Cleaning Business: Realistic Financially? - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
 
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post #1 of Old 02-22-2011, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
Rob
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Cleaning Business: Realistic Financially?

Hello All,

Looks like this forum is home to the real 'pros' of the cleaning business. As a newbie who's considering doing some part-time cleaning work (own business), I wondered if I could get some insight on a couple things:

1) Which is more customary: Per unit or per hour billing?

2) What level of detail do most customers want? For example, I once dusted (with rag) every book, wall, and piece of furniture in my room, then vacuumed every inch. Problem is it took the entire day. Obviously, I either have to get on speed, or adjust my expectations

3) Is this a business that only becomes profitable after you've established a huge client base? Running the numbers, even if I had 12 clients/week: $100/house x 12= $1200 gross - $400 expenses (very conservative) - $300 taxes = $500 net. Which may be fine in some areas, but crumbs in most others...

4) Is personal safety an issue (determined by neighborhood, obviously), and if so what are some precautions you take while on a job?

Thanks so much for any advice you can throw my way!

Last edited by Rob; 02-22-2011 at 08:23 PM.
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post #2 of Old 02-24-2011, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
Rob
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I think I put the cart before the horse with the above questions. What I should have asked is posted in the General Forum, but I'm all ears to anyone who has insight to these questions as well.

Thanks everyone.
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post #3 of Old 02-24-2011, 07:21 PM
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Hello All,

Looks like this forum is home to the real 'pros' of the cleaning business. As a newbie who's considering doing some part-time cleaning work (own business), I wondered if I could get some insight on a couple things:

1) Which is more customary: Per unit or per hour billing?

It really all depends. I have come to the conclusion, after being in tons of different homes that it is a calculation of size and condition. The cleaner makes a difference in how efficient it can be done as well. But I have done a 4,000 sq ft by myself in 3 hours no problem. I have also done a 4,000 sq ft at about 6 1/2 hours. For mine all my 2,000 sq ft and under are a flat rate, anything over for intitial cleaning is an hourly rate ranging $30/hr to $50/hr. Any repeats thereafter are a flat rate.

It is an individual preference however without assessing the home first if you charge a flat rate you may be asking for it.
2) What level of detail do most customers want? For example, I once dusted (with rag) every book, wall, and piece of furniture in my room, then vacuumed every inch. Problem is it took the entire day. Obviously, I either have to get on speed, or adjust my expectations

I would do a standard package of what areas you cover. For my basic cleaning I do general cleaning wiping surfaces cleaning bathrooms etc. In a deep cleaning I do more wiping down, such as instead of feather dusting blinds, some of them have more dust buildup that does not come off unless wiped down. Having several shelves with many books and knick knacks can be tricky. That is kind of what I meant by the condition. I run the duster along walls I don't wipe walls. I worked with a company where a cleaner messed up someone's paint and it was costly, so I don't bother with wiping walls. As for your last statement, I have made it my company motto to learn the most effective and efficient way to clean. We want to work smart not hard. Doesn't make sense to 'hunch' over bathtubs.


3) Is this a business that only becomes profitable after you've established a huge client base? Running the numbers, even if I had 12 clients/week: $100/house x 12= $1200 gross - $400 expenses (very conservative) - $300 taxes = $500 net. Which may be fine in some areas, but crumbs in most others...

When I actually worked for a company I came to the conclusion their leverage/security blanket if you will; was contracting and commercial cleaning. I have also learned 'after reading through this forum' that you want to own a business, not a job. Your aim should be to grow and expand etc. If you are charging $100 for every house that you are only going to clean yourself, you are not leaving room for overhead, help if you need it, gas and all the fees that are supposed to go into being legit such as insurance, license, etc. I don't knock the individuals who run and operate the cleanings themselves, the only thing is, it is hard for your income to grow.

4) Is personal safety an issue (determined by neighborhood, obviously), and if so what are some precautions you take while on a job?

For the most part I do not worry about going into bad neighborhoods, getting robbed and my safety. My market is not really in the inner city of Atlanta. Anything can happen anywhere, but I take precaution in knowing my surroundings and having my phone. I try not to be at a cleaning house too late especially if it's getting dark. I also do not want my cleaners to be at a cleaning late.

Thanks so much for any advice you can throw my way!
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post #4 of Old 02-24-2011, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
Rob
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Nik,

Thanks so much for the info. Much appreciated!

Like an idiot, I thought starting a solo cleaning business would be an easy way for some part time income. Then I started actually doing the research... Now I realize just how much liability is involved--even if you're a pro rather than a newbie.

You mentioned that you worked for a company. Would you advise doing the same before going it alone because of the prereq. knowledge necessary? Or, is it possible to start small and build your knowledge as you go? If so I can see some massive amount of research in my future...

Thanks again.
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post #5 of Old 02-25-2011, 12:32 PM
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Like any venture you pursue, I believe research brings knowledge and experience brings wisdom.

You don't have necessarily work for someone else, but you can perhaps start off a little slower work wise. With some of my earlier cleanings on my own I was a little slower, trying to get the flow of things. I am still trying to learn new strategies and effective ways to clean.

I would say do alot of research and reading; however you can get the work I would start there. It's real competitive here. There are several cleaning companies here, some large, some are franchised, some are make shift and some are small private contractors. But not all bring the same level of work and knowledge to the business. I have had clients that tell me things like "someone used tile cleaner on my hardwoods" or "someone scratched my stainless steel with a sponge."
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post #6 of Old 02-25-2011, 11:05 PM
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General cleaning is a tough business to grow since the barrier to entry is very low and you have many competitors, some of which are one-person operators that are not really operating a business but a low paying job for themselves. Clients can be very demanding, and expectations can be tricky since the level of cleaning they expect is different from one client to the next. Spell out EVERYTHING in detail of what you will (and will not) do before you touch anything.
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post #7 of Old 03-12-2011, 10:44 PM
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House Cleaning Price System

There are different ways of pricing your cleaning service. I, myself, do office cleaning, window cleaning, and some residential cleaning. For window cleaning, I charge per pane. I have a "window cleaning calculator" on my website that will give customers an estimate. For office cleaning, I have a set rate for how much I charge each cleaning. However, for residential cleaning, I clean by the hour. Why? Because it seems like every time I clean someone's house, they want different things cleaned. My customers use me for supplemental cleaning. Basically they are busy professional women who don't have the time to do everything. I clean whatever they have not got around to cleaning. Sometimes they want me to clean the refrigerator out, other times not. Sometimes, I am cleaning the hot tub! It is too unpredictable to give a set price.

Silverdale Window Cleaning & Janitorial
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post #8 of Old 03-22-2011, 01:56 AM
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$400 expenses (very conservative)

Are you cleaning with 24k gold towels and using some type of $50 an ounce cleaner? On 12 houses there is no need to spend over $6 at MOST on cleaning supplies and maybe $20 in fuel to get there. We don't spend $6 on cleaning supplies for 12 houses so I was giving you a few extra dollars to blow on candy bars. lol What do you spend $400 on?
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post #9 of Old 04-07-2011, 09:13 PM
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What an awesome thread. Glad I found it, even if it's a bit old. Answered... or gave an ideas on how to deal with a lot of things I've been wondering about.

$400? What? Maybe to get you started. I prefer to bring my own equipment, vacuums, etc., and the vacuums were not cheap, but they will last a lot of years.
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post #10 of Old 04-11-2011, 09:23 AM
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400$ you can buy cleaning supplies for a month for one big office cleaning

http://www.bbcleaningservice.com
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post #11 of Old 04-11-2011, 09:55 AM
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For 12 houses averaged a week it would take us 2 years to spend $400 on supplies.
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post #12 of Old 04-19-2011, 06:57 AM
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I price it per hour. At the present time running at $45 ph. Most of my customers are long time customers 4-8 years
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post #13 of Old 04-20-2011, 03:17 AM
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I also doubt that you would be taxed $300 if your net profit was $800 after expenses.
Remember most work you complete will be on a cash basis
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post #14 of Old 04-25-2011, 09:49 PM
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Hi

This topic help me a lot in developing my project. I will contribute more when I finished it.

If you want to get more materials that related to this topic, you can visit: Office cleaning business

Best regards.

Last edited by hamburg113; 05-09-2011 at 09:32 AM. Reason: Update
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post #15 of Old 08-26-2015, 04:00 PM
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Wouldn't that be $4800 a month if your charging $100x12 on a weekly basis?
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post #16 of Old 08-26-2015, 11:46 PM
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Your information is very important and appreciated.Thanks for sharing this.This will helps a lot to the person who want business growth.
Well done
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post #17 of Old 08-27-2015, 10:31 AM
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My advice.... Don't get stuck on the numbers, they can drive you crazy.
Just get to work and don't forget to let us know how you did.

ooops didnt realize the original post was so old. lol; Hope he did good!
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post #18 of Old 10-30-2015, 09:22 AM
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Thanks for the advice.
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