Starting a cleaning business is scary.
Most people are too scared, so they make up excuses for why it can’t be done. Then they go back to the job they hate, too afraid to change their future.
You are different.
You’ve taken the first step. You’re looking for actual information about how to start your new cleaning business.
That makes you one of the brave few who will read this article and realize that YES! You can become a successful business owner.
Below, we’ve outlined the 12 simple steps for starting your cleaning business the right way:
1. The First Decisions You Get to Make
You’re the Owner. It’s time to decide how you want to run your business.
What is Your Business Model?
Your business model is simply a professional way of saying, “How will your business make money?” You can use a free tool like Business Model Canvas to create the model that’s perfect for your business.
The first question that will determine your cleaning company’s model is: Who?
Who is your target client? Who do you want to provide service for?
[Free Download]: Use this Client Persona Template to figure out who your ideal client is. Print it out and keep it around your workspace. Refer to it when you’re working on marketing and sales later on.
The second question is: What services are you going to provide those clients?
What does your ideal client want out of a cleaning service? Do they want laundry folded and put away (a higher level of service, maid-like) or do they just want surface dusting and basic mopping?
What are your primary upsells?
- Carpet cleaning?
- Window cleaning?
- Oven cleaning?
Once you know who and what, it’s time to go get insured and register your business.
2. Register Your Business
If you’re going to be in business, you need to make sure you follow the rules of business. Part of that is defining your structure.
Are you an LLC or a sole proprietorship? Does an LLC actually protect you from lawsuits? What about S-Corp for pass-through income purposes?
If all of that makes your head spin and eyes water, you’re not alone.
Check out this post from The Balance that explains the types of business structure and the benefits of each.
Once you’ve decided on a business type, you’re ready to report yourself to local, state, and federal agencies as necessary. You’ll have to look into local and state laws yourself. Here’s some info that’s true nationally:
In the U.S.:
The Small Business Administration has resources about where to register your company. The SBA is an awesome resource for business owners. You’ve heard it suggested that “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” induces fear. All of the resources of the SBA are designed to help your business play by the rules and HELP you as a business owner.
In the frozen north (sorry, I’m in Texas), they also have resources for small business owners provided by the government. This is the best way to get solid advice, direct from the source, about what permits you need and what resources are available to your business.
Why You Need Business Insurance
A lot of small-time companies try to fly under the radar and save money by not getting insured or bonded.
Here’s the thing:
ONE mistake is all takes to destroy an uninsured company.
It’s not worth the risk.
Get small business insurance. Look into the various kinds of insurance, but make sure that you’re covered by general liability insurance, in the least. Forbes has a breakdown of 13 kinds of business insurance and what they cover in your business.
Listen to this, even if you ignore the rest of the post:
Insurance is NOT optional. It’s not a plus or perk of growing large. It is a Day One, first job necessity. Operating without insurance is dangerous, especially if you’re a sole proprietor.
3. How to Price Your Services, Profitably
There are three key ways to price your cleaning services correctly:
- Record your average time cleaning at every property (and each room).
- Set a Pricing Model and Stick with it (hourly, flat rate per room, or square footage).
- Base your profit margin on your value, not your competitors’ prices.
You need to collect data on the time it takes to clean each room because knowledge gives you the power to make educated decisions in your business. The time on a clean lets you know how much you’re making per hour from that job.
The simpler you keep your pricing structure, the easier it is to ensure you’re profitable. Start charging hourly and then branch out into flat rate work.
This protects you and your clients:
If a clean takes longer than anticipated (which WILL happen, especially as you’re learning to estimate), your time is still covered.
If a clean takes less time as you learn to clean faster, the client isn’t locked into a rate that was given based on a bad time estimate, early in the business.
When you copy competitors (or undercut them), you assume several things:
- They know what they’re doing.
- They priced their services correctly.
- Low-balling is a great way to get clients.
Let’s look at each of those:
“They know what they’re doing.”
You don’t know that.
Your top competitor today could be out of business in a week. Don’t trust that they have any idea what they’re doing.
Assume they’re priced too low because their instinct was to undercut another competitor AND they didn’t have the good sense to search out this article.
“They priced their services correctly.”
They probably guessed. Or they looked at a competitor and undercut them a little (just like you’re thinking right now). Maybe they got lucky. Maybe they didn’t.
There’s no reason for you to bet your business on their guess, right or not. Base your business decision on what’s going to be profitable for your business.
“Low-Balling is a great way to get clients.”
It’s the worst way to get clients.
Clients who are on the lookout for the cheapest option are the least loyal clients. They’ll drop you when they find a fly-by-night cleaner who’ll clean for $5 less a month.
You don’t want to cater to that kind of client. Ask anyone who’s been in the business: cheap clients aren’t just cheap, they’re demanding, high-maintenance, and they never stick around.
You want people who recognize the value you provide and are willing to pay fairly for that value. Low-ball clients don’t recognize value and they certainly don’t want to pay for it.
For a fuller explanation of these 3 Keys to Pricing Your Services, check out the Full Blog Post
4. How to Win Your First Clients
The easiest way to get your first clients is to sell your services to people you already know.
Family and friends who will be patient as you learn. You should only work with family and friends you’re comfortable charging correctly and who will be willing to write reviews and give testimonials to your service.
Word-of-mouth from that initial group of clients is a fantastic way to have controlled growth. Once you have a steady client base, you can start focusing on your first marketing campaign.
Here’s where to start with customer facing marketing:
- Create a Facebook page. This is a great way to collect reviews AND interact with your clients.
- Ask for referrals and reward clients who bring you new clients. A referred client is way more likely to stick around than one you acquire by other means.
- Run your first Facebook Ad. Patrick, our resident expert, will walk you through every step of this process.
Advertising on Facebook is the BEST way to get your feet wet in the digital advertising world. Facebook holds your hand and Patrick has provided great information in the post above.
You can market your business online. It’s not hard. With a little effort, you can outperform 99% of your competition.
Marketing your cleaning business is a HUGE world. Here’s what third-party marketing companies don’t want you to know: the digital revolution has upset their world.
You can learn everything you need to market your business online or in a few books. You don’t need an MBA and you probably don’t need a marketing consultant until way further down the road.
Get 13 More Ways to Market Your Cleaning Business.
The Caveat to Hiring a Pro
If you don’t have time to learn how to create your own website, which is a cumbersome task when you do it well, you should hire a pro. You want a website that functions well and provides you with decent SEO (search engine optimization) rank.
It’s more time, and a business owner your time is at a premium, outsourcing your website is a respectable option, especially while you’re still in the field.
Make sure you have a basic understanding of how SEO works so that you have a passing knowledge of what your web developer should be doing.
5. Why You Should Start as a DIY Cleaner
People like you, who choose to start a cleaning business, usually have a working knowledge of cleaning. You’ve either worked as a cleaner in the past or you’re proficient in household chores.
You have room to grow and learn. You want to do that basic learning and growth in a place without employees. It’s hard to maintain authority if you’re employees see you flubbing basic stuff.
A small company is nimble. You’re still defining your practices and procedures, you don’t need to be feeding those piecemeal to new employees at the same time you’re writing them.
Working solo lets you ease into the business and get through your trial and error phase without having the added pressure of employees watching and relying on you to pay them.
6. How to Choose a Professional Uniform
Uniforms are an important piece of advertising for your brand. It’s what clients will see in their home and it’s what potential clients see out in the wild.
A uniform should:
- Be professional. Iron-on decals are not professional. Be willing to spend a little for quality.
- Have your logo and company name on it. Let people know who’s well-dressed employee that is.
- Be comfortable and easy to work in. Your employees (and you) have to wear it all day, you should enjoy it.
You can consider t-shirts. They’re comfy, but they sacrifice a little professionalism. Embroidered, collared shirts are a good option that’s comfortable AND professional.
Consider light jackets for the winter. Your employees will wear jackets on the job. If you provide one, they keep advertising your company while they stay warm. Win-win.
9. Why You Should Consider Hiring a Bookkeeper (soon!)
Crunching the numbers is hard… and tedious.
Business owners are full of energy for immediate action and crazy busy.
That means a lot of owners end up with their books in total disarray. Then they have to hire a forensic accountant (a real job!) to comb through the messy records and try to save them from getting audited by the IRS.
Don’t be one of those owners. Hire someone in-house or a third-party bookkeeping service as soon as possible. You’re too busy to rely on the accounting you can squeeze in around everything else you have on your plate.
Unlike other aspects of your business, bookkeeping becomes more time-consuming as your business scales. And problems from sloppy accounting compound on themselves as you grow.
12. Set Goals and Celebrate Your Victories
Write down your goals. Today.
Look at where you want to be at the end of 2018 and what you can do to get there. Ty Wilkins was on our podcast, The Profit Roadmap, to talk about breaking big tasks down into tiny, actionable goals.
Use FutureMe to send those goals to yourself a year from now. You’ll get them in your inbox to remind you where you wanted to be.
Celebrate your victories. Being a business owner is hard and it’s very easy to get stuck in tunnel-vision.
You jump from problem to problem and only see how much is left to be done.
It’s worth it to glance over your shoulder every now and then to see how far you’ve come.
And while you’re looking, celebrate. It’s more than alright to celebrate your victories, you have to celebrate them and share that celebration with employees. It’s a valuable part of company culture.
Starting a Business is Scary, but with the Right Knowledge, YOU can do this.
Don’t let fear take your dream.
Use knowledge and business-savvy skills to outsmart fear and leave it where belongs… bad dreams and scary movies.
You can create the company you’ve dreamt of, you’ve got the skills all laid out in this article.
Pick a few actions items and tackle them this week. Don’t wait around, seize the opportunity and become the business owner you’ve always known you could be.
Cody is a copywriter with Service Autopilot. He was writing before he could read, dictating stories to his mom. Of late, he distills business principles and practices learned from his ever-increasing trove of books and his year with SA Support into digestible blog posts designed to provide maximum value to service industry business owners.
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Is the Residential Cleaning Business Right for You ?
There are many factors that are involved in actually starting a residential cleaning company.
Yet, in addition to the step-by-step actions that must be taken as to how to start cleaning, business requires that you have a certain mental attitude or readiness as well.
For example, other than simply asking “what do I need to start a cleaning business,” there are some additional questions that you should ask yourself as well in order to ensure that the residential cleaning business is right for you, such as:
- Am I interested in the potential to earn a full-time income while working part-time hours?
- Do I have the ability and the time to prepare to start my business over the next two to three weeks before any income can be earned?
- Am I willing to put forth approximately $500 in capital in order to purchase the necessary cleaning equipment that I will need to get started?
- Do I want to start my new business working from my home in the evenings and/or on weekends ?
- Am I willing to take the time and the effort to do the marketing and the promotion that is required to build up a client base of residential cleaning customers?
If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, then it is likely that starting a residential cleaning company is the right business for you.
In this case, you will next need to determine whether you should start your company from scratch or if a franchise model is the better route for your particular business needs and goals.
Taking the Next Step
Now that you know how to start a cleaning service business, you are ready to take the next step.
Be sure that you go through all of the steps that are necessary to get your company started the right way.
When you do, you will be able to move through the process quite quickly. Remember, the residential cleaning business is a high demand industry, so it is likely that your business will grow fairly rapidly once you get started.
Whether you opt for your own company or the business franchise model, running your own residential cleaning company can be an extremely rewarding endeavor.
Through it, you will be able to set your own hours, as well as decide who you want to work with. You can truly have the opportunity to make your new business thrive.
Idea into product or service
Having the idea about your business is usually one of the key moments in any business person’s life. You might get a glimpse of the inside of a business and take your inspiration from there or perhaps know someone that works in another industry that helps you to spark an idea. But, those ideas must be formed into tangible products or service that you can offer to people. In this section, we will help you to define the sort of cleaning business that you might be looking at building.
When it comes to cleaning, there are two directions that you can come from. Either you take the stand all on your own, or you turn to a franchise and build on top of that. Both are equally viable options, it just depends on what you prefer.
If you want complete control of every aspect of your business, then self-owned is definitely the way to go. With a self-owned business, there is no one else involved until you hire them, so all decisions, work and other business issues must be dealt with by you. If you have previous experience running a business, or a deep desire to learn how to run your own business, this will not present too much of a challenge.
Running a self-owned cleaning business means you are free to take your business in any direction you choose, at any time. If you have an organised mind, are good at admin tasks and are friendly, there is no reason that you cannot create a successful self-owned cleaning business. Self-owned cleaning businesses are often run by those looking for a business that they can grow slowly and organically into something unique and successful.
The other option open to the cleaning world is franchising. Cleaning franchises are incredibly popular, primarily because cleaning is a very territorial, local business model. So instead of setting up in business for yourself, you can buy a regional franchise of an already existing cleaning business. There are plenty of them out there – Molly Maid, Thomas Cleaning, Jani King, Well Polished and DublCheck, to name just a few, and this model helps you hit the ground running.
In exchange for a franchise fee (which averages around £12,000), you are allocated a territory and provided with all of the marketing materials, branding, supplies, insurances and back office functions you need to get the business going. For some franchises, there might be extra fees or agreements (like Molly Maid with their cars, which are all the same make and colour of car with the same branding) to take out, but generally, that one-off fee will give you everything you need. Because the franchise fees do tend to be variable, franchising is a very popular option for those with a fair amount of funds available to them – either through savings, pensions or redundancy pay. But the main advantages – having a pre-built, successful business and an ability to go out and get clients from day one, or even have them provided for you – often outweigh the initial cost.
Now, depending on your choice of model, some of the rest of this paper might not be that useful to you. For example, if you buy into a franchise, then you don’t have any control over the branding of your business, your insurance is provided for you, and you are told how to market and advertise. But if you are setting up on your own then keep on reading!
Defining your business
There are three major pathways that you can take with a cleaning business. It’s usually best to specialise in the beginning and then grow into the other specialisations that working with all three from the get-go.
Domestic cleaning is your run of the mill home cleaning, this will include duties in each of the rooms in someone else’s house similar to ones that you do for your own home. The areas of cleaning tend to be smaller than the other two, but it can still be hard work!
When your job involves dealing with other people’s homes there is a lot of trust involved from both ends, building up this trust will be important as part of your marketing and should play a big part in the planning for your business.
As we mentioned before, small/ self-owned businesses tend to focus on specific local areas, you might already have a lot of competition for domestic cleaning close by you, so this is certainly something to check out before you jump in.
Case Study: Jackie
Jackie is a domestic cleaner from South London, she decided to take up cleaning part-time after she retired from childminding to bring additional income into her home. On the whole, Jackie finds that the work suits her needs and she enjoys cleaning and always being on the move. It can sometimes be a little bit tough on her physically but the positives outweigh the negatives!
Her hours tend to be during the 9-5 period when the homeowners are themselves out at work. This works well for Jackie as she picks up her grandchildren from school in the late afternoons after work and gets her work done earlier in the day. Most of her business comes from word of mouth referrals, she began cleaning family and friends houses and then eventually transitioned to new clients once people started recommending her services.
Specialised cleaning is vastly different from home cleaning, and it’s sometimes referred to as industrial cleaning. You will be taking on much larger projects, be expected to use more specialist equipment and usually follow more rules and regulations than you would in a house cleaning job. Specialised cleaning locations can range from factories, windows of buildings and variable incident cleanings.
If you’re looking to clean in an industrial landscape, you will likely need to learn a lot of new skills and invest in some different equipment. Industrial cleaners need to understand how to clean machinery safely and effectively and learn how the misuse of chemicals could affect or even damage the client inventory. This is something to think about when planning for growth, the training of employees will be much more stringent in an industrial cleaning business!
As a specialist cleaner, you should have an area of expertise outside of all the other types of cleaning. Specialist cleaners have the capacity to be far more profitable with a much smaller client base, simply because of the specialist areas they work in
Case Study: Jim
Jim worked as an industrial cleaner at a potato processing factory in The Netherlands. The job consisted of long night shifts on alternate weekends due to the continuous production the factory. The pay reflected the night shift pattern as well as the expertise needed by the cleaners. There was a risk to both lives of the employees and to the production equipment.
The position worked well for Jim as he was attending university at the same time. This type of cleaning is much more reliant on a team of people rather than solo work as there are strong chemicals involved, large drops in the warehouse and dangerous equipment.
The commercial side of cleaning is an in-between option. It focuses on the cleaning of office and workspaces. These could range from the small ten-person business to a large corporations headquarters. As with the industrial cleaning, it’s more likely that you’d use a team to cover the work done on a larger property. It’s also more likely that it would cost more to start up due to the employees and cleaning equipment required.
Duties on this kind of job will include taking care of the hoovering, general tidying, emptying of bins, disinfecting the canteen and making sure that all break areas are put back to their original states!
One of the things that make cleaning such an attractive career is that you don’t need any qualifications in order to do it. But while many people opt to just start their cleaning business, we urge you to look into some training beforehand. By training and earning a few basic qualifications, you can put yourself above the competition in terms of the quality of your service, your trustworthiness and your own working abilities.
What’s even better is that a lot of the training you might want to do can be done online, so you don’t have to delay starting your business in order to qualify. Not only that, but if you’re looking to move into more specialised areas of cleaning in the future, these qualifications put you in a better position to win those contracts. Some might even be a mandatory requirement before you can become a certain type of cleaner. Here are just a few of the things you might want to train in before you start your cleaning business:
● Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Training (ideal to prove your compliance with the regulations)
● Cleaning in Food Premises (particularly useful for those looking to move into commercial or industrial cleaning)
● Infection Control & Prevention
● Health And Safety In The Workplace
● Lone Working Training (Helpful if you will be working alone a lot of the time)
● Domestic And Residential Cleaning Training (includes learning how to clean tough areas and improves the quality of your work)
Of course, there are many more training courses and programmes out there, and it’s up to you how many, or few, you want to take. Training might not be an essential part of starting a cleaning business, but if you are looking to create a business that can expand, grow and flourish, it is training that creates a firm foundation.
Growth chapter, scaling up.
You’ve gotten your business off the ground, dealt with your first clients and are starting to get a little bit of a growth itch? Most business owners will feel like this at some point. Here are some tips on how to expand your cleaning business.
- Plan to succeed – we are always talking about planning here at Brixx but it’s vital to your business success, even after the business plan/market research is done. Keep making annual strategic plans for your business to keep you focused on your goals. Having a yearly plan will also help you to keep abreast of the changing market that you will be working in.
- Decide on how you would like to grow – are you looking to move into new cleaning models, do you want to grow your team and expand the areas you cover or would you just like to improve the services that you already supply. There are many options and some of them will be more suited to you than others (this is where that annual planning from tip one comes in).
- Remember the core of your business – you’ve managed to get clients because you are offering something that they need/want. Don’t stray too far from your USP. Your client’s needs and wants may change over time, don’t be worried to adapt to it but keep up with the core service that your business is offering.
- Find a mentor – We mentioned a little bit about networking earlier in the post. You might find that you get stuck when it comes to growth, having someone there to assist you or give you helpful advice might be just what you need. Try linking up with some networking groups in your local area and see if you can find someone that might be able to give you that helping hand!
At Brixx, we work with start-ups from all walks of life, helping them understand and plan for the journey that is starting a business. Our unique online tools can help them visualise every element of their business, plan for investments and understand how their business will grow, before they have even booked their first appointment.
Utilising business modelling, financial forecasting and simulated scenarios, we help start-ups prove their concept and gain a clear understanding of what their business should look like at every stage. By planning ahead financially this way, start-ups have a much higher chance of succeeding and going on to be strong, profitable businesses.
For more information on our business planning tools, or to find out how we can help you start a successful cleaning business, get in touch with the Brixx team today.
Residential Cleaning Services
- Residential cleaning services can be a lucrative business, but you need to determine if you really like cleaning. This consists primarily of residential maid services as well as carpet cleaning, window cleaning, and other varieties of cleaning services required less frequently
- This type of cleaning service is a great side work for students, young adults, or people with a full time job, but want to make extra income on the side. Most residential cleaning services are done purely on a word-of-mouth or referral basis. Relationships are key to this and to build relationships you need to make sure you act appropriately and professionally, because you’ll be continually seeing these people week after week.
- The next item you want to think about when considering a Residential cleaning job is how much money you’re aiming to make. You can work on a per hour or per square footage basis. Work on a per square footage basis after you’ve viewed the premises. There will be homes where it is as clean as it can be and you need to dust, but there will be other homes where it’s just a mess. Identify the difference and price accordingly.
Commercial Cleaning Services
- Commercial Cleaning Services definitely has more rules and regulations, but is much more lucrative. This is a full fledged business geared towards commercial clients. It is dominated by janitorial services and other services that target business.
- Commercial clients are great because you don’t have interact with them. As long as the job site is clean they pay you on a regular basis and you can get paid more per job because the sites have more square footage.
- The biggest factor are start up costs as well as more documentation requirements. Business licenses, uniforms, insurance, all of these will add up, but if you have the cash, and you can get the contacts to clean the commercial properties, this is a great business to be in.
Foreclosure Cleaning Business
- Foreclosure cleaning businesses are an interesting area. They are definitely high return on your investment because real estate agents don’t want to clean properties, banks don’t want to clean properties, and sometimes the properties are in such bad shape that NOBODY else wants to clean the properties and that’s where you can step in, do a great job, and charge a higher price. Higher prices, means more money for you and better margins.
- Build those relationships with real estate agents, bank investors, and you’ll be set. This is a great niche cleaning area because you can specialize in making homes beautiful when nobody is around.
Agency Cleaning Business
- Agency cleaning businesses are great because they combine the power of commercial cleaning business revenue, without the cost of the start up costs, the licenses, or having to employ people. However, you still get to have the business deductions, it really is great. But you have to be a smooth talker and manage both the clients and the agency cleaners that go to your job sites.
We’ve already talked about how big the industry is. The answer is YES! You want to get into it. There are many types of places you can clean! Residential homes and apartments are the most commons ones. Commercial businesses are more lucrative, and there are many niche cleaning services such as foreclosure cleaning services, window cleaning services, carpet cleaning services. And the next cleaning business will be yours!
4. Get business insurance
Insurance is required by law and will give your customers the peace of mind they need and put you ahead of your competition. Don’t be daunted by the amount of insurance there is. We explain all relevant insurance in our business insurance section here. Having insurance will be how you can get into the door.
To give you an idea, the major types of insurance you will need are:
- Liability insurance – protects you financially if you or a member of your staff inadvertently damages your client’s property in the process of cleaning.
- Bonded – protects your clients in the event that a member of your staff is accused and convicted of stealing from them
- Vehicle insurance – protects you in the event of accidents involving your business vehicle
- Workers comp – covers your staff’s work-related injuries and illnesses
Once again, business insurance might not be for everybody, but if you don’t know the client personally and if you’re sending some of your employees off to a site, then you will want insurance and your clients will also want insurance. Low cost insurance can be found in many places and it’s a matter of peace of mind on both parties. In some cases clients won’t talk to you unless you’re insured. Sometimes clients won’t talk to UNLESS you reassure them that you’re bonded and insured. Insurance is a small price to pay for 1) actually getting business and 2) making sure your business is not compromised by an errant mistake.
Aim for Success When You Start a Cleaning Business in St. Louis
When you start a cleaning business as a franchisee of JAN-PRO of St. Louis, you can enjoy numerous advantages to help ensure you succeed. Here are just a few of the forms of support that we offer our owner-operators to give them a leg up in the industry:
- A trusted name. JAN-PRO of St. Louis has earned its reputation for high-quality cleaning, superior customer service, and a solid satisfaction guarantee. With this trusted name backing your services, your customers will know that they’re receiving some of the best commercial cleaning that St. Louis has to offer.
- Expert training. We’ll make sure you know how to provide excellent commercial cleaning services right from the get-go. We begin with a five-week training program that gets you certified in the JAN-PRO Signature Clean® methodology. This methodology includes all our professional cleaning procedures and standards for excellence.
- Customers. Our franchisees benefit from a built-in customer base, meaning they don’t have to become distracted by making sales or gaining clients.
- Flexible options. We have several franchising options to start a cleaning business in the St. Louis area, and we’ll help you find the one that allows you to remain flexible so that your business can thrive.
- Opportunities for growth. You can choose to start your franchise as a part-time enterprise and build up to more full-time work at your own pace. We’ll give you the business support that you need to successfully expand when you’re ready.
For details about how you can start a cleaning business, don’t hesitate to contact JAN-PRO of St. Louis, serving St. Louis, Columbia, St. Charles, O’Fallon, Fenton, and surrounding areas, today at (314) 989-9997.
About the business
There’s a range of cleaning businesses that you can specialise in, for example you could run either a residential, commercial or a specialised cleaning business. This will help you decide on what your business will be, allowing you to create a good business plan for it. Here are the three different systems that you could instill in your business:
- Domestic cleaning business- as the name suggests, you will be cleaning homes, usually when the client is out or at work. This means that you need to be credible and trustworthy in order to grow your client base. This model of cleaning business is probably the easiest to set up with minimal start-up costs. Also you can start of doing the cleaning yourself, and then manage staff as your business grows.
- Commercial cleaning business – when running a commercial cleaning business you will likely act as a leader/manager. It is unrealistic to run a commercial cleaning business without a team or staff. With this model, you will be cleaning larger properties such as office buildings.
- Specialised cleaning business – if something can get dirty, then there will be someone willing to pay to get it cleaned. With that in mind, you have countless options to specialise your cleaning business in. Some options include: window cleaning, carpet cleaning or even a car cleaning business. The whole business plan will vary depending on what kind of business you opt for.
How much money will you need and the funding options
The money you will need to start your cleaning business will vary, again depending on what cleaning model you opt for. If you opt for a domestic cleaning business, then you will have much lower start-up costs compared to any other kind of business. This is because your clients might want to provide the cleaning products and equipment due to personal preference (such as scents etc.). You should, however be prepared to use cleaning products that you have provided. This does mean that you can vary your costs of service, depending on if the products are provided by the client or not.
If you are going to start a commercial cleaning business, make sure there is demand for your business as you will have to ensue larger start-up costs. You will need to purchase big pieces of equipment, here are the costs and the things you will likely need:
- Vacuum cleaners – £100+
- Equipment Trolleys – £250 – £400
- Van £3,500+
- Sweeping machine – £200 – £2,000
- Other materials (such as mops etc.) – £500 +
When it comes to a cleaning business, especially if you are a domestic cleaning business, then most of your budget will go on your marketing. You should consider creating leaflets/flyers as well as business cards. If you are creating leaflets as well as business cards, you might want to have them professionally designed. This is to ensure that you create a good first impression with prospective clients. Here are some of the costs of offline marketing:
- 1000 leaflets – £30+
- 1000 Business cards – £40+
- Leaflet design – £100+
Although, starting a cleaning business means that you will have low start-up costs, you may still have access to funding, from Government backed loans to peer to peer lending platforms. Ensure that you carry out sufficient research to dictate if you need funding, as well as the best funding option for you.
Pros of starting a cleaning business
There are both pros and cons of starting any business, here are some of the pros of starting your own cleaning business:
- Low start-up costs – this is one of the main benefits of starting a cleaning business. All you need is skills, drive and basic cleaning equipment to get started.
- Repeat business – once you gain clients, they will likely stick with you. You need to ensure that your staff are providing the best service and not giving clients a chance to complain about the service.
- No previous experience, training or qualifications are required.
- Be your own boss and can make your schedule flexible.
- Work from home. As you don’t need premises, you can just set up an office at home to carry out basic administrative tasks.
- Low overhead costs – meaning that you don’t need to pay large sums of money towards a premise.
- As you don’t need to be qualified, you can easily find staff for low wages.
- You can grow your business easily by increasing your client base and employing more staff.
Cons of starting a cleaning business
There are also some negatives of running a cleaning business, and here they are:
- The cleaning business market is crowded, therefore you will need a good area to cover as well as a niche to help you stand out.
- It may be difficult to build a client base, especially at the beginning.
- If you are a sole trader and carrying out the cleaning yourself, physically it will be hard work.
- The income will be slow in the beginning, as you won’t have many clients.
What you need to start the business
There are multiple things that you need to start your business, here are combination of things that you will need to get your business started:
- Business plan and budget
- Marketing plan/strategy
- Criminal record check (DBS) – this is not essential but will help in proving your credibility and trustworthiness to any prospective clients.
- Relevant skills
- Funds – whether you use your personal savings or opt for one of the funding options for small businesses.
- Accountant or accounting software – this is something to consider when your business grows.