Picking Prime Operating Hours for a Cleaning Business

Cleaning businesses tend to operate around everyone else’s schedule, so offering a 9-5 window to get things done might not be the best approach, depending on your specialty. You need to optimize your availability while making it possible to maintain a regular sleep schedule to stay healthy and sane. As far as when to make yourself available, it depends on both the services offered and what your clients need.

We’ve broken down four ways to pick prime operating hours for a cleaning business.

  1. Night Shift
  2. 24 Hours
  3. Off-Peak
  4. Day Shift

Night shift

This is a super popular and successful operating window, and clients really appreciate cleaning getting done around their busy schedules.

Since the vast majority of commercial clients need you to step in when they step out for the day, the night shift often works best for cleaning businesses. You’re able to move freely and without interruption, there’s no one present to undo your work or extra bodies that could potentially slip on a wet floor. Less liability is always welcome.

Pros of Night Shift:

  • You can generally charge more
  • Roads are less crowded, making travel faster
  • Less time needed to take off for doctor’s appointments and such

Cons of Night Shift:

  • Many people struggle to operate at these hours
  • Can take a toll on social life
  • Has negative long-term health effects

With all that said, many people thrive working a night shift. Not only is it good money, but it also matches their personality and daily rhythm.

You are also able to charge more for night work because most people don’t like the graveyard shift. Higher wages helps attract and retain willing employees, too. Night shifts can potentially save on travel expenses since the roads are clearer if you live in a high-traffic area.

Another perk is that you work when most people don’t, which opens up the part of the day you’re awake to get errands done, hit the dentist and other appointments you’d otherwise have to take time off to squeeze in. This converts to fewer wages lost and more sick/vacation days used for their intended purposes.

Pro tip: since night shifts are shown to take a toll on your health, here are a few ways to stay in peak condition:

  • Transition slowly from day to night, if you can
  • Enlist the help of friends, family, and/or automated services for misc. life tasks, like groceries and bill paying
  • Minimize alcohol intake
  • Get some sunlight every day, while awake
  • Develop a healthy sleep routine and environment

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24 Hours

Having your doors open 24/7 creates huge moneymaking opportunities, along with extra chances to increase customer satisfaction.

If you clean homes and someone had a dog puke disaster the day before a big party (it happens), being able to deploy a crew at a moment’s notice for the panicking family, you just solved their problem, made them extremely happy and grateful, and probably customers for life.

Yes, you have to have the resources and employees available to operate around the clock. The longer you’re open, the more expensive it gets to run your cleaning business. Choosing to go 24/7 takes careful planning, along with gauging whether the region you operate in needs your services around the clock.

Pros of 24/7:

  • More ways to make money
  • More ways to satisfy clients
  • You’re keeping up with the current business trends
  • You can keep up with client demand

Cons of 24/7:

  • Costs more to staff
  • More work for you to manage

Technically, you can structure your business to give the look of being open 24/7 if you have a website and a call service to book appointments for you. As millennials and Gen Xers age into the workforce and run businesses of their own, booking appointments and shopping is happening more and more via apps and websites.

You don’t have to be a big company or spend exorbitant amounts of money to be a 24/7 cleaning business. Still, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2.3 million jobs in the cleaning sector as of 2016. The field is expected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026. That’s great news for you.


Off-peak simply means you work around everyone else’s workday. The approach somewhat overlaps the night shift since peak hours are during the day. You’re making yourself available from evenings through the early morning.

Pros of Off-Peak:

  • You’re available when most clients need you
  • Increases your chance of landing new clients
  • More ways to make money
  • More ways to satisfy clients
  • You’re keeping up with the current business trends
  • You can keep up with client demand

Cons of Off-Peak:

  • Costs more to staff
  • More work for you to manage
  • Can get complicated to organize workflow

Again, software, a website and having a third party answer the phone for you make operating your cleaning business much more manageable and cost-effective if you choose clean during off-peak hours.

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Day Shift

There is a demand for cleaners to be able to step in when homeowners step out for the day. If you want to specialize in housekeeping or similar, working a day shift may be the best choice.

Operating during daylight hours is the simplest and least emotionally/physiologically demanding on you and your employees.

Pros of Day Shift:

  • You don’t have to adjust your sleeping schedule
  • You’re available when select clients need you
  • Great way to make money
  • Keeps costs down

Cons of Day Shift:

  • Clients may need you outside operating hours
  • Limits jobs you can fulfill
  • Increases need to take days off for personal needs

When choosing your hours of operation, the bottom line is what you can feasibly do without burning out, along with meeting your clients’ needs in ways that encourage them to be repeat customers. As your company grows, so do your availability possibilities, and there’s technology to streamline the process.

If you’re not sure what’s best, experiment when you first start. As you build a client base, a trend will develop where people book you during a certain window. So, if people want you to stop by as soon as they’re out of the house and off to work, then you know a day shift is probably the best fit. However, if everyone’s asking you to come on over as soon as they’re out of work, then you’re looking at night or off-peak hours.

Ultimately, your clients will let you know what they need, so we highly recommend either hiring a receptionist or taking advantage of software that makes booking appointments fast and easy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you have a decent idea of when to plug in the vacuum and get going on a client’s property, here’s a couple of follow-up questions to help your business run smoothly.

Should I hire a receptionist?

Face it. There’s no way you work all night and then stay awake to answer the phone all day. Nor do you want a prospective client’s first impression of you to be a groggy voice. You want to sound awake and ready to work.

To solve this problem, cleaning companies will either hire a receptionist to answer the phone and book appointments while the rest of the world is awake. If you’re just starting out, this may be difficult to afford. Thankfully, there are other options, including software and third parties to make your company available when you’re resting.

In the long run, a receptionist is worth the investment. S/he becomes the positive first impression of your company, and despite society’s growing love of technology, you cannot replace the power and value of human-to-human contact. Clients like and appreciate the feeling of being able to work with a real person to get things done.

What software programs help me book cleaning jobs?

Everything’s going high-tech in this digital age, including cleaning companies. One way to make your company available to clients wherever, whenever, is to use software that makes it quick and easy to set up cleaning appointments. Some software is free, some paid.

Out of the mountain of options, here are three suggestions to help you pick the best one that matches your company’s and clients’ needs:

1. Picktime with key features:

  • 24/7 Online Appointment Booking
  • Secure Client Database
  • Detailed Analytics Reports
  • Book Now Button for your website
  • Add Unlimited Staffs
  • Add Unlimited Services
  • Automatic Appointment Reminders
  • Staff Scheduling
  • Online Scheduling Calendar
  • Staff Role Management

2. Housecall Pro with key features:

  • Scheduling
  • Estimates
  • Online Booking
  • Dispatch
  • GPS
  • Texting
  • Invoicing
  • Follow-up Marketing

3. Jobber with key features:

  • Customer Service
  • Invoicing
  • Payments
  • Scheduling
  • Dispatching
  • Job Management

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Please note that the contents of this blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any action taken based on the information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Additionally, all images used in this blog are generated under the CC0 license of Creative Commons, which means they are free to use for any purpose without attribution.

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