How to Start a Cleaning BusinessBy My Service Depot on Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Ready to launch your own cleaning company? Ask yourself these 13 important questions.
Tired of working for someone else? Ready to be your own boss and quit taking orders? Starting your own cleaning business gives you an excellent way to finally do things your way, experience something new every day, and directly control how much money you make.
But before you dive head-first into this idea, make any purchases, or start any marketing campaigns, you need to sit down and formulate a plan.
13 Things to Consider When Starting a Cleaning Business
Stepping out into the world as a professional cleaner requires no formal education, but you should still do some research and talk to other cleaners to find success. Start by asking yourself these questions:
- What services will you offer? Will you do basic weekly cleaning, heavy-duty clean-ups, or both? Will you deep-clean carpets, or just vacuum? Do you want to service homes, offices, or both? Will your clients need to tidy up before you come, or will you put away children’s toys, etc.? You could also offer organizational services, if you feel skilled in this area.
- What equipment do you need in order to provide those services? Will your vacuum cleaner handle pet hair? Will you use chemical or natural cleaning products? Will your clients have a preference?
- Do you have a vehicle that can hold all of your cleaning equipment? If not, you’ll need to consider buying or leasing a new vehicle so that you can easily haul and access the tools of the trade.
- How much will it cost to buy the equipment and/or vehicle? You need to know this information so that you know how much money you need to make in order to pay off your start-up costs while also turning a profit. This influences how much you’ll need to charge clients.
- What will you charge clients for each service? Take into consideration the cost of your equipment, as well as the rates of your competition. Remember that as a sole proprietor, you have to set aside approximately 30 percent of your income in order to cover regular taxes and the taxes associated with self-employment. Factor this in with the price of gas for each client, the cost of replenishing cleaning materials, the cost of advertising your services, and other costs you identify in order to ensure you still make enough money to live off of.
- What does your code of ethics include? Having a clear vision for what you will and will not do represents an important and professional step, especially if you decide to hire employees in the future. Clients will trust you to come into their homes, sometimes without supervision, and do your job without snooping or stealing or accidentally letting the pet out, etc. This step may seem silly and unnecessary at first, but having rules and a clear identity will become increasingly important as your business grows.
- How will you get clients? At first, your first clients may be friends or friends-of-friends. From there, word of mouth will help you secure more clients. But until you get enough clients for a full-time schedule, you’ll need a marketing plan. Will that entail a website? Promotional materials? Print advertisements? Make a plan.
- How will you supplement your income until you have enough clients to go full time? Will your current job allow you to earn money while you build your cleaning business? Can you reduce your hours at your current job?
- How will you set yourself apart from the competition? Some ideas include getting your House Cleaning Certification, learning to speak a foreign language fluently, using only environmentally-friendly products, offering additional services like basic garden care or pet care, coaching in Feng Shui, or offering design consultations. Whatever skills you have, market them!
- Where is your service area? Identify the areas of town where homeowners can typically afford your services, such as upper-class neighborhoods.
- Who is your target audience? Who typically needs or wants a home cleaning service? Young parents and the elderly often feel grateful for this type of service. It’s one less thing for them to think about, especially if cleaning is a task they physically struggle with.
- How will you reach this target audience? If you decide that you need to run advertisements or marketing campaigns to get more clients, make sure you choose a method that ensures your target audience will actually see your efforts. Young parents probably get on Facebook during the day, for example. Older adults may read the newspaper or magazines, but their family members likely get on social media instead. That makes social media a great way to start marketing your cleaning business.
- How will you keep track of your client’s information and schedule? Even if you have only a handful of clients and operate a one-person show, you need to stay organized. Software like Smart Service can prove a huge help in keeping all your records in a single place, accessible from a laptop or mobile device.
Don’t feel overwhelmed after reading this list. Instead, feel empowered! You can do this, and as long as you make a plan and stick to it, starting a cleaning business could turn out to be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.