Cleaning is something that must be done regularly, in order to have a clean place to live, eat, frequent or work. However, not everyone enjoys cleaning, some have health issues that prevent them from doing so, etc. Also, office buildings have special cleaning needs that an average employee might not know how to meet. This is where a cleaning business comes in handy.
If you enjoy cleaning and want to be your own boss, a cleaning business might be the answer. There are several options for cleaning services, so with some research and a relatively small cash outlay, you could be the owner of a successful business, providing a much needed service.
Residential or Commercial?
Do you want to clean homes or offices? Cleaning houses and apartments falls under residential cleaning services, while cleaning offices and retail outlets are commercial cleaning services. Decide which you prefer and tailor your business planning toward that area. Which one you choose is up to you, though commercial cleaning usually has a set schedule (usually in the wee hours), while residential cleaning schedules can vary.
Write a Business Plan
You might think that a business plan for such a simple business idea is not necessary. Not true. A business plan is a helpful tool for several reasons. First, if you ever plan to seek outside financing for the business (vehicles, cleaning equipment and supplies, a building for the business), you’ll need to submit the plan with your loan application.
Second, the plan is exactly what its name implies, it’s a plan for your business. Gathering all the information you need to write your plan will help you formulate the type of business you want, the kinds of clients with whom you want to conduct business, and how much you need to earn to make a living. You can write the plan from scratch or purchase software that will walk you through the process.
Are you planning to run your business as a sole proprietorship or an LLC? Are you a lone owner or will you have a partner? How much financial responsibility are you willing to take on? You’ll need to answer these questions and plan accordingly. For example, if you are going to be a sole proprietor, how much insurance are you going to carry to protect yourself in the event of damages or a lawsuit?
You’ll need such protections if you opt to become an LLC, but your personal assets are not at risk as an LLC, so not as much coverage is necessary. Speak with an attorney to go over all your options and then choose the business structure that’s the best fit. You’ll also want to investigate becoming bonded. It’s a safeguard for you, and customers feel safer hiring a company that’s bonded.
Knowing how much to charge is trial and error. Check with competitors in your area to see how much they’re charging. In a more affluent area, you can charge more for residential services than in middle-class neighborhoods. Also, larger commercial properties generally pay more than smaller properties, though this isn’t always the case. For example, a small law firm in a refurbished Victorian house might pay more than the modern commercial office space because there is more detail and clients are more apt to notice the cleanliness of the office. Make a list of what other cleaning services charge and what businesses and customers are willing to pay.
Marketing Materials and Picking a Name
A lot of cleaning businesses try to be clever with their business name. You can go that route, but there’s nothing wrong with using your last name plus cleaning service either. Once you have a name, you’ll need to prepare your marketing materials. If you want a logo, design one or hire a designer to do it for you. Place your name and logo on business cards, letterhead, and your social media pages. Once you’ve landed your first gigs, do a great job and look forward to the positive feedback, a great payday, and more work.