Cleaning Business

How to Start a Cleaning Business

Life can be chaotic for busy individuals and families.  Hiring a professional to help keep their homes clean is becoming more common.  Businesses also need professional cleaners.  Business owners are discovering that it is often more cost-effective to hire independent contractors than to keep cleaners on staff.

If you want to start your own cleaning business, your first decision will be if you specialize in residential or business cleaning.  You may choose to do both.  You will need to put some thought into start-up expenses such as:

  • Transportation—do you have reliable transportation suitable to get you and whatever supplies you bring to each client’s location?
  • Cleaning tools and supplies—if you are offering commercial cleaning services or deep-cleaning residential services, you may need your own equipment. Decide what equipment is necessary such as a high-quality vacuum cleaner, carpet steamer, and other cleaning supplies.
  • Determine a pricing guideline. Will you charge per hour or by the job?  Remember, you are operating a small business, so you will have to pay taxes on income earned.  Price yourself according to the standard rates in your area.  Research what other professional cleaners in your area are charging and stay competitive with their rates.
  • Establish your hours of availability. If you cannot clean after school hours, this may impact commercial customers who normally have their businesses cleaned at night.  Make your hours of availability known to new clients to avoid scheduling conflicts.
  • How will you find clients? Marketing is important to any successful service business.  Word-of-mouth is a fantastic way to find new clients.  You can also use social media to get the word out.  Another option to consider for marketing is local neighborhood apps.  Some are free and some charge a small fee to advertise your service.

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Remember to treat your business as you would any professional endeavor.  Keep meticulous records of income and expenses.  To make this easier, you may want to invest in basic accounting software like Freshbooks.  Tracking your income and expenses is important for tax liability, but also to determine the health of your business.

Arrive on-time for scheduled cleaning.  Make sure to let clients know ahead of time if there will be an increase in price due to unexpected time and labor.  Do a little extra for each client as this helps solidify your reputation.  Do a great job for clients and make sure they know if you have further openings.  Client referrals are one of the most successful ways to grow your business.  You will, unfortunately, encounter bad clients. Do what you can to protect your reputation, but do not be afraid to fire clients. If a client never pays on time or in full, let them know you cannot continue to work until they pay.

Remember that it takes time to build loyal client relationships.  It can take some time to build a reputation as a dependable professional cleaner.  Focus on your long-term vision for your business.

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