How to Start a Cleaning Business
Maybe, you’re interested in a particular field and have specific qualification and training. Or you want to do something on your own and wonder which industry would be right for you. Many people from different walks of life decide to start a cleaning company and there are many good reasons for that. First of all, cleaning services are in high demand today. Second, starting cleaning business doesn’t require large initial funds. Moreover, it will quickly become profitable. Another advantage is that you can embark on this business without quitting your full-time job.
The cleaning industry is diverse, so you can choose the services personally you want to provide. Before we start explaining how to start a cleaning business, we want to help you understand whether you’re ready for this venture.
Check If You Are Suitable for This Business?
You shouldn’t be afraid of a dirty job. You’ll clean different houses and offices, so you should be ready for any challenge. Since you’re about to enter the realm of service business, you need to have a basic set of qualities that make you suitable for this kind of business. Primarily, you must believe that your venture will be successful. Then, you must have an inner desire to provide top-quality services and fully live up to customer’s expectations.
Honesty should be your second nature. People will let you into their homes and offices, so they want to be confident in you. Your manner of communication, your behavior should evoke a lot of trust in your clients. Needless to say, you must gain a perfect reputation.
Depending on what kind of cleaning services you’ll choose to provide, you need to have at least basic skills in cleaning. Some specific cleaning operations such as carpet cleaning, janitorial services that involve the usage of special equipment require more training, so be ready to acquire new skills.
Since at the outset of your business you’ll be your own boss and employer, you need to have a basic understanding of how to run a company. If you can manage your time wisely, it will only help you succeed. You should also be a good communicator since you’ll deal with different people – both your customers and employees.
If the qualities mentioned above are all about you, then you should take the idea of starting a cleaning business seriously.
Choose Your Niche
Actually, there are two main areas or target groups in the industry – residential and commercial. The first one comprises the services provided to individual customers. Those are residential maid services, different cleaning services (carpet, window cleaning). Janitorial services are provided in the area of commercial cleaning where offices are involved. It’s recommended to choose your target market and focus on it. However, as your business grows, you can provide your services to individual clients and businesses. If don’t plan to grow into a large company that provides a wide range of services, the best solution for you will be to focus on your existing clients, resources, and services and do your best in your particular niche. By keeping your regular customers satisfied with your work, you’ll ensure a steady profit.
Starting From Scratch vs. Buying into a Franchise
If opening a cleaning business seems pretty complicated to you and you would like to simplify this process, then buying into a franchise is right for you. One of the advantages of acquiring a franchise is that you don’t have to devise a new system – you just become a part of the existing and working system. You work under their name, follow their guidelines, use their standards, and receive their constant support. It’s a great option for those who are new to running their own business. You can start your business shortly after acquiring a franchise and avoid a lot of mistakes most newbies make. Since you work under a well-known and trustworthy name, you’ll immediately get clients. Being a part of franchise, you and your employees will get access to training. You’ll enjoy the benefits of franchise until your cleaning company becomes an independent organism that can function on its own. The main benefit of being an independent business owner is that you create your own concept, business model, name, and policy. However, this is also a disadvantage because you don’t have a pattern to follow. Yet, you’ll pay less because franchise and the support, training, and name it gives you have a pretty high price.
In the case of buying into a franchise, you need to have enough money to purchase it. Apart from this, you should provide your franchisor with a document that proves your perfect credit history. Previous management experience is necessary. Deciding in favor of franchise, you should keep in mind that a franchisor is always superior.
If you need money to get started, here are some suggestions on where you can find financing. Your current job. If you’re employed but you want to open your own cleaning company, don’t give up your current job. Start planning your future business on weekends and make initial steps. Use your salary to buy equipment and cover other costs. Once you feel that your new business is stable and profitable, you can quit your full-time position.
Not apparent assets. It may turn out that you have some resources you didn’t consider as such. Sit and think about your covert assets. It could be your savings account, vehicles you own, real estate, collections, and other items you once invested your money into. This is when you can finally take advantage of your assets. You can either sell some of them to get cash or use them as collateral when taking out a bank loan. Also, consider your credit card as an asset.
Relatives and friends. After you analyzed your own potential resources, think who else could help you implement your business idea. Start with your friends and family. Although these are the people that are very close to you, approach them as your potential creditors or investors, not buddies. For this, send them your offer to invest in your business. Turn only to those friends and relatives whose financial capabilities you don’t doubt.
Potential partners. Ask around to find out whether anybody of your college friends, colleagues, or relatives would like to start up a company together with you. If you find a person who has resources and is interested in a joint venture, why don’t you team up with them? That person shouldn’t be necessarily interested in working with you – some may want simply invest their money in a potentially successful business. In order to prevent any possible misunderstandings and disputes, sign an official agreement that specifies your rights and obligations.
Alternative funding sources. For those who want to start their small businesses, there are various government and local programs designed to support the novice entrepreneurs. Firstly, you should turn to the SBA (Small Business Administration) – they will consult you on all business-related questions and advise on the type of loan if you need one. Then, use other sources to search for other opportunities. If you belong to a particular social group (women, minors, veterans), you can find a program designed to help these groups make their start in the business sphere. Check out periodicals and advertisements.
A Basic Set of Equipment You’ll Need to Get Started
• Mop and bucket
• Steam cleaner
• Paper towels
• Toilet brush
• Toilet bowl cleaner
• Dustpan and brush
• Dry mop
• Window cleaner
• Disinfectant cleaner
• Furniture polish
• Soft scrub for sinks
• Feather duster
• Rubber or latex gloves
Start Hiring Personnel
Janitorial business. At the beginning, your business may need only you and several part-timers. As your business progresses, you may need to hire additional staff including cleaning personnel, an administrator, a salesperson, and crew supervisors.
Carpet cleaning business. To get started in this niche, you need to hire at least two cleaning operators and one person who’ll do clerical work. Although one person is enough to provide a carpet cleaning service, having a crew of two people – a senior technician and an assistant – will be efficient in terms of time, money, and customer satisfaction.
Define Your Target Market
Start Promoting Your Cleaning Services
Website. Go online as all successful businesses do. Create a simple website and fill it with the essential information about your services as well as contact information. To get the most out of your website, make sure it looks professionally.
Coupons. People like to get discounts so distribute the printed coupons that offer a free additional cleaning service. You can also place that coupon on your website and make it printable.
Online advertising services. Place your advertisement on Craigslist, the website where people sell and buy things, advertise their services, etc. Establish your online presence and start advertising on Yelp and in Adwords – fast and effective channels when you start a new business. They will show your company in the search results for the local consumers looking for the services like yours. The services are paid, so consider how much of your budget you’ll invest into promoting your company online. To increase your trustworthiness, create profiles on review services.
To sum up
Anyway, if you put enough effort into developing your business, provide top-quality services, satisfy your customers, you’ll quickly be in the black.