A cleaning business is one of the most straightforward businesses for aspiring entrepreneurs. It is a time-tested business with proven demand.
Once you establish your brand, a healthy stream of revenue is guaranteed. However, like all other businesses, launching a cleaning business is not easy.
We have created a step-by-step guide to help you successfully launch your cleaning business.
8 steps to start a cleaning business
Step 1: Decide Your Target Market
A cleaning business can take various forms, such as home cleaning, commercial spaces cleaning, carpet cleaning, windows cleaning, etc. The decision to choose your niche will depend on a host of factors such as the demand in your target market area, budget, professional expertise, etc.
The scope of commercial space cleaning is more expansive and would require greater expertise. You will also need a team of cleaning and administrative staff to operate the business.
While a cleaning business can cater to multiple target markets, it is recommended to start with one niche in the initial stages. Once you start seeing some cash flow, you can consider expanding to other target markets.
Step 2: Register Your Business
Once you have some clarity on your niche, you need to think of your business's appropriate name. The next step is to register your business as per government regulations in your locality.
Registering your business as a sole proprietorship is relatively simpler than registering the business as a company. If you are starting solo with a small team, registering as a sole proprietorship is a good way to get started.
Depending on your jurisdiction, you also need to check if government rules require you to have a separate license for a commercial business.
Step 3: Prepare a Business Plan
It would help if you decided how much money you want to invest in your cleaning business. The cost of starting a home cleaning business is lower than starting a commercial space cleaning business.
Broadly, the cost can be divided into marketing and operating costs. Depending on your business's scale, marketing costs include creating a logo, a website, and other marketing collateral that helps showcase your capabilities to your prospective clients.
Operating costs include investments in cleaning products and equipment. If you plan to operate on a bigger scale and want to offer cleaning for commercial spaces, you might need to employ a bigger team.
You also need to invest in specialized cleaning equipment and vehicles to move across different sites.
Step 4: Raise Money
A common reason why most businesses fail is that they run out of money. It would be best if you kept in mind that it will take a while before getting payments from customers.
It's important to start with enough reserves to fund your operations for at least six months while also taking care of your living expenses. A business plan will give you an understanding of the estimated cash outflows.
Once you have an estimate, the next step is to raise money. You can choose to dig into your savings or sell any of your assets. A common source of funds for most startups is a loan from family and friends.
Depending on the availability of funds for large expenditures such as vehicles and cleaning equipment, you may choose to buy upfront or get a loan to fund these expenses. If you are using a loan, take into an account accruing interest.
Step 5: Define Your Services with Pricing
Before launching your cleaning business, you should have a fair idea of the services you can offer and how much to charge for them. Your pricing will depend on the cost of each service.
For example, a typical high-quality cleaning service catalogue for homes would include:
- Kitchen, including appliances, exteriors, cabinets, etc.
- Bathrooms, including mirrors, showers, counters, etc.
- Walls, as needed
- Cleaning of surfaces (special treatment to be given to delicate surfaces)
- Windows (accessible)
- Cleaning of electrical fixtures
Estimate the effort required (in terms of working hours), the materials and equipment needed to offer these services. Initially, if you plan to do all the cleaning yourself, you can determine a fair price for your time per hour. If you are planning to employ staff, factor in the cost of their time as well.
When defining pricing, chart up a competitor analysis. Understanding the services offered by others and their prices can help you to establish a benchmark. Unless you offer premium services, you can't set prices much higher than the competition.
Step 6: Choose an Appropriate Location
Depending on your cleaning business scale, decide whether you want to operate from home or get an office on lease.
It's rare for clients to visit the office premises of a cleaning services provider. Therefore you don't need to invest in a plush office. However, if you plan to employ staff, it won't always be easy to operate from home.
A decent office space that fits your budget is adequate for the cleaning business. If your prospective customers are concentrated in a particular area, choosing a location closer to the customers can help save fuel expenses.
Step 7: Arrange for Resources
As mentioned earlier, you will need to arrange cleaning equipment and vehicles to move equipment around. For example, if you want to offer carpet cleaning, you may need specialized tools to provide such services.
Apart from that, you might want staff uniforms with custom branding. You will also need invoice software to manage, bill, invoice, and send payment reminders to clients.
It is recommended to get quotes from multiple sellers/service providers before making any of these investment decisions. Once you have enough quotes, you will be better positioned to negotiate and make a final decision.
Step 8: Buy a Relevant Domain Name
A website is a must even for a cleaning business, whether you are operating on a small scale (e.g., from your home) or a large scale. Your website allows you to showcase your services, strengths, contact information, and other essential details.
Your website can also help in showcasing testimonials you receive from happy customers. You can also use your website to create a blog to demonstrate your thought leadership and successful projects completed.
One of the benefits of a well-maintained website is that it can help you generate leads through search engine optimization.
Earlier, it used to be a challenge to register a domain name as most common names were already taken. However, with the advent of new domain extensions, you can choose from a wide range of extensions, such as .tech, .store, .online, .space, or even .site, where unavailability issues are minimum.
To conclude, you can start a full-fledged cleaning business with the right amount of dedication and investment. However, it would help if you were super passionate and driven about your cleaning business as it is not the most glamourous of businesses. However, once you get established, it can be a rewarding experience.