Construction cleanup businesses come in to provide a final interior cleanup after major commercial and residential properties have been completed by general contractors. This service is a fundamental part of getting homes and buildings ready for sale and lease. Getting into post-construction cleaning comes with a few basic prerequisites, such as obtaining the right license and permits. It will also be necessary to set an adequate budget that covers the purchase or lease of the necessary equipment.
It's helpful to know upfront that cleaning services of this kind often demand long workdays. Attention to detail and the ability to complete a fair amount of heavy lifting is also mandatory. The good news is that post-construction cleanup is an in-demand service. Many real estate builders, construction groups, and property management companies actively seek partnerships with job site cleanup businesses. This article will provide tips and best practices for setting up your construction cleanup company legally and successfully.
First Steps in Creating a Construction Cleanup Business
The first step to planning your cleaning business is to identify what services you will offer and how you will charge for them. You'll also want to consider your target market. With a post-construction cleanup service, you may be hired by other companies or by individuals who have completed a remodel or addition to their homes. Will you offer same-day service or dumpster rentals? Will you be offering post-construction cleanup for any kind of construction site or do you plan to specialize in deep cleaning only certain types of building projects? The services you offer and the way you elect to bill for them may vary with these kinds of choices.
For example, if you determine that you would like your cleaning company to work exclusively alongside construction companies, it is likely that you will be working at larger job sites containing more than one new house or building. Because of that larger work area, it may be prudent to charge by the square foot. If you decide to focus your cleaning crew on only apartments or condominiums, it may be more lucrative to charge by the services you are providing.
Construction cleanup pricing currently hovers at a national average of $446 with a range for residential services between $274 and $661. This amounts to between $30 and $60 when billed hourly. Examples of common construction cleanup services and pricing include:
First pass ($0.10-$0.15 per sq. ft.): Completing a light once-over cleaning of all surfaces
- Drywall: Removing smudges and other marks or dirt
- Debris removal: Hauling away unused materials, garbage, or other leftovers from a new construction job
Final cleaning pass ($0.15-$0.50 per sq. ft.): Completing deep cleaning of all relevant areas, touch-ups, and polishes
- Baseboards: Removing grime and scuffs along floor jointures
- Light fixtures: Polishing and removing dust
- Stickers: Removal of all tags and stickers attached to furniture or appliances
- HVAC cleaning ($250-$500): Removing construction dust from ventilation openings
- Window cleaning ($4-$11 per window): Cleaning windows, window frames, and window sills
- Floor cleaning: Buffing and waxing ($1-$1.50 per sq. ft.), carpet cleaning ($120-$250)
When in the planning stages of your post-construction cleanup business, you will need a formal business plan that addresses the key elements of formation. Work in the costs associated with purchasing equipment, one or more vehicles, a sufficient startup quantity of the cleaning solutions your daily tasks will require, and insurance. You might also consider generating a Master Service Agreement (MSA) for use with long-term clients and will need to spend time reviewing the labor safety laws surrounding the construction cleanup field.
Lastly, give careful thought to how much work you can responsibly take on and the measure you will use at the outset for determining when your "plate is full," so to speak. This is always vital, but even more so at the beginning of your business when the quality of every job you do can determine whether you are asked back by that customer.
Launching Your Post-Construction Cleanup Company
Before you can take on your first construction cleaning job, there are a few important things to know about commercial cleaning. There are also a few basic steps that can help you set up your business in the easiest and most streamlined way. The following sections will walk you through these steps and offer helpful details for each.
Get the Right Business Licenses and Set Up a Legal Structure
Construction cleanup services cannot be run legally without first obtaining a local business license from the state or country in which the owner resides. Some states and counties have varying statutes that may require business owners to also register with the local city government. It is advisable to make a trip down to your local Small Business Administration (SBA) or county clerk's office to find out the exact requirements for your area.
Next, you may need to register your startup as a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, or partnership with the Secretary of State's office. Obtaining a federal and state tax ID number, as well as business insurance, might also be necessary. Most states have a website where you can research business names in your area so that you can choose something of your own that has both originality and commercial flair.
Another consideration during this phase is to find out what kinds of restrictions or regulations may be in place for the disposal of certain kinds of construction debris that your company may handle. Construction projects can produce waste that must be dealt with in specific ways, such as with paints and other chemical varnishes. If any such disposal requires special permits from your local government, you will want to find that out early.
Additionally, it's prudent to set up a business banking account for your construction cleanup company. This is so that you can get loans and leases on necessities, such as cleaning equipment, and separate your business transactions from your personal accounts.
To open a business banking account, many financial institutions will ask to see that your business is formally registered with the state government and may likewise ask to view your business proposal. If you plan for your post-construction cleanup company to inhabit a brick-and-mortar space, you will also need a certificate of occupancy or local equivalent.
Successfully Market Your Construction Cleanup Services
Post-construction cleaning services may serve a specific market but still need all of the standard marketing tools that help any company run smoothly. You will need to think about marketing your construction cleanup company from both a physical and a digital angle. The following sections offer details on marketing techniques that support construction cleanup jobs.
Create a Business Website
This allows customers to review your janitorial services and read testimonials from homeowners or general contractors your company has served. Include before and after photos of any site cleanup your business has done for existing commercial properties, new construction, or private homeowners. Website builders like Wix, Weebly, HostGator, and Strikingly can help you generate a company website on your own.
You can also visit freelance sites like Upwork and Fiverr to locate a project professional that can complete this step for you. Don't forget to connect your site to Yelp, Google My Business, and any other relevant customer review platforms that can allow your business to gain visibility on the web.
Contacting local companies in your area that might be able to help you market your construction cleanup business is always a good idea. Call property managers, remodeling agencies, architectural firms, and general contractors and offer your company's assistance at a job site. Create brochures that detail your cleaning policies, what cleaning solutions your business utilizes, and standard rates. Leave these at the front desk of any business you reach out to.
Let Social Media Help
Creating a positive social media presence for your new startup is a must. Your company will need a branded logo that you can create with a graphic designer, your own lettering/drawing, or via any of a number of logo generators available online. Your logo and associated imagery should appear the same way on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. If you are new to social media marketing, there are a large number of step-by-step guides available online to make the process easier. This is another step in which hiring a project professional can also be a viable option.
Operate Your Construction Cleanup Company
The day-to-day operation of your construction cleanup crew will entail much more than just cleaning up. Hiring a trustworthy and qualified construction cleanup crew and issuing necessities, such as cleaning supplies and dust masks, adequately across all teams is a critical operational first step.
When it comes to daily paperwork, you'll need to set up a consistent system that meshes well with how your company works. Fortunately, Skynova offers easy-to-use business templates to help you send out estimates, invoices, and even quotes and get paid faster. Our accounting software also helps you keep track of payments, receipts, and important tax information.
Build Your Construction Cleanup Company With Skynova
Launching a construction cleanup company successfully is simply a matter of understanding local regulations, making sure you have a strong marketing plan, and knowing where to set your limits. Skynova's business software can help you stay organized and on top of the responsibilities surrounding your construction cleanup business. Check out Skynova's business templates today to find out how much easier small business management can be when you have help from trusted professionals.