The cleaning business is one of the most in-demand of business startups. Some reasons for this are that this is a relatively easy business to start and busy people are willing to pay for cleaning services because they do not have time to do it themselves.
The cleaning industry ranges from simple residential cleaning tasks to more complex commercial or industrial tasks. There is an increasing demand in most cleaning business sectors.
The biggest difference between commercial/industrial cleaning and residential cleaning is that large teams are often involved in commercial and industrial businesses. Residential cleaners can be from one person to an agency with several teams.
A cleaning business can quickly become too much for one or two people, which requires that you hire outside help. Hiring employees involves having good management, training, and leadership skills. The government regulations are also more involved when you have more employees.
When you are just starting out in this business, your initial consideration is equipment, tools, and supplies needed for this kind of business. Many people start a cleaning business with little to no investment because they have the essential cleaning equipment necessary for the work.
What do you need to start a cleaning business?
- A quality heavy-duty vacuum cleaner (get the warranty)
- Paper towels
- Cloth rags
- Latex gloves (nitrile if you are allergic to latex)
- Extension cord(s)
- Broom, dust pan, and brush
- Feather duster
- Telescoping duster (to get to high spaces)
- Dry mop
- Wet mop plus bucket
- Wet floor sign (optional depending on the venue)
- Bathroom cleaner
- Window cleaner
- Disinfectant cleaner
- Furniture polish
- SOS pads
- Soft Scrub products for sink cleaning
- A caddy/cart to make it easier to manage your equipment and supplies
You will probably need to create your own list according to your needs in the target market you plan to start your cleaning business.
Create a Business Plan
You don’t need a professional business plan unless you are presenting the opportunity to other professionals. You need one for you, which can be in the form you can most follow.
- Decide what services you want to offer and choose a target market (residential, commercial, etc.).
- Make a list of what you need to get started in the cleaning business based on your target market and services.
- Determine if you want to work alone or hire help.
- Decide what kind of marketing and promotions you might need (present or future).
- Always look ahead and plan for future growth in your cleaning business plan.
A little research on creating a business plan will go a long way to helping you stay on track with your new venture.
Services and Pricing Structures
A little local research will give you the scoop regarding what services to offer and how much to charge your customers.
Ideas for Services and Pricing
- Using your equipment $15 an hour
- Using customers’ equipment $12 an hour
- A fixed price according to cleaning tasks and square footage of a building
Most households and businesses will have some basic equipment and supplies, making it easier for you because you won’t have to manage a cart or carrier for your own. You may not make as much per hour, but the equipment is there for you. This is ideal if you are just getting started and need to make money before you invest in supplies and equipment for a cleaning business.
When you are offering services, be sure to offer promotions for new customers, or monthly specials. You will get a lot of business off of discounted offerings or coupons for specific cleaning tasks or first-time customers.
Commercial cleaning may include cleaning out vacation rentals, apartments, or rental houses between tenants. Your supply list will be larger and may require commercial equipment such as industrial vacuum cleaners and floor cleaners.
You can save money when you buy this equipment used unless you want to rent it until you can buy your own. Remember to put that information in your cleaning business plan and your budget.
Create a Budget
One of the first things to do after deciding to start a cleaning business is to create your budget. Factor in the items from the above list or from the list you created based on your research for your target market.
While word of mouth is a good way to get started with no upfront marketing costs, it is wise to put together a marketing budget in a short time to grow your business. You may find some valid free ways to market yourself. Eventually, you may need to spend a little on advertising.
Social media is a good way to get started for free marketing. Create a website and blog, a Facebook page and group, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, and Snapchat to spark interest according to the age group you want to target.
Video creation is one of the fastest growing segments in marketing right now. Create how-to videos for YouTube, go live with an at-home cleaning tutorial, and then share your videos across social channels to boost your visibility. You can reap rewards at the local level via social media.
If and when you are ready to spend some money on marketing, perhaps Google Ads, Instagram Ads, or other social media ads will be helpful for getting exposure to your website and business. Remember to choose a targeted segment that fits your cleaning business and keep it local unless you plan to expand into other cities or counties.
A cleaning business is one of the most affordable businesses to start. All you need is a couple of customers to get started and some supplies, equipment, and cleaning products. Your startup costs will be determined by your target market and what services you will offer.
Buying used or renting can be a good solution in the beginning and will require less upfront investment. When your cleaning business grows, you can budget your cleaning supplies and equipment and buy new if you so choose.
Keep in mind, you may be able to sell your used equipment, potentially at a loss, but it would be something to put that back into your business.
With so many cleaning supplies and equipment companies out there, be sure to do your homework before you buy or rent from them. Be diligent in your research to find the best value for your investment.
Keep in mind that doing this will not only help you save money from the start, it will also provide you with a better return on investment (ROI) for your cleaning business.