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Is Starting a Residential Cleaning Business Worth It?

The residential cleaning industry is estimated to have a market size in the US of nearly $900 million in 2021 and continues to grow.  It is no surprise that starting a cleaning business is consistently on the lists of best business ideas for entrepreneurs.  Starting a cleaning business requires minimal start-up capital and can be run from your home and doesn’t require extensive experience or a specific educational background.   Choose the right cleaning supplies, spread the word to friends, family and neighbors, be willing to work and you’ve got the foundation for a potentially profitable start-up business.

But is it really that easy?

Not quite.  There is a huge difference between creating a job for yourself and building a cleaning business that can provide for your future.  Did you know that close to 80% of all small businesses in the US have only one employee, the founder?  The percentage is likely even higher for residential cleaning business owners.  So what happens when you do all of the cleaning, bookkeeping, marketing and sales yourself?  First, you wind up working 60+ hours a week.  Second, you quickly hit a ceiling on your earning potential because you can only clean so many homes a day.

Let’s assume you can spend 8 hours a day cleaning, 5 days a week and you charge an average of $50 per hour.  Your weekly gross income is $2,000 or $104,000 a year.  Sounds pretty good until you factor in expenses which can be as high as 50% or more.  If you’re able to pocket 50% and work 60 hours a week (with 40 hours of it spent cleaning), you’d wind up making about $16.50 an hour before taxes.   Most small business owners envision making more than you can earn at the local fast food restaurant.

The difference between creating a job for yourself and building a cleaning business is the ability to scale.

To grow, you simply must find ways to increase your revenue potential.  You need to scale up your cleaning business.  And doing everything yourself is not scale-able.  Increasing revenue potential comes down to three things:

  1. Make your systems more efficient: Spend less time bookkeeping, giving quotes, marketing your business, procuring supplies, etc.
  2. Clean more homes every day: Since there are only so many hours in the day, you need to hire your first employee and then your second and so on.
  3. Get out of the field:  You can’t consistently grow your business if you’re constantly working in it.

But this introduces a whole new batch of challenges.  Stream-lining your systems often requires an investment in various tools or even out-sourcing.  Hiring employees totally changes your profit model because you now have hiring and training costs, payroll, insurance, etc.   You have to invest in your business, in the right way, to fully maximize the profit potential of owning a cleaning business.  And done properly, you can not only make more money but improve your quality of life.  But it’s hard.  Especially in the beginning.

How do I build a cleaning business and not just work in it?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of small businesses fail within the first year and 50% fail before the fifth year.   How do you avoid becoming a statistic?  By building your cleaning business the right way.  What is the right way?  If the answer fit inside a fortune cookie, we wouldn’t be here.

Your first step is to contact CBF Coach Jeannie and learn about CBF for Start-ups, the coaching program designed specifically to help cleaning business start-ups get past the typical hurdles that can hinder the growth of your business.  Learn how to get out of the field, set up your business for growth and get on your way to becoming a Mop-Free Millionaire.

Be sure to check out our Starting a Cleaning Business Checklist for more details about what you need to get started with your own cleaning business.

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