6 Steps to Starting Your Cleaning Business

by Kara Richards on August 15, 2016

The cleaning business might seem like an easy choice for someone who is looking to start their own company. However, getting started can take a major toll on that person’s esteem when it comes to marketing, money management, and customer services. If you are looking to go into the cleaning business for the first time, it is important that you do as much research on starting your own company that you can before you decide whether or not to embark on starting this step in your life. Owning a business is one thing, but growing it is another. Start Cleaning Service is here to help you in every step that you take to becoming a successful cleaning business owner, and to give you the best tips and tricks to owning and maintaining your business.

 

  1. Do your research. As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, you need to devote a decent amount of time to researching whether or not the cleaning business is right for you. Cleaning is an involved, labor-induced job that will have you on your feet, on your back, and on ladders from time to time. If you are not in good physical condition, the cleaning business may not be the right choice for you. If you are allergic to pollen, dust, pet dander, dogs, cats, rodents, or anything that is typically found in a house (that might not be in your own home), the cleaning business will definitely not be for you. Depending on where you live, an in-house or in-the-workplace cleaning service may not be in high demand. Areas with large houses or office buildings will be the hotspots for your business. Keep in mind, if you are in a town where the cleaning business is already booming, it will be difficult to start out from scratch. The customers in your area will already have chosen a trusted cleaning service, and it will be difficult to convince them to switch to a newborn business that they don’t know anything about. In this case, advertising will also be an expensive struggle. Keep all of this in mind before deciding on starting a cleaning business in your area.
  2. Build a reputation. Having people who will support your new business and spread the word is just as important, if not more important, than any advertising you can buy. Someone expressing their pleasure or opinions towards a business can speak volumes over reading a billboard or reading an advertisement in the newspaper, because people tend to trust their friends and family over what they read or hear on television. When you first start out, search around to find people around you that would allow you to clean their houses or workplaces, perhaps offering them a discount for the service, or even offer it for free. Start out with people close to you, like a neighbor, your church, or a coworker. It is not recommended that you use your mother, your siblings, your spouse, or anyone of direct relation to you as your first reference, because they will typically be supportive of your endeavors and want you to succeed, and people may not find them trustworthy for that exact reason.
    To build a public platform for people to read the reviews left on your company, start by creating a Facebook page for your local business. Hopefully by this stage you have decided on a name (and possibly a slogan, too) for your business that you can use for advertising. On that page, it is very simple for people with Facebook accounts to leave reviews and a rating (on a scale of one star to five stars) that are publicly shown on your site. Your Facebook page can be used for advertising, announcements, and deals/discounts in the future, as well. It’s a smart decision to make a Facebook page for your business, even if you aren’t going to use it for the reviews!
  3. Advertise! Cleaning a few friend-of-a-friends’ houses won’t be enough to get business “in the door” for your cleaning service, unfortunately. After creating a facebook page and getting the word out on social media about your new business, go on to making a website (try out platforms like Blogger and WordPress for the simplest sites, which are free to use!). From there, you can go on to buy a domain for your site (which means if my service was “Meredith’s Cleaning Services”, my domain would be www.meredithscleaningservices.com, for example). You don’t have to worry too much about domains however, as Blogger and WordPress allow you to use their sites with their domain attached (example: www.meredithscleaningservices.blogspot.com).
    Check into making your own business cards, brochures, and/or flyers to hang around your hometown and hand out to possible customers. Business cards can be designed and professionally printed at your local print shop, or ordered offline for a low price. Most document processors (Microsoft Word, Google Docs, etc.) have options for you to make a brochure, and can easily produce a poster with a little word art and stock image. Always carry a few business cards in your purse or wallet to hand out, as you never know when you’ll run into a person who asks about your business or you think might be a candidate for a future customer.  I’ve included an example of a business card for you to base your business card off of.
  4. Purchase your products. Selecting the cleaning products can be as simple as choosing the brands that you are used to and going on your merry way. However, be aware that “green” cleaners are in their peak, and it will definitely be a deciding factor for some new customers in the cleaning industry, especially parents with young children.
    It is important that you take care of yourself, too! Cleaning requires you to get up close and personal with bacteria and other gross things that can make you sick. Always be washing your hands and keep a healthy amount of hand sanitizer with you, and wear gloves when cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. If you are using harsh chemicals, protect yourself by wearing a mask and possibly goggles to keep your eyes from burning.
    When scheduling your client, ask if they have a preference as to whether they want you to provide the cleaning products. Though most clients will prefer that you bring your own products, some will have special preferences or possibly machinery that they will want you to use (carpet cleaners, special mops, etc.)
  5. Charging your clients. Deciding on a fair price should be based on the quality of your services, not in competition with other services. If you have the cheapest services in town, you will struggle to break even with your expenses, even if you do have steady incoming business. Never sell yourself short for the services you are providing, even if it makes it a little more difficult to bring in business at first. After all, you started the business to make money, not cut your funds short and make life hard for you to budget between your home life and your work life. Big houses and big spaces should be charged more, especially if they ask for unusual services (waxing the floor, deep cleaning the carpet, things that take you all day). You can decide whether to charge more or less if they provide their own cleaning products or not, as there are pros and cons to both of the sides to that argument. Overall, you should always be fair when you charge your customers.
  6. Growing your business. When your business grows, eventually you will have to hire employees and possibly rent/purchase office space or a work van. When you can afford it, hire people who can help you answer the phone to schedule appointments and answer questions, or an extra set of hands for cleaning. You can probably find a work vehicle online that has been used before for a lower price than shopping on the car lot, and many apartment spaces can be used for office space, as some have special rooms for offices. Once you have strong leads for business, there are endless possibilities to bettering your business and overall lifestyle!

 


Starting your cleaning business will be strenuous and difficult at times, but don’t give up when times get hard and it just doesn’t seem like your company is going to survive. However, if you lose money to the point that you are struggling to fund your weekly grocery list, it may be time to hang up the mop and start again in another field. Believe in yourself and do the proper research and you will have all the tools to succeed.

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A cleaning business can be a lucrative business with an easy start-up process and low costs to launch. However, there are some things that these entrepreneurs should avoid at all costs when first getting started in order to have a booming business.

1) Having an unprofessional attitude. Our society has a strange view of janitorial work: we prize clean surroundings, but we view janitorial jobs as undesirable positions. Don’t let that strange stigma get into your head, or worse yet, your attitude. From the very start, have high standards and a positive attitude. Don’t ever get tempted to shirk the duties necessary to do a first-rate job, wherever you are. Some of your clients will be pickier than others, but get in the habit of doing your best work for every client. When you are ready to hire employees, make sure they embody these values as well – you can teach cleaning methods, but you typically can’t improve someone else’s attitude. This leads to lots of word-of-mouth business and clients that stay with you for the long run.

2) Engaging in a price war. It is tempting for people starting out in every business type to get some clients early by merely charging less than all of your competitors. This is problematic on a few levels.

First, your competition knows your market, and probably better than you do. If your competitors have been in business longer than a year, they have figured out how much cash flow they need to stay in business – they are unintentionally telling you the minimum rate you should charge.

Second, when you have too little cash coming in, you won’t be able to afford to take on new clients or do as high a quality job as you could with your existing clients. For example, if I have a full day’s work for myself at minimum wage pay, I can’t afford to take on more clients, because there are only so many hours in a day I can work. If I’m charging as much or more than my competitors, I can hire employees to take on more business.

So do battle with clients in the areas of quality and customer service, but never price.

3) Cutting corners on quality. It also gets tempting to oversimplify your cleaning business with this line of reasoning: if I spend less time cleaning each client, I can pack in more clients and make more money!

This is only true to a point. While working quickly does help you be efficient, it is only profitable if you aren’t shirking on quality. See how quickly you can do a high-quality job, and then pass that method on to your employees, once you have some.

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