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How to Start a Cleaning Business

The cleaning service industry is ripe with business opportunities.

Jobs range from residential cleaning in private homes to commercial cleaning in large offices and industrial spaces. The bar for entry is low, and you can either begin on your own or work with a company.

Starting a cleaning business comes with many advantages, including low startup costs to high demand. Cleaning can create a profitable business.

Here we’ll lay out how to start a cleaning business in just five simple steps.

5 Steps to start a cleaning business

Step 1: Create a business plan

A business plan is your fundamental strategy for building your cleaning service business – from financial planning to legal coverage.

Creating an effective business plan for a cleaning company can actually be simpler than you might think.

Find your niche

The first thing you’ll need for your business plan is a niche.

There are many specialties in the cleaning industry that you can hone, ranging from floors, furniture cleaning and house cleaning to laundry and carpet cleaning.

To help you choose a niche for your cleaning company, first consider your abilities and the tools required. Determine what services your skills best suit or which gap in the market you could fill.

Finding the right niche will help you focus your cleaning business and make it stand out. This will help you narrow down your competitors and hopefully direct more traffic to your business.

It can also help you establish your budget, pricing scheme, and the equipment you’ll be using for your business.

Research the niches available, and find out what you can do to grow the business into one.

Research your target market

Next, research your target market to discover what opportunities and competition you face.

This is also essential to help you determine what services people need and how much they pay for them.

One simple way to research potential customers is to work out the types of homes and businesses there are in your area. Study the types of buildings and the income level of the individuals.

How many people will you need? Will you need specific products? Will your pricing be affordable for them? Will your local area offer growth potential?

To get the scoop on your competition, analyze the types of cleaning services that are in high demand.

For example, if the area needs more residential cleaning services then you’re better off branching in that direction. However, if people need more window cleaners, then it’s likely wiser to invest in window cleaning tools instead.

Create a pricing scheme

The next step in starting a cleaning company is determining your pricing scheme.

Make sure that your prices are affordable enough to attract customers, while profitable for you at the same time.

You should pay attention to what your potential expenses might be. They can include buying cleaning supplies or paying employee salaries. If you work on your own, estimate the transportation costs to and from your workplace.

Last, research your competitors. Find out the rates other cleaning companies charge for similar services that you offer.

The harder you research, the better estimate for pricing that fits with your neighborhood or area.

2. Build your brand

A brand is the collection of ideas around the cleaning business, and how people interpret your company.

There are numerous aspects that make a brand that include its name, tagline, logo, website, culture, and voice, and tone.

An important element you should focus on is your brand’s name. It should be short and memorable, so it can easily stick in your customer’s mind.

Try to include cleaning-related keywords, such as ‘janitorial’, ‘maids’ or ‘housekeeping’. It not only helps customers identify the services you provide, but will also aid later with search engine optimization.

If you’re stuck or want to bounce around some ideas, try Zyro’s Instant Business Name Generator.

Simply enter a keyword related to your business and let the AI-powered generator do its work. Choose from one of the memorable name suggestions and you’re done.

zyro AI instant business name generator landing page

You should also create a simple logo relevant to your business.

Take Top Window Cleaners, as an example. Their customers can see from their logo – a window-cleaning tool with drops of water – that it is a window cleaner. In addition, they use the color blue, which is primarily associated with water, as well as trust.

top window cleaners home page menu bar

If you need some inspiration or help, check out Zyro’s Logo Maker.

It is 100% free and includes thousands of templates ready to be customized in minutes. It is easy to use and can add a recognizable image to your brand.

zyros landing page to design your free logo for a cleaning business

Last, be mindful of your uniform.

It isn’t only to help the employees do their job better, but it also allows them to appear more professional to the clients.

Don’t give the employees short-sleeves and shorts if they use products such as bleach or detergents. Choose trousers over skirts for female employees, so that they can move freely.

3. Know your legal obligations

If you make little money or do the cleaning yourself, then legalities might not come into play too much in your work, however, if you are rapidly building your business and hiring employees, then ensuring you’re covered legally should be your top priority.

The first thing you need to consider is which legal form your business should have: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or limited liability company (LLC).

Remember that the cleaning process takes place on other people’s property, such as houses or offices.

If your employees damage the property or injure themselves, the form of your company would protect you from personal liability. This means you won’t be responsible for any damages or injuries, but your cleaning company will.

Next, when registering in the US, get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS. To do so, just follow the easy instructions on their website.

This is an essential step for all businesses, and important for tax purposes.

Furthermore, check whether your business needs a permit to operate. Refer to the federal Small Business Administration (SMA) or your local government to find out.

Last but not least, educate yourself about legal employment issues, such as the hiring process, employee compensation, wages, and healthcare.

Consequently, you can protect your business and your employees from unwanted legal problems.

4. Hire people

Unless you plan to work on your own, hiring the right people for your business is crucial.

More than half of commercial cleaning businesses lose customers because of bad service. Therefore, ensure that you hire skilled employees and train them at the level of a successful cleaning business.

Look to hire people who have experience in the cleaning industry. You can easily train them as they already understand how the work is done and the best way to do it.

If you hire people with little to no experience, make sure to give them appropriate on-the-job training.

Aside from that, also look for employees who are:

  • Self-reliant – this means they can get the job done even under no supervision
  • Nearby – the closer the employee lives to clients, the better. You can cut down on transportation fees, and get to clients faster
  • Physically fit – since the job is physically demanding, they should be in adequate shape

You can also consider hiring part-time workers with cleaning experience. They are cost-effective since they are paid an hourly rate.

They are also time-flexible as you can plan their work according to the client’s schedule.

5. Promote your cleaning business

The final step is to promote the business.

Without promotion, no one would be aware, let alone remember, your cleaning business.

Find out the best practices that can help you grow your cleaning services brand’s awareness.

Some tips to promote your business may include:

Direct marketing

Direct marketing is the communication between your business and potential customers. It is cost-effective – reaching more people for less money – accessible, and allows you to market to customers in real-time.

Word of mouth

Word-of-mouth marketing is unpredictable but effective. Not only does it involve no money, but it’s also simple to do.

Start with your family, friends, and neighbors. They are easy to reach and more likely to help you spread the word about your services.

If you want to reach more areas, you can hand out pamphlets for your happy customers to distribute.

Website

Another promotion method you should try is a website.

You can showcase your work on it, using before and after photos or videos, along with your contact information, like your email address and telephone number.

Remember to include testimonials from your past customers. This can help you gain a customer’s trust, as your services are being referred by real people.

A study shows that online marketing can gain you up to three times more leads than traditional marketing, showing a website can help you reach more people.

The same study shows that it’s also cost-effective — 62% cheaper than traditional marketing. The best part, you can manage it from home.

To illustrate, check out Eco Window Cleaning London website below.

London ECO window cleaning's business homepage

Their homepage shows a series of photos from their previous work. They also claim to be an environmentally friendly window cleaner in London.

You can follow the same methods to promote the unique values of your cleaning business.

With Zyro, you can build your website without a hassle. It has an affordable all-in-one package that includes web hosting, domain name, and free templates for many types of business.

Zyro's landing page for free website templates

To use the Free Website Templates, simply choose a template that resonates with your brand and begin to create your dream website.

Our drag-and-drop website building toon helps simplify your design experience by allowing you to customize on the go.

Move photos, content, and videos simply by clicking, dragging and dropping them where you like.

Social media

Take advantage of platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube to share your content.

You can engage with your followers, sample new products or services with them, and run advertisements.

You can tell your friends or followers about your services, along with pricing and benefits, and ask them to share your content via their account.

Social media ’s a good place to connect with your customers, either through the comments section or personal messages.

You can also promote your cleaning business through paid social media ads, such as Facebook Ads or Instagram Ads. It can help you reach a wider audience, and provide you with better visibility.

Advantages of starting a cleaning business

Creating a cleaning business is easy.

You can begin by doing all the jobs yourself – no employees needed. There’s also no need for fancy equipment when you start.

Startup costs are also low.

To start a cleaning business the only financial outlay is for cleaning supplies and transportation. Plus, supplies are cheap and require little to no maintenance.

The money is alright.

How much money you can make, of course, varies based on the work. In the US, a janitor or a building cleaner, for example, receive an average hourly rate of $12. Meanwhile, housemaids receive, on average, between $11 – 14 per hour.

It’s in high demand.

People want their houses, offices, and neighborhoods clean, but they often don’t have the time to clean themselves. That’s why people tend to opt for cleaning service companies to help them.

The high demand aligns with the annual industry revenue. The janitorial services industry alone is estimated to be worth $50 billion by 2023 in the US. While the carpet and upholstery service industries are forecast to be worth $4.8 billion.

Risks to consider before starting a cleaning business

Just like other industries, cleaning businesses aren’t risk-free.

There are several risks that you might come face-to-face with – investment-wise and health-wise.

First and foremost, you will deal with dirty places which are home to viruses and bacteria. When you or your employees are not prepared to work in such an environment, you may become ill.

Make sure you have your safety equipment ready, especially masks and gloves.

Another risk that you want to consider is the competition.

New companies are entering this lucrative industry all the time because the equipment costs are generally cheap and the job doesn’t need formal training or education, like some other occupations do.

It was estimated that in 2018 that 2.4 million people were working janitorial jobs in the USA. That number is expected to increase by 7% for the next ten years, faster than the national average for all industries.

These risks, however, shouldn’t stop you from starting your cleaning business. If you have your business plan established, executed, and managed well, you have nothing to worry about.

Recap

You don’t want to miss out on opportunities in the cleaning service industry. It’s easy and cheap to build a profitable business, and may be right for you.

The five easy steps to how to start a cleaning business are:

  1. Create a business plan
  2. Build the brand
  3. Cover the legal aspects
  4. Hire employees
  5. Promote your business

Do you have any other thoughts on the cleaning business that are worth sharing? Feel free to tell us in the comment section.

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