There are over 30 million small businesses in the United States alone. That means that if you’re thinking about starting a cleaning business, there’s a successful blueprint that you can follow that has worked for millions already.
In this article, we’ll tell you how to start a cleaning business from the ground up. We’ll also tell you how to get clients for a cleaning business, as well as how to grow a cleaning business overtime.
1. Residential, Commercial, or Both?
When you’re trying to figure out how to start a cleaning business, the first step is often the most difficult. After all, where exactly are you supposed to begin your journey, anyway?
Well, if you haven’t already, your first step should be deciding what type of cleaning business you want to open. More specifically, you need to determine if you want to work with residential homeowners, commercial businesses, or both.
Figuring out which one of these three options is best for your depends on a few different variables. If you already have connections, perhaps in a neighborhood, then sticking with residential customers would be a smart move. On the other hand, if there aren’t a ton of businesses around you, going commercial-only isn’t a good idea.
With all of this in mind, picking one option and sticking to it, especially early on, is wise. That way you can focus on one type of service, and then master that service, before trying to move on to something else.
2. Write a Business Plan
Once you’ve decided what type of business to open, it’s time to write a business plan for your company. Doing this is extremely important, as statistics show that business owners who craft a business plan before launching are more likely to be successful long-term.
Of course, if you’ve never written a business plan before, you may not know what to include. Thankfully there are plenty of user-friendly templates out there that will help guide you through the entire process.
Also, around this time, you should start thinking about how you’re going to get the money to launch your cleaning business. The initial startup costs will add up quickly, so knowing how much you need beforehand is key if you want to avoid digging yourself into a hole out of the gate.
Remember, there are loans that you can take out to help fund the launch of your business. With that in mind, both private funding, or funding your business yourself, are the best ways to go.
3. Hire a Business Attorney
When you create your initial launch budget, one thing that should be included is the costs of hiring a business attorney. Simply put, launching a cleaning business yourself is a dangerous move. Having someone on your team who knows what they’re doing will ensure that you avoid any common mistakes that could harm your business early on.
A pro tip? Find an attorney that has experience with launching other cleaning businesses. That specific experience can be quite helpful, as not all business launches are the same.
Also, consider investing in a cleaning business coach to help you along the way. Having another expert in your corner is never a bad idea, especially early on, when things are going to be extremely overwhelming.
4. Create a Business Structure
One of the things that a business attorney will be able to help you with is deciding what type of business structure best suits your goals. There are four main types of business structures, and before you open your doors for business, you will need to decide on which one you want to go with.
A Sole Proprietorship
This is the most basic type of business structure there is, which means it’s easy to define. A sole proprietorship is a business where one person is responsible for all business profits and debts.
So, if you’re going into business alone, this will most likely be the best choice for you.
A partnership is self-explanatory, too. It’s the exact opposite of a sole proprietorship, with two or more parties being responsible for all business profits and debts.
If you’re going into business with someone else, this could end up being the best choice for you and your partner(s). With that in mind, we recommend that you go with whatever option your business attorney recommends.
A Limited Liability Company
One of the most common types of business structures is a limited liability company or LLC. An LLC helps limit personal liability for owners, partners, and shareholders, which is ideal for most new business owners.
It also includes tax and flexibility benefits associated with a partnership, which is why it’s the choice most small business owners go with.
A corporation is a business structure that makes your business legally separate from you or any other owners. A corporation can own property, be held liable, and even pay separate taxes.
Once again, we recommend that you let your business attorney help you decide which structure is right for your business. Having help with choosing a business structure is more than enough reason to invest in a business attorney.
5. Open Up Business Accounts
A common mistake that people make when opening any new business, regardless of the field, has to do with bank accounts. More specifically, people will often use their personal accounts to make and receive payments, which isn’t a good idea.
Once you have your business structure handled, the next move you should make should be straight to the bank. There, you can open up a new account in your business’s name, allowing you to keep your personal and business finances separate.
This is also the perfect time to create a bookkeeping system that you can use to keep all of your important documents organized. This system may change over time, but having one in place from the get-go is an absolute must.
Finding a computer scheduling program to use to handle all of your appointments is a smart idea, too. That way you can familiarize yourself with the program, as well as get yourself ready when for when it’s finally time to open up for business.
6. Create a Brand Identity
At this point in the process, odds are you already have a name picked out for your cleaning business. A name that is unique, memorable, and says what you do is a must-have, which is why we recommend that you take your time when picking one out.
If you can, try to fit your community’s name into your business name. That way when someone Google’s your town’s name, plus “cleaning service,” your business is more likely to pop up.
After you have a name picked out, it’s time to decide on a logo and colors for your business. This is without a doubt one of the most fun parts of the process, although still quite important.
There are 7 logotypes to choose from, and not all colors go well together, so it can be a lot to take in. If you can, try to pick a logotype that nobody else in your field, and in your area, is using.
Follow that same rule when deciding on colors, although make sure they go well together by using an online color scheme generator. If graphic design isn’t your expertise, consider outsourcing this entire process. That way you can make sure that, above all else, your business looks credible and legitimate from the start.
Also, go ahead and grab your website’s domain name, as well as your social media accounts, so you can have them ready for when it’s time to use them. Try to make all of those social media handles the same, and pick a domain name that is simple and easy to remember while still fitting your company name.
7. Set Your Prices
The last thing you need to do before opening up your business has to do with the prices of your services. After all, you can’t start doing business if you and your customers aren’t aware of what things are going to cost.
If you’ve been working in the cleaning for a while, odds are you have a good idea of what things should cost already. Even then, calling around and pretending to be a customer to gauge other business’ prices is a great way to ensure you’re not the cheapest or the most expensive option.
When you’re picking your prices, be sure to keep all of your overhead in mind. And if you can, especially early on, try to keep your overhead costs low so you can leave some breathing room for when things get slow.
Finally, before you do your first job, make sure your business is licensed and insured. Failure to do so could lead to you praying a fine that is larger than the costs of both licenses and insurance, which isn’t what you want.
8. Start Your Marketing Efforts
Once you’ve got all the behind-the-scenes stuff squared away, and you’ve started doing jobs, it’s time to start marketing your business. While all advertising strategies are worth considering, early on, you need to pick affordable ones that offer a high return on investment.
For example, social media marketing and email marketing both are efficient and affordable advertising strategies that can get you big-time results. They take a lot of time to do successfully, but won’t cost you any money if you handle them all yourself.
Paper flyers are also cheap and can get you strong results, especially if those flyers are offering a special to new customers. Just make sure they’re designed well and clearly define who and what your business is about.
With all of this in mind, it’s important to remember that the best type of advertising is word-of-mouth. Doing a good job and having people recommend you to their family and friends is not only free but gives you the best chance to land new customers and clients.
A great way to encourage word-of-mouth advertising is to offer a referral program for existing customers. Something as simple as 10% off their next cleaning is more than enough to get the job done.
9. Grow Your Team
As your business grows and expands, you’re going to eventually need to hire some people to help you out. From office employees to more people on your cleaning staff, you can only run your business by yourself for so long before it’s time to grow your team.
When you’re making hires, be sure to do background checks on all new hires. After all, these people will be in the businesses and homes of your customers, so you want to make sure everyone, especially your business, is protected.
In order to not only find good help but to keep it, you need to make sure you’re offering solid pay, too. Being a few dollars an hour above everyone else is more than enough to ensure that your favorite employees stay loyal to you and your business.
10. Track Your Analytics
After you’ve launched your cleaning business, it won’t take long for your numbers to start talking to you. From what advertising strategies work to which areas have the most potential customers, knowing these numbers is key to long-term success.
If you can, try to sit down and look at your numbers daily. Let various computer programs help you track them and make sure that you know what’s going on in every aspect of your business.
Still Need Help With Starting a Cleaning Business?
Starting a cleaning business takes a great deal of planning. But if you take your time, and enlist the help of the right professionals, you can make your dream of being your own boss a reality.
Are you a current or future business owner? Check back with our blog often, as we’re always talking about the latest trends in the business world.