How to Start A Cleaning Business: 11 Simple Steps
While planning and starting a cleaning business, have you asked yourself, how do I start a cleaning business the right way? Well, if you have asked yourself this question you’ve came to the right place. This post (and just about our entire website) goes over all the topics from starting your own cleaning business, to promotion, and so on.
Here’s the deal:
If you want to be financially free and work for yourself, it is totally possible to do with a cleaning business. It is going to take time, effort and dedication, but if you work through it all and keep on taking action with the information you read here on our website, you will get to where you want to be.
Want a video overview of this post before going all in and reading it? Check out my YouTube video that goes over each step:
So if everything sounds good so far and you are still wondering how to start a cleaning business, lets jump right into the first step and get you started shall we?
1. Researching Your Industry
Before starting with anything else, we need to do some serious research.
What exactly do we need to research, and why?
Well, the reason we need to research and look up valuable data related to your cleaning business is for the following reasons:
- Find out who and where your potential clients are (demographics)
- Know where your biggest potential to make money is
- See if it is worth your time and effort to actually start a cleaning business in your area
Research can go on and on, and you should always be researching topics related to your business to keep ahead of your competition. Although, what topics should we be researching and how do we do it?
To start off, you need to figure out some demographics within your area. Demographics are things like the population, gender, age, income, and so on.
Noticed that I bolded ‘population’ and ‘income’? The reason for that is this, they are the two most important facts for us at this point. For one, we need to make sure there are even enough people in our area to supply our services to, otherwise we won’t be able to grow and expand much. Secondly, we need to make sure the average person in your area will be able to afford your cleaning services.
The process of demographic research also includes looking at how many businesses and offices are around your area too. Reason being, if there are a lot of businesses and offices, you may start to consider cleaning for businesses instead of cleaning homes.
To research demographics within your area of business, use the very accurate QuickFacts tool by census.gov. This tool will allow you to put in your state, city, or wherever you may plan to offer your services, and see all the demographics for that specific area. This tool will really let you know who is around you, and this type of information will help later on when you start marketing your services.
Tip: This QuickFacts tool will even allow you to see how many businesses are in your area, so if there seems to be a high ‘business to population ratio’, then this is a good indicator to go for the route of cleaning other businesses and / or offices rather than homes.
Now what? What do I do with all of this information about my area?
Well, with this information we will be able to tell if it will be a viable option to even start a cleaning business. If the population is way too small, and / or the average income is just way too low, most of the population won’t even be able to afford your services, or there will not enough people to even sell too. This situation rarely happens, but if your planned area of servicing is low income or lowly populated, consider offering services in a new area nearby. Cities are really amazing, just to let you know (wink wink).
A lot of people don’t know how much people can afford, but here is something that should help you out when deciding if people in your area will even be able to afford your services.
There is data that is collected on what people spend there money on, and this is called the ‘consumer price index’ or CPI.
This simple pie chart shows us how much the ‘typical’ person or household is spending on items and services. As you noticed at the bottom we have a section called ‘Other Goods & Services,’ and this is where we come in. The typical person is only spending around 3.2% of their income on extra services.
Here is an example scenario to see how this plays out:
Let’s say you charge on average, $100 per cleaning (just an example, don’t worry). This $100 the client is paying will be around, or even a bit less than 3.2% of their income. You need to make sure the average income of people can afford this cost, otherwise your potential client base will be much lower than expected.
Hopefully you now have an idea of how to do some good research, and how to put it to practical use!
2. Identify The Services You Are Going to Offer
There are two main types of cleaning service you can offer:
- Residential Cleaning
- Business / Commercial Cleaning
This can be both a personal and a business oriented choice. If there are tons of people and residential homes around your area (that fit the right demographics and income) then you probably want to clean homes. If you live in an area that has tons of offices and businesses, you may want to offer services to clean those types of places instead. But always remember this, the best option will always change depending on where you live and plan to offer your services.
You should be able to identify this type of information by the previous step, that is why it’s there! :)
Here’s a post that goes over the pros and cons of both, and some things you should consider when choosing the services you are going to offer.
3. Defining Your Business Goals
When starting any type of business, you want to have the end goal of your business in mind. Do you want to build it into a huge company that has thousands of workers and is located throughout the entire country? Or do you just want to work by yourself and maybe have a few employees in your own local area? Whether you plan on going big or just having a small local business, you need to identify this and what route you truly want to take your business.
Once you have figured that part out, it’s time to sketch up a business plan. A business plan is going to consist of things like what your business is going to be and become, your target market, plans of action, and more. Be sure to read our guide on how to make a simple, yet very effective, business plan for your cleaning business.
With this business plan all written up and perfected, you will have a much more clear idea of what you need to do to get your first clients. Don’t forget that just because you wrote this plan doesn’t mean that you can’t edit it. Changing your goals with your business is very normal, especially at the start. Just be sure you don’t go overboard and change directions all the time, or drastically, as this could lead to failure and you never getting anything done.
Try to keep your business in-line with your original plan and values, but with little adjustments that you make along the way to adapt to the market environment around your business.
4. Choosing a Business Name
Choosing a name seems like a very easy task, but that name you choose is going to stick with you the entire life of your business. So making sure your business name is just what you want it to be is a huge deal. I’ll give some tips for creating a business name that you should keep in mind.
Creativity in name choosing has been done by a lot of the big successful companies you know of today. Think about it, what if Google made its name search engine, I don’t think it would be the top search engine around. Granted, generic names are great for some things, but not for building a brand. You want a name people will remember and that stands out from everyone else. So think about making up a word, that sounds like it should be a word, or think of words that have a meaning related to your business and use that. The ideas and possibilities are endless, but be creative when creating a name as it will stick in consumers minds more-so than a generic name.
Keep it Short
This should be obvious, but for some people it isn’t. A good rule of thumb to remember when creating a name is to keep it under approximately 12 characters and under 2-3 syllables. These numbers are just an approximate, so if you find a name with 13 or 14 characters that you love, then just go with it. Just be sure you will want to stick with it and that people can easily remember it (and pronounce it).
A lot of time great business names will already be taken, (sorry.. you weren’t creative enough). So once you have a good name you would like to use, or a list of names, you can probably eliminate some by doing a Trademark database search. What this search does is check to see if your business name is already trademarked. If you search and find there are results with your business name, you can take that one off the list for sure. If nothing comes back, it’s probably safe to say that the name is available, I mean this is a government database anyways so I don’t think they will leave any names out.
After you have came up with an amazing name and checked to see if it was already trademarked, we want to make sure the domain is available. To do this, head on over to a domain seller like NameCheap.com. There you will be able to search for your desired domain name and see if it is available to register. If it is available, great! I would recommend buying it right then and there to ensure it doesn’t get snatched up later on. I would also suggest to get the .net and .org versions to make sure no one can try to steal your business name (not needed, but always recommended if you can).
But what if the .com version of my name is taken? Well if this is the case, a lot of the time the .net and .org will be open. Before you go ahead and buy those though, go over to the .com version and see what type of business it is. If it is related to cleaning then I would skip that name idea and find another one. I know it sucks, but having someone with the same name on a better domain extension, will lead to people going to your competitors website first. Even worse, possibly taking your customers too. On the other hand, if the website has nothing to do with cleaning, it is much safer to go ahead and buy the other versions of the domain (only .org and .net).
Update: We now have a new post that goes in-depth on the steps of creating an amazing business name for your cleaning company! We also have a post that goes over the most important things to keep in mind while creating a slogan. Be sure to check that out to ensure you create an amazing name and slogan for your business.
5. Avoid getting into trouble: Staying Legal
Starting any type of business obviously has some legal aspects to it. It all depends on where you live, what type of business you want, and so on. For legal advice and help on legitimately starting your cleaning business without paying for a very expensive lawyer, I highly recommend LegalZoom.com for all the legal aspects of your business. LegalZoom is widely known and very popular with helping businesses of all sizes. So check them out to see what you need to do to stay on the legal side of your business.
Also be on the look out for how to form a business. Again, LegalZoom will be able to help a lot with forming your cleaning business, as it all depends on where you live. And if you plan on hiring employees right away, you will need to make sure you are within the law with that as well.
If you need some input on some of the legal aspects of a cleaning business, I’ve made a post here which goes over what the different forms you can go with and which I would recommend for starting out (I’m no a lawyer though!).
6. Gather Your Cleaning Supplies
Cleaning supplies, what a huge market and tons of options to choose from. When getting your cleaning supplies, we want to look at your business look and style. Are you environmentally friendly? Are you a ‘made in America’ supporter? All of these things can, and will, come into play when selecting the types and brands of your cleaning supplies. A good thing to keep in mind is that people more times than not will prefer environmentally friendly and ‘made in America’ products.
If you do go the route of getting these environmentally or ‘made in America’ cleaning supplies, you will be able to advertise to people that you use them, which might bring more customers. I mean, who would rather use Chinese products if they have an option for American made? No one! Well, not as many at least.
Now that was just a brief look at getting your cleaning supplies for your business. Read more about our checklist of cleaning supplies, which also contains an actual list of items and more tips on selecting the right products for your business, all while saving money of course!
7. Business Websites Are a MUST
Having a website is a very important thing to have when trying to gain customers these days. Everyone, or almost everyone, is on the web and searching for just about everything, even for cleaning services in your area! You don’t have to go overboard and pay someone thousands of dollars for a site, there are a lot of free tools out there that are very user friendly to build with.
Another thing websites do for a business is it helps to build legitimacy for your company. By having a website on your flyer’s, business cards, and other forms of advertising, people will know this it is more likely to be a legitimate service provider. Also, websites give people a way to contact and find you if they need to.
Thankfully for you, I’ve created a post on creating a website for your cleaning business, and it really will help you out while creating your very own business website. Be sure to check it out when you are ready to create a website for your business!
One last thing before we move onto promotion and marketing. For creating a logo, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars like some people may suggest you do. A very simple and professional logo can be made for just $5. Sites like Fiverr offer logo design services, so you can choose who to buy from. Just be sure to give the worker an idea of what you want and what your business name is.
Oh, and before buying from services like Fiverr, please be sure to check out their ratings and previous work to make sure it will fit your needs and likings.
Your logo is a must as it will be what you use on your website, as well as your promotions you do. Okay, now we can move on! :)
8. Gaining Clients Through Promotion and Marketing
Gaining clients, what a wonderful step! This is seemingly one of the final steps of starting your cleaning service. Getting clients will be hard at first, very hard, but over time with some good reviews and word of mouth you will be growing at a much faster pace. In the beginning it is all about getting great reviews, gaining authority, and building lasting relationships with people which will help you grow in the long run.
Although our marketing and promotion section has much more information on a lot of different techniques, lets go over some basic things to keep in mind while promoting your cleaning business.
- Be great and respectful to everyone, you need good reviews right now (as you always will)
- Provide services people will remember, this will get you free promotion through word of mouth!
- Simple tactics work. Things like flyer’s and business cards really do work and are inexpensive, so use them.
- Start small. Ask friends and family to use your services, then see if they will refer you anyone.
The list could go on and on, and it does. Our marketing and promotion section goes more in-depth with tactics and tips that you should be using for your cleaning business, so be sure to read what’s over there.
9. How Much to Charge and Giving Quotes
This seems to be a very scary and difficult task to many people looking to start their own cleaning business, and I totally understand.
You don’t want to undercharge, you don’t want to overcharge, you want to be just right when giving out quotes to potential clients. So what exactly is the best way about going about this to give the most accurate quotes?
Luckily, we’ve created a post going over this entire topic. It has you covered on all aspects of giving a quote, and how much to charge for your cleaning services.
Something to keep in mind is this: don’t let this step scare you away. Overtime you it will become second nature to giving highly accurate quotes, it’s just about getting it going and let time play out.
10. Gaining and Keeping Loyal Clients
Getting customers and clients is one thing, but gaining loyal clients is another. People will come and go in your business, whether it’s clients or employees, it’s just how business works.
Never take a customer leaving personal as sometimes it could just be a change in their life and have nothing to do with you. Although when people leave, if you can do it without harassing, try to find out why. Maybe it was something you or an employee did, or maybe it has nothing to do with you. But, if you never find out, you will always speculate on what went wrong and that’s never a good thing to do.
On that note, try to never do anything wrong, or at least nothing offensive. Be nice, kind, and grateful of all clients, even the mean ones. Also, this goes for everyone who works for and represents your business, make sure they represent your businesses core values and standards!
11. Managing Your Business Activities
Organization within any type of business is crucial to its survival. You need to always keep records, and please organize them! Your accounting needs to be keep up to decent standards (this will really help when tax season comes around). Cash flows need to be kept organized, and definitely need to be kept separate from personal accounts.
This topic could take up an entire post in itself, but don’t be afraid to look up how to use accounting software, managing your businesses cash flows, and if at worst: hire a professional.
Things to Remember:
- Always take action and work on your business every day
- Keep overhead low in the beginning (you really don’t need that office space!)
- Learn learn learn… Never stop learning about your business, your competition, or your industry
- “Keep on keeping on.” Live by this quote, and you will keep on going with your business even when things get tough
Well, that’s really it for starting a cleaning business. I know it may seem like a long road ahead, but if you truly took in the valuable information on this page you will be well on your way to starting something successful. And don’t be afraid to re-read everything over again, it’s here to help you!
Also, this article only scratches the surface of what we offer here on CleaningZoom. Our blog has tons of content that go more in-depth on certain topics, as well as other topics not even mentioned in this post. So please, be sure to go check those out as well!
And a last tip before you start your cleaning business with this information and all the other content on our website, is to simply take action. Before you go to sleep tonight, draft up that business plan. Do something productive for your business everyday and in no time you will have that successful cleaning business you have always wanted.
Lastly, have any questions, tips, or comments for us or other readers on how to start a cleaning business? Them down below, we’d love to hear them!