Let’s face it things get dirty. It’s human nature, you’re having lunch and you spill something on your shirt. We’ve all been there, you’re at a party or small get together that turns the host’s house upside down. With that said, the thought of taking the time to clean it all up sometimes can cause anxiety for some people. For others, it’s music to their ears. A mess is a gold mine for someone who owns or is starting a cleaning business. If you have that entrepreneurial spirit and have thought to yourself ‘I want to start a cleaning business’ then these tips for starting a cleaning business are for you.
There are so many positive aspects to starting a cleaning business. The flexibility of doing it part-time or full-time. There’s also the added possibilities of niche-based cleaning, allowing you to focus on specific kinds of businesses.
So sit up straight, silence your phone (yes like at the movies) and enjoy these simple yet effective tips for starting a cleaning business.
Tip # 1: Know Your Industry
Before you start any business it’s important to understand your industry. What’s involved with the type of work you will be doing? The cleaning industry has two primary market groups, the first is commercial and the second is the consumer market.
The consumer market is made up of residential maid services, window cleaners, carpet cleaners and a host of other variable cleaning services.
Janitorial services are in command of the commercial market group. The services provided are in a wider variety of things and more comprehensive then maid services. They target businesses instead of individual consumers.
Understand this is not a glamorous business and some people may frown or look like they smelled something very unpleasant when you tell them what you want to do for a living (who cares). What is important is you can build a very profitable business in a short amount of time.
Tip #2: Do Your Research… on Yourself
This tip is important so pay attention. Do you know what it takes to run a business? Do you have the qualifications? (I don’t mean credentials). Now I know you’re saying to yourself c’mon this is only cleaning. Yeah but it’s a business, that requires determination to make the business work.
Are you customer service-oriented? If so then great you’re on the right track, if the thought of having to please the customer makes you cringe, I’d say try changing your perspective or think twice about starting a cleaning business start-up.
Customer satisfaction is the secret sauce (but it’s not a secret anymore).
Are you the type of person that loves doing a very thorough job? This is your brand we are talking about here, quality is all that matters. How can you stand out above the rest?
These are questions you can offer to yourself when moving forward with your research. Are you trustworthy? How can you display that to your clients? They need to have complete trust in you and your staff. No matter how big or small the job.
Tip # 3 Know Where you Want to Start
Having a plan and knowing what you want is more than half the battle, so do you want to start a cleaning business that focuses on maid services or janitorial services. Maid services are definitely a simpler business plan in terms of cleaning skills and equipment.
Janitorial services require the use of special equipment. Chemical cleaning solutions as well, depending on the services your business is providing. This can require some additional training on using that equipment.
Do you want to begin as a franchise operation or start as an independent business? You know, like merry maids or a Stanley steamer. The uber fun thing about that is, you have the support and resources of a proven system.
They can assist you in making sure your business runs smoothly. Having that endorsement can be profitable in the beginning.
In contrast, you can save yourself far more upfront costs operating as an independent service. Also, you have the freedom to run your business how you want. There are no pre-existing rules or formulas.
You can name your business how you want, offer the services you want and create the business hours you want.
There are pros and cons to both. Make sure you understand what your values are and make a decision that falls in line with what you feel is best for your business.
Tip #4: Affordable Equipment
If you need to purchase some equipment (most likely you will) this is the time when you need to be a deal hunter, there are several ways to find equipment for sale for what you’re going to need. See a brief list below:
Clean it Supply – They sell wholesale and offer free shipping on several products.
eBay – There are many deals and affordable options when you bid.
Facebook MarketPlace – If you have Facebook you can search in there market place for supplies.
Wholesale Janitor Supply – this is another wholesale company specializing in helping you get a hold of affordable supplies and equipment
There are a ton more out there to find, this should get you started.
If you need some heavy-duty equipment you can always take inventory of your finances and go the route of financing. However, this article is not about that, so this is the end of the line in this area.
Whew! We are covering a lot. I hope you’re getting all of this, the next tip is –
Tip #5: Location Location Location
Where do you want to run your business? You have a couple of options (which is nice). Home-based businesses are on the rise. According to Good Financial Cents, there are several benefits to starting a home-based business.
What’s cool about this, is it’s not like you will have anyone coming to your home. All your work gets done outside of your home on their property. Look into the legalities of doing this as in some states there are restrictions.
The second option is opening a commercial space. This can help you create a very professional image however there are several things to consider when opening a commercial business and you should look into more research and what you exactly need for your cleaning business.
Tip #6 Transportation
Because all of your work is done at your client’s location, transportation is a very important part of your business. Your company is your transportation so to speak. For maid services, a regular economy car or wagon should be fine.
Remember the vehicle is a representation of you and your business so it should be well kept and maintained.
You are going to need enough space to store your equipment and supplies. If you can afford too, paint your logo, company name and business number on your car (free advertising! Who doesn’t love that).
Vehicles for janitorial services depend on what services you provide. Say you’re cleaning office building windows, you will most likely need a larger vehicle. Especially if you have a crew you work with. Trucks or Vans are used more in today’s larger Janitorial businesses such as Jan-Pro.
Tip #7: If The Price Is Right
Our goal is to offer good tips in this article for starting a cleaning business. So, we couldn’t end this article without touching on how to price your services or should we say have an idea on how to price them.
Now we know pricing can be time-consuming, nerve-wracking and downright confusing when you’re just starting out and aren’t really sure what your services are worth.
Some business owners feel it’s all about crunching numbers but we want to let you know, there are other factors involved. Numbers are important but it’s not all that matters.
What you want to try to remember is if your quote is too low your not valuing yourself enough and you’ll feel like you’re not getting what you deserve. Sometimes that results in lower quality of your work (you never ever want to do that).
On the flip-side, if you estimate too high people might not offer you the contract at all.
Have you ever been somewhere and heard the price of something and said…pshht I will just make, do, or build that myself if I want it that much?
Well, that’s exactly what a potential client will think if the bid is too high.
Here’s a way to think about it. Offer an estimate that you would pay for. You can also ask family or do a survey on social media, on what a person would pay to have a particular service done. Market research really helps you figure things out.
Lastly, you can also start at a fair price on a lower spectrum. Then after a few jobs, do the math on the actual costs of the jobs. This will teach you how to accurately estimate labor costs.
It is always a good idea to factor in labor and materials, and indirect expenses to operate a business. These are all the non-labor expenses. Okay, then you have your profit. This is the difference between what it costs to provide your services and what you actually charge your client.
Bonus Tip # 8: Billing
Come up with concrete billing procedures, make sure you state clearly how billing works. That can be cash in hand after your service, payment made by check and given to you before you start your services or electronic payment within 48 hours. There are so many ways you can handle this (you’re resourceful and will figure it out). It is wise to have invoices for your clients so you can list all the services you provided on that invoice. This is typical when billing for services.
A Few Resources
In an article from franchisechatter.com, janitorial and cleaning service industries where worth $61 billion in 2019.
If you are someone thinking about getting involved with a cleaning business start-up, starting a cleaning business of your own or investing in one. It seems you could be on to something and a good idea worth considering. If you’d like to know more about starting a cleaning business or need a little help getting your business off the ground, reach out to Debbie Sardone. Debbie, also known as the Maid Coach, is an expert when it comes to launching and growing successful cleaning businesses.