaners take action. 

coronavirus impact on cleaners - actions to adapt graph

Surprisingly, only 43% of cleaning businesses updated their website information while 61% communicated on social media. Perhaps it’s because we’re a marketing agency, but we thought updating the website would be one of the top things that small businesses do online during COVID-19.

Actions Taken By Canadian vs. American Businesses

Another interesting difference is that almost all (94%) Canadian businesses have implemented “extra hygiene steps during service” in response to COVID-19, but a smaller proportion (74%) of American businesses have made this change.

coronavirus impact on cleaners - actions canada graph

coronavirus impact on cleaners - actions usa graph

Other Tactics Cleaners Use to Combat COVID-19

Cleaners across the board also deployed these tactics in response to the coronavirus, among others:

  • Text blasts to reach customers
  • Requiring staff to wear more PPE
  • Applied for loans and grants
  • Providing electrostatic one-time sprays
  • Providing special disinfecting services aimed at COVID-19, in addition to regular cleaning services
  • Certified their cleaners via IPAC


What Are Cleaning Customers Asking?

Finally, we asked cleaning businesses the most common question they have received from customers related to COVID-19, and here are the responses:

Questions Related to Business Operations

  • Are you still in business or operational or open?
  • How soon will you be back?
  • Will you hold my spot once COVID is under control?
  • Are you considered an essential service?
  • What are your hours?


Questions Related to Virus Precautions

  • What are we doing differently now?
  • What are you doing to keep customers safe?
  • How can you help combat COVID-19?
  • Is it safe to have you here?
  • How are you protecting yourself?
  • Are you sick?
  • Do you test your staff?
  • What steps are you taking as a company to limit exposure?
  • Will you be wearing protective masks and gloves?
  • What are you doing to address the issue?
  • Can we reduce labour as buildings aren’t fully occupied?


Questions Related to Disinfecting Services

  • Are you offering disinfecting and sanitizing services?
  • Do you offer virus cleaning?
  • How long does disinfection last?
  • What type of disinfectant do you use?
  • Can you clean with antiviral chemicals?
  • What chemicals do you use?
  • What disinfectants do you use?
  • What products and methods do you use?


As a cleaning business, are you sharing this information with your customers upfront? To me, this indicates a huge opportunity to communicate using your website, Google My Business, Facebook, email and other channels to ensure your customers have accurate, real-time information about your business. You can’t land new work when people think you’re closed or not equipped for COVID-19, after all.

Looking for Support?

We’re a digital growth marketing agency that’s committed to helping other businesses thrive during this difficult time. If you’re looking for a team of experts to help you bounce back strong, take a look at our digital packages designed for small business owners and local service providers. If you have any questions, send us an email at [email protected] or give us a call at +1 604 704 2432.

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