You want to start your cleaning business from home and that’s a fantastic initiative. More than just wanting it, you will do it and be successful. You have the entrepreneurial spirit. You see a need and you know that your service will do well.
The concept is clear. Now you want to make your idea a reality. So, you ask yourself ‘how do I start my own cleaning business?’ You are willing to take some risk, but don’t want to get too stressed.
Thorough preparation will provide you with how to start a cleaning business from home with no stress strategy.
Naturally, you have all kinds of questions. To name a few:
- How well am I suited and prepared for starting my business?
- What is my specialty?
- Which of my personality traits are helpful for achieving my goals?
And more practical questions:
- Do I need a license to clean houses?
- How much startup capital do I need?
- What equipment will I need to start a cleaning business?
You need answers and that’s exactly what we’re going to give you. In this article created by our team at Trafft, will help you prepared mentally and ready for action.
How to Start a Cleaning Business
A Solid Foundation for Your Business
Think of starting your business as constructing a building — you start with the foundation and build on top of that.
Your cleaning business foundation consists of:
- Getting yourself ready with the right mindset
- Customizing your business plan
Once that’s in place you focus on fulfilling:
- Legal requirements
- Technical requirements
Finally, you commit to:
- Getting clients
- Making money
Getting Yourself Ready With the Right Mindset
Doing something for the first time probably means leaving your comfort zone. It implies that you swim out of known waters with an understanding of the consequences. So, you have to ask yourself: is that me, and is that something I feel ready for and comfortable with?
Surely, you have thought this through. Ask yourself if you feel you have the necessary traits.
Ask questions like, am I
- In good physical shape? Cleaning is not for the weak-hearted.
- Social? Customer relationships call for social traits, and in this line of work, you will need plenty.
- Organized? Can I handle my administration and bookkeeping, or do I need assistance?
- Ready to accept variable income?
- Flexible enough to extend my services when needed?
If you feel you can answer yes to all the above, you have the mindset to succeed. Mind you, those are all personality traits and not skills. Of course, you can perfect those inherent traits along the way.
Customizing Your Business Plan
When you compose your business plan, concentrate on what you are good at and how you will set up your business accordingly.
A basic business plan looks something like this:
- Who will be my customers?
- What are the start-up costs?
- How will I promote my new cleaning business?
- What business connections do I already have?
- How much should I invest and what can I expect to get back?
- When do I expect to break even?
You can customize that basic plan into a cleaning services business plan. Do this by asking yourself related questions that will prove helpful.
What Kind of Cleaning Service do I Have in Mind?
When you start a business, you may have big ambitions, but you must go slow and steady until you reach your goal. Ambitions differ. Some people prefer to stick to a house cleaning business (a residential cleaning business). Others aim at janitorial services.
You know what you are good at. Providing a satisfying and profitable service comes down to using your strengths and continuously matching your services with your growing experience.
Where is My Market and What are the Inherent Needs?
This part of how to start a commercial cleaning business can be easily answered. Fill in customers’ needs and get paid for that. To find out what those needs are, you research your target market.
There are different ways to go about this. One good method is to test your theories in the work field. You can do this by offering to help friends and acquaintances with their cleaning. They will give you tips and useful feedback.
You want to target your market very precisely. It’s not a question about how many types of customers you can attract. The best way to appeal to potential customers is to focus on what they need done and adapt to that.
It’s true that the more customers you have, the faster your business will grow. But don’t forget that if you play into customers’ needs, you will reach a larger segment of the cleaning market.
Interacting with customers will build strong relationships. They will know you are there to give them what they want and will learn to depend on you.
What Will Be a Suitable Name and Logo?
Think about what kind of service you offer makes you different from your competitors. If you promote a mainstream product, you can only expect moderate success. You have to play into what sought-after customers are looking for.
Selling your service is much easier when clients immediately recognize why they should choose you. Not another company.
You are in the position to give your customers a personal touch, and that gives you an edge when operating in a crowded market.
It’s important to come up with a catchy name that carries a message your customers can identify with. A brand name is an essential part of your marketing. Customers will know what your service stands for. You can even use a name business generator to brainstorm ideas and automatically check available website domains.
Your logo is a visual representation of your business. It’s your message in an image. Combined with your well-chosen business name it’s a very powerful marketing tool.
Is Operating From Home the Way to Go For my Cleaning Business?
For sure. You don’t have to invest in renting office space, and you don’t need a showroom. When running a cleaning business, you go to your customers and that makes starting a cleaning business a perfect fit for this business model.
How to Start My Own Cleaning Business From Scratch?
Want to know how to start a cleaning business with no money? Nothing comes for free. But you won’t need to spend a lot. For most people, the initial startup cost doesn’t require a business loan from a bank, and you don’t have to chase investors or have credit card debts either.
You might think this depends on the scale of your business. Well, startups are small businesses that grow bigger in time thanks to increasing revenue. You can keep your startup investment low. Remember that it’s all about how to start a cleaning business from home… with no stress.
What Budget Will Get Me Started?
About $1,000 will get you a long way. Chances are you won’t immediately think of hiring employees and pay them an hourly 11 to 12 USD. But starting by yourself means you need to get the following in order:
- Licenses and permits. A sole proprietorship will cost you $30 to $60, and a for an LLC $100 to $500 should get you covered.
- About $500 per year. Of course, this will multiply when hiring employees.
- Basic cleaning equipment and products. This will set you back $300 to $600.
- $100 to $200 will allow you to promote your service online and print flyers.
How to start a cleaning business from home with $0? Not possible, but it won’t cost a fortune.
Register Your Cleaning Company
You may elect to register your brand-new business name as a sole proprietorship with your local register or your deeds office. But a good way to protect your personal belongings is by registering as a limited liability company (LLC). In this case, you register at the Secretary of State office.
Also, get your Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS if you are thinking of hiring employees in the future.
Get Your Cleaning Business License
It’s not always the case but in some states, local governments impose a cleaning business license instead of a regular business license. Check that out by calling your state’s small business administration.
If so, apply with your local government, get your paperwork ready for submitting, and open a business bank account. Sometimes you are required to buy a bond.
Don’t feel any stress in getting this done. Just follow these steps:
- Check with your local municipal government.
- Open a business bank account.
- Go to the Small Business Administration’s Licenses and Permits page and find out if you need a cleaning license.
- Follow the application procedure.
To help you underway, here’s the link to the Small Business Association. You will find all the info you need.
Get That All-Important Liability Insurance
Don’t let workplace-related financial liabilities ruin your business – protect it with business insurance.
Adjust the coverage of your insurance to the size of your startup, so you can keep this cost as low as possible. Approach an insurance advisor to figure this out.
When your business expands, there is a good chance you will start to work with employees who will work in private homes and offices. Then you will see the benefit of getting bonded.
The bond will cover any filed claim for accidental damage. A janitorial bond or janitorial license covers employee theft and client contracts.
Unlike insurance, bonding is meant to protect customers. Still, it protects your business at the same time.
It’s good advertising and proof of honesty and credibility.
How to Get Bonded for a Cleaning Business
Your insurance software provider can help you out. You can also type “cleaning service bonding” into Google. Once you have found an agency of your liking, apply online, and provide them with:
- The name of your cleaning business
- The amount you want to be bonded for
- The number of employees that work for you
- Your state
The agency will take it from there.
Choose Your Business Model
Hesitant to embark on this adventure all by yourself? You might consider joining a franchise. The client base is already there, which reduces risks.
But if you want to be in total charge of your business, you should run your business independently.
Building your brand requires a lot of confidence. You need to highlight what you can do better.
Once you found your customers, create long-term relationships. Communicate with your customers regularly from the get-go.
The Technical Aspects of How to Start a Cleaning Business From Home
Pick Suitable Transportation
You will rely a lot on your means of transport. Driving here to there and parking where it’s permitted. This won’t be relaxing if you drive a huge pick-up truck. And it is difficult to change those spare truck wheels or tires for a single person in case of emergencies. Is that necessary for a small cleaning business that’s just starting up?
A hatchback will probably do the job. Make sure it’s maintained well. That’s far more important than investing in a new vehicle.
Cleaning Supplies and Equipment
A professional cleaning service needs more than just a gallon of vinegar and some castile soap.
Powerful detergents, solvents, abrasives, and acids come in many shapes and some can be expensive. Shopping online and comparing prices is a good start to keep your expenses low.
Buying at big-box stores like home-improvement stores can be best. Especially when they do seasonal prices, deals, discounts, rebates, and promotions. But often you will pay 5% to 10% more for brand-name cleaning products. If you’re okay with that, then you’re better off at stores like Target or Walmart.
Be careful in your use of cleaning products. Avoid using cleaning agents that are too aggressive. To illustrate this, you want your clients’ floors to shine, not to make them look dull by adding loads of cleaning vinegar to your water.
Simple Work Clothes
Choose something practical and neutral that still looks like a recognizable uniform. This way you will leave a professional impression.
How to Start a Cleaning Company: Getting Clients
Tuned in marketing will get you the clients that need your service. The tools you set up will play a big part in how successful your business will be.
You can use flyers with your logo and details, or place an ad in your local newspaper. But since this is the 21st century, nothing beats online marketing.
Build Your Professional Website
You need a business website to build your brand and gain clients. Make it attractive and informative.
- Introduce your cleaning company and the services you provide.
- Make sure your site is easy to navigate. No need to make things complicated.
- Publish operating times, perimeter, contact info, and pricing.
Don’t forget to give your site a human touch.
- An About Us page is more attractive when you include some personal info. Talk a bit about your interests, hobbies and other fun stuff.
- If you use visual media in which you star, don’t overact. Be yourself.
- Your website shouldn’t look like one long advert. Next to promoting your service, give away some tips for example. Produce content that reads like an engaging story.
You Can Even Implement an Online Booking System
Create a booking system for your website. There are good appointment plugins available.
Amelia is a full-featured automated booking system for WordPress sites.
StartBooking allows setting up appointments and booking forms to be added to your website.
Trafft is a premium multifunctional appointment and managing tool.
Booked supports almost every type of appointment and booking system.
Don’t Forget to Post References
Reactions from happy customers are marketing opportunities. Want to know how to get those first testimonials? One way is by offering free cleaning to people you know and ask them to recommend your work to their friends and family.
Bring Traffic to Your Website Through Social Media Channels
You want potential customers to discover your services, and you can reach those customers on social media. Future clients are probably on the same platforms as you.
For example, set up a business Facebook page with your details and contact information. Maybe use ads. Or sign up to platforms like Care.com, TaskRabbit, or Handy. But DO refer clients to your website.
Making Money With Your House Cleaning Business
Set Your Prices
This is the tricky part of your cleaning business. When you work for an employer, they will take care of your paycheck. That’s in the past though — now you are going to pay yourself.
You can find ample information online, only to confuse you even more. The hourly rate of freelance entrepreneurs and independent contractors is widely debated. That doesn’t help much either.
Bottom line: Don’t sell your services too cheap. All you need to do is find out what other cleaners in your niche are getting paid. Take the average hourly rate to determine your negotiating price.
A site like homeadvisor.com mentions $50 to $90 for 2 hours of cleaning and $100 to $180 if you are a professional cleaning company. It depends on the size of the premises, how long it will take you, and the type of service you provide.
Janitorial services don’t charge by the hour, but it will come down to $20 to $45+ per hour.
Use Accounting Software That Keeps Track of Your Business Expenses and Handles Invoices
To keep track of what comes in and goes out, you will need a reliable accounting system.
Instead of using Excel spreadsheets, try CPA (Certified Public Accountant) software. They have related features such as invoicing.
With them, you will avoid making mistakes like double data entry and you will waste less of your precious time. Appointment and accounting software like Trafft take care of your online bookings and payments. One less worry.
Ending thoughts on how to start a cleaning business from home
To start a commercial cleaning business, you need to have a vision and the ability to offer a service that’s in demand. You need a little capital to finance your enterprise, too.
Efficient marketing that can fall back on accurate market research will help to meet your customer’s needs whilst making money.
Let’s go through our ‘start your cleaning business’ checklist:
- Start with a sound business plan and stick to it.
- Prove a service that your customers need.
- Get good equipment.
- Choose a suitable business entity.
- Get insured and protect your clients as well yourself and employees.
- Take care of your cleaning licenses.
- Set your pricelist.
- Promote your business by serving your clients well and with an online presence.
When you prepare with diligence, you can start a cleaning business from your home relatively stress-free. Best of luck!
If you enjoyed reading this article about how to start a cleaning business from home, you should read these as well:
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