If you have decided to start a cleaning business, you are likely seeking advice regarding how to make your business successful. By getting insider information from those who have already created a cleaning business, you can start your new business with a solid foundation and a better understanding of what you can expect. We have put together our top 4 pieces of advice for starting a cleaning business.
The most important cleaning business advice includes:
1. Pay Close Attention to Details
2. Provide Consistent Communication to Clients
3. Regularly Evaluate Your Hourly Rate or Flat Fee
4. Know What to Expect for Different Types of Cleaning Jobs
Pay Close Attention to Details
When your clients hire you to clean their home or commercial building, they are expecting to get a high value in exchange for the fee that they pay you. Your clients want to know that their space will be thoroughly cleaned and will often be paying close attention to the job once it is done. To keep your customers happy and repeating business, it is important to pay close attention to detail when it comes to the cleaning you or your staff members do.
For professional cleaning jobs, the cleaning should be a lot more in-depth than cleaning you would do casually around your own home. For example: When you are dusting furniture or wiping down a counter, make sure to pick up each object and wipe under the object as well. You want to be careful to not miss any spots when cleaning places like the floor. Don’t forget to wipe down every electrical outlet and light switch! As you’re cleaning, you want to have an eye on all spaces in the building that you are cleaning. If you regularly miss spots that may need to be cleaned, your client will be less likely to repeat business in the future.
If you are cleaning rental properties or completing move out cleanings, there are various details you will want to pay closer attention to. Landlords will often first look at the baseboards, under kitchen appliances and in the corners of each room. These areas give the landlord an idea of how clean the rest of the space will likely be.
When hiring new cleaning staff, we have witnessed new team members not understanding how in-depth the cleaning needs to be for a professional cleaning job! If the new hire has not worked in the professional cleaning industry previously, they are likely only familiar with how they clean their own homes and may not have done a deep cleaning before. We advise you to give your new cleaning professionals a clear description of the level of cleaning you expect to be done. This will ensure both you and your employees are on the same page, which ultimately results in higher client satisfaction.
Provide Consistent Communication to Clients
Communication is key for operating any type of business and this is especially true for cleaning businesses. It is important to communicate well before you arrive at the cleaning job, during the actual cleaning and after the cleaning has been completed. You want to make sure that your communication is clear and easy to understand.
Before the cleaning takes place, you want to ensure you communicate regarding the date and time you will be arriving, how long you expect the cleaning to take and an estimate for what the cleaning will cost. During the cleaning, you want to communicate if any situations arise that need the client’s attention or if you are unsure about what needs to be done. It is better to ask questions than to assume and be incorrect, which can result in your client being unsatisfied. After you clean your client’s home multiple times, you will become more familiar with what they like and are looking for.
After the cleaning job has been completed, you will need to communicate with the client to collect payment. You also want to follow up and make sure the client is happy with the job that was done. The follow-up process is important to ensuring your client repeats business in the future. By having clear communication, you will build better relationships with your clients and will continue to build a strong client base going forward.
Regularly Evaluate Your Hourly Rate or Flat Fee
Your hourly rate or flat fee is not a price you set once and then never look at again. To operate a successful cleaning business, we advise you to regularly evaluate the hourly rate or flat fee you use. This should be done at least every 6 months, if not more frequently. By evaluating your rate, you ensure that your business stays in the positive and that your rate is also competitive for your area.
We witnessed one specific cleaning business that did not evaluate or raise their hourly rate for 7 years of being in business! By not looking at their hourly rate and increasing what they were charging, they were charging a price that was extremely low for their area. By evaluating their hourly rate and raising it once the competitive rate in their area became higher, the business could have been bringing in more profits. Ignoring your hourly rate can cost you down the road.
Another important reason to evaluate your hourly rates or fees is that your expenses will be changing over time as well. If your expenses are steadily increasing, it is important to really analyze your hourly rate and see if you need to increase it too. If your expenses continue to grow and the money coming in doesn’t increase, this will result in your business finances going in the negative. With your finances in the negative, your business will ultimately not be successful or last long term!
Your hourly rate is one of the most important aspects of your business and will ultimately determine the success your business has. We advise you to not be afraid of charging rates that are competitive for your area. Professional cleaning is a service that is in high demand in most areas and clients are willing to pay fair prices!
Know What to Expect for Different Types of Cleaning Jobs
When it comes to starting a cleaning business, there are various types of cleaning jobs you can choose to specialize in or complete. You can do residential cleaning, commercial cleaning (like office buildings), new construction type spaces and rental properties (or move out cleaning in general). Before you decide what type of cleaning you want to do, we recommend knowing what to expect first for each type of cleaning job.
The easiest type of cleaning to complete is residential cleaning jobs where a family currently lives in the home. Residential is often the easiest type of cleaning since someone is regularly in the home, doing basic upkeep. For some of these clients, you will even be cleaning on a consistent schedule like once a month. This means you know the house is well maintained. Most of us are proud of our homes and want to keep it in decent shape. The client cares a lot more deeply about the space when it comes to residential cleaning. Depending on the size of the home, residential cleaning will often take the least amount of time to complete each job.
Next on the list is commercial cleaning, specifically office buildings. In our opinion, office buildings are the second easiest to clean. Office buildings generally have more people in them regularly than a home does (depending on the size of the office). Office buildings can also be a lot larger than homes with little to no regular upkeep done, resulting in more cleaning you will need to complete. A commercial cleaning client will likely need you to come back more frequently than the average residential cleaning client as well.
One last factor to keep in mind for commercial cleaning jobs is you will need more staff members than you do for residential cleaning. If you are cleaning a small home, the job can often be done with one cleaning person. However, if you are cleaning a large office building, we recommend bringing at least 2-3 cleaners altogether.
In third place on our list is rental properties or general move out cleaning. We have placed these types of jobs third on the list because it is difficult to know what condition to expect the space to be in. We have seen all variations when it comes to rental properties! Some can be relatively easy to clean, and others can be left in terrible shape. If you are considering working with a specific property management company, we advise you to do your research on the types of places they manage.
If the spaces they rent out are on the cheaper end and require small deposits upfront, you should be prepared to see spaces left in bad condition. These types of places are going to be time-consuming and a lot more work. We recommend always taking a minimum of two cleaners for these types of places. Depending on the size, you could need 3 cleaners.
If the spaces are expensive to rent or have large deposits required, you have a higher chance that the renter will do some cleaning before they move out. These types of places are a lot easier to complete, from our experience. Depending on the size (if it’s not too large), these places can even be done with 1-2 cleaners.
The most difficult type of cleaning jobs is new construction or remodeled spaces. This is mainly due to the amount of leftover debris that will be surrounding the area. When a building has recently been redone, it can take hours to sweep all the sawdust off the floor. If you don’t get all the sawdust off the floor, it will result in the floor not looking completely clean after you mop. Depending on the quality of the construction workers, they can also leave behind paint splatters on the floor, which can be time-consuming to remove.
Our main advice for new construction spaces is there is a lot more work to be done than you would originally assume! Most of us would think the cleaning job would be easy since the building is new, and no one occupies the space yet. However, there are components like sawdust that you don’t realize can be extremely time-consuming.
Starting a cleaning business may seem overwhelming, but you will be off to a great start by following our top 4 pieces of advice above. Overall, starting a cleaning business is a profitable and rewarding career choice! It provides variety by being able to choose the type of cleaning you will focus on. You also get the pleasure of knowing that you are providing your clients with a valuable service!
How do I know what to charge my clients for my new cleaning business?
When you are deciding on your hourly rate or a flat fee for your new cleaning business, it is important to first look at your specific location. We recommend calling 5 local cleaning companies near you to see what they are currently charging. You can either ask them for their hourly rate or provide an estimate to clean your home. By evaluating the rates you gather from the 5 companies, you will get an idea of what the average hourly rates for professional cleaning are in your market.
You want to ensure that your hourly rate or flat fee is competitive for your area, but you also want to consider your business expenses! If you don’t add up your business expenses before deciding on a rate, you are taking a chance of setting a rate that is too low and won’t cover the cost of your expenses.
Do I need to get insurance for my new cleaning business?
Yes, we always recommend getting insurance for a new cleaning business. Even if it is not required in the area that you are cleaning in, insurance will protect both you and your business. If an accident happens while you are cleaning for a client and damage is caused, your insurance will help you cover the cost of the damages. If you don’t have insurance, you could end up being fully responsible for covering the cost of all the damages. This is a chance you don’t want to take!
Another benefit of insurance is your clients will see you as more credible! It is very common for a potential client to first ask if you are insured before trusting you to clean their home or commercial building.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
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