starting a house cleaning business soon--have some general questions - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
 
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post #1 of Old 12-30-2012, 09:03 AM Thread Starter
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starting a house cleaning business soon--have some general questions

I plan on starting a house cleaning business in the next several months and have been trying to do alot of research. Anyone that would want to chime in with some advice I would really appreciate it.

I currently am working a part-time job and running another business so I am probably going to have to start working in this business from more of a administrative position handling the scheduling, marketing, day to day operations tasks, etc.

A few of my questions are as follows.

1. Should I use one cleaner for a house and charge less. Or use two cleaners for a house a charge more. My goals for this business is to have low prices and a more volume of clients. I think it would make more sense for me to have one person do a house and charge less given my current goals. I was thinking of having one person clean the house for say 2 hours or so and charging around 60 dollars and giving the cleaner 12.50 an hour. Or another option is having two people clean a house for say 90 dollars for two hours and me giving them about 11 an hour each. And obviously each house might not take two hours and maybe 3 or more or even less than 2 hours for some, but I was just using that as an example.

I just think that I might be able to get more clients going to with lower rate and that one cleaner still gets paid about the same amount. But I also want to have an enjoyable work environment for the cleaners and maybe having them work in teams would be better for them so they don't feel so independent. Any advice on this subject and question would be greatly appreciated.

2. My other business is in the marketing industry and I like dealing with flat numbers and flat prices on things (like a 79.99 to clean the whole house etc) but it seems that this is not a good idea to go with for the cleaning industry because of the various sizes of houses and how clean or dirty a house might be. When marketing your business, what are some things you have used to help attract new clients in the beginning and as you started to expand. Maybe some things like 50% off first time cleaning, 25 dollars of whole house special, 30 dollars off first three cleanings, 70 dollars house cleaning special, etc. I know I can design some great ads and I more than likely will try a few different offers to see what might be good for my market, I am just trying to see if you have some discounts or offers or good words maybe to put in ads that helped you in the past.

3. Cleaning supplies. Where are some good places to get them and what should I use. I saw a thread awhile back here about a tornado mop for about 15 dollars and I saw a thread about how to make a sink nice a shiny, and I definitely will be doing my research on virtually everything. But what are some good things that you use to help clean the house and leave a great smell in the house. Also, do you prefer to use the customer's homes vacuum or yours. I talked with a family member the other day and he mentioned that he would not want a housecleaner coming into his house with a vacumm (with dirt/dust/etc) that was just used in someone else's house. Do you just leave the option open to the customer and saying we have are own cleaning supplies and if you prefer to use your own that is ok to.

4. For employees, what should I be looking for. Especially when it comes to insurance stuff and making sure I am running a good operation and won't get faulted for hiring someone with not a good background and potentially getting sued if thats possible. I see most job ads for cleaners have criminal background checks. What is acceptable for this industry. I am sure a driving violation might be acceptable, but what about a small misdeameanor drug possession or something else. Not really sure here.

5. I probably have a few more questions but those two are are some big for me for now. I think I have a good understanding of where to get my insurance and bonding from and will be making any of the employees w2/w4 and me paying for unemplyoment insurance/workers compensation etc. so I think I am ok as far as the structure and proper ways to go about it, I am just looking for some general advice that could help me be successful. Thank you.
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post #2 of Old 01-10-2013, 01:47 PM
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Hi, I can give you some advise. I'm the owner of cleaning business and can answer some of your questions. In my profile you will fined company name and phone number on my webpage. Call me. my name is Val.
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post #3 of Old 02-10-2013, 06:35 PM
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Same questions

I have the same questions pretty much. In my case I want to start a post construction lean up business. This is better for me, as I wouldn't want to clean or move furniture.
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post #4 of Old 02-12-2013, 03:01 PM
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Have you worked as a cleaning technician/maid before? If not, I highly recommend you upholding such position for a minimum of 6 months to truly understand what it takes to be a maid. This is the only way you'll be able to relate with your employees.

Cleaning a house is a lot more technical then most people thing, you can do a heck of a lot of "wrongs" , some of which will cost you THOUSANDS. ....however, if you are extremely good at managing your business and you have kick butt cleaning crews, you can make loads of $$$$$.

Treat your employees and clients like GOLD.... cleaning companies sometimes do not appreciate their employees enough and in return, cleaning service suffers. It's been my experience that Turn Over is extremely high in this industry and when you hire a star employee, you will want to hold on to that person!
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post #5 of Old 02-18-2013, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the replies.

I have not worked for a house cleaning company before but I plan to fill in when necessary if some of my employees have sick days or need time for family emergency's etc.

About the kick butt cleaning crews, that is something that I am hoping I will have. I guess time will tell and the level of good feedback I get from the owners of the homes will a good basis to see how everything is going.

Following up on some of the questions I posted in my first thread, I am leaning more towards going with teams of 2 cleaners vs just one having one cleaner at a job. I think having teams of two would be much more enjoyable and not feel so independent or isolated working experience. And it might help save on gas working on teams of two. I do not plan on paying for gas/mileage etc, just maybe a flat rate of 12.50 a hour or maybe more and hoping this will attract and retain good employees. I have also saw in various job postings people have on CL, that alot of house cleaning companies seem to have team leaders which they pay a little more and team members which they pay a little less. If anyone could provide more information on how that structure operates and if it is a good idea that would be great.

A few questions that I still need some help with are. What do you do with the key to the homes situation. I do not have an office with a lockbox in it or have retail location with some of the cleaners could drop off a key to a customers house and pick it up etc. I preferably would not like to be responsible for us having there key at all. And would rather have them leave it under the doormat or somewhere close to the front door or be there to let us in. I guess I could have the cleaner keep the key with them if the owner of the house made one for us, but what if they lose it etc. How do you guys approach this situation, especially for a small start-up company that does not have alot of resources like an company office?

Another question I have is for those of you that have other house cleaners working with your company who have a small operation like I am starting out with, and do not have an office where people can come get supplies, what do you do with your supplies and seeing who gets what. If I buy a nice vacuum, mop bucket, towels, various cleaning bottles and give it to someone to keep at their house to go do jobs with, whatís to say they donít like working for our company one day and try to keep the stuff. Should I have a form they sign saying they what they are receiving and that they are accountable for it etc. I am not sure how to approach this situation. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for any help and general advice you could give me.
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post #6 of Old 02-19-2013, 05:08 PM
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You need to be knowledgable

Ok, since you don't plan on being in the field to have hands on experience cleaning for residential homes, then I highly recommend educating yourself as much as possible in regards to chemicals (dos and donts) as you will definitely have maids come to you for questions/help. The more you know the better, but if you can't answer a question, have at least several people that you can pull from to get a quick answer. Again, you don't want your maids to cost you thousands of dollars because they weren't trained properly. I've seen several maid services die due to lack of knowledge and quite frankly, being run by a person that had no prior experience in the residential maid cleaning service. Profit margins aren't high in this industry (5 to 20%) so you could easily eat up your profit on poor management.

Secondly, DO NOT allow maids to hold on to the keys of your customers' homes. You cannot trust no one!! I'm serious!! There's many horror stories of customer's homes being broken into by not necessarily the maids but their boyfriends/friends/family, etc. Ultimately, it is YOUR responsibility not theirs.

As for pay, some companies do a percentage of what the customer is billed (example: 40%) and some pay hourly. If you opt for the hourly, I would start as low as $8.00 per hour for the training period and go from there. As for Team Leaders, generally they make a little bit more but it's good to also give them quality control incentives...the better the team the better the bonus, pay rate, etc. You have to give them something to make them strive to be a STAR TEAM!

You'll will you provide the cleaning products to your maids or will they use their own? MSDS sheets are require for EVERY product and need to be in the vehicle with the maids at all times. If they use their own products, they need MSDS sheets on those as well.

You'll also want to do Inspections, some planned and some surprises.

Also, you will need to keep inventory/control of the amount of products given to your employees, it will give you a good idea if they are using too little, too much or just stealing from you!

As for teams, I would say you can do both...some like to work by themselves and some prefer teams. There's pros and cons to both.

I still highly recommend for you to be in the field hands-on! You'll be better boss because of it, it'll be beneficial in many ways, especially for estimates, etc.

Do you have a mission statement on hand, do you have an employee handbook, estimate sheet, etc.

Sounds like you are doing a lot of planning which is GREAT!!

I'm a self-employed cleaning lady and working on my own with NO employees as of yet. I will NOT hire anyone for another year as I'm planning on doing a lot of planning/organizing/learning before I expand and hire.

I plan on personally training each of my employees for a minimum of 6 weeks before they go off on their own...which means, I'll be in the field hands-on for a very long time and I'm OK with that.


Jeazzzzz...I could go on and on .... LOL
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post #7 of Old 02-21-2013, 12:51 PM
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If you are just starting the cleaning business, it depends on how much capital you have to spend. At first, I would recommend being your own employee. Began cleaning the houses yourself so you know what to expect from employees you are looking to hire.

Cleaning supplies need to be bought at like a waxie or clean mart place that give way better discounts to companies. Especially if you continually use them for your product buys.

Good luck!
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post #8 of Old 02-22-2013, 04:34 PM
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Consultants

I would recommend hiring a consultant.

Statistics show there is a large failure rate with first time businesses. If you have good training, you improve your chances a great deal. You can learn by trial and error, but sometimes that can be a very costly way to do things.

There are a number of sites that specialize in providing information to people starting a house cleaning business. Just search for "start house cleaning business" in Google.

Good luck!
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post #9 of Old 05-01-2013, 08:01 PM
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Consultants can be expensive for beginning out.
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post #10 of Old 05-05-2013, 01:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfingram View Post
Have you worked as a cleaning technician/maid before? If not, I highly recommend you upholding such position for a minimum of 6 months to truly understand what it takes to be a maid. This is the only way you'll be able to relate with your employees.

Cleaning a house is a lot more technical then most people thing, you can do a heck of a lot of "wrongs" , some of which will cost you THOUSANDS. ....however, if you are extremely good at managing your business and you have kick butt cleaning crews, you can make loads of $$$$$.

Treat your employees and clients like GOLD.... cleaning companies sometimes do not appreciate their employees enough and in return, cleaning service suffers. It's been my experience that Turn Over is extremely high in this industry and when you hire a star employee, you will want to hold on to that person!
What business do you run cf? Have an email I can contact you at?
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post #11 of Old 05-17-2013, 04:26 PM
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I would practice cleaning residential properties as you will find a professional clean will usually take a lot more than 3 hours and stick to cleaning houses in teams, as this is most efficient. Take a look at what to include in an end of tenancy clean, Preston to give you an insight in to what is involved.

Cleaners in Preston
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post #12 of Old 07-18-2013, 01:57 PM
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On #3 - I would say it would depend on your value proposition. We like to use as many green, homemade products as we can, but then again that is our business model. Quality and pricing are other important factors we always take into account. We want to have low expenses while delivering the best possible quality!
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