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How to Start a Cleaning Business

Quick Steps to Start a Cleaning Business:

  1. Structure your business. Will you buy a franchise or start an independent business? Will you hire employees? Will you focus on residential or commercial cleaning or both?
  2. Learn about and pursue your funding options. Guidant’s free pre-qualification tool can help.
  3. Ensure you’re properly covered with appropriate insurance.
  4. Learn about the federal, state, and local licensing requirements in your area.
  5. Decide pricing, policies, procedures, and other key operational processes.
  6. Research and purchase the appropriate equipment you’ll need. Make sure you and any employees are trained to use it.
  7. Get visible online with a Google My Business page, a Facebook Business profile, and a webpage that includes information that prospective clients care about, like contact information, pricing, and policies.

Some of the most profitable and successful small businesses handle tasks that their clients don’t want to do, don’t have time to do or both. And while most people value having a clean home or office building, more and more Americans are having trouble finding the time (or the motivation) to do it themselves. Fortunately, this creates an excellent opportunity for anyone who doesn’t mind hard work. If this sounds like you, read on to learn the specifics of how to start a cleaning business.

Is It the Right Time to Start Your Cleaning Business?

If a cleaning business is something you’ve had on your mind, there’s no reason to wait. With an eager market and relatively low barriers to entry, it’s possible to start a cleaning business in a matter of weeks.

Data from the Pew Research Center shows that almost half of all households with children younger than 18 have both parents working full-time. While these households do make significantly more than those without two working adults ($102,000 versus $55,000) it also means less time for completing household chores like cleaning. The combination of a need and increased disposable income makes it a great time for cleaning businesses.

And in-home cleaning isn’t the only option for small business owners — offering a commercial cleaning service is a great way to build a repeatable, predictable, and lucrative business. Whichever route you choose, the time is ripe to start your own cleaning business.

How to Structure Your Cleaning Business

Whether you’re choosing to start a cleaning business because you enjoy cleaning and want to translate that into a business or because you want to be your own boss and are interested in this busy industry (or both!) there are some decisions to make that can help determine how to run your business for years to come.

For starters, you have the option of choosing between an independent business and purchasing a cleaning franchise. Both options provide the opportunity to strike out on your own and find success, but the key is considering what’s right for you. Franchises have the advantage of brand recognition, a proven business model, and the support of a large corporate network. Independent businesses allow for more flexibility when it comes to price, scaling, and creativity.

If you choose to run an independent business, you can start on your own, performing the cleaning yourself, or you can hire employees to perform the day-to-day work. Both are good options, but it comes down to which activities will make you happiest as small business owner.

How to Stand Out in a Busy Industry

One of the most important things to remember when operating a cleaning business is client trust — and this is partially gained through positive word of mouth and online recommendations. Whether it’s you personally or your employees, your business operates within the walls of your clients’ homes and offices.

The first step in making it possible for clients to find you and build a foundation of trust is creating an online presence. Creating a website where clients can view the full spectrum of your services and the details of your business is the best option. However, if you aren’t able to create a website, clients can still find you online if you create a Facebook business page and a Google My Business page. The way clients and potential clients can see that you ‘exist’ and, just as importantly, can leave reviews online about your business.

It’s a good idea to create these social media and search engine pages even if you have a website, as making sure you have plenty of visibility to both prospective customers and Google’s local search ranking algorithms is key for a small business. Because reviews can be very influential, you may want to consider claiming your business on Yelp and closely monitoring and responding to reviews.

Paperwork and Additional Considerations

Cleaning businesses are quick to start — especially if you’re the only employee at first. There are a few things to get in order before you start formally taking on clients, though. Check all of the items off this list before opening your doors (or visiting homes or offices).

  • Insurance. Protecting yourself as a small business owner is important in any industry, but cleaning is unique because the work itself creates a potential for damage to your clients’ personal property. You may want to consider general liability insurance, property insurance, worker’s compensation insurance, and excess liability insurance. It’s a good idea to work with a lawyer and your insurance provider to make sure you’re fully and correctly covered.
  • Licensing. Check the federal, state, and local licensing requirements for running a business in your area.
  • Pricing. There are several ways to set pricing for a cleaning business. Common examples include by hour, by square foot, or by number of rooms. Keep these in mind as you review competitor pricing.
  • Equipment. Likely the biggest initial investment you’ll make in a cleaning business is the equipment, but you don’t want to be in a situation where you can’t complete a job because you don’t have the right tools or cleaning products. That makes it important to have a wide range of equipment that you’re well-versed in using.
  • Additional policies and procedures. Think through different situations that could come up with clients, and how you will want to handle them. For example, if a client has a dog, does it need to be outside? Do your clients provide you a copy of their keys or do you use a lockbox? Will you use your clients’ equipment and supplies if they request you do so? Are your cleaning products eco-friendly? Stay consistent so you can easily answer any questions.

If you’ve been debating starting a cleaning business, there are only a few steps to turn that idea into a reality. Get started today by deciding how to structure your business so that you can get moving on more of the details.

If you feel like you don’t have enough cash to start a business, want to know if you could afford to launch a larger operation or purchase a franchise, you can get that information and more in just two minutes by pre-qualifying.

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