The Basics of Getting Started in the Cleaning Industry (Commercial & Residential)

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Cleaning services, both for homes and apartments, are becoming increasingly common. Having both parents in the workforce is a significant factor in this phenomenon. The overworked family can’t find the time to tidy up. You can capitalize on their urge to raise their income by starting a business.

Ten years ago, this industry mainly catered to the wealthy; those who could afford to hire someone else to clean their homes but didn’t want to do it themselves. However, the demographic makeup of the market has shifted to accommodate many middle-class families in all residential areas around the country. There is a sizable audience among those who live in apartments. This company has expanded rapidly and offers as much opportunity for financial success as any other.

Although women have long dominated the cleaning industry, males are increasingly breaking stereotypes by successfully organizing, launching, and running their own house and apartment cleaning enterprises. It’s perfect for the eager entrepreneur who wants to get started but doesn’t have a ton of capital. In reality, you can launch this enterprise in your local community, using the resources at hand.

Many innovative housewives are already engaging in this sort of activity on a modest scale. The demand for this help is constantly increasing. It is possible to organize your efforts into a business that generates $40,000 or more per year, and you can get started for about $100 by investing your profits back into the company at every opportunity.

There is typically no need for prior experience. Cleaning tasks such as dusting, vacuuming, making beds, and removing trash are common knowledge. However, you must decide if cleaning and organizing a home is meaningful and inspiring labor. Don’t get involved in this field if you think it’s beneath you or tedious.

Setting a fair price for your services will be an ongoing struggle. Eventually, you’ll figure it out. How much you charge is entirely up to you, your services, and the quality of your work. The first step is to calculate how much money you must spend each week to get by. Divide that sum by the number of hours you plan to work each week. Then, factor in the costs of daycare, transportation, supplies, repairs, insurance, and so on that you’ll incur working that many hours and any time you’ll need to rest or recuperate due to illness or mechanical failure.

Most cleaning businesses charge between $20 and $30 (USD) per hour per person, but you shouldn’t charge less than $12.00 to $15.00 (USD) per hour per person on a project. This is only a generalization; conditions may vary considerably in many locations across the United States and beyond.

So, to illustrate:
Building a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a family room, foyer, kitchen, dining area, hallways, and stairs would cost around $600,000. Take four labor hours if there is not a lot of clutter (always consider the amount of clutter and how dirty/dusty the home is when creating an estimate). Work hours equal the total time required multiplied by the number of cleaners needed to complete the task. Such like… For example, if the job requires four hours of labor, it would take one person four hours, two people two hours, three people 1.33 hours, etc. My book does not accept a rate of less than $15.00 per hour. If you charged $15.00 per hour, the total cost of each visit would be $60.00. This work would cost $80.00 at $20.00 per hour.

Be sure to charge enough to cover the costs of providing the service you intend to offer. A potential buyer who bargains with you on price is not good. You shouldn’t compete on price with other businesses; instead, focus on providing superior service. Never let price be more of a selling point than the quality of your job!
Quality cleaning firms that provide their materials and equipment should expect to charge higher rates from their clientele. If you’re utilizing your gear, you must invest time and energy to discover the best options. Those consumers highly value using well-known brands in people’s homes and workplaces.

Customers will assume higher prices due to your business’s insurance coverage. Insurance is well spent if you want to protect yourself and your business from financial loss due to theft, fire, or natural disaster. It’s a great marketing strategy, too.

Remember… Promote value, not low prices.

A word of advice: try accommodating customers’ timetables when offering services.

Weekly means every week

Biweekly means once every two weeks.

Monthly means every four weeks, not every month on the first.

Among the tools and resources you may want to invest in are the following:

Attachments for your vacuum cleaner or at least two separate vacuums

Towels, Paper

Rags made of terrycloth

Polishing Furniture

Glass polish

Universal Cleaner

A cleanser for the Shower or Tub

Cleans Bowls of Toilets

Comet-like abrasive cleaner

– Sponges (you might use sponges with both a rough and a smooth side).

A Dusting Feather

Caddy (to transport everything)

And everything else you may require to carry out your service offerings

You’ll also need to launch an advertising campaign. The Internet and newspaper classifieds are usually people’s first stops. You can receive leads quickly and cheaply by advertising in the Cleaning Service Directory (www.house-cleaning-services.com).

It’s also worth noting that customers are willing to pay more for reputable cleaning services. Put ads in the local paper and tell people to check out your website. Visitors to your website can learn more about your business, check out your credentials, read customer testimonials, and learn about any additional services you offer. A website is one of the most efficient and inexpensive types of advertising available around the clock. Getting your brand out there will increase recognition and instill trust that your business is legitimate. Visit http://www.modernconcepts.org to learn more about how to take your business online.

In addition, you may print up flyers like these:

CLEANING SERVICES FOR HOUSES AND APARTMENTS

We’ll handle everything while you kick back and enjoy life.
You’re offered the top position in town at reasonable pay.
We promise your complete satisfaction at all times!
To learn more,
The number to reach Jane Doe at ABC Cleaning Services is 123-4567.

If you need a flier, consider this…
You can find “fade out” graph paper, transfer (rub-on) letters, a glue stick, and maybe even a Clip Art book at your local stationery store.

Please remove these items from the dining room table and transport them home. Put some temporary tape on the four corners of a sheet of graph paper and lay it flat on the table. The next step is to use a pencil and a ruler to draw a five-inch-by-six-inch rectangle inside the grid lines. When you’re done, your flyer will be this big.

Find a Clip Art illustration of a stressed-out housewife occupied with cleaning supplies, a vacuum, or some other appliance. Please remove this paper section, and adhere it to the rectangle’s top left corner using the glue stick. Then, using regular white typing paper, create a message with the heading “HOME OR CLEANING” and transfer it. Use a new ribbon, preferably a black carbon one, and write in all capitals. Remove this strip and glue it onto your graph paper directly underneath your headline. Then, paste up the “For details, call Sue: 123-4567” part of your message using transfer letters nearly twice as large as your typewriter type. You can take it to the printer when you snip a few border flourishes from your Clip Art book and glue them below your action line.

In essence, you now have a professional advertising “billboard.” You can shop around in your area, especially with the advertising classes at your local colleges, but in most cases, they won’t do any better than you can do on your own, using the instructions we’ve just given you. They’ll charge you between $50 and $100.

Once this promotional flyer is complete, get roughly 200 copies produced at a nearby rapid print shop. Two copies should fit on a regular 8 1/2 x 11 sheet, and it shouldn’t cost more than $10 to send 100 sheets of paper through the press. You can get 200 copies of the promotional flyer by having the printer cut them in two using his machine cutter for a small additional fee.

The next step is to grab a package of thumbtacks and distribute these fliers anywhere they are allowed: at grocery stores, laundromats, beauty parlors, office building lounges, cafeterias, and post offices.

Taking care of clients…
Have your appointment book and a pen ready when a potential client calls. Act outgoing and upbeat. Describe your daily routine, including making the beds, vacuuming, dusting, polishing, and cleaning the bathroom.
Cleaning and doing laundry. Or, whatever you’ve agreed upon as your policy, everything but the dishes and the laundry. Tell them that you need to see the house to provide an accurate cost estimate. Then, without any hesitation, please inquire whether 4:30 or 5:30 this afternoon would be better for them. If you don’t specifically request a time to present your price proposal, the decision may be delayed, and you may end up with a “no sale.”

Ask for contact information when you’ve settled on a time to present your price proposal and write it into your calendar.

Write all this down on a 3×5 card and label it: Prospective Customer along with the date. This card is then placed in a card file for long-term storage. Once you have collected a sizable list of names, addresses, and phone numbers, there are hundreds of ways to transform your prospect file into revenue.

Always be punctual when meeting with a prospect in person. Being a few minutes early is not a big deal, but being late could cost you the sale. Be neat at all times. Get into the attire of a wealthy entrepreneur. Act assured and sure of yourself; know your stuff, and have a firm grasp on the prospect’s problems and desires. Do not accept any beverage, not even coffee, from the opportunity before you have a signed contract in your briefcase. This includes smoking.

After making a transaction, the most significant thing to do is to thank the consumer, shake hands, and then depart. After a sale, it’s OK to chat casually, but you shouldn’t become too close to the customer. By keeping the relationship on a professional level, you make an excellent first impression and keep it.

Gather your appointment book, calculator, carbon paper, and a ruled tablet used by primary school kids before heading out to produce your cost estimate. A clipboard and regular paper might be the most convenient setup, folks.
Carbon. In the future, you might find it helpful to print up generic checklists tailored to each area of the home, leaving room for any additional notes or clarifications.

Be organized, complete, and professional as you lead the prospect through the tasks he or she wants to be completed, such as, “Now, you want the carpet vacuumed and all the furniture dusted and those two end tables, coffee table, and piano polished as well, I assume?”

Simply label the sheet of paper with the room’s name, then walk the prospect through the various stages of cleaning that room, making sure to cover every surface. Insinuating that they need to get things “ready for company” will likely prompt the client to
Don’t worry about the price; I need you to finish the work. Check each area one last time before leaving, and if you can’t think of anything else to write down, ask the potential client if there’s anything else you need to know before you leave.

Return to the kitchen and sit at the table after showing the prospect every room in the house. Gather your thoughts on how long it will take to finish each task in each space and add them. Add up how long you spent in each room.
You should assume that the average individual will need an additional 15 minutes to complete the carpet installation if you can finish it in 15. Time each room in hours and tenths of hours using the total minutes spent there. Take the sum of the times it will take to clean each room and apply it to the entire house.

You have a quick conversation with your customer, during which you express your amazement at how she manages to get everything done at home in addition to working full time. The ability to accomplish the work in four instead of six hours would take most individuals, plus some small talk and a quick mental assessment of the customer’s ability to pay.

Here’s an example of a conversation you might have with a potential client:

To paraphrase the ad copy, “Well, Mrs. Johnson, you certainly have enough routine cleaning work to keep you busy all day, every day of the week! I certainly don’t know how you do it, but anyway, we’ll take this whole problem off your shoulders, save you time, and give you time to relax. We charge $100 for monthly visits or $80.00 for biweekly visits.

I get how exhausted you may feel after a long day at the office. If you’re anything like me, the thought of doing all this housekeeping can make you want to disappear. We’ll clean the house and take out the trash from now on.
You may have a spotless home that is visitor-ready at a fraction of the current cost of your time, effort, and stress. And we promise that you will be pleased with the results. For $75, you can check out our cleaning service once, but if you hire us regularly, we’ll save you $15 per visit.”

As you do so, you inform her, “Actually, I have an opening at 8:30 on Tuesday morning.” You then proceed to find the time in your schedule. It’s possible that we could come in and clean the entire house every other Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. before you get home from work.

After establishing that Tuesdays at 8:30 am works for the client, you ask if she would instead be billed after each cleaning or every month.
Cleaning services once every three months at no cost.

Now that you have a paying client, you should strive to keep every day of the month booked solid with recurring work until you reach the point where you can afford to expand.

Don’t be daunted by the prospect of growth; hiring employees, increasing the number of products or services on offer, and increasing revenue are all part of the expansion process. After all, you went into business to make money, so you shouldn’t overextend yourself.

If you like, you may run this entire enterprise from the convenience of your home with nothing more than a phone, desk, and filing cabinets.

The first people you hire should be cleaners, and you should structure your staff so that they work in pairs or small teams (two people for tasks that don’t require dishwashing or laundry, three for those that do) as soon as possible.

If you hire and train a few people to work as a cleaning crew, you can pay them slightly more than minimum wage and expect them to finish each job in two hours or less. You can also promote your business by having magnetic signs for the sides of the cars your employees use for transportation and placing them strategically.
From the company’s fleet of vans and pickup trucks.

One person cleans the bathrooms and kitchen, another person dusts and polishes the furniture, and a third person does the laundry and gets it started and then cleans the kitchen and does the dishes. Each team should have a designated team leader responsible for the quality and overall completeness of each job assigned to that team.

You can expect your team leaders to contact you every afternoon to confirm the following day’s work schedule and to assemble the crew, cleaning supplies, and equipment at the job site in the morning. Before leaving each job site, you should also provide your team leaders with a stack of “hand-out” advertising flyers to distribute in the local community or apartment complex.
You should only use a display ad in the yellow pages of your phone book for additional advertising.

Drill your teams to speed up their operations to make the system work even better; just as firemen exercise and practice to become better at what they do, you should drill your staff as a team in cleaning chores.

As the organizer, and person assigning teams to jobs, it will behoove you to locate, line up, and post-employment as closely as possible. Continue your efforts to reduce the time it takes for your crew to move from one position to the next.

You can encourage word-of-mouth advertising by offering referral discounts or other incentives, such as a $5 discount on the customer’s next cleaning bill, or by including a special notice on the back of your business card (to be left as each job is completed) thanking the customer for their referral.

Have fun!!

**Note: You are solely responsible for the proper operation and maintenance of your business; we assume no liability for the contents of this document. As such, you should exercise your good judgment and be accountable for your actions.

Read also: Beginning A New Business – Have You Got What It Takes?