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How to start a cleaning business from scratch

Julianne Leybag
13 April 2018 4 minute readShare
cleaning supply gloves brush soap business how to start a cleaning business from scratch

The cleaning and housekeeping industry is one of the most attractive ventures for potential business owners, but is it possible to make a dent in this industry without having to shell out a significant amount of capital? My Business explores how business owners can start a cleaning business from scratch.

Starting a cleaning business company usually does not involve a large sum of capital. Business owners can choose to focus on the two primary market niches of the cleaning industry: commercial and consumer areas.

The commercial cleaning niche is mostly composed of janitorial services and carpet and window cleaning services. These kinds of cleaning services are employed by businesses and industrial buildings. Commercial cleaning businesses also provide a wider range of services as compared to those in the consumer cleaning industry.

The consumer cleaning niche, on the other hand, consists of residential maid cleaning services, carpet cleaning services and window cleaning services. These kinds of businesses also offer other periodical cleaning services such as laundry/dry cleaning.

Business owners who want to start a cleaning business from scratch must consider the following pointers:

  • Identify the target market and delve into the business’ basics
  • Select preferred cleaning business type
  • Devise a business plan
  • Legitimise the business
  • Create a business marketing strategy
  • Map out payment plans and rates

Identify the target market and delve into the business’ basics

Business owners should identify their target market and learn all the necessary know-how before starting their cleaning business. They should also decide whether to focus on consumer or commercial cleaning services.

The commercial cleaning industry requires a lot of industrial-grade cleaning equipment as well as a whole cleaning services team. This means that business owners who want to set up shop in the commercial cleaning industry will have to shell out a significant amount of capital.

The consumer cleaning industry, on the other hand,  does not necessarily need industrial equipment—business owners can actually start out without needing large capital.

Other considerations that may affect the cleaning business are its location and pricing for its services rendered. The target market and the location goes hand-in-hand with the chosen niche of the business owners, with the commercial cleaning industry focusing on large businesses and high-rise buildings and the consumer cleaning industry on homes and residential places.

Select the preferred business type

After choosing their preferred niche, business owners must now select the type of cleaning business that they want to set up and the cleaning services they want to offer.

Some cleaning services that business owners can start with includes:

  • residential and house cleaning,
  • commercial cleaning,
  • office cleaning
  • commercial kitchen cleaning,
  • window cleaning,
  • outdoor cleaning,
  • pool cleaning,
  • gutter cleaning and
  • laundry/dry cleaning services.

Business owners can opt to combine any of these services as part of their business package.

Devise a business plan

Creating a business plan is a must if business owners want their business to succeed and keep it from going bankrupt.

For starters, a one-page plan containing the business objectives, strategies and execution and corresponding tasks to staff and deadlines is enough for a fledgling cleaning business. Ideally, the business plan should also contain the planned rates for the business and the inclusion of what constitutes the cleaning packages offered.

Business owners should also make sure that employees are well-compensated in according to workplace laws, in order to avoid any future mishaps.

Learn more about the effects of violating workplace laws here.

Once the business goes and up and running and eventually starts sustaining itself, an additional business plan containing strategies on how to acquire investors and fund generation can be made.

Legitimise the business

Business owners should secure all necessary business permits and documentation in order to avoid any possible future legal trouble. These usually include a license to operate business, fire safety permit, environmental permits and sales tax certificates. Business owners are also encouraged to secure an insurance policy for their cleaning business.

Securing these permits might be tedious and could cost a lot of time and effort, but business owners should keep in mind that these permits will help authenticate the business. This may also help the business have and maintain a loyal customer base in the future.

Create a business marketing strategy

Having a solid marketing strategy is important if business owners want their cleaning business to survive and be patronised by their target audience. For new businesses, business owners are advised to start out by way of flyers, brochures and housekeeping business cards in order to spark awareness among their chosen audience.

Creating a social media page for the business is also a good way for the business to market their services while maintaining accessibility for their customers.

A market analysis is also necessary for business owners to determine the needs of their audience and how they will be able to effectively market the business itself.

Keep in mind, however, that in the cleaning industry, the best marketing strategies are referrals and word-of-mouth. Having and providing high-quality services is a sure way for the business to gather a loyal audience base and high percentages of referrals.

Map out payment plans and rates

The pricing for cleaning services is a bit tricky since business owners have to make sure that their rates are competitive enough while compensating for the service quality and attractive enough for potential customers while still making sure that the business itself and the staff are paid enough to keep the service running.

Learn more about the repercussions of failing to properly pay employees here.

How can one promote their newly-established cleaning business by way of promo rates, discounts and packages in order to attract potential customers?

Make sure that the rates are reasonable and enough to cover all business expenses. It will also be good for the business if payment plans are flexible and customers will have the option to pay on a monthly, weekly or hourly basis. Setting up a bank account for the business is also important for businesses who are still starting out in the cleaning industry.

As the business grows, hiring and training additional staff can push the business to charge higher rates. In such cases, it is important to maintain the quality of the service so that customers are assured that they get their money’s worth.

Business owners should consider consulting a professional when it comes to payment plans and rates and other kinds of legal or financial assistance.

How to start a cleaning business from scratch
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Julianne Leybag

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