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Start a Cleaning Service

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 23 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Cleaning Cleaning Services Business

We may hate the chore, but it’s inevitable that every home and business needs cleaning on a regular basis. But if you’re looking to make some extra money and you’re willing to expend a lot of elbow grease, that chore can be a real boon to you. Why not start your own cleaning service?

Although the idea of cleaning houses might immediately spring to mind – and that’s certainly the easiest method – there’s also commercial cleaning, of offices and businesses. For those looking at making a career of cleaning, this can offer interesting opportunities as a business.

A domestic cleaning service is unlikely to make you rich, and you’ll work hard to earn your money. But you can be independent, take on as many clients as you need, and have it as an income boost or the main source of money. You might even be able to take on other employees.

How To Start A Domestic Cleaning Service

There’s plenty of demand for cleaning services. As people have busier lives, something has to give, and that’s usually cleaning, a chore many hate. If you want to begin your own cleaning service, you really don’t need much to begin, just a good work ethic, a strong sense of cleanliness and a way to get from place to place easily.

The chances are that your clients will have cleaning equipment, but if there are products you favour, carry those with you.

So how do you find customers? That, of course, is the tricky part. Start by advertising in the Post Office, in shops, and inserting ads in the local paper. In all likelihood, this will bring a few customers, and if you do a good job for them, word of mouth will add some more. Research what other cleaning services charge and make sure you’re comparable in price.

But you can be very pro-active in your marketing. Have fliers printed and distribute them door-to-door in neighbourhoods where you already work. The response might be small from this type of direct marketing, but they’ll be clients you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

You’ll need to be well-organised. Some people will want you in once a week, others once a fortnight, some just once a month. Keep a diary of where you’re supposed to be, and when, and initially with what the clients want from you; in some cases that will be a light cleaning, in others a major going-over.

Try to schedule people in the same area on the same day to cut down on your travel time and costs. As the number of clients increases, try to remain organised. You may even need to take on additional staff, but be very wary, since that will mean a lot more time on paperwork, which is time when you’re not earning money. Even if you work alone, you’ll need to file a self-employed tax return every year to report the income you’ve made.

How To Start A Commercial Cleaning Service

There are vast differences between domestic and commercial cleaning. With the former you’ll visit no more than once a week, but with commercial premises, whether retail premises or offices, you’ll go in every night.

You can start a commercial cleaning business from scratch or you can purchase a franchise from an established company. Both have pros and cons, but both requite capital to begin. You’ll need a fair amount of equipment, you’ll have to have insurance, and reliable transportation, probably a van to hold all that equipment. It also means you have to be available when the business wants you, which will be when they’re closed, either in the evening or very early morning. It’s a real commitment.

For it to be viable, you’ll need a fair number of clients, which means going out and getting them, often meeting with clients and being willing to sell yourself and your service – there’s a lot more to it than just cleaning.

As the service grows, you’ll also need to take on reliable employees, which means yet more paperwork. However, a commercial cleaning business can provide a comfortable living, and some do make plenty of money.

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