Have you always been the neat and tidy one in your family?
All those years trapped in a house with a bunch of slobs may finally pay off when you start your own cleaning business. There’s no better feeling than showing your messy brothers and sisters what’s what.
Building a cleaning business isn’t a walk in the park, though. Being an organized cleaner is a good start, but like any entrepreneur, you’ll have to go through some growing pains as a business person.
Tons of planning and market research will be required to get your business off the ground. But if there’s one thing that we know about cleaners, it’s that they enjoy planning, research, and organization.
In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through the first steps that you’ll need to take to create a successful cleaning enterprise. By the time you’re done, you’ll be well on your way to cleaning up your city’s commercial and residential spaces.
Find Your Corner of the Market
When starting the preliminary research for your new cleaning business, you’ll notice that wherever you are, there are more than a few other cleaning businesses. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make your own, but you should be mindful of setting yours apart from the others.
A preparatory decision that you’ll need to make for your new business is where you’ll be operating. On a macro and micro level.
If you’re landlocked in your current city for whatever circumstance, that makes your decision easy. If you have flexibility with movement, then you can open yourself up to some location-based research.
Figure out what types of cleaning businesses are in the towns around you, how they are marketed, and what they offer. This is a good way to get ahead from the jump. Offer what other businesses don’t and promote yourself better.
Once you’ve figured out the city you want to operate in, you’ll have to decide what type of space you want to operate out of.
To save money at the start, you could operate out of your house. Having a brick and mortar place to advertise and meet new clients is a great touch, but will add a lot to your startup cost. Narrow down the focus of your business and consider these options.
Determine Your Focus
There are two main focus areas for new cleaning businesses. Do you want to appeal more to commercial spaces or residential spaces? Both are very different and can be very lucrative.
When you’re starting out a commercial cleaning business, there’s going to be a greater startup cost since you’ll need industrial equipment. A residential cleaning service will have a much lower startup cost because you can clean a house with normal cleaning supplies.
To further narrow your scope, consider the contracts that you’ll be able to secure with commercial spaces vs. residential. You’ll make more money cleaning one office, but you’ll be able to do more houses in less time.
Once you’ve crunched all of the numbers, you can start the real work.
When you figure out what type of cleaning business you want to build, you’ll need to start the process of advertising. Folks need to know who you are and what you do if they’ll let you in their space to clean.
Commercial cleaning businesses tend to have more serious, well, businesslike, advertising campaigns. Contrarily, residential ones tend to market themselves more playfully, as in “this is someone you should want in your house!”
You’ll also need to let the customer know what type of services you offer. When you’re starting out a house cleaning service, it might just be you going into the customer’s house while they are there.
Are you vacuuming their whole house and cleaning the kitchen? Are you just cleaning the bathrooms? The people need to know what you’ll be doing for them and for how much.
Office cleaning might entail full janitorial service. Mopping floors, cleaning windows and desks, vacuuming the whole office, and emptying the bins; you’ll need to be prepared to offer an all-encompassing service.
What’s In a Name?
A lot, actually. As previously mentioned, commercial businesses tend to be more businesslike and residential cleaning businesses tend to be more personal. The bottom line is come up with a name that represents what you do in a catchy and memorable way.
If you want to be at the forefront of promotion, consider including your name in the business name. If you end up distributing flyers and business cards or even appearing on television commercials and radio spots, keeping one person as the focus gives your customers the ability to put a face to the name.
If you don’t want your name to be a part of the promotion, then pick something catchy, but also something that gives your customers confidence that you’ll get the job done.
Good work, you’ve got your name picked out. Something we should have mentioned in the last part is that you’ll need to make sure that no one already has your business name. Google it and type it into all of your social media. If you’ve got the all-clear, snag up every handle.
If someone beat you to it, then you’ll need to go back to the drawing board. You should strive to have a completely original business name.
Having social media accounts is great for growing your business online. But you should have a good website showcasing what you do, with info about rates and cleaning packages for businesses and residences, depending on your focus
There are dozens of great website builders nowadays. Wix, Squarespace, and GoDaddy are all great options, but WordPress is the free-est option. All are easy to use and you can educate yourself with online guides.
Simultaneously, you should be contemplating your image and coming up with a logo. If you’re an artist, this will be an enjoyable part of the process. If you aren’t, then hire a graphic designer and communicate what you envision for your look.
The Boring Stuff
Good work. You’ve got all of the fun, idealistic part of starting a business out of the way. But there is some paperwork you’ll have to file to become legitimized.
You’ll have to go to your local register of deeds office and register your business. Depending on your city, you may also have to obtain a business permit to operate your new cleaning service. Talk to someone at the Small Business Bureau to find out.
If you plan on hiring employees, then you absolutely need an Employer Identification Number for insurance and taxation purposes.
You’ll be in people’s businesses and homes, so you need to get liability insurance in the event of any damage being caused while you or your employees are there. There are different plans, so have an insurance professional help you decide what’s best for you on the scale you’re operating on.
Perhaps you’ve saved up a lot of money to start your business, or maybe you have a business partner with whom you’re pooling funds. But if not, you may need to obtain a small business loan from the bank. Startup costs for a cleaning business, as we’ve noted, can get pretty high.
Building a Cleaning Business: Getting Supplies
Now that you’re set up with all of the behind the scenes and promotional stuff, you need to get all of your cleaning supplies. Again, this is all dependent on how you’re operating at the beginning. But it’s safe to say that if you’re successful, then your need for more supplies will grow.
Of course, you want to have cleaning supplies for your cleaning business. Go to the local hardware store and buy mops, different types of brooms and dustpans, sponges, cloths, paper towels, and latex gloves. Basically, anything you can think of.
You should also spend some time looking at vacuum cleaners. Which type of business you’re running will tell you which kind of vacuum cleaner you’ll need, but do some research to learn more about the differences.
If you’ve got employees, you shouldn’t make them do large scale cleaning projects in their own clothes. Provide them with uniforms that they’ll be proud to wear and put your company logo and their name on it.
Make sure the uniform is practical. It should be comfortable to wear for long stretches of time and it should have pockets to store essential tools.
In the beginning, if you’re the only employee, you can just use your own vehicle. But as your company grows and you have more employees and more tools to transport, you’ll need one or more company vehicles.
Take a look at what your employees are actually transporting and get the cheapest option that has the most space available. A small sedan or compact economy vehicle should suit your needs. If you’re doing large scale commercial cleaning, you may need a work van instead.
Don’t forget to brand the vehicle with your logo!
Now You’re Ready to Clean
There you have it. Building a cleaning business is hard, but rewarding work. The fact of the matter is, not many people want to do their own cleaning, and the fast pace we operate in today doesn’t allow much time for cleaning. That’s where you come in.
Once you’ve got your cleaning business set up, decide on your rates and put yourself out there! The money will start rolling in soon.
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