If you’re looking for a part-time or full-time income, then starting a cleaning business may be one of the easiest ways to create a self-employed job for yourself. The actual work is not always easy and the customers may be a bit demanding at times, but it’s a very low-cost business idea and, with a little networking and self-promotion, you can get your first paying customers within days. Just about everyone needs a reliable cleaning person for their house, apartment, business, or office — even if they’re not ready to admit it!
How to Start Your Own Cleaning Business
While it is possible to start a cleaning business with no no money, I would personally recommend spending a modest amount of money printing up (and distributing) a supply of business cards and flyers. Both of those marketing materials can be produced pretty cheaply by using a laptop computer and an inexpensive home printer. If you don’t own computer equipment or a printer, perhaps you know a friend, acquaintance, freelancer, or student who can help you out.
Tips on Starting a Cleaning Business
Even though you’ll be self employed, which has its advantages and disadvantages, you’ll still need to be punctual, dependable, and hard working. If you have a good work ethic and get along well with people, then starting a cleaning business might be the perfect solution to unemployment or a tight household budget.
Probably one of the most important things to remember about starting a cleaning business pertains to “word of mouth” advertising. Referrals can be the most effective way to attract new customers and grow your business. That’s why it’s beneficial to both you and your customers to do great work, exceed their expectations, and let them know you’re always looking for ways to do a better job (so they shouldn’t hesitate to make suggestions or requests).
Making sure you fully understand their expectations is an essential first step to providing great service. Periodically asking them if they’re satisfied with your work — or if there’s anything they’d like you to do differently or better — can be a good way of keeping the lines of communication open. If you feel comfortable asking customers if they know anyone else who might also need a reasonably priced house cleaner or office cleaner, then that could help you expand your customer list and build your income.
As a side note: Residential customers often provide house cleaners with cleaning supplies, including mops and vacuum cleaners, but it’s wise to discuss details like that in the very beginning. Sometimes leaving a handwritten note for an established customer about needing a particular cleaning supply can be an effective way to get your supplies replenished. (It’s probably a good policy to keep a few extra supplies in your car, though, just in case!) In our home, the cleaning person we use writes down cleaning supplies on our grocery shopping list, but you might want to get approval from your customers before going ahead and doing that.
Whether you’re thinking starting a house cleaning business, a janitorial service, or an office cleaning business, you can offer different service “packages” and pricing options, depending on the menu of services you want to offer. It’s necessary, of course, to be competitive in your pricing, and to give customers the feeling that they’ve received a lot of value for their dollar.
Business Startup Tips
Call your city or county clerk’s office to find out whether you need any kind of permits or business license. If you’re considering starting a commercial cleaning business, it might be necessary to look into getting insured and bonded. (Those details are beyond the scope of this blog post)
If you need specific advice on how to start your own cleaning business, you can get helpful guidance from websites like SCORE and the U.S.Small Business Administration. It’s also a good idea to get tax planning advice from a CPA or an experienced accountant.
Cleaning Service Business Ideas
In addition to the more obvious types of cleaning businesses to start, there are other options to consider, such as a carpet cleaning business, window cleaning business, rain gutter cleaning, and pressure washing business.
As I mentioned earlier, starting a commercial cleaning business, such as an office cleaning service or janitorial business, can be more involved and complex than starting a housecleaning business — especially if you plan on hiring employees.
When bidding for commercial cleaning accounts, it’s typically necessary to submit a formal proposal, a price quote, and a proposed service contract. One of the easiest ways to prepare a professional proposal for commercial cleaning services is by using proposal writing software that contains the documents and templates you need. For more information, check out this article.*
Note: My area of expertise is in business marketing, public relations, and web content development, so if you need legal, accounting, or business insurance advice, make sure to seek out the help of qualified professionals in your area.
Thanks for taking a look at my thoughts and ideas about starting a cleaning business. Visit my website, Marketing Survival Kit, to get access to step-by-step manuals on starting a house cleaning business, a janitorial service, a commercial cleaning business, and several other self-employment business ideas.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments, especially if they relate to small business marketing strategy, marketing templates, or customer acquisition.
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