How to Start a Cleaning Business in 6 Easy Steps
There’s a tremendous opportunity right now for savvy entrepreneurs to tap into the growing demand for home cleaning professionals without buying into a franchise model. Starting your own cleaning business from the ground up is a great way to avoid high buy in fees and restrictive business models that most franchises impose.
Whether you’ve been cleaning homes for a company and have decided to break out on your own or you’ve simply recognized a solid business opportunity and are switching careers, the tips below will help you start a cleaning business in 6 easy steps.
1) Get Registered and Insured
You may not always need a business license to practice as an independent contractor but you should definitely look into your local requirements. Licensing depends on regulations at the state, city, and county level but often you’ll simply need to file a Doing Business As (DBA) form.
It’s a good idea to purchase a minimum liability insurance policy to protect yourself in case of damages incurred while cleaning another person’s property. As careful as you are, accidents do happen. Having to pay for a new television out of pocket or replacing someone’s antique tureen can put an unnecessary crimp in your cash flow—something you should avoid at all costs when you’re just starting out.
2) Gather Your Cleaning Supplies
The most important component of starting any cleaning business is getting the supplies to do the job. Even if you’re working out of your own personal car in your sweatpants (which you should not be) supplies are the one thing you’ll absolutely need. You can get most everything you need from Big Box and membership discount stores (Like Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club) if you’re in a bind but you may also be able to find commercial cleaning supply stores that specialize in the types of things you’ll need.
However, avoid the urge to stockpile. Inventory management is an essential skill you must learn in order to avoid tying too much of your business’ available cash in window cleaner and rags.
You can even use the cleaning supplies you choose as a marketing tool. By using only Earth-friendly, organic, or biodegradable products you can upsell your services and earn more business from selective customers who want their homes free from harmful chemicals.
3) Create a Brand
Your brand is an all-encompassing “look” or “impression” that every aspect of your business should radiate. In its simplest form an effective brand can simply be choosing a color scheme and carrying it across all of your marketing materials (including your uniforms and logo). In its most complex form, a brand can include what types of free information you give away (YouTube tutorials, for example), what you call individuals who work for/with you (“associates” versus “employees”), and even the words you choose to use on your advertising.
However, if you need to create a quickly executed and easily recognizable brand, there are four main areas you should concentrate on.
- Uniform—it’s what every client will see you in and should be the same every day. Quick and easy uniforms include kakis and a polo shirt with your logo on the breast.
- Business Cards—should be in the hand of every client and potential customer. These should always be crafted with your chosen color scheme, always include your logo, and always have your contact information proudly displayed upon them.
- Signs—whether you use them for advertising on the side of the road, at house in which you’re working, or even magnetically attached to the side of your vehicle, signage plays an important part in building a brand. Keep in mind, color scheme, font, and logo should be uniform across all your printed materials, uniforms, and website.
- Website—you need one—as simple as that. Even if it’s just a static page with your company name, logo, and contact info. This will be the central hub to which all of your other online marketing will attach.
4) Use Word of Mouth Marketing (Both Online and Off)
Roughly 80% of people say that they’re more likely to “buy” from a company that’s recommended by a trusted friend. That word of mouth advertising is essential when you’re just starting up. But how do you get it?
- Do your best work every time
- Thank every customer who chooses to work with you
- Ask for referrals and reviews
How to get Online Reviews
Three quarters of consumers say that having reviews either gives the business a competitive advantage or that they’re expected. However, less than 1 in 10 consumers has ever been asked to write a review. Don’t miss that opportunity for a powerful endorsement. Ask for it.
Think clients won’t write reviews? Surprisingly 89% say they are more than willing to spend a minute or two writing honest online reviews.
5) Launch your Social Platform
75% of consumers use the Internet to find local businesses. The Internet relies heavily on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). In fact, big search engines like Google place a tremendous amount of weight on traffic coming from social websites. That means if you don’t have a social presence, you’re missing out on meeting a huge amount of potential customers.
- Start small. Choose one platform and learn how to use it well.
- Don’t get overwhelmed. Create a social schedule (posting once or twice a week—never less).
- Learn as you go. Social media is easy to use but hard to conquer—start now and get better as time goes by.
How do you use social media? Showcase yourself, your skills, and your business—all while engaging with current and potential customers.
For example Facebook allows you to post pictures, video, little stories, and comments which will all help create your brand, showcase the excellent work you do, connect with new clients, and more. You can also respond to questions and comments, suggest products and service your clients and potential clients might like, and even share interesting news pieces with the click of a button.
Having a social presence gives your business a personal face.
6) Do Your Best Work
Over 80% of consumers will walk away from a company after just a single bad experience with a business. Don’t waste all the time, money, and effort you put into earning those new clients by losing them with shoddy work.
Simply put, you need to work at 100% all the time. And if something does go wrong—fix it immediately. Set your ego aside, listen to complaints, and figure a way to make the best of a bad situation. If you make the situation right, you can actually turn unhappy customers into brand advocates.
SendWork Can Help Start Your Cleaning Business
SendWork is an excellent low-cost management tool smart business owners can use to find new customers and easily manage current client relationships. This mobile app includes communication, scheduling and time management, payment processing functionality and more. It’s the perfect partner for entrepreneurs starting their own cleaning businesses from the ground up.
To learn how SendWork works for you, download the free app and get started today.