If you never shied away from chores as a kid (or perhaps you spent your allowance to hire other kids to perform chores for you), running a cleaning business may be the perfect venture for you. Starting a cleaning business requires more than elbow grease: training staff, purchasing equipment and creating a training program are all considerations of this business operation.
Decide on the business venture’s scope and scale. Will your business venture be limited to you and a partner, or do you wish to hire a fleet of workers to clean cubicles for corporations? The scope and scale of the business will determine start-up costs. A maid service typically cleans houses with modest supplies, so start-up costs will mostly include cleaning supplies.
Consider janitorial services. Most corporations hire outside companies for janitorial services. Powerhomebiz.com explains that the worth of janitorial businesses is highly lucrative, estimated at $128 billion in 2008. Starting a janitor business requires heavy-duty equipment, licensing, and staff.
A third option is upholstery and carpet cleaning services. In this operation, you are responsible for removing stains from couches, drapes, restoration from water damage or smoke, and eliminating odors from furniture.
Get all necessary supplies. Purchase cleaning supplies for baths and tubs, bleach, glass cleaner, wood polisher, and all-purpose stain-remover. Gather tools to assist with floor cleaning, like mops, brooms, vacuums, and carpet cleaners. Buy scrubbers like sponges and brushes. Get protective gear like cleaning gloves. If your service is janitorial, invest in floor waxers and other industrial-sized machinery.
If you hire employees, supplies will include uniforms and, potentially, vehicles. Opening an office will require additional supplies like fax machines, computers, and telephones.
Hire and train workers. Write a manual outlining cleaning methods and techniques. Create a checklist of things that need cleaning that are often overlooked, like the top of the refrigerator and baseboards. Train your employees on space and privacy considerations, like the appropriateness of cleaning inside drawers and closets.
Also train workers on how to use all cleaning supplies. For example, employees should know to clean sinks with a bristle brush and use a cleaning solution with bleach. Standardize cleaning operations to create uniformity. Smartmoney.com indicates that a common frustration of clients is the lack of consistency among house cleaners, who often focus on speed rather than quality.
Smartmoney.com also recommends being very careful when hiring: do not pay maids under the table, and perform background checks to avoid hiring illegal workers.
Determine payment information. Charge an hourly rate, per room, or charge based on the size of the house. Assess the needs of the customers beforehand. Ask how many rooms will be cleaned, and try to provide an estimate. A filthy house will clearly require more hours than a moderately clean house that needs dusting and basic upkeep, but such information will likely remain unknown until you arrive.
Entrepreneur.com suggests using invoices as a method of advertising. Offer coupons and updates on all receipts.