Despite all the breakneck change in today’s fast-paced world, some things will never change. Dust will gather, dishes will get dirty, and what gets cleaned will become unclean again.
From homes to offices to restaurants to parks, cleaning services are always in demand and always will be. Are you one of those people who enjoy cleaning or can you build and manage a team committed to excellence and leaving things spic and span?
If so, perhaps the cleaning services business is for you.
Step 1: Research the Residential and Commercial Cleaning Markets
There are actually several different types of services which fall under the cleaning business umbrella. Some of them are:
Commercial Cleaning – Cleaning businesses premises such as offices, call centers, stores, hotels and restaurants is known as commercial cleaning. You’ll most likely need a professional and well-trained team to succeed in this sector since the areas which need to be cleaned are often too big for one person to handle alone. See step 2 for building a team.
Residential Cleaning – Cleaning people’s homes and rental properties is another excellent way to get a foothold in the cleaning industry. There are plenty of busy professionals and people who for a number of other reasons are unable to clean their homes themselves.
These will be smaller jobs than you will handle in commercial cleaning, so the aim here is to shoot for higher volume and increasing the number of clients you service constantly.
Industrial Cleaning – Industrial cleaning is a specialist service which may require special training and even a license in some cases.
Cleaning factories, plants, parks and even city streets all fall under the industrial cleaning category. You’ll often be using heavy duty chemicals and will need to both use them safely and dispose of them correctly.
This business model is entirely different from that of residential cleaning in that it will rely on servicing fewer clients, but on a much larger scale. Industrial cleaning sometimes involves government contracts, too.
You can decide to specialize in one area or offer a combination or all of the above. Research your local area, contact potential customers to see what their needs are and crunch the numbers to see where the juiciest profits are.
Pro Tip – For commercial and industrial cleaning services you’ll almost certainly need an insurance policy to cover damages/injury. Make sure you factor this cost into any business plan.
Step 2: Put Together a Team
It may be possible to run a residential cleaning service or even a small-scale commercial cleaning service on a one-person level.
As these businesses grow, however, or if you decide to scale up and go after bigger commercial clients or industrial clients, you’ll need a team of professionals to help you achieve your business objectives.
Cleaners generally need nothing more than experience, a strong work ethic and an eye for detail to succeed, so there’s no need to contact specialists to find staff. Put ads in your local paper(s) or source cleaners through word of mouth.
To begin, while the business is in its infancy, it may be best to hire staff on an ad-hoc basis. Once you have established long-term contracts with customers, then it is time to offer staff full-time contracts and packages.
If you decide to venture into commercial and industrial cleaning it may be necessary to train your team in workplace safety and environmental/waste management. It may also be necessary to conduct a background check on them before businesses will approve them to come onto their premises.
Step 3: Stock Up on the Tools of the Trade – Cleaning Business Supplies
Cleaning, like all trades, has trade-specific tools you’ll need to succeed. Here’s a quick rundown of the basics:
1) Cleaning Agents/Sprays– Cleaning windows, desks, tables, cookers, toilets, floors, and walls will require a range of sprays and chemicals. You’ll need to research which are suitable for each surface you and your team will clean. Make sure you fully train your staff on the appropriate choice to use for each surface, as using the wrong agent can have disastrous effects on furniture, paint, and carpets.
2) Litter Pickers/Bags – If you’re working in an office environment, cleaning up parties or events, or working outdoors, you’ll need litter pickers and bags to pick up trash and dispose of it.
3) Safety Gear – You and your staff will need protection from the various chemicals you are using and waste you will encounter on some jobs. Gloves, goggles, earplugs (for working in noisy environments), breathing apparatus and protective suits will all be needed, especially in the industrial cleaning sector.
4) Cleaning Utensils – Buckets, mops, brushes, hoses, power washers, scrapers, and rags will all be required during the course of any cleaning operation. Get a stock of all you will need for your first few jobs and budget regular replacements into the business plan.
5) Transportation – It’s possible to ask your staff to make their own way to jobs in some cases, but for other jobs (for example concert cleanups), it may be better to arrive/leave as a team. For these occasions, you will need a method of transportation such as a minibus, a van or a small truck. Either way, you’ll need a vehicle to transport all the tools and equipment you need to sites for bigger jobs.
How to Start your own Cleaning Services Business Step 4: Launch & Acquire Customers
At this stage, you’re ready to launch your cleaning service.
By far the best way to bring in new clients to begin with is word of mouth. If you and your team do professional, first-rate work, you’ll be recommended by them to people they know.
If you prefer to run a more traditional marketing campaign as well, build a social media presence, invite all of your contacts to like and share your pages, and update it regularly with offers. You can also place ads in newspapers, classified sections of magazines, and can directly approach businesses who may be in need of your services either by cold calling, email or in person.
Summary: how to start your own cleaning services business
No matter how advanced the world gets, cleaning is a fundamental business that’s here to stay.
Every home, businesses and public area in the country needs regular cleaning to maintain it, and a large number of the people who own and run these places will happily pay a cleaning service to handle things for them.
This is a business with very low start up costs, reasonably low overheads, and in the right city or environment, huge potential.
Now that’s a recipe for cleaning up in business!
If you need more resources to help you start your own cleaning service business here’s a great article: Cleaning Service Startup
Now that you know how to start your own cleaning service business let us know if we can help!