Starting a Cleaning Company – Is it as Easy as it Sounds?
The cleaning sector is one of the fastest growing industries and is expected to reach over $46 billion by the year 2020. One of the factors that attract so many people to this business is the relatively low cost of entry. But while many people often assume that starting a cleaning service is all about finding a crew, getting a few buckets and cleaning supplies, and looking for clients, it goes much deeper than that. In this article, we’re going to show you exactly what you’ll need to do to get your cleaning service off the ground.
Start with a Budget
While it is indeed possible to start with almost nothing, you should at least set aside $2,000 if you want to start your cleaning service right. You’ll have to set aside between around $60 for licensing if you operate as a sole proprietor, and around $300 if you decide to form an LLC. Depending on the type of jobs you intend to do, you’ll also need to set aside around $500 for equipment and supplies. In addition, you’ll have to factor in money for advertising and for wages.
But one of the most important things you’ll have to consider is getting general liability insurance for contractors. General liability insurance will protect you in case a third-party suffers any kind of injury or damage as a result of your or one of your employee’s actions.
This could be something as seemingly benign as one of your employees opening a door and hurting one of the inhabitants. Or something more serious like knocking over a piece of furniture and someone getting severely injured or causing serious damage to the property. Just one lawsuit could be enough to ruin your business, especially if you’re just getting started, so make sure that you have the proper coverage before you even think about booking jobs. And note that you’ll also have to start thinking about getting workers’ compensation insurance or be compelled by law to do so after you reach a certain number of employees.
Choose the Proper Business Structure
You must be registered if you want to operate within the confines of the law. This is why you should start looking at various business structures and see which ones are best for you. A lot of bootstrapped cleaning startups start as sole proprietorships. While the paperwork is much less extensive, you open yourself to more liability and your personal assets will remain tied with the company.
That’s why you may prefer to go with an LLC instead. This way, you and your business will be two different entities. That means that your assets will be protected in case your business is hit with debt or if there’s a judgment against your company.
Purchase or Rent Equipment
Now, you should start looking for suppliers for equipment and cleaning supplies. While you can save by using some of your own cleaning equipment at the beginning, know that they will eventually wear out and might not be suitable as professional options. And do not buy equipment like carpet cleaning machines up front. Instead, you can use services that allow you to rent specialized equipment on a per day usage.
Set up your Rates
If you’re going to do some residential cleaning jobs, the average flat fee will usually be around $150 for single-family homes and about $40 per hour if you choose to charge on an hourly rate. But factors like your market, the type, and size of the house, your specific clientele, and additional tasks could affect the price as well. You should also consider charging a special rate based on square footage for larger projects, like vacation homes or villas, for instance.
Now that you have everything in place, it’s time to start looking for clients. When it comes to cleaning services, word of mouth is still very powerful, so ask your friends and family if they know someone who might need your services and tell them to recommend yours. Also, make sure that you set up some sort of loyalty or rewards program for using your services after a certain number of times.
Online marketing is also a great way to advertise your cleaning services. Make sure that you have a website set up and a social media page too. You can then set up a Google or Facebook advertising campaign and start attracting people to your website. And you should also start soliciting people you wouldn’t usually consider, like real estate agents in your area who might need a cleaning crew for open house visits, for instance.
While starting a cleaning business is a pretty straightforward process and can be done without much capital, there are some very important things you should consider first. Make sure that you are thoroughly prepared and protected before you take any contract if you want to ensure that your business is a success.