There are many types of cleaning businesses that can be started including residential house cleaning, commercial office cleaning, window cleaning, floor and carpet cleaning, and much more. A cleaning business can be a one-person business, or can be a larger company with many employees. Both can provide a part time or full time income.
You need more than a dust rag to start a cleaning business. Having any type of successful business involves organization, knowledge, patience, perseverance, people-skills, and a number of other traits. Many business owners fail, not because weren’t skilled in their job, but because they were not skilled in running a business.
The larger you want your cleaning company to become, the better you will need to be as a business owner, as the responsibility will be greater. There is nothing wrong with dreaming big, but if you are a new business owner, it is best to start small and work your way up.
3 STEPS TO STARTING A CLEANING BUSINESS
There are three basic steps to starting a cleaning company from scratch. First is planning. Second is registering with proper government institutions. Lastly, you will need to promote your business in some way to attract customers.
1. Plan Your Cleaning Business
Develop a Business plan
Before diving in to any business, you should develop a business plan. Even if you only want to start a small cleaning business, you still should start with a business plan! Depending on what type of cleaning business you are starting, chemicals, equipment, and other supplies can cost a lot of money. Don’t forget about insurance costs, not only for you, but for any employees. A business plan doesn’t have to be anything complicated, but is something that will help organize your goals and priorities and help you make wise decisions.
Planning properly will help you decide if you are going to specialize in a specific area such as carpet cleaning, or if you will offer a variety of services including residential and commercial cleaning.
- Set short and long-term goals – Plan your business before you spend a dime.
- Decide what services you will offer – Decide the scope of your business.
- Find a niche – What will be your specialty? What will set you apart from the competition?
- Choose a business name – Put some thought into deciding a name for your cleaning business.
- Decide what you will charge for your services
- Financing – You may need to get a business loan if you will need to purchase a vehicle or expensive equipment.
As soon as you start your cleaning business, you will need some sort of organizational structure so you can keep your customer communications and business-related paperwork in order. You won’t necessarily need a full office when starting out. An office desk dedicated to your business paperwork would be helpful.
Get a daily planner or use your smartphone to schedule estimates, jobs, and other work-related appointments. An easy way to lose customers is to arrive late or even forget a scheduled appointment.
- Set up an office
- Business phone
- Estimate forms
- Bill Forms
2. Register Your New Cleaning Business
Make it legal
Make sure you are following proper protocol in your region. This means having necessary insurance, following tax codes, getting proper licenses and permits, etc. This applies even to a part-time business.
Some steps to starting your cleaning company legally:
- Select your business structure (sole-proprietor, LLC, Corporation, etc.)
- Register your business name
- Register your business entity
- Depending on what type of cleaning you will be doing, you may need to register as a home improvement contractor with your state (US)
- Open a business bank account
- Taxes- either get an accountant, or do research on filing yourself
- Liability Insurance (even a small policy would be beneficial)
- Worker’s Compensation
- City Licenses and Permits
3. Grow Your New Cleaning Business
In order to grow your cleaning company, you will need to work hard, have people skills, and be patient. You will also need to market your business effectively. Success and profit won’t come overnight. There is often a lot of competition to secure contracts. You may need to start out with residential customers if you are having trouble signing up commercial contracts.
Beside employees, dealing with customers can cause a great amount of stress. Learning how to communicate well with customers can help boost sales and increase word-of-mouth leads.
- Learn how to sell a cleaning contract to a potential customer
- Estimate a job properly- how long it will take/how much to charge
- Communicate regularly and clearly with the customer
- Be fair and honest- take responsibility for your mistakes
After you start a cleaning business, you need to market it. Word of mouth will be a great help, but you’ll need to effectively market your business first, in order to get those happy customers.
Some low-cost advertising to get started can include a basic 1 or 2 page website, setting up a free business listing for your cleaning company on Google and other online directories, social media accounts, business cards and a few yard signs.