How to create a Customer Value Ladder and Increase Profits for your Cleaning Business


Imagine building a cleaning business where you miss out on 90% of every sale.

Where customers buy from you only once without returning.

That's how the majority of small businesses operate.

However, there is a simple marketing tool that you can use to grow your cleaning business.

It generates leads, progresses customers through a marketing funnel, and increases average order value.

It’s called a customer value ladder.

If you run a cleaning company, you need to understand what a value ladder is and why it’s important for your business.

How to create a Customer Value Ladder to increase Business Profits (for Cleaning Companies)

  1. What is a Customer Value Ladder
  2. Four Stages of a Customer Value Ladder - The Ascending Transaction Model
  3. Why your Business needs a Customer Value Ladder
  4. Seven Benefits of a Customer Value Ladder
  5. How to Create a Customer Value Ladder
  6. Customer Value Ladder Examples

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1. What is a Customer Value Ladder?

A customer value ladder is the range of products and services that a business provides.

Value ladder marketing tends to start with a free or low-cost offer that solves a specific problem for customers.

Each step on the customer value ladder represents a different offer. As customers move along the value ladder, the value and cost of the offers increase.

At the top of the customer value ladder is the highest value and highest cost offer that a business wants customers to buy.

A customer value ladder also incorporates a monthly subscription, which creates recurring revenue for the business.

Value LadderS

2. Four Stages of a Customer Value Ladder - The Ascending Transaction Model

The Ascending Transaction Model (ATM) is an effective framework to create a customer value ladder for your cleaning business.

The ATM is designed to provide four types of offers that all serve a unique purpose:

  1. Gifts
  2. Services for Prospects (SFPs)
  3. Core Service Offering
  4. Service for Clients (SFCs)

An ATM creates an ecosystem of offers for your cleaning business. It takes your ideal customer on a journey from not knowing your business to becoming a long-term client.


Gifts are how you draw a prospective customer into your ecosystem. They're free, high-value offers that help build immediate trust with a prospective customer.

Gifts should entice people to want to know more about your business. They should NOT be a consultation or sales meeting. These options offer zero value at this stage of the customer value ladder.

Gifts must be digital and low-cost for you to deliver. Creating valuable content on social media is a great way to provide Gifts for prospective customers.

A good example is posting content with tips and recommendations about different cleaning products.


These are services that your ideal customer wants to try without committing too much time or money. SFPs are designed to offer quick wins and start a commercial relationship.

SFPs should always be exchanged for accurate customer contact details. They should focus on providing a specific solution, but not completely solve your ideal customer’s problems.

SFPs should lead your ideal customer closer to making a buying decision for your Core Service Offering.

SFPs should be low-cost to create or provide. They can be given away at a price cheap enough that your ideal customers feel they’re getting a good deal in exchange for the value they receive.

E-books and video tutorials on how to choose the right cleaning service for your office or how to prepare for an office deep clean, are good examples.


This service is the main focus of your cleaning business.

l It needs to complete a job or deliver a specific result that solves a problem or creates a benefit for your ideal customer.

Your Core Service Offering should turn ideal customers into long-term clients.

Developing marketing assets like brochures, websites, and digital content is important for your Core Service Offering.

It needs to generate recurring revenue in your business and make a profit for your cleaning business.

A good example of a Core Service Offering is an agreement to provide daily office cleaning over a 12-month period (or longer).


These are services you sell to clients who have already bought your Core Service Offering.

A good SFC requires some thought. It needs to be different from, but complementary to, your Core Service Offering.

An SFC cannot be more of the same service. It needs to be a “logical next step” for clients after your Core Service Offering has solved their first problem.

Well-selected SFCs have the potential to double business profits because you're able to offer the most value for the highest price.

By selling to existing clients, the cost of acquiring those clients has already been covered, which makes SFCs highly profitable.

SFCs build closer, more valuable relationships with your clients because you are solving more than one problem for them. This provides convenience and saves time and additional costs.

Offering a bundled cleaning service, like daily office cleaning, monthly window cleaning, and janitorial supplies are great options for SFCs.

3. Why your Cleaning Business needs a Customer Value Ladder

Every successful cleaning business needs customers. However, customer acquisition can be time-consuming and costly.

It’s much cheaper to sell to a previous customer than it is to acquire a new customer.

To turn a one-time customer into a long-term client, you need to have suitable offers. That’s where a customer value ladder comes in. It ensures that after a customer has bought from you once, you have a follow-up offer for them.  

A customer value ladder enables you to maximize the lifetime value of your customer and enables you to:

  1. Understand your Customer Journey: By having a customer value ladder, you know where a specific customer sits on your ladder. You can immediately determine what services they’ve purchased, and where they should go next.
  2. Grow with your Customers: As your customers grow, you can offer them more advanced, valuable, and specific Core Service Offerings and SFCs that solve their problems.
  3. Sell to Multiple Income Brackets: Every target market has some customers that can only afford your Gifts and PSPs, while others are ready to purchase your Core Service Offering and SFCs. A customer value ladder allows you to sell to different income brackets within your target market, resulting in more sales and increased revenue.

4. Seven Benefits of a Customer Value Ladder

#1: Customer Value Ladders Build Trust: One of the best ways to build trust with prospective customers is by providing them with value.

You can’t get a prospect to buy until they trust you. But you can’t get them to trust you until they’ve seen the value it brings.

A customer value ladder creates free, high-value offers that help to build immediate trust with prospective customers.

#2: They Provide Quick Wins: A customer value ladder gives you the chance to show prospective customers quick results.

Core Service Offerings and SFCs may take a bit of time to show the results a prospective customer is looking for. Smaller initial offers like Gifts and PSPs are designed to provide quick results for a very low initial commitment.

#3: Longer Customer Retention: Keeping customers is much better for the bottom line of your business than constantly searching for new ones. A customer value ladder promotes long-term customer relationships and increases customer lifetime value.

#4: Helps Close Bigger Deals: A well-designed customer value ladder helps you work your way up from free Gifts or low-investment SFPs to closing Core Service Offerings and SFCs in steps.

This gradual transition has much greater rewards than going from non-customer to closing a big deal, which is too abrupt for most customers.

#5: Eases Customers Into A Sale: Without a customer value ladder, a prospective customer has two options:

  • “Yes, I’d love to work with you!”; or
  • No thanks.”

A customer value ladder gives you more options.

If a prospect declines your Core Service Offering, you can give them an easier, lower-value Gift or SFP to go with. They can choose the option they’re most comfortable with and gradually move up the ladder to your Core Service Offering and SFC.

#6: Directs Sales and Marketing Focus: Having a customer value Ladder allows you to focus your marketing efforts on bringing in the right leads. Those leads go through your sales funnel until they reach the point when they’re ready to start on the first step of your customer value ladder.

#7: Perfect For Cleaning Businesses: Customer value ladders are especially useful for cleaning businesses.

Service-based businesses sell results. Unless your business has a reputable brand, you need to convince prospective customers that you can get results.

A customer value ladder allows you to offer Gifts and SFPs to build trust, upsell from, and develop the brand of your cleaning business.

5. How to Create a Customer Value Ladder

A customer value ladder is an important tool for your cleaning business.

It will help you organize your services in a linear way.  You can use the ATM framework to outline your customer journey and identify gaps in your service offerings.

There are three steps to building an effective customer value ladder for your cleaning business:

1. Know Your Target Market

To create an effective customer value ladder, you need to know your target market.

Without knowing who you’re going to sell your services to, you won’t know what services to offer along your customer value ladder.

Understanding your target market requires market research to find out answers to questions like:

  • How old are they?
  • How much money do they make per year?
  • What is the biggest thing that they stress over?
  • What do they get excited about?
  • Who do they follow on Facebook or Instagram?
  • What magazines do they read?

Answers to these types of questions help you develop your ideal customer avatar. You gain a better understanding of your target market. This allows you to create compelling services on your customer value ladder.

2. Outline Your Services

Once you understand your target market, you can create your customer value ladder. You’re ready to outline the different services you can offer at each stage of the value ladder.

For an existing business, this could be a list of current services. You can also include future services you want to introduce.

Once you have your list of services, organize them into steps based on the price and value provided.

This is where the ATM framework helps. It enables you to organize your services into Gifts, SFPs, Core Service Offering, and SFCs.

3. Build a Sales Funnel

Now that you have organized your services into the ATM framework, you can build your sales funnels.

Gifts are at the top of the funnel. They need to be irresistible and something your prospective customer would normally pay for. Prospective customers who accept your Gifts are more likely to buy the next step of your customer value ladder.

These are your PSPs, Core Service Offering, and SFCs. They increase the level of service and the amount of value provided to your customer. They also enable you to continue increasing your revenue.

The number of steps on your customer value ladder depends on your business model. Every step along the value ladder should be priming the customer for your SFC - the highest value offer.

6. Customer Value Ladder Examples

Carpet Cleaning Company:

  1. Gifts - Video How to guide for removing stains from a carpet
  2. PSP - Paid single room carpet clean
  3. Core Service Offering - Paid retainer for quarterly carpet cleaning
  4. SFC - Paid subscription for bi-monthly carpet and upholstery cleaning (sofas, armchairs, etc)

Commercial Cleaning Company:

  1. Gifts - Video how to guide for keeping an office desk clean, inc, keyboard and computer screen cleaning
  2. PSP - Paid office deep clean
  3. Core Service Offering - Paid retainer for daily office cleaning
  4. SFC - Paid subscription for daily office cleaning, monthly carpet clean and quarterly deep clean

House Cleaning Company:

  1. Gifts - EBook on how to create a regular cleaning schedule and cleaning checklist
  2. PSP - Paid After Party Cleaning
  3. Core Service Offering - Paid retainer for weekly/fortnightly house clean
  4. SFC - Paid subscription for weekly/fortnightly house clean, bi-monthly oven clean, and quarterly carpet clean

Oven Cleaning Company:

  1. Gifts - eBook on how to clean an oven
  2. PSP - Paid oven clean
  3. Core Service Offering - Paid retainer for quarterly oven cleaning
  4. SFC - Paid subscription for bi-monthly oven clean and cooker hoods/extractor fans.

Wrapping Up: Ready to create a Customer Value Ladder for your Cleaning Business?

A customer value ladder helps to increase revenue for your business. It’s an effective marketing tool that builds trust and raises brand awareness with your target audience.

The ATM framework creates an ecosystem of services that transforms a customer into a client. This results in increased customer lifetime value and the profits of a business.

More cleaning companies should introduce a customer value ladder into their business. Commercial cleaning and house cleaning is a commodity where customers choose a service based on price.

Creating a customer value ladder for your cleaning company enables you to focus on value instead of price.

By understanding your target market, you can create tailored cleaning solutions. These solutions provide greater value to your ideal customer, which makes your cleaning service worth more.

A range of tailored services, with higher prices, offering greater value, separates you from the competition.