When you’re looking to start a new business or earn some extra cash, more often than not, you turn to starting a cleaning business. Why? Because there is usually low overhead, almost none of the usual operating costs, and there’s reliable demand.
In addition, cleaning services might have smaller up-front costs than some of the other endeavors, and you can also start to operate pretty quickly with little capital, although you do have to be committed to working hard to achieve a good profit and steady gains.
What are the kinds of cleaning businesses you can open?
- Commercial cleaning: associated with janitorial services for factories, warehouses, retail and commercial outlets.
- Residential cleaning: private homes and residential apartments.
- Special cleaning: involves special services, such as dry cleaning.
Once you know which category is relevant for you, you can focus on starting a cleaning business. You can always upgrade a category as your business and revenue grow. Maybe you start off just with residential cleaning but after six months or a year, you add on special cleaning. The sky is the limit! But, how do you get started? Well, just keep on scrolling.
We highlight 7 tips on successfully starting a cleaning business.
1. Build A Budget
Spoiler – you’re going to need to put in some cash when starting a cleaning business. While finding the right financing may be difficult, there are options on the table that won’t put you in serious debt. For instance, you can borrow from family or friends, take out a business loan, or spend on credit. If you are a female entrepreneur, there are small business grants just for you that are worth looking into.
Depending on the scale of your cleaning business, the initial startup costs can be quite low so that means you will experience less debt in the beginning as you expand and spend more as you generate more revenue. In time, you will be able to hire a cleaning staff as your cleaning company booms.
Now with the statistics highlighted above, the market is there if you’re looking to make a profit in your cleaning business.
Ensure that you have opened your own business checking account so that your cleaning services income doesn’t interfere with your own personal checking account. This is particularly helpful when it comes to filing taxes.
2. Choose A Business Name & Logo
The name of your business and its corresponding logo requires time and consideration. The goal is for your cleaning company to be around for years to come so the name and logo should be something you genuinely like.
Choose a business name that reflects your name, values, or allow your creative side to play. If you are all about the environment then maybe something like “Green Cleaning” would get the message across. Hire a graphic designer to create the company logo so it looks professional and reflects the company name you choose.
3. Register Your Cleaning Business
Before you can launch your cleaning company, you need to have it registered. Your cleaning company must be registered so you can open a bank account, apply for loans, and hire staff. This means that you must choose a business structure, a company name, and a plan for taxes.
If you’re just one individual and your clients pay in cash then you need to consider the registration amount and income reporting due to your revenue – this will help you determine if registering your cleaning company is necessary. For example, if you clean a family member’s home for $25 once a week and you only provide your services to your family then you don’t need to register your cleaning business. If, on the other hand, you earn more than a few hundred dollars a month then you need to formally send your reporting income to the IRS. You can run your cleaning business as a sole proprietor or as a partnership with someone else, or you can even set up a limited liability corporation (LLC) so that your business finances are separated from your personal finances.
It’s important that you know that business registration and proper tax documentation is incredibly important for a cleaning company with corporate clients.
Commercial vs. Consumer
If you work in private homes then you are classified as a “consumer” cleaning services, while “commercial” cleaners, such as janitorial service providers, have official contracts with state or corporate entities.
A local business may contract your cleaning company on a regular basis, based on the full extent of the services you provide. Therefore, the IRS requires your cleaning company to provide a 1099 contract to said individuals who offer services that exceed $600 annually.
On another note, if you hire employees (which I am sure you will at some point!) or maybe you don’t want to associate your personal social security number with your business taxes, then you must get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.
4. Sort Out The Logistics
Depending on the size of your cleaning company and the services you provide, the supplies and transportation required can amount to your two highest expenses. However, once you create a plan for both then you can honestly estimate the true cost of starting a cleaning business.
- Transportation: When you have a mobile cleaning business, transportation is crucial! Before you can start a cleaning job, you need to get there, right? Right! As you are running a cleaning business, the responsibility of getting to and from a job is all on you so make sure you can really take on the cleaning job.
- Supplies: Depending on the services you offer and how many clients you have, the cost and volume needed in terms of supplies are dependent on this information. If you have cleaning jobs in many private residences per week then it is best you buy supplies in bulk at retailers such as Walmart or Costco. However, be aware that some of your clients may prefer that you use their own products so be sure to ask before showing up with your own supplies. (Once you register your business, you can find equipment at discounted prices from suppliers).
- Equipment: As we pointed out already, transportation and supplies are the main expenses you are faced with, but equipment and equipment rentals can add up as well. If you own your own equipment or have access to free cleaning equipment and cleaning agents, you will see that rental prices add up. Be sure to shop around to find the best place to rent from or you can refrain from using special equipment until your cleaning business is more established.
- Technology: Connecteam’s cleaning business app is the leading mobile-first solution that offers everything under one roof. From efficient, real-time communication with your team to scheduling jobs, receiving reports from the field, tracking staff hours, onboarding new hires, and even ensuring compliance. You might think all these robust features would cost an arm and a leg but that’s where you’re wrong. Connecteam doesn’t charge for each user, instead, everything is available at a fixed monthly price starting at just $39/month for up to 50 users. Or you can get started with the free for life plan!
What other features are available on the Connecteam cleaning business app that allows you to grow your business?
- Remove friction from daily activities and automate information flow by receiving reports from the field, examples include daily service summary checklists, health and safety reports, and COVID-19 daily health declaration report.
- Track work hours when employees clock in and out from their mobile phone with GPS timestamps, and send automatic reminders to ensure your team shows up on time.
- Benefit from drag and drop planning boards and templates to assign service calls to cleaners. Plus, each shift includes the relevant information needed to get the job done efficiently.
- Onboard new cleaners easily through read and sign forms, quizzes, insightful chapters, and more.
- Reach every cleaner with advanced communication features including chat groups, real-time push notifications, updates directly to a worker’s cellphone, in-app employee directory, and more.
- Raise safety standards by providing your cleaners with all material needed on hazardous materials, safety reports in real-time, and much more.
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5. Choose Your Rates
Most cleaning business providers charge around the same fee:
- Hourly: $50 to $90
- Flat rate: $120 to $150 (for a single-family home)
- Deep clean or one-time visit: $400
- Junk removal: $130 to $350
- Move out cleaning: $200 to $400
- Square foot rate: if you’re in the commercial cleaning business, then you charge per square foot rate, such as $.05 to $.20
However, you need to factor in your location, competition, clients, and the size and condition of the place so that you can determine the exact fee you will charge. Consider offering upgrade options like window cleaning, wall washing, or appliance cleaning for an additional fee.
Make sure you have an easy way to bill all your clients so that you can get paid for the job in a timely manner. In addition, you can offer house cleaning estimates to any potential clients after you know about how long the job will take.
For more information on setting up rates, click here for additional information.
6. Find Your Client Base
When starting a cleaning business, you can find and maintain most of your client base through online forums and word of mouth. Be sure to ask your clients, the ones who are super pleased with your work, to write a positive review on your social media page, website, or on relevant channels like Trustpilot. If you have business cards, ask them to pass it along to interested parties.
These are a few other options to find and grow your client base:
- References: It can be hard to show prospective clients your best work but offer contact information of past clients who were satisfied with your work and would be happy to act as a reference. Or, as pointed out above, ask them to write a referral on the relevant channel.
- Referrals: More often than not, you will land a new client through a current one! Don’t just rely on this for new jobs but know that establishing a good relationship can help build your confidence and might even turn into a potential opportunity in the near future.
- Join Networking Groups: This makes it easy to interact with like-minded people as they offer invaluable sources of information and support so that customers are easier to come by.
Try a combination of all of the above until you find what works for you but don’t hesitate to try new things by knowing what the latest business trends are.
7. It’s All About Marketing
Regardless if you rely on current clients to help you find new clients, you still need to invest in an online presence as it will benefit your cleaning business in the long run. In this day and age, if your company isn’t online then you aren’t reliable and you’re stuck in the dark ages! Your clients, both current and new, need to be able to find you online, even if you don’t have a website, some digital footprint is better than none. You can create a social media page, like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and be sure to keep your contact information updated. Here you can also include your mission statement, your beliefs, the products you use, what brands, and positive client reviews.
Most people will only hire a business if they have an online presence, and a good one at that, so make sure your cleaning business is one of them! You can also create an email address so you have a professional channel to communicate with your clients.
The Bottom Line On Starting A Cleaning Business
Starting your own cleaning business is a smart decision, even in today’s COVID-19 environment, as it includes low overhead, doesn’t have the usual operating costs, and is always in demand.
Most cleaning companies have a small up-front cost compared to other industries and starting a cleaning business allows you to move quickly and with very little capital, just as long as you work hard and stay dedicated to earning a profit.
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