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  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-23-2015 05:04 PM
sprintcar93 So you are saying I couldn't be rich with a borrowed bottle of window cleaner, a borrowed bottle of shower cleaner, an old vacuum and some cut up bath towels to clean with? $7 worth of advertisements? And no plan at all? Is that what you're saying?

I'm looking around and I'm pretty sure you would be WRONG!

Don't listen to that person.... it can be done. Although I would suggest atleast having a plan that involves more than what you eat today for supper. That was about my only plan at the time. lol

Technically, today with Craigslist and Facebook you could even save the $7 in advertising.
11-23-2015 04:35 PM
Commercial Cleaning Startup

Cleaning on $50 takes more than dexterity, otherwise its a hobby. Starting a business on a shoestring budget, could lead to collecting money in shoes. If you want to make money you need a plan and more than a few mops and buckets. Set yourself up for success and invest more than just skill but your time, capital, Save at least a $1000 before you get started. Invest in a website many you can start for free. (Wix, Weebly). List your website search engines, print out flyers, rehearse what you will say to people and have confidence. Just a few tips. Hope I've helped.
11-19-2015 04:54 AM

Yeah, you can start a business wven with 50 bucks. It all depends on your dexterity.
11-10-2015 03:14 PM
aqualityassured Sometimes you definitely need to change up your cleaning route. In residential house cleaning you are a little more flexible. Also if you are a one woman/man crew you can change up often to keep it interesting I agree. Commercial Cleaning Services however, is quite different. Even if you have a one man or two man cleaning crew, you will run into problems by not following a strict method of cleaning and then follow up with a quality assurance system to ensure your clients are completely satisfied and you are satisfied that you've done your best and didn't miss anything.

Companies want high quality professional commercial cleaning services and professional residential services. In order to give your best as you grow it is better to establish routine cleaning and quality checks. Now that you have a few accounts under your belt now it time to focus on quality control and unbeatable customer service.

Come up with a system like clean from top to bottom, left to right. Clockwise some buildings counter-clockwise others. Top floor to bottom floor. Clean cleanest surface first then dirty. Avoid cross-contaminating, use color-code microfiber towels. Apply dwell-time to contaminated surfaces and difficult to clean areas. Spray into towel instead on surfaces. These are just a few short tidbits to get you thinking about quality and professionalism when you start out. It sets you up for success as you grow. Great post!
02-26-2015 08:39 AM
igsknox I started barely at 500.00 but trick is to keep money dumped back in, its NEVER easy, late nights, little sleep lots of coffee and TONS of drive and sacrifice are required
02-07-2015 07:29 PM
Starting a biz on 100 bucks don't know....I started my cleaning business on $80. Didn't have rent, didn't have utilities, didn't have car payment, didn't have to buy food. Imagine that....'08....depends on your circumstances hun....depends on how much patience you have. And depends on how you spend that money. Just sayin.
01-13-2015 08:57 AM
Completely disagree

Originally Posted by Cat View Post
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"

I completely disagree! My wife and I started a cleaning business for less than $100 and in a few years it grew to make over $100,000 in yearly income. Yes, it was hard work and it wasn't easy, but we were determined and diligent, and it WORKED!

We started with ONE house, did our job with class and dependability, got in a circle of influence, and were wildly successful! One of the greatest things about the cleaning business is the LOW overhead and start-up costs. Don't let this "Cat" discourage you. It CAN be done!

You can read our story here at: cleansweepbookDOTcom (sorry, I'm not allowed to post links yet)
12-10-2014 10:33 AM
sprintcar93 We rarely got cash Peter. Almost all were checks. My rule was that the check must be on the counter in order for my girls to start cleaning. No check... they walk out and the customer is charged $35 because we couldn't clean. Maybe if you are working as a single cleaner you could go all cash but even still, lots of people hate to always get cash before you come clean. It turns in to a PITA for them. I bet if I had accepted cash my girls would have lost atleast a little every now and then. They couldn't even keep up with their own paycheck sometimes.

Now I do agree that commercial work is different. That is why I never really went after much of it. I don't like waiting on my money. Commercial work could take a lot of working capital. I had an opportunity to bid on the Mutual Of Omaha building. I have no idea how much it would have taken but I can guarantee it took a very large company to fund it.

and that is another great thing about residential work vs commercial work... money today!
12-09-2014 03:51 PM
ammararajpoot007 One of my favorite sayings that I live by is:

"Be flexible or you will always stay bent out of shape."
12-09-2014 11:24 AM
jahra352 I wouldn't think much operating capital would be needed in residential cleaning as payment is usually in cash. It is needed with commercial cleaning as they pay by check and usually not until the full month of cleaning has ended or beyond and you need to pay for labor and supplies before receiving payment.
Peter Weiss
Total Maintenance Services
12-09-2014 09:57 AM
sprintcar93 If I added up what it would cost TODAY to replace the things in my caddie, Not counting the towels and the caddie it would be about $11.35. So let's add in $10 towels and $5 for a caddie. My old caddie was a nice one that cost about $25 but if I started over I could make do with a $5 caddie. $45 for a vacuum... I haven't priced them in a few years but they prolly went up. $15 for a dust mop. $50 for ink for 2500 flyers. So all that equals $136.35 in today's world. Using some things most everyone already has it would be even cheaper.... like a vacuum - $50 =$86.35.

I have actually cleaned 3 houses one day with a bottle of water, a Magic eraser and a few towels..... I forgot the caddie and was not going back after it. We tripple checked everything that day and it was just as clean as if we had our regular supplies. Did you know water is FREE and all natural? It cleans really well and leaves no residue.

If I needed to start a cleaning business again I wouldn't be worried about giving the city/county/government my money until I was making money so like when I originally started.... I would screw them until I got my stuff going.

Operating capital.... I guess I'm a freaking genius because when I first started I needed $3 for gas to get there and that was about it. So I'm still not sure what the big deal about that is. $3 was my operating capital. And if the first of the month was coming up I had better get my (*) out there and hussle some business in order to have rent money. I guess motivation was my capital. lol If I didn't have motivation I didn't eat or have a place to stay.

For those that are trying to start a cleaning business without doing any of the work, they need capital... and lots of it.

Now let's fast forward to today... it all worked out great and I could cash flow almost any kind of business I wanted. So my buddy and I decided to go in to the appliance business. I told him I had $185 in my pocket and he thought I was crazy. lol We bought a washer and dryer within 15 minutes for $125, flipped it for $297. We've made a lot of money from that $125 investment. we've since bought $300 in tools and that has been the total investment. I will say that we both already had all the structure of a legal business in place so that cost us nothing.

Now on the other hand... when I started a pool chemical business with a friend it cost $37,000 up front. But still, it required $0 operating capital. I bought the chemical from Alibaba, they sold it and that's how simple it was.

I'm lost on all these operating costs. I'm thinking THAT is what kills businesses. These un-needed 'operating' costs... along with no plan and no back-up plan in case plan A doesn't work.

Sure there are tons of businesses that start out with employees and need money to operate.... but cleaning isn't one of them.
12-09-2014 09:00 AM
Originally Posted by PressurePros View Post
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.
Could not agree more. Cleaning industry is a cut-throat level of competition. Without enough money, you won't have proper tools and with that you are probably done for before you even started. Being undercapitalized plus the lack of plan won't just kill a business, it could also cripple your personal finances and I've seen people get depressed after one failed try.
12-09-2014 05:23 AM
NewCleaningBusiness Yep, as I am right now I am only spending around $127 on ACTUAL supplies (not including my bike/trailer, but that's only because I'm separated from my wife and she has the car, but I'm talking her into working with me so that should take care of itself).

$43 on 600 flyers (self printed at around .07 cents a copy because I have my colored picture at the bottom).

The rest will be on cleaning supplies.

And I don't need to pay for my business license for 2 weeks after I actually start business (and I can probably stretch that a bit).

I'm hoping to secure around 10 jobs over the next 7 days as my goal, both from my flyers and personal contacts.

- Mike
12-01-2014 06:56 AM
Originally Posted by sprintcar93 View Post
Well.... if you want to get real about it.... most people aren't worried about being legal at first. So... they will use their vacuum they have at home and probably use the cleaners they have at home. And if they are lucky they could get 1 job from Craigslist or from a referral even though Craigslist will pay peanuts so realistically a house cleaning business can be started for $0 out of pocket.
Sounds like me right now. However I am buying a cheap bike for $50 and a bike trailer to haul my supplies for another $50.

Trying now to research the best place for flyers. Staples perhaps...

- Michael
12-02-2012 09:41 PM
Cleaning by N & J I must say that there are tons of multibillion dollar businesses that had very little money to start and seem to be doing just fine. Honestly I started my business on a complete whim and have put maybe $400 into it and I am profiting quite well. I have my business license, insurance, tax license and am a legitimate business. The license cost $25, insurance was $150 to start the policy, and the tax license was free so anyone saying otherwise is simply flaunting their initial investment to make others feel inferior. Not a flattering way to compete with others.
11-30-2012 03:32 PM
stevenf I started with 500.00 in supplys and equipment. One month in and my monthly gross income is 400.00-500.00.
Starting the business for 100.00 was extremely possible, I just opted to get my equipment purchase out of the way at the beginning.
11-16-2012 05:06 PM
Originally Posted by Cat View Post
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.
Well, Cat, correct me if i'm wrong, but it sounds like you are coming from the standpoint of: "I had to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get my business up and running so that means everyone else has to also or their business is not legitimate."

As others have said, throwing money at a problem doesn't make it go away and invalidating others' business practices doesn't make yours that much more valid.. just sayin!
11-16-2012 05:02 PM
Originally Posted by Cat View Post
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.
Legitimacy is in the eye of the beholder. If I contract someone to make a logo for me and they do it for a fair wage and produce good work, does the fact that they don't have a bachelors degree in graphic design make them any less legitimate? The only thing that counts towards "legitimacy" in my opinion is a business license. Insurance is an OPTION just like the hundreds of customers I served before I had any business insurance chose the OPTION of employing me or not. I still had my business license and paid my taxes. No one has any business (pun) doing business without a license because that means they are not being taxed and as we can see with the current state of our government when people don't pay their fair share or avoid taxes everyone suffers.

I realize this is just your opinion, cat, and you are trying to be helpful and informative. For others reading posts, learn what is fact and opinion on your own. If I or anyone say anything; fact check it. Republican's don't believe in it but I sure do

*braces for impact from incoming mud slinging from aforementioned republicans* lol
11-16-2012 04:51 PM
gachogavacho Cat,
I disagree with about half of what you said, respectfully so.

Lie #1 - You can start a cleaning business for $100
I could have started our cleaning business with just a few hundred dollars but I spent thousands and mostly on the down payment for the stable and reliable vehicle that I purchased.

A floor vacuum on Amazon is only $80. A used upright can be had for about the same. Sponges, bottles, brushes gloves, pumice stones and razor blades can be had for about $40.

Originally Posted by Cat View Post
Lie #2 - Starting a cleaning business is "easy"

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?
Starting a cleaning business is easy. Starting a GOOD and REPUTABLE service is more challenging. I will say that being a business owner is not easy and is not for everyone. I happen to be resourceful and know how to do SEO marketing, design web sites and a number of other marketing advantages which cust my costs dramatically.

Originally Posted by Cat View Post
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?
HEY! My business name is Little Piggies Green Cleaning . However, I disagree that you need 6-12 months to plan a cleaning business. Someone who is unemployed and has all the time in the world can spend countless hours within a few weeks and gain sufficient knowledge. Reading helps, yes, but everyone knows you don't' really learn until you get your hands dirty. Then the real education starts.

Originally Posted by Cat View Post
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.
My recommendation is spend the first WEEK reading up online. It's virtually free.
Read books on starting a business and being an entrepreneur is essential, I agree completely. Unless one has already done so. The cleaning business I have is my second entrepreneurial venture. I used to own a Coffee shop which failed because I didn't do my due diligence, I was young and the woman I bought it from was completely dishonest with me and I hope she get's rectal cancer for what she did because it pushed me towards bankruptcy.
Go online to and meet with a mentor, it's free. They have seasoned business owners you can get advice from. Don't pay to meet with someone who will give you advice you can get for free. Once you get up and running you can build your network of agents and councilmen (and women) as part of your "team".

Oh and read all of Robert Kiyosaki's books: Rich dad, poor dad. The cash flow quadrant. Building business teams and any of the others will align your thinking with that of a business owner and remove the programming you have inherited from your years in a public school, teaching you to be an employee and someones' beeotch forever.

UNLESS YOU OWN PROPERTY AND ASSENTS YOU NEED TO PROTECT YOU DO NOT NEED TO INCORPORATE. Corporations are made to limit your risk. If you invest 5k and loose everything then you cannot be sued for more than the corporation is worth like someone taking your house away (if done properly, read abc's of owning your own corporation). Unless you have significant funds you are investing don't waste your time in money with this while you could be spending on marketing your business and improving it. Here in California. If you file articles of incorporation on Monday and then decide it was a mistake and dissolve your corporation on Tuesday, you now owe the state of California $800 weather you made 50,000 or lost 2 million in that 24 hour period. I find it obscene. Other states charge between $100-$200.

Having a plan and sticking to it is essential, I agree on that point as well.

I will say there is a distinct difference in being a "business owner" and being "self employed" which the above books I recommend outline the difference.
As of two weeks ago, I stepped away from going to customer appointments to focus on full time sales and marketing of my cleaning service. I have two team leaders who go to appointments now without me while I stay at home and act as their support. When I was going to the appointments I can say I was a "self employed" individual, meaning if I didn't go to work I didn't make money. Much like a gardener or a plumber. Now, I will be in Seattle visiting my family next week for 7 days during thanksgiving. My employees will be going to appointments and I"m still making money. That is being a business owner. A system that runs it's self with minimal effort by it's owner.

So on your point, cat, about needing 6-10k to start. Yes, if you want to own a cleaning "business" you are correct. I would say have even more cash: like 10-15k if you are going to incorporate, hire employees and get vehicles, branding, marketing and insurance, etc. But someone going the route of being self employed and migrating to business owner when the time is right (after 3.5 years in my case) then no, you do not need that kind of start-up money. I could have done it with half of the money I spent on startup if it weren't for the vehicle I bought.

Where does the initial money go?

a. Liability insurance
b. Workmans' comp insurance
c. Bonding insurance
Again, business owner or self employed? When I started I told customers flat out: we don't have insurance. I would say that bonding is also a waste of money because the burden is on the (customer) to prove that their 10k diamond rink was stolen and by whom. Unless there is a video the likeliness of getting a paid claim is slim. I'm articulate and confident and that rings true to my customers. Bonding is a marketing expense and part of trust building.

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.
Cat! I have to say that your use of the word "scab" is very offensive. Be nice! I worked very hard for the first year learning about my industry and getting insurances when i could afford them. Again, if you have no assets to protect (house, etc) why spend money on costly insurance that you don't yet need. I was riddled in debt because of the financial meltdown of 2008 when I started my business. If something happened and they wanted to sue me, it would be like squeezing blood from a rock. You can't garnish self employment either . My choice was: start a business without certain insurances and get it off the ground. Or say, "I can't afford it" and sit on my hands while face being homeless (true story).

d. Marketing plan (this is your advertising campaign) - not cheap!
*** Note that the marketing plan is 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 so over a period of time)
f. Equipment (buy over a period of time)
This is pretty accurate in my experience.

g. Website - A decent one will cost money and you must have one b/c your customers will want to visit having one brings potential clients to you.
The younger generation is more savvy on these things, like myself, and I've had the advantage of knowing simple website design. With advantages like Wordpress and other free resources one can have a decent website up and running in a few days with less than $100 bucks. My website cost me about $10 bucks a month and I used their website design templates. Our site looks cute, functional and their coding is great for SEO. I also know countless graphic designers and my partner happens to be one. you can get a logo made from close to nothing. Google: "freelance" and you can find countless websites with people you can employ for a fair wage. that or craigslist

It goes on an on and on....

h. You'll have to determine how to find employees (avoid Craig's List).
I found two great employees from craig's list so I totally disagree with this statement. Craig's list is a great resource for ANYTHING. I have bought and sold vehicles here, I found an excellent apartment at very cheap rental price. an Employment ad is cheap and effective. You need to provide hurdles in an add for employment so that way you can gauge which employees to screen first. For Example: I put a link to a form for an employment application and on the form it has two options to upload a photo and upload a resume. I said employees who submit a photo and a resume get priority scheduling for interviews. The potentials that did not follow these instructions were put into the "lame" pile immediately and given consideration only after looking at the applications that followed directions. This weeds out people who are just spaming replys to any job they can get, also it shows who can follow directions and who really wants a job.

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....
All of the above is important to consider.
10-10-2012 11:21 AM
detailscleaning ^ Hows it going Jeff?! This is so weird that I ran into you here.
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