How to Start a Cleaning Business
- What is a cleaning business and why is it worth your while?
- 5 steps to get you started
- Starting capital
- 3 marketing tools for growing your business
Looking for a smart business idea? Consider starting a cleaning business. Cleaning services are always in demand. Plus, this type of business is associated with low costs. Pick a niche, create a consistent client base, build a good reputation, and promote your services. In this article, we’ll address every aspect of launching a successful cleaning business.
What is a cleaning business and why is it worth your while?
Cleaning businesses comes in two main types: residential (houses, apartments) and commercial (offices, manufacturing premises). For a newcomer, entering a commercial cleaning market is a tricky task. Firstly, because it’s dominated by big cleaning companies. Secondly, because you’ll have to hire additional personnel and purchase costly professional equipment. In this article, we’ll focus on residential cleaning which is considered a more accessible option for beginning entrepreneurs.
Let’s start with 5 reasons why you should consider starting your own cleaning business:
- Consistent demand. Living in clean apartment or house has always been and will continue to be one of the basic needs of a modern-day person. If you’re a cleaner, there will always be a job for you!
- Small starting capital. To get started, you’ll only need cleaning products and a few pieces of equipment.
- Simple business model. Since you’ll be providing a service, you won’t have to deal with a long production and realization chain.
- No rent. Forget about the sky-high costs of renting an office. It’s you who’ll be coming to your clients, not vice versa.
- Flexibility. You can work full-time or combine cleaning with your main business. Also, you can choose to work alone or put together a team.
5 steps to get you started
1. Pick a niche
Cleaning market is characterized by a tough competition. How do you attract clients and convince them to stay with you? Start with putting together a unique selling proposition. This will help you set your business apart from rivals.
- Take a close look at other cleaning businesses within your niche. What types of services do they provide? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
- Think about what types of services you’re willing to provide. Will you specialize in washing carpets? Eliminating tough stains? Removing snow from rooftops? The options are many. Pick the one where you can showcase your best expertise.
- Come up with a unique selling proposition that reflects your values and specialization. Your USP must reflect your signature feature. Are you an expert in removing complex stains? Do you only use eco-friendly cleaning products? Are always on time like a Swiss watch?
2. Consider the geography of your business
Remember that you’ll be moving around a lot. Pick an area where you’ll be providing your services:
- Make sure enough of your potential clients live in your selected area.
- Calculate how much time you’ll spend moving between your clients houses/apartments. To minimize your commuting times, pick densely populated districts.
- Find out how many cleaning business are already working in your selected area. Do they have enough clients? What types of services do they fail to provide?
3. Plan your logistics
Pick the optimal way of reaching your clients. It can be public transportation or car. If you’re doing residential cleaning, a car is the best option for transporting small-size equipment and cleaning products. If, however, you’re using large pieces of equipment, you’ll probably need a small truck.
4. Build a team
Depending on your budget and scale, you have three options. You can work on your own, hire 1-2 employees or put together a big team. When it comes to residential cleaning, most cleaners start out on their own and then, as their business grows, expand their team.
5. Plan your expendables
Think about what cleaning supplies, tools and equipment you’re going to need. Make a rough estimate of your original investments. Find out more in the next chapter.
How much money you’ll need to get started depends on your local market and types of services you’ll be providing:
- Make a list of expendable materials you’re going to need. Do your clients insist on you on using their cleaning products or do you need to bring your own supplies? Keep in mind that some clients are very meticulous about what kind of products you’re using. Make sure your products are safe for people with allergies. Using organic products is the best way to go.
- Think about how you can save money. For example, you can buy cleaning supplies wholesale at affordable prices.
- If you specialize in complex types of cleaning (e.g., carpet cleaning), you’ll have to buy costly equipment.
Here are a few tips for outlining your pricing policy.
- Your task is to find the optimal price that will be neither too low, nor too high. Find out how much your competitors are asking for their services and use that number as a guide. Once your business grows and you build a solid reputation, you can start increasing your rate.
- Choose the suitable pricing model (rate per hour, price per 1 sq. meter, fixed price, etc.).
- Be sure to incorporate all types of expenses (payroll, transportation, expendables, etc.) into your rate/price.
3 marketing tools for growing your business
Word of mouth is your best tool for acquiring new clients. If a person is satisfied with your service, they’re sure to recommend you to their friends, family and colleagues.
To launch the word of mouth train, start with your inner circle. Do cleaning for your friends, relatives, neighbors, and other acquaintances. Make sure you do your work flawlessly and ask them to recommend you to everyone they know.
- Customize your services. Ask your clients about their expectations and try to tailor your services to their needs. While for some clients, it’s crucial that you remove pet hair from furniture, other people are obsessed with a perfectly systemized wardrobe.
- Although important, cleaning is not the only aspect of your job. Be sure to communicate and bond with your clients. Being friendly and polite is a surefire way to build a strong client base.
- Come up with a loyalty program. For example, you can provide a discount or bonus service to those of your existing clients that have brought in new clients.
2. Brand identity
If your ambition to is to grow a prosperous business, you need to start with gaining a good reputation. Reputations is made of multiple things that have to do with both visual representation of your business and your behavior.
- Business name and logo. Brand identity is something no modern company can do without. Your business name must reflect your industry and convey your values. Your logo must visualize your goals, advantages, and mission. Use an online logo maker (e.g., Logaster) to create a neat logo in no time. To promote and advance your business, place your logo and contacts on your employee uniform, car, bills, and other surfaces.
- Appearance. Your team must look neat and presentable. If you don’t have the budget to make branded uniform for your employees, don’t worry. The main thing is that all of them are dressed in a similar way (e.g., dark trousers and yellow T-shirts). Also, keep your equipment, tools, and transportation vehicles clean and functional.
- Reputation. Make punctuality, honesty, and diligence your trademark qualities. People value that no less than good cleaning. By being polite and transparent, you’ll be able to boost your image and acquire more loyal clients.
Depending on your target audience, you can use online or offline promotion methods. The best way, however, to combine these techniques for the maximum effect.
- For a business, social media remain the main tool for free online promotion. Create accounts with the platforms which are popular among your clients. This can be Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other socials. Brand your accounts by using your logo as a profile picture, adding your corporate pattern to your header image, etc. Publish engaging content, ask your followers to share their experience and testimonials, and answer questions from your audience. If used wisely, social media can give a major boost to your cleaning business!
- If you can afford it, launch online ads to get a bigger outreach. Depending on your niche and target audience, you can benefit from context, targeted, banner, and other types of online advertising.
- Don’t discard traditional advertising. It’s still an effective way of making a statement and drawing attention to your business. Place ad banners in your neighborhood, give out your business cards at your industry-related events, drop flyers into mail boxes, etc.