How to Start a Cleaning Business – (Guide)
How to start a cleaning business from scratch?
To start a cleaning business from scratch you have to be patient, getting those first clients takes time and persistence. You won’t get a hundred clients overnight since you need to create a network of references and make your brand in your city.
My name is Nancy S Castro. I have owned and operated for a long time a home cleaning service for over 8 years, The business name is Home Cleaning – Nancy’s Maid Services and I would like to share with you what what i have learned through this 8 years, i start a residential cleaning business from scratch, you will learn what to do and what not to do to succeed in the cleaning business i do this in hopes of helping others who are thinking about starting a cleaning business.
Starting a cleaning business requires a lot of energy at first, since cleaning is not easy, at first you will have to accept any job to start and some jobs such as “move out cleaning” are very heavy for a single person.
Yes, the cleaning leaves good profits in fact is one of the few businesses that you can start with very little investment and earn at least $ 20 to $ 25 starting but at the beginning you have to have the energy to finish at least 3 to 4 jobs at day. If you have a partner who can help you, it is much better that way you can grow the business more in less time.
Also to start a cleaning business from scratch you will need to have good customer relation skills. You will need to have basic office skills and some accounting skills, as soon as you have enough clients you can delegate responsibilities.
If you see this business in the long term and learn the basics, be sure that you will succeed in this business.
Actually with the right strategies with a plan and a goal, starting a cleaning business can be easy an inexpensive way to become a business owner.
First all you have to do is to have everything in order with your state and city as i mentioned before, in each state the procedures and permits required may be different. We recommend having all state permits if you want a stable business and for many years.
Second: If you are planning on leaving your full time job position to start a cleaning business, make sure you have at least 3 to 6 months of savings or keep your full time job and in your free time start the cleaning business like a part time, until you have enough houses so you can leave your job full time.
To start your cleaning business you will need:
- Choose a Cleaning Industry.
- Decide Your Cleaning Company Name. (base on your cleaning industry/niche)
- Legal Requirements. (sole proprietorship or LLC)
- How to Charge for Your Cleaning Services. (Estimates or Bids)
- Cleaning Business Insurance.
- Make a House Cleaning Supplies Checklist or Packages.
- Make Your Cleaning Checklist. (what will you offer to your customer)
- What Types of Services Will You Offer?
- How to Market Your Cleaning Business.
Choose Your Niche:
There are many “niches” in the cleaning industry, it is not the same to know how to clean residences to clean commercials. To start you will be facing with two types of customers with different needs.
The different cleaning niches can be differentiated by:
- Commercial Cleaning Business: Maintenance – Carpet cleaning – Window cleaning – Floor Cleaning, Etc.
- Janitor Services Business: Office Cleaning – Move out Cleaning – After Construction Cleaning Up, Etc.
- Residential Cleaning Business: Maid Service (housekeeping) Etc.
When starting a cleaning business it is advisable to choose one niche, that way you will know what type of customer it is and what its needs are. When doing your marketing it will be easier to know where to find your customers and thus optimize your marketing budged.
A positive aspect of the cleaning industry is that within each niche or category of cleaning service businesses are market niches and operating styles that vary tremendously.
This means you can start a cleaning business company that fits your own style and talents.
Decide Your Cleaning Company Name. (base on your cleaning industry/niche)
You should consider how it will be perceived by potential customers or clients when picking your cleaning business name, you have to find a business name that is:
- easy to remember.
- easy to pronounce.
- It’s concise.
- It’s original.
- It’s pleasant to hear and repeat.
Other aspects that you should consider when choosing a name for your cleaning company is what cleaning business niche you will focus on.
Legal Requirements. (sole proprietorship or LLC)
- Local Licence. & Permits.
- Get a EIN Number.
- Sole proprietorship or LLC registration.
- Business Checking Account.
First you will need a city licence and permit from you city to be available to star a cleaning business.
City permit cost from $30 to $120 if you register as a sole proprietor, you will also have to request a Employer Identification Number (EIN) this is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to business entities operating in the United States for the purposes of identification you can request a EIN on the IRS website.
You could operate your cleaning business as a sole proprietorship but you should consider operate as Limited Liability Company, an (LLC) protects you from personal liability, this also separate personal and business taxes, this will help when paying the IRS. When you open an LLC automatically the IRS will give you an EIN number.
The Cost to open a LLC is between $100 to $850 (depending the state) it’s recommend that whenever you open a company you register it as an LLC.
- Do you need a license to clean houses or commercial cleaning?
Yes, you need a license ether if you planing to start a residential cleaning business or a commercial cleaning business, at least a vendor’s license. All business owners must pay sales taxes on non-wholesale revenue they earn within their state.
Business Checking Account.
After you have registered your business, take all of your registration paperwork and open up a business checking account. This is very important since you don’t want to co-mingle your cleaning income with your personal checking account. This is also important for the overall financial reporting and monitoring of your business, especially when keeping track of your business income and expenses when it comes to filing your taxes.
How to Charge for Your Cleaning Services. (Estimates or Bids)
In the cleaning business industry when you start and have at least the basic permits and on your own you can start charging at least $25 an hour, and this is to say a minimum.
To be exact, prices vary between $25 to $80 per hour, but this depends a lot on where you are located. To give you an idea of how the market in your area is for this service, what you should do is call at least 5 different local companies and request an estimate, some of them will ask for a walk through estimate or some will give you an approximate phone number When they ask you about this, just ask them what their average hourly price is.
By calling about 3 to 5 companies you will know how much to charge and you can safely give your price to a customer.
Fixed price or hourly price?
In our house cleaning company in Santa Barbara we have tested both ways and we have noticed that it is better to give a fixed price only if you or employees have the experience and speed to finish a job well done and in a short time, but if they start, it is better to go by the hour, so that you know little by little and with time how long you finish cleaning certain types of houses, you will know how long it will take you to clean a deep cleaning of 2 rooms 2 bathrooms. Only way to give exact prices.
If you are just starting and you don’t know how much time you will spend in a deep cleaning of 2 rooms 2 bathrooms and you give a price of $ $130, that would not be a good business.
Another advantage by knowing how much time you will spend on each type of cleaning, when it is time to have employees you can tell them how much time they have in each house, since you know it is a fair time and your employees will not be able to deceive you.
- How Much to Charge per Hour?
The the average hourly cleaning rate per maid in USA is between $25 and $45 or if your have the reviews and you add a lot of value to your clients you can charge up to $45 to $90 per hour.
What type of general liability insurance do you need for a cleaning business?
- Janitor Services
Some insurance companies make janitor services and commercial valid in the same insurance certificate.
Why do you need general liability insurance?
As an example, there are houses that a piece can cost hundreds of dollars.
There are floors, counter and other parts of the home that can be damaged even if you have a lot of experience. General liability Insurance for Cleaning Business covers the cost of property damage.
Best Insurance For Cleaning Business:
There are many insurers that offer general liability for cleaning companies. but the most popular are:
- How much does it cost to get bonded and insured for a cleaning business?
The cost of General Liability Insurance start from $80 if you are a “solo cleaner” to $3,500 annually depending on number of employees you have.
Many house cleaners use hiscox insurance, personally i use it in my company. And the cost for Worker Compensation Insurance this depends on the number of employees you have. I recommend “Ap-intego” because you pay as you have employees, no big down payments.)
- Best Accounting Software for Cleaning Business?
One of the best accounting software is Quickbooks.
- Bond Insurance.
A bond is a form of insurance that acts as a financial guarantee against the terms of the bond. Obtaining a bond shields your business and your clients from losses due to employee theft. Many clients prefer cleaning businesses that are bonded, as they are guaranteed protection from any theft. Investing in a bond can provide peace of mind for you and your clients.
starting a cleaning business for your own and from scratch.
To Start a Cleaning Business you will need:
- General Liability Insurance.
- City permit.
- Worker Compensation Insurance. (if you hire employees) required in California in 2019,
- Accounting Solutions. (Quickbooks)
- Bond Insurance.
- A Car. (with enough space for cleaning supplies.)
- Cleaning Business Software. (Housecall PRO)
- Laptop or PC. (to manage appointments easily.)
- Smart Phone. (to manage appointments on the way)
- Logo. (to build a brand.)
- Business Cards.
- A Professional Website.
- Have the basics of cleaning experience.
Also you will need to buy essential cleaning supplies, these may be the basic things like:
- Glass Cleaner (can be Windex)
- Vacuum Cleaner.
- Microfiber Mop. (optional if you are just starting)
- Regular Mop.
- Toilet Bowl Brush.
- Bags for Dirty Rags.
- Bags to Carry Clean Rags.
- Neutral Floor Cleaner. (bona)
- Disinfectant Cleaner.
- Cleaning Bucket.
- Mini Grout Brush.
You know, Everything you need to get started and that doesn’t require a high cost, At the beginning we want to start with the lowest possible cost, as soon as you have more customers, we can buy more things. You can find all these cleaning supplies at very affordable prices in Costco or also in https://www.thecleanteam.com/. The complete kit so you can start with the cleaning business will cost you a total of $ 244 plus the price of the vacuum.
This is the most common and most important question to be available to start.
In fact, obtaining those first clients is usually the most difficult part when starting your own cleaning business.
Because most clients want to know how long you have been in business and they want references or reviews these days.
The best thing to do is let clients know that, yes, you are new to the business but that you have thoroughly researched all aspects of the cleaning business and assure them that you know what you are doing and that you are quite capable of cleaning their home to their specifications.
But you have to be confident. Clients love to see confidence. It relieves their worries and lets them know that their home is in good hands.
When you have your first clients, the simplest thing you can do to be referred to is simply to ask them, as I mentioned before, honesty is very appreciated by the customers if you tell them that you are starting they usually understand and help.
The other option is to give something in exchange for the referral, it can be like free window cleaning or free oven or even a free cleaning every time you are referred to (this should be seen as an investment)
- How to Advertise your Cleaning Business?
Use the power of Google, Facebook and social networks!
Maybe you have heard from Homeadvisor or Thumbtack or Angie’s List or Yelp if you have not heard from them, you probably know as soon as you are in the business, these companies sell you the information of the clients interested in the cleaning service for a certain amount, but do you know how they get those customers?
They get their customers through Google and Facebook Ads, In the case of Google, Yelp, HomeAdvisor and all those companies they positioned their website in the first places of Google to be more visible when a prospect searches for the service and then they try to sell you the client.
Create a website or invest so that an expert makes you the website and puts it in the search engines, so customers will find you without any intermediary. (This may be a long-term investment but it is the best and the safest.)
It is the best way to get customers right now, since we are all using these platforms. one way to grow your business fast is to use Google Ads. Google Ads is very effective since the people who search on the Google platform are already looking to get the service you just have to convince them that you are the best option, this is achieved by having a professional website and showing your reviews and adding value. the client has a problem you must talk to him and tell him that you are going to solve that problem.
When paying Google Ads, Google will put your website in the first 4 results if the person clicks on your website, Google will charge you a certain amount, the rest depends on how much you convince the client that you will solve the problem.
- Register Your Business With Google My Business:
Creating a business profile on Google also know as “Google My Business” and is completely free. You just need an address and it can be your home address!
If you register your business, it will show up on Google Maps. You can include information like your website, phone number, and business hours. Registering your business also lets customers leave a Google review. Positive reviews help you draw in new customers. Registering your business on Google makes it much easier for people to find your cleaning company. If you have a strong online presence is important so that when potential customers search for cleaning services in your area, your business is one of the first to pop up. Having a strong online presence includes having a website and active social media accounts so that customers can find you easily, no matter how people search.
- Business Cards:
Start passing out your business cards to friends and family members. You can also ask your local businesses if you can leave some cards on their counters.
- Company Name and Logo
Once you know what your business values are you’re in a good position to come up with a business name and develop a logo. You might choose a name that plays off your values, you may choose to let your creative side come up with something catchy.
Having a designer create a logo for your business adds to your professional look. Add it to your quotes, invoices, and receipts and you’ll look like a pro from the start.
Want to grow a cleaning business fast?
Using systems will take away many headaches, there are software for business cleaning some of them are:
These will help you from sending invoices, controlling employees, sending reminders to your clients and even knowing how much money I go in a day – week – month or year.
- Is it Worth Starting a Cleaning Business?
Well, United States cleaning industry is more than a $78 Billion per year industry according to a study made by Marketdata Enterprises Inc. A cleaning business is lucrative and rewarding. Enter a field of unlimited opportunity. As the boss, you it’s easy to set your own financial goals and make your own schedule.
When you are starting a residential cleaning business, the investment is very low and you easily recover it, you could say that you spend as the business grows. There is no high investment and you have to spread a miracle to at least recover what you have invested.
Goal: Establish Your Brand
This should be the main objective to obtain a business of great profits, when creating the brand people will recommend you more, search engines like Google will promote you better, people will look for you to get your services and pay better for them.
Attention to detail, a consistent uniform, client profiles — all of the details we’ve covered contribute to a strong and trusted brand.