Have you been sitting on a really good idea for a cleaning business for a while? If you’ve been considering creating your own cleaning business, but aren’t quite sure where to start or what to do, don’t worry. We can help point you in the right direction. We’ve put together a few of our best tips for starting your cleaning business the right way, along with a few helpful answers to some popular questions.
10 Steps to Start
However soon you’re planning on executing your grand business plan, you’ll want to make sure everything is in place before you hit the ground running. There are certainly a few minor details to consider, but there can also be some pretty big and important things you may not have thought about yet. Here are some basic steps to take to help you get organized and make sense of the big picture when starting your new cleaning business:
1. Do Your Research
Starting a business from the ground up can take a lot of time and effort from everyone involved, especially if you’re doing it on your own. The best way to get started when creating a plan for your own business is by doing extensive research on the market you’ll be entering. You should definitely ask for help anytime you can. Do this by asking friends and family to see what they would look for from a cleaning company and find out what kind of services you can offer to set you apart from other businesses. Ask yourself some general questions and see what answers you find through research. Here are a few sample questions you can look into:
- What cleaning services are most popular?
- Do I need any training to start a cleaning business?
- What are the best and safest cleaning products to use?
- What kind of business model should my cleaning business use?
- Are there any regulations for cleaning businesses in my state/city?
- Do I need to set up a bank account for my cleaning business?
- How much money do I need to start a cleaning business?
- What is the best way to market my new cleaning business?
2. Build Your Business Plan
This particular step, while not a requirement, can be very helpful when you’re first starting out. Think of your business plan as a way to map out the road ahead of you. It is a way to stay organized and on track when everything starts to come together and ends up in a jumbled mess in front of you. It helps you to avoid any mistakes or poor financial planning and overall boosts your business’s chance of success. You can be as thorough or as straightforward as you deem necessary, whatever works the best for you and your business is sure to make a difference. There are many online services and courses, as well as downloadable templates, that can help you build your business plan and map out your future. Be sure to be thorough and precise when you’re making your plan so that you can limit the surprises that may be ahead of you.
3. Determine Your Business Model
Before making any big moves for your business, you should make sure you know the kind of business model you intend on using. There are several different models to choose from, so here is a brief overview of the most common models:
- LLC (Limited Liability Company) – LLCs are businesses that sort of mixes the taxes of sole proprietorships or partnerships with the liabilities of a corporation. This particular model is a private company model that is specific to the United States.
- Sole Proprietorship – Sole proprietorship is pretty self-explanatory. They are owned and operated by a single person who also holds liability for the business as a whole. This is usually the most popular business model.
- Partnership – Partnerships are also fairly simple and similar to sole proprietorships. The main difference is that the business is owned and operated by multiple people who also share liability for the company.
- Corporation – Corporations are business models that allow the business to exist separate from the owners. This generally means that the company operates as its own entity and is held liable for itself rather than by its founders.
You will need to know what kind of business model you will be using in order to make any big decisions for your company. This information is also required when you are ready to register and or trademark your business.
4. Start Saving Early
You’ll want to have a solid chunk of change set aside for when you’re ready to start building your new business. Whether this means asking friends or family for help or taking out loans is up to you and your financial capabilities. It’s best to figure out the initial costs and expenses ahead of time so that you’ll have a rough idea of how much you’ll need to save or borrow. Start building that nest egg as soon as possible too, so that when you’re ready you won’t have to scramble to find the money.
5. Find Your Strengths & Practice
As with most businesses, you should know what you have to offer your future clients. We mentioned earlier that you’ll want to offer services that set you apart from other cleaning businesses, now is the time to figure out what those services will be. Figure out what you are best at, develop a level of expertise, and practice your efficiency so that when you’re ready to find clients you’ll have something great to offer them. Work to get your skills up before opening so you’ll be providing the best quality of service from the start. One of the best ways to get the practice in is by working the first few cleaning jobs for your company on your own. Not only will you be minimizing costs, but you will also be able to build relationships and network more efficiently with clients. Plus you will also be able to figure out what processes work best for your business as well as for your clients. You can also take this time to figure out what kinds of products you work best with and what products work best for your individual clients. Will you be using more environmentally friendly green products? Or are you going to be focusing more on product efficiency and power? Taking time to figure out what works and what doesn’t will ultimately help you save money in the future as well as let your future clients know that you’re willing to go above and beyond to find what works.
6. Determine Your Target Clientele
What services are in demand around your area? Will you be focusing on residential cleaning services or commercial services? When you were researching ahead of building your business plan, what services were in demand around you? Asking these questions will help you to determine the type of clients you’ll be looking for and marketing towards. While broad marketing can be great for well-established businesses, smaller and newer businesses benefit from more specific and selective clients in order to build a reputation. Knowing the kinds of clients you will be taking on will also help you to figure out the pricing and fees your business can charge. Will you be charging hourly or at a flat rate? Will you charge by room or by square foot? Can you offer your clients any special services or discounts? Keep these things in mind as you determine your client base, they will become increasingly important over time.
7. Handle the Legal Side
The legalities of starting a business are the most time-consuming aspects to tackle. This includes naming and registering your business, obtaining licensing and permits, determining your business model, finding company insurance, and even hiring and setting up benefits for employees. While this is certainly not the most glamorous side of starting a business, it is the most important. The risk of facing any legal fees without the proper registration or insurance can create huge problems for the future of a small business. If you’re completely lost and have no idea where to start when it comes to managing the legalities of your new cleaning business, don’t worry we know it can be pretty complicated. We’ll go more in-depth with insurance and licensing later.
8. Set the Budget
Another important aspect of establishing your new cleaning business is creating a budget. By establishing what the business’s expenses will be you’ll be able to plan for the future of your business. You’ll need to account for things like transportation, supplies and equipment, marketing, employees, and taxes. Make sure you also consider creating a rainy-day fund for any potential surprise fees, necessary repairs for broken equipment, and fuel. When considering the budget, you should also consider whether you will be asking your clients to provide cleaning supplies or if you will be supplying them yourself. If you plan to supply them yourself, here is a general list of the most common supplies and equipment used by cleaning businesses:
|Mop and broom||Multi-purpose cleaner|
|Extendable duster||Toilet cleaner|
|Cleaning rags or cloths||Disinfectant solution or spray|
|Sponges||Hard water or soap scum spray|
|Trash bags||Spray bottle|
|Carpet cleaner||Rubber gloves|
Remember that because you’re just starting out, you won’t have to get everything on that list right away. Plan ahead what kinds of jobs you can accomplish before you have a full arsenal of cleaning supplies so that you can still get your first few jobs done and done right the first time.
9. Manage the Marketing
Now that your business has a name and funding for marketing, it’s time to put those to use. Creating a website for potential clients to browse and book services through is a good starting point for small businesses, but how can clients find the website if they don’t know who you are? Post flyers and leave business cards at local businesses, ask friends and family to refer you to others, create social media, and encourage first-time discounts or referral coupons. Any creative way you can draw in new clients is sure to make a difference. Stick to a budget when you first start the business, and over time you’ll be able to expand marketing as the business grows.
When you’re stuck trying to figure out what kind of marketing strategy would be best for your business, check out some online advertising platforms and software. There are many great options with flexible pricing available, you’re sure to find a service that matches your vision as well as your budget. Some platforms that support business analytics and functions can also manage marketing, so be on the look out for multi-function software to save you some money in the long run.
10. Establish a Reputation
In order to encourage and maintain steady growth within your business, you’ll want to build a positive repertoire with your clients. Satisfied and repeat customers are the best way to create a good reputation within your community, especially as you are just starting out. Having a reputation and a loyal customer base can create a growing network that can increase profits as well as stability for your business. This works especially well if you start your cleaning business by taking on the initial cleaning jobs yourself so that you can build relationships with your clients and establish connections and network through them. Building a web of clients with the help of others is one of the best and most effective ways to grow a new business.
Obtaining a License for Your Cleaning Business
Now that you have a general idea of the steps you’ll need to follow to get started, you probably have some questions, especially about the legal details like licenses and insurance. Here are a few things to consider when looking into business licenses and insurance:
Should I Hire a Lawyer for my Business?
While having a lawyer handy can be extraordinary useful, it is not a requirement. However, many small businesses do employ business lawyers to help them in the beginning when they are just starting out. It could be worth looking into if you’d like the extra help navigating the complications and jargon of the legal world.
Why is a Business License Important?
In order to legally operate as a business, no matter how small it may be, you need a license. Business licenses are usually given by the city or state your company is based out of.
Where and How Do You Obtain a Business License?
You can almost always find all the information you need on your state or local city’s website. Depending on what the local or state requirements are for you, you may need to pay a fee and file a good amount of paperwork. Remember that you’ll also have to renew your business license annually.
What Do I Need for a Business License?
While the required information to obtain a business license can be different based on your location, here is some of the most common information you will be expected to have:
- Business name, location, and address
- Name, address, and social security information for owners or partners
- Type of business structure you’ll be using (LLC, Corporation, Partnership, etc.)
- Employer Identification Number
- Type of business tax
- If you are in the United States, Canada, or Mexico, you will likely need a NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) Code
Why is Cleaning Business Insurance Important?
When you own and operate a cleaning business, you run the risk of accidents happening and lawsuits following closely behind. Not only can having insurance save you tons of money and headaches in the future, but it’s also actually required in many places, especially in the United States.
Is Business Insurance Expensive?
The overall cost of business insurance can vary. One specific policy can have different prices based on the insurance company you’re looking into. There are also a few things that can impact how much a policy costs. Things like the types of policies your business needs, the coverage your business needs, or the type of business you own can impact the overall price of a policy or a bundle of policies. Be sure to shop around and see what companies have policies that fit your business’s needs the most, also remember to inquire about price matching or discounts.
Are There Different Types of Business Insurance?
Yes! There are a handful of different types of insurance you can have for your cleaning business. Here are the most common types of business insurance you could get:
- General Liability – This is probably the most important insurance a business could have. It covers bodily and personal injury as well as property damage, so you can see how it could really come in handy for a cleaning business.
- Tool and Equipment Coverage – This particular type of insurance works well if you plan to use any heavy-duty cleaning equipment. It will protect your business if any of the covered equipment is broken or stolen so that you won’t have to pay out of pocket to replace it.
- Commercial Auto Insurance – Whether you’re using a registered company vehicle or your own personal vehicle when you transport your equipment and employees, you’ll want some commercial auto insurance. Or, if your employees drive or rent vehicles themselves, you’ll need to look into hired and non-owned auto insurance.
- Workers’ Comp – This insurance helps cover medical fees and lost wages due to work-related injuries. This insurance is required for most workplaces if you have employees.
How Do I Know Which Type of Insurance I Need?
When considering which type of insurance you’ll need for your cleaning business there are a few things to consider when shopping around
- Your business structure
- Whether you will be hiring employees or not
- If you’ll be using any expensive or heavy-duty equipment
- If you or your employees will be using a company vehicle or your own vehicle
If you haven’t found all the answers, that’s alright. Remember that it’s okay not to have all the answers right away, and that you have time to research and uncover the information you need. Whether you continue your internet scavenger hunt or have a friend who has a mind for all things financial, don’t be afraid to use the resources you have at your disposal.
Ready to Get Started?
Before you cross to the next stage of executing your business plans, allow us to leave you with a few extra tips for your future:
- When setting up a website or social media presence, consider researching some business software that you can work with and make available for clients to easily book and schedule appointments. This software can also help you keep track of client names and addresses, manage invoices, and track business analytics for you.
- When you’re first starting out, keep your rates flexible so that your profits can be maximized over time. However, don’t forget to reward longtime customers with discounts for continued services or referrals. Once your profits start to grow, you can start think about the bigger picture of the business and consider what you can reinvest the money into. Whether it is hiring more employees, training the employees you have, switching to a better software, or putting more into marketing, figure out what your business could benefit from and put in the effort.
Now that you have some solid building blocks and a rough idea of where to start, you’re well on your way to starting your new cleaning business. It will be a long road ahead of you, but cleaning businesses are in fairly high demand so we trust that you’ll work your way to the top in no time. Remember to stay on top of client relationships and maximizing those profits and you’re sure to reach your goals.
Are you planning on starting your own cleaning business in your area? Do you have any questions about cleaning businesses you think we might be able to help you with? Leave a comment with your questions or offer your own advice in the comments below. You can also contact us to see how our Chicago maid service can help you answer some questions, or check out our blog for some helpful cleaning tips and tricks. We know starting a new business can be daunting and often overwhelming, allow us to take a load off for you and help you make the most of your plan.