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Thread: Starting A Cleaning Business?

  1. #1

    Default Starting A Cleaning Business?

    Anyone have experience with this? It is always something that has been in the back of my head and here's why:


    1. I know a guy in my hometown that did it and made decent money (a town with 6,000 people)


    2. I assume the startup costs are relatively low


    3. Every business is a potential customer



    Some things I'm worried about?


    1. Is this business too saturated now?


    2. Is it hard to find clients? I mean, you are basically asking them to trust you to come in their business unattended.


    3. I'm not sure what to charge. I mean, I can research but in my particular area, it might be a little tough.



    What is everyone's thoughts on starting a cleaning business? A good move? Bad move? Thanks!




    Also, if anyone does have experience with this and can give me some "must haves" that would be great!

  2. #2
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    I think it could be a good move. Any business doing what most people don't like to do has the potential for decent income. There will always be competition in this type of business because the barriers to entry are very low (which sounds like the reason you are interested in it also). But, the average person is not going to do a good job and will eventually be easy to compete with.
    Steve B

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B View Post
    I think it could be a good move. Any business doing what most people don't like to do has the potential for decent income. There will always be competition in this type of business because the barriers to entry are very low (which sounds like the reason you are interested in it also). But, the average person is not going to do a good job and will eventually be easy to compete with.

    This is true. I like businesses with low startup costs but at the same time, I like a business that keeps me physically busy.


    I've considered landscaping, cleaning, that kinda of stuff.


    Do you have any experience/knowledge to share in this niche? Thanks!


    I did some research/cost calculating and for me to turn it into a real business...


    It would cost around $7,000. That would include the following:

    *Van
    *Cleaning Supplies
    *Floor cleaning machine
    *Vacuum, mop, janitor cart, broom, etc
    *Business license
    *Light advertising


    Now, my main question is this. Should I just:


    Get a business license, buy a vacuum, mop, broom, and some cleaning supplies. Get started small?


    Or should I put the 7K in and be ready to tackle any job, big or small.


    Ideally, I'd like to get this to where I had 40 hours of work per week and maybe hire another person?
    Last edited by PayForWords; 08-12-2013 at 12:32 AM.

  4. #4

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    Just a couple of random thoughts, PFW...

    It may be just me, but when hiring for a service such as this, I REALLY place a premium on dependability. If the only two games in town were (1) a service who scores a 9 on the Quality-O-Meter (with 10 = perfect) but who shows up EVERY Thursday night without fail, and would do so even if an asteroid fell from the sky and vaporized their work van; and (2) a service who out-polishes the competitor by a wee bit, but with a history of laying out sick whenever beach volleyball is on ESPN; I'd take the dependable one every time. (Actually I'd try to get the two owners together for a cornering-the-market merger that leverages the strengths of both, but that's beside the point ).

    If you sense that same preference coming from your target customer base, consider allocating some of your budget and some of your planning into mechanisms that ensure your unfailing reliability. This might be in the form of buying an extended service contract on the van, having a back-up vehicle (such as a friend's) on standby, having a "sonuvamonkey, the vacuum cleaner just flamed out" contingency plan in place, or anything similar.

    That said, though, I'd imagine if you could put distance between yourself and the other guys in terms of workmanship quality, that'd go far in terms of generating valuable word-o-mouth growth. (Yeah, just piling on to Steve's good point, previously.) Most biz owners LOVE it when their premises are immaculate, and if you can out-perform the competition in that department, you'll probably have analysts rating your stock a "Buy".

    Had a friend who owned a marble floor cleaning and polishing service several years back. Before launching the biz, he took the time (and additional investment) to (a) train his people on the science of marble cleaning; and (b) research and then acquire the best equipment for the best results. When his well-trained and well-equipped crew finished a job, the marble looked like a swimming pool on a calm day, it was so glossy. I can't say for sure, but I'd bet that was a big reason for the ultra-impressive growth he enjoyed, landing new contracts right and left.

    I know that there's not a perfect correlation between marble work and what you're contemplating, but maybe there's some nugget in there you can use.

    Best of luck with it. Cheers!

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    If you're not even sure what to charge, maybe you should first work for a cleaning company to learn the ins and outs. Find a mentor willing to show you the ropes. Or at the very least call other cleaning companies pretending to be a potential client and ask for rates.

    And keep in mind, as the owner, your main focus should be on sales and marketing. You need to be out hitting the streets in search of clients, not pushing a broom. Hiring someone to do the grunt work is another priority. It will be difficult to find people that will do a top quality job for not great pay. And of course they have to be HONEST and trustworthy. You've got your work cut out for you. Hope it works out for you.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by BIZDEV View Post
    If you're not even sure what to charge, maybe you should first work for a cleaning company to learn the ins and outs. Find a mentor willing to show you the ropes. Or at the very least call other cleaning companies pretending to be a potential client and ask for rates.

    And keep in mind, as the owner, your main focus should be on sales and marketing. You need to be out hitting the streets in search of clients, not pushing a broom. Hiring someone to do the grunt work is another priority. It will be difficult to find people that will do a top quality job for not great pay. And of course they have to be HONEST and trustworthy. You've got your work cut out for you. Hope it works out for you.

    I'm not so worried about the marketing aspect of it but more or less getting going.


    As far as pricing, that's the tricky part. I live in an area with around 25,000 people...


    And there isn't a legit cleaning business in town.


    Of course, you'll find individuals that promote themselves for these services BUT...


    Not one actual business with advertising, a website, REAL equipment, nothing.


    I believe that most of the large chain stores here that utilize a cleaning business...


    Have them coming in from over 30 miles away based on my research.


    Also, I would basically be doing this as my primary business and doing ALL of the work at first.


    If it got going well enough, I'd hire additional help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PayForWords View Post
    I'm not so worried about the marketing aspect of it but more or less getting going.


    As far as pricing, that's the tricky part. I live in an area with around 25,000 people...


    And there isn't a legit cleaning business in town.


    Of course, you'll find individuals that promote themselves for these services BUT...


    Not one actual business with advertising, a website, REAL equipment, nothing.


    I believe that most of the large chain stores here that utilize a cleaning business...


    Have them coming in from over 30 miles away based on my research.


    Also, I would basically be doing this as my primary business and doing ALL of the work at first.


    If it got going well enough, I'd hire additional help.
    I personally think you have a good situation on your hands. Little to no competition, definite need, experience!

    I personally suggest working out a game plan.

    Ask a few businesses to let you come clean their place for free, and let them know that all you will want in return is a positive review (they will also become a future customer, but they don't know that just yet lol)

    Next, start out with a small marketing plan. Just enough to make you look legitimate and like you will be worth listening to, and get out and knock doors and shake hands. I do believe that the door to door business to business approach is outdated for some industries, but it seems only fitting for a cleaning business.

    Lastly, just get to work, and make sure you go above and beyond. Do such a great job, that when the usual team comes back and cleans the next week, the client is instantly unimpressed.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by King Akoma View Post
    I personally think you have a good situation on your hands. Little to no competition, definite need, experience!

    I personally suggest working out a game plan.

    Ask a few businesses to let you come clean their place for free, and let them know that all you will want in return is a positive review (they will also become a future customer, but they don't know that just yet lol)

    Next, start out with a small marketing plan. Just enough to make you look legitimate and like you will be worth listening to, and get out and knock doors and shake hands. I do believe that the door to door business to business approach is outdated for some industries, but it seems only fitting for a cleaning business.

    Lastly, just get to work, and make sure you go above and beyond. Do such a great job, that when the usual team comes back and cleans the next week, the client is instantly unimpressed.


    Thanks for the input! I still haven't completely decided on this but if I do go for it...


    I plan on dropping off business cards, letting them know my rates, and offering people 1 day free as a trial.

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    A family member was a cleaning women, I built her website, her business cards, and managed her emails. She had poor english skills but very warm and enthusiastic, professional and had tons of pride in her work. She later ran on referrals. She did it for 5+ years, but didn't make that much money in unfortunately. Lost her house, car and to add to that her health (back gave in and is now on disability unable to work). There's business out there, tons of it.. but you really have to charge a premium price. If you only want to do office buildings, prepare yourself to work nights. If you want to do homes as well, you might be in for a surprise with regards to how much fancy house owners actually are willing to pay. Maybe its different in your area, but I'm from Toronto.

    It all adds up when you want to include:
    Travel
    Marketing
    Supplies
    Machinery
    Cost of hiring someone else
    Insurance
    Accounting (collecting money)
    Paying taxes on it all..

    Other option is to partner up with lawyers/rehabilitation centres/insurance companies.. these people refer others who cannot clean etc. and would refer them to a cleaning company where their insurance covers the cost. Ofcourse, insurance will only cover a certain approved cost, so you have to be in-line with that.
    Last edited by Wozcreative; 08-14-2013 at 12:15 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PayForWords View Post
    Thanks for the input! I still haven't completely decided on this but if I do go for it...


    I plan on dropping off business cards, letting them know my rates, and offering people 1 day free as a trial.
    Don't do one day free. That's a waste of your time. You can say because your a first customer your second hour will be 50% off.. or whatever.
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