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The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Cleaning Business

June 18, 2019
starting a cleaning business

Think about how much you hate cleaning and you’ll know there will always be people willing to pay to keep their spaces spic and span. People can find tidying too tedious on their busiest days, so you can fill this need by setting up your very own cleaning business! It’s not as complicated as you think, especially if you want to start small or target a niche. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started!

I. PLANNING PHASE

First thing’s first: Do your research! Instead of diving off the deep end and improvising as you go, it helps to be prepared.

A.    Find your niche

Are you targeting residential customers or businesses?

A Commercial Cleaning Business needs a lot more people and capital since you’ll be cleaning large spaces, like office buildings, which require regular cleaning. But this means you get more compensation for your work and it will be a regular gig if you find clients.

If you choose to put up a Residential Cleaning Business, you will be cleaning people’s homes which requires less capital and manpower. The recurrence of service will vary since certain people will require only spring cleaning, weekly or monthly cleaning. You will also deal with various requests from clients with different cleaning requirement.

Franchising is also an option, so you can do away with much of the work, including branding and systems in place. Or, if you want to start small, you also have the option of narrowing your target base even more. For instance, you just want to initially target condo owners, cater to a specific area or you may want to limit your services at first.

What type of services are you going to offer?

A typical residential cleaning service would include dusting, mopping, vacuuming, washing and wiping surfaces among others. You can add-on services as needed, but you can also offer steam cleaning, carpet cleaning, windows cleaning, washing clothes, etc. The more

B.     Choose a good location

Depending on your customer base, you can start scouting for a good location. This is an important aspect of planning because you want to be accessible to your clients, while also considering your budget. If you have a tight budget, you can always consider making your current residence as your headquarters to save on rent. This is ideal for residential home cleaning, since you don’t need a lot of space and equipment. Your cleaners can also be on call. Of course, if you want to target businesses or big clients, having your own office is much more professional and adds to your marketing and promotion with the right location.

C. Fees and pricing

Next, you need a business model AKA how are you going to make money from your business? This includes fees and pricing. Among the factors you should consider when setting a price for your services are your competition, your customers, your operational expenses and location. Cleaning services usually post their rates on their website, so that can help you figure out how much you’ll charge. You can charge a flat rate per cleaning session, by the hour or per sqm.

The usual cleaning fee is usually hourly for a minimum number of hours per session. You can also offer additional services for added fee such as washing the dishes, window cleaning or oven/refrigerator cleaning. You can also hire other cleaning services to check out their rates and quality of services. This way you can leverage your own business by offering competitive rates as well as add-on services for customers to choose your business over others.

II. FIRST STEPS

Once you’ve done your research and outlined your business plan, it’s time to take the first few steps to turn your idea into reality.

A. Think of a good name

While this may seem superficial, establishing your brand as early as possible is crucial to your success. Branding is everything and this starts with a good name. Make it easy to remember and make sure it’s unique so you don’t get mistaken for another business. Some people like to make it playful, while others go the professional-sounding route. It would depend on your desired customer base. Naturally, a commercial cleaning company needs a more professional-sounding name. If you have extra budget or you can do simple graphics, a company logo would be a good touch.

B. Secure funding

As with any business venture, you need capital. Plus, a cleaning business requires certain equipment not to mention manpower to set it up. Unless you have hefty savings to draw from, the more practical way is to get a loan or find investors. You can also find business partners to help shoulder some of the expenses.

C. Register your business

Now comes the legalities. Make sure you register your business. Check for required regulations, licenses and training. Licenses and trainings are usually for more niche cleaning services like carpet and steam cleaning. The simpler way is for a sole proprietorship, as compared to a limited liability company (LLC), because it would mean less paperwork.  Hiring employees would also incur additional requirements. Finally, get your company insured  as a safety net.

III. SETTING IT UP

When all the planning and paperwork are done, it’s time to set up shop. Here are a few more steps to take before the big launch for your new cleaning business.

A.    Construction/Renovation

Set up your place by creating a conducive place for your business, whether you are renting, building or renovating a space. If you are working from your home initially to keep the overheads low, make sure you have a designated space at least to manage your business.

B.     Set up an accounting system

Accounting is important so you know where the money is going. It gives you a good grasp whether your business is actually earning or you’re in deficit. Fortunately, if you can’t afford an accountant, a small business can be managed by any user-friendly accounting software. Take time to learn how to use it and you’ll be all set.

C.     Purchase necessary equipment

Though cleaning services, especially consumer-centred ones, usually don’t require expensive apparatus, you still need supplies and office equipment to keep your operation running. If your customer doesn’t have cleaning supplies handy, you may need to bring your own—with additional fees, of course. You also have the option of renting equipment to save.

D.    Buy a company vehicle

The one thing you do need for your business is a company vehicle. You need this to transport your equipment and personnel to your client’s location. Timeliness is important, so make sure you keep your appointments without any delay.

E.     Start hiring!

Finally, you need to hire staff for admin work as well as cleaners to give you a helping hand. While you can handle certain aspects of the business yourself, the cleaning part needs all hands on deck if you want to earn a living from your business. To keep the overheads low, you may need to handle some of the cleaning jobs yourself. If possible, you can even engage friends, family and your relatives to help and make it a family business.

IV. PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS

Another important step you need to take is to promote your business. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways you can do this without spending money.

Social Media

Create a Facebook page, Instagram account, Twitter, YouTube and other relevant channels to kickstart your campaign to spread the word about your business.  You don’t need to set up a website right away, especially if you don’t have budget for it. You can use your channels to grow followers and then post your promotions and announcements here as well to attract new customers.

Create a Company Email Account

Don’t use your personal email to communicate with customers and clients. For professionalism, create an email account using your company’s name. You can use this send out promotions and announcements to your customers or list. It’s also one way your customers can contact you.

Reward Referrals

As a startup, you still need to build your customer base, so take advantage of any job you get to generate more leads. For example, you can give discounts to customers for any referral.

Use Your Network

Engage your own network, starting with friends and family. You can test out your cleaning service within your social circle where you can get valuable feedback to further improve your cleaning service before you fully launch your business. Encourage them to spread the word!

 

Now you’re ready to start your life as an entrepreneur!

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