You CAN'T Start a Business for $100...Don't Believe the Hype - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
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post #1 of Old 02-03-2008, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
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You CAN'T Start a Business for $100...Don't Believe the Hype

I was just reading and started following some links. I ended up on a website where the headline tells the following lies (amongst other lies):

Lie #1 - You can start a cleaning business for $100

Lie #2 - Starting a cleaning business is "easy"

Because my own cleaning business will open its "doors" in a few weeks, this will actually be my last day on this board for awhile. I'll be back in a few months after we get a little settled.

For the lurkers who are thinking about starting a company, I want to leave you with this:

a. Nothing worth having is "easy". Nothing. And no, money truly does not grow on trees. A cleaning company is a business just like any other business. I don't know of any "easy" businesses to set up and run and make successful. Do you?

Here is the truth. Most new cleaning companies actually fold within their first six months. There are many reasons for that, but primarily they fold because of a syndrome I call "The Three Little Pigs" syndrome. Their foundation was shaky. To be like the successful pig, you would need to build your cleaning business on a solid foundation. How do you do that? By realizing that Rome was not built in a day. Give yourself six months to a year to plan out the business before even venturing forward. What's the rush?

Examples of things to do to build your business on a solid foundation:

1. Spend the first month reading every cleaning website, blog, book, video, etc. you can get your hands on.

2. Read some books on how to start a business---any business. Read some books about marketing. Much of this can be found at your local library.

3. Meet with experts (marketing specialists, accountants or lawyers) to discuss how to get the word out about the business and to establish a structure (incorporation, LLC, sole proprietorship)

4. If you cannot afford to pay a consulting fee to an accountant, you also can't afford to start a business---any business. Think about that.

5. AFTER you have done the above and you still want to move forward, you need to do as the bible advises and "Write the vision and make it plain". What that means is, establish a roadmap for your business. I purchased business plan software which had great examples on it. It took me a while to work through, but it was well worth the effort. Put a simple or complicated business plan on paper. You can always update it.

6. Because you CANNOT start any business on $100, know in advance that you will need a minimum of $6,000 and preferably $10,000 to get set up.

Where does the initial money go?

a. Liability insurance
b. Workmans' comp insurance
c. Bonding insurance

NOTE: Without the above named insurances, you are NOT a real cleaning business. Instead, you are just a scab set-up out to make a quick buck. Do some research on those insurances. And yes, liability and Workmans Comp are expensive. Bonding insurance is cheaper.

d. Marketing plan (this is your advertising campaign) - not cheap!
*** Note that the marketing plan is forever...you will need to be creative and constantly check which advertising methods are working.
In your business plan, determine how much you plan to spend per month on advertising. A formula I once read said that if you want 25 new clients, expect to spend $2,500. If you want 10 new clients, expect to spend a minimum of $1,000. And so on... But also, you will need to check out free methods of advertising and word of mouth.
e. Products (don't buy them all at once...do so over a period of time)
f. Equipment (buy over a period of time)

Do you see how this is adding up financially? And it also costs money to register your buiness with the state. The LLC or incorporation costs money. In fact, while building your base for your business, money will become your middle name. LOL! No joke.

g. Website - A decent one will cost money and you must have one b/c your customers will want to visit it...plus having one brings potential clients to you.

It goes on an on and on....

h. You'll have to determine how to find employees (avoid Craig's List).

i. You'll need to find a way to train those employees in your methods. You will need to provide them an employee manual with your policies. How will you code your keys? Will you accept credit cards? What filing methods will you use?

j. Paperwork - Will you create your own or will you hire a printer for your paperwork? Do you even know what types of paperwork you will need? If you create your own, it had better be professional looking if you want to be taken seriously. Image is important!

k. And speaking of image, if you choose to have a logo created, that's more money.

As I said, it goes on and on and on....

Final words of wisdom: Follow your business plan. Don't follow man. What works for one company won't necessarily work for yours and visa versa. Set up your business your way, but following universal principals of course. Surround yourself with positive people and close your ears to naysayers who specialize in giving looooooong lists of what could go wrong. They will screw you up if you are silly enough to ingest that. Determine for yourself what success means.

For me personally, regardless of how much money my business makes, I won't view myself as totally successful until I can offer health benefits to my employees. But that's just me. For me, success is more than financial health---it's also quality of life.

This is not an easy business. No business is easy. Don't believe the hype.

See you some time this spring or summer! You will find me out in the trenches and fields!

Cat

Write the vision and make it plain: http://maidservicecoaching.wordpress.com/

Last edited by Cat; 02-03-2008 at 08:43 AM.
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post #2 of Old 02-03-2008, 09:40 AM
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4. If you cannot afford to pay a consulting fee to an accountant, you also can't afford to start a business---any business. Think about that.

5. AFTER you have done the above and you still want to move forward, you need to do as the bible advises and "Write the vision and make it plain". What that means is, establish a roadmap for your business. I purchased business plan software which had great examples on it. It took me a while to work through, but it was well worth the effort. Put a simple or complicated business plan on paper. You can always update it.

Good stuff, Cat. These two above are what really stood out for me. Being undercapitalized and the lack of a plan are what kills 99.9% or startup businesses.

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post #3 of Old 02-03-2008, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Cat View Post

Final words of wisdom: Follow your business plan. Don't follow man. What works for one company won't necessarily work for yours and visa versa. Set up your business your way, but following universal principals of course. Surround yourself with positive people and close your ears to naysayers who specialize in giving looooooong lists of what could go wrong. They will screw you up if you are silly enough to ingest that. Determine for yourself what success means.



Cat
Great words of wisdom Cat.

Business planning/strategy 101 do your homework. Again great post Cat
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post #4 of Old 02-03-2008, 03:01 PM
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Cat.. Keep in mind that we learn not from positive experience but from negative ones. A child walking by a hot oven with the smell of fresh bread will experience sensory pleasure but not learn. When that child touches the loaf immediately out of the oven, the experience is changed slightly and the child has learned a boundry. Bread coming out of the oven is hot. He will pass this lesson on where he sees fit throughout his life. He is not being negative. He still loves the scent of fresh baked bread. He can let others enjoy that themselves through their own trials and tribulations. He best serves others by letting them know NOT to touch the bread fresh out of the oven.

I'm not sure if my analogy will make sense to you, but it is the best I could come up with to give you a differing viewpoint. Once you have been in business for 5 years or so, you will understand what I am writing perfectly as you will see most people say they want business advice but what they really seek is validation and affirmation.

Think about this, Cat. Your final words of wisdom makes your whole post hypocritical. Your words are telling people what they cannot do. Is it not negative to blow the dreams of someone hoping to start a business with a few hundred dollars? Or, is this the first piece of business advice you have learned in your quest that you are now passing on? Not trying to give you a hard time, I just want you to think about that.

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post #5 of Old 02-03-2008, 04:54 PM
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I started with less than $200 and I've been doing well in my business. I feel I have done exceptionally well and have moved forward in many ways! Granted, I put all my profits back into the business, but I never would have been as successful with a chunk of change put up front to have that "perception" of success just to expect what comes later as profit. It's a constant process of reinvestment.

It's when I got into the thick of it that determined whether I would be successful.

What works for one person doesn't work for another.

I've seen people sink thousands of dollars only to fail. It's HOW you do it that matters. Wise decisions along the way make a big difference.

Learning from mistakes is crucial. Learning from others' mistakes is also crucial.

Just my take!

I feel if you have your priorities straight, you can do it on $100.00. Everything is done one step at a time.

Torrey Shannon
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The only 501c3 nonprofit in the cleaning industry that improves the lives of heroes, one household at a time!
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post #6 of Old 02-03-2008, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat View Post


See you some time this spring or summer! You will find me out in the trenches and fields!

Cat
I thought you said elsewhere that you won't be cleaning any of your client's houses? Help me understand this statement. I am confused!

Torrey

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post #7 of Old 02-03-2008, 05:46 PM
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Many have found from reading this and other power wash forums that many are limited in there thought, refined if you will to the approval of others. If it wasn’t written in a book they couldn’t follow….. what a said truth. Some are unable or unwilling to accept that there are other business epistemologies. They make much claim too being a business scholar for when we observe simple actions taken like the business name you find simplistic narrow thinking. We have businesses that manufacture products that in the strategy stage forgot to first implement procedures to make the product equitable. It has been written that they are experts, something about being an instructor of bad breath or manager of a local gyms jock straps or whatever it was. I’m getting off point let me say Nice Post Cat.


"These statements aren't directed at anyone."

Last edited by Pressure Cleaning; 02-03-2008 at 07:23 PM.
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post #8 of Old 02-03-2008, 06:46 PM
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Anyone think the Giants can pull it off?

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Last edited by PressurePros; 02-03-2008 at 07:44 PM.
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post #9 of Old 02-03-2008, 07:21 PM
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............................................. .............................

Let me edit that post those statements aren't directed at anyone, I thought it was informative.....
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post #10 of Old 02-03-2008, 07:37 PM Thread Starter
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Your final words of wisdom makes your whole post hypocritical. Your words are telling people what they cannot do. Is it not negative to blow the dreams of someone hoping to start a business with a few hundred dollars? Or, is this the first piece of business advice you have learned in your quest that you are now passing on? Not trying to give you a hard time, I just want you to think about that.
You sort of lost me but I'll clarify for anyone who did not understand what I meant above. You cannot start a cleaning business (that is legitimate) with $100. The idea of that post came from me visiting a website where a man brags and sells a false dream that a cleaning business can be started with $100. That is a lie. It can't be done legitimately.

Again, I'm referring to a legitimate business. The following makes one legitimate:

Business name registration - $25 in most states
Liability insurance - $650+ in most states
Bonding insurance - $100 minimum in most states
Workman's Comp Insurance - Whew!

No one has any business stepping foot into a home without the three above. The three above are the baseline. I would not dream of allowing a "business" into my home with anything less, b/c anything less is not a legitimate cleaning business.

The goal of the article that I wrote was to get people planning ahead (which I stated). And I gave steps to help these people plan ahead.

Everyone has a choice. Build the house on a poor foundation or build it on a firm foundation. It's your money.

Regarding negativity. Negative things happen daily. You can sit and meditate on what "might" happen that's negative or you can meditate and put your energies on the positive. The negatives will take care of themselves. My advice to people observing who are thinking of starting a cleaning business is....if you allow people to terrify you with what "might" happen that is a disaster, you will never realize your dream.

So.....take the advice in the article or don't take it. I've done and said all I have to say on that.

Write the vision and make it plain: http://maidservicecoaching.wordpress.com/

Last edited by Cat; 02-03-2008 at 08:34 PM.
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post #11 of Old 02-03-2008, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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I thought you said elsewhere that you won't be cleaning any of your client's houses? Help me understand this statement. I am confused!

Torrey
I won't be taking responsibility for anyone's confusion---especially since no where on this thread did I say I would be cleaning any houses. However, I WILL be supervising my employees as much as I choose to...those are the trenches and fields.

Write the vision and make it plain: http://maidservicecoaching.wordpress.com/

Last edited by Cat; 02-03-2008 at 07:42 PM.
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post #12 of Old 02-03-2008, 07:47 PM
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Cat, you're being overly sensitive. Just giving you food for thought. I think you missed the point of my post. Scan up to my original comment. I agree with you wholeheartedly about startup being more expensive than most people think. If you post an article you have to be open for dissention. You wrote and qualified on a different thread that you only respond to positive thoughts. That's great but that's also lollipop stuff, not real business. Please don't take personal offense.

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post #13 of Old 02-03-2008, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Great words of wisdom Cat.

Business planning/strategy 101 do your homework. Again great post Cat
Thanks. Did you see how peculiar this thread turned? My sole purpose was to speak directly to lurkers who are being misguided and lied to about starting a cleaning business for $100. I wanted to share my views since I have my business set up and have done all that I needed to do to get it set up properly.

I already have a group of friends signed up for my services and I'm one who enjoys helping others where I can.

One thing I won't do is get into petty cattiness. I never lowered myself to that when I was in middle and high school and I won't start now. I have not hurt anyone here. I simply wrote a true article to warn hopefuls not to set themselves up to be made a fool of.

Again, thanks for your feedback.

Write the vision and make it plain: http://maidservicecoaching.wordpress.com/
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post #14 of Old 02-03-2008, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Cat, you're being overly sensitive. Just giving you food for thought. I think you missed the point of my post. Scan up to my original comment. I agree with you wholeheartedly about startup being more expensive than most people think. If you post an article you have to be open for dissention. You wrote and qualified on a different thread that you only respond to positive thoughts. That's great but that's also lollipop stuff, not real business. Please don't take personal offense.
Since you and I don't know each other and will never meet, I doubt that the fact that I choose not to allow negativity to infiltrate my thoughts or cause me to change course is of no offense to you.

Glad you "agree" that it takes more than $100 to start a real business.

Write the vision and make it plain: http://maidservicecoaching.wordpress.com/
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post #15 of Old 02-03-2008, 07:53 PM
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While I agree that a foundation must be made on a legitimate business, it can be done in increments, which for me started with just a couple hundred bucks.

Within the first month of cleaning, I was insured, bonded, licensed, etc. and kept reinvesting my "profits" to continue building a business.

I never would have realized my own dream had I waited to build a $6K investment before opening doors. I didn't have that kind of money...I had to make it.

I have far exceeded the 6K mark with what I've earned and reinvested.

There are more ways to build a business than to have an immediate infusion of funds before proceeding further. Some of us had to start small for many reasons.

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post #16 of Old 02-03-2008, 08:03 PM
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Anyone think the Giants can pull it off?
I am thinking it's possible!

Go Giants!

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post #17 of Old 02-03-2008, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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T,

I'm not sure whether or not you will ever see this thread but I would like to say that the fact that two people came to this thread and started discussing a football game was the epitome of disrespect and actually says a lot more about them than anything else.

Not sure what that's about but I certainly never did that in any thread of theirs and never would. Thank goodness that my mother and father taught me the very basic law of human decency.

Write the vision and make it plain: http://maidservicecoaching.wordpress.com/
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post #18 of Old 02-03-2008, 08:23 PM
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One of my favorite sayings that I live by is:

"Be flexible or you will always stay bent out of shape."

Torrey Shannon
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post #19 of Old 02-03-2008, 08:39 PM
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Hello Cat

Yes, I make it my job to read all of the posts on this site.

My personal opinion knowing Ken as well as I do is that he meant no disrespect to you or any one else by mentioning the game, I personally think that upon his seeing the mood of the tread getting more and more tense that he intended to dissipate the level some with the off topic question.

I get and appreciate your post. It does take a significant amount of both time and money in order to start a business correctly. I especially appreciate anyone who counsels others to do it right from the beginning. Torrey also has a point that some are not as prepared in the beginning but soon realize that they can too can set up their businesses correctly they just have to work a little bit harder in order to do so. Either way the end result is that everyone who enters into business needs to realize that there is no quick fix or instant gratification.
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post #20 of Old 02-03-2008, 08:49 PM Thread Starter
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Hello Cat


I get and appreciate your post. It does take a significant amount of both time and money in order to start a business correctly. I especially appreciate anyone who counsels others to do it right from the beginning.
Thanks. My purpose was to share the truth from recent experience. If lurkers learn nothing else, I wanted to refute the claim that with $100 you can start a legitimate business.

I visit several cleaning sites as a lurker. And what I see again and again is people asking the same questions about how "cheap" they can get up and running. There is more to it than buying some cleaning products and posting a few ads. I really want people to understand that.

And in my post I did not even get into the payroll and taxes piece. I won't even go there! LOL!

T, thanks for all your calming words, help, advice, and professionalism. As I stated in the article, I will have to at least temporarily stop visiting boards. Very little time for that now. Next week, I'm meeting for various reasons with my two techs. The Molly Moppings mops are coming and I have to first learn how to use them, then teach the techs. I spoke with Mary (the creator of the mops) and she gave me a ton of helpful advice and tips. The things that can be done with those mops. Wow...even removing dust bunnies.

So.....lots coming up! But I'm soooo excited!

I promise to return in spring or summer with fresh revelations of what I've learned, etc.

Cat

Write the vision and make it plain: http://maidservicecoaching.wordpress.com/

Last edited by Cat; 02-03-2008 at 08:58 PM.
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