People want to have a clean home. A house or apartment where everything is organized, dusted, and wiped down can create a more peaceful environment and help people keep track of their belongings.
Starting a house cleaning business allows you to help clients achieve these goals. Many people find themselves pressed for time between their work and personal obligations. Others simply would rather pay someone else to do cleaning jobs so that they can enjoy the results. Whether you decide to start a full-time or part-time professional cleaning company, you can build a successful business with the right preparation and hard work.
With a residential cleaning business, you will keep people's homes as spotless as possible. You will have the chance to set your own schedule and be your own boss. Take time to prepare so your business can be successful. Here's what you need to know.
Training and Skills Needed for a Successful Cleaning Business
Running a successful cleaning business depends more on your skills in cleaning and organizing than a particular degree. Some people who want to start their own businesses may find courses or degrees in accounting or business beneficial, but these are not required.
Instead, focus on nurturing key business skills that will help you provide clients with outstanding services.
- Organization: As a house cleaner, you will need organizational skills on and off the job. You will need to remain organized to keep track of all the different clients and your job schedule, as well as your accounting and tax information. On the job, being organized and working efficiently will help you increase your productivity, allowing you to possibly take on more work within the same time frame.
- Detail-oriented: Clients want their household cleaners to have a good eye for detail. This will help you do a thorough and complete job cleaning the client's home.
- Good with people: You will often interact with clients. Sometimes, they will be home while you work and sometimes you may just connect via phone or email. Regardless of the situation, excellent people skills will help you form positive and professional relationships with clients.
In addition to nurturing these skills, you may need to secure a vendor's license. This type of business license for your maid service may differ between jurisdictions but will help ensure your business is on top of its legal requirements.
Creating a Business Plan for Your Cleaning Business
You have a fantastic business idea but now the time has come to put together a business plan that will help you achieve your goals. A business plan consists largely of an outline that helps you consider important steps in the creation of your business.
A quality business plan can help your organization in several ways:
- It provides you with a solid direction for your company.
- It can help you set goals.
- It can help you secure lines of credit for your business should you need them. Most banks will want a copy of the business plan before they approve applications.
You will need to include a variety of information in your business outline. Focus on:
- Outlining your goals, including the type of business you will run and the clients you will target
- Determining the metrics you will use to measure your progress
- Establishing the rules to govern your business, such as who will be in charge of making business decisions (if you have multiple owners)
Taking the First Steps for Your Cleaning Business
As you form your business plan, also think about the type of cleaning business you want to own. Some businesses specialize in cleaning particular types of homes and dwellings. For example, people who own rental vacation homes often hire a cleaning crew to stop by in between bookings to make sure the space is ready for the next vacationer.
Many home cleaners also determine particular geographic areas where they want to specialize in cleaning. You can determine what criteria you want to use to determine how far you want to travel for particular jobs. When you have to drive further, remember that all the time you spend on the road will be time that you are not cleaning and earning money. More driving can also be harder on the car itself, which might result in more bills related to your vehicles.
Many household cleaners will offer packages in addition to regularly scheduled cleanings, such as:
- Moving in or moving out cleaning: People moving into a new home might want someone to give it a deep, thorough clean before they begin unloading their furniture. People moving out of a home (like an apartment rental) may want a cleaning crew to give it a thorough cleaning to help them secure back as much of their safety deposit as possible.
- Spring cleaning: Many people view the spring season as an excellent time to air out the home and give everything a deep and thorough scrub. You can help them achieve these goals with a spring cleaning service. This level of cleaning often involves going deeper than your regular cleaning, so you will want to determine what types of tasks you will offer in this type of package.
- Cleaning for absentee homeowners: Particularly for people located in seasonal areas, this type of cleaning is offered to those who are only in their homes for part of the year. They might want someone who stops in periodically and takes care of routine cleaning, such as dusting, that must be managed regardless of occupancy. They might also want to hire a cleaning company to stop in before they come back for the vacation season.
As you determine the types of packages to offer, consider which services go into which packages. For example, will you offer window cleaning during a standard cleaning or only during one of the deep-clean packages? Do you take care of deep carpet cleaning? Knowing which services you will offer will allow you to start promoting your business.
Determine Your Pricing and Startup Costs
You will also want to carefully consider how much you will charge for your services. Look at the hourly rate and flat rate per job that others in the cleaning industry in your area charge. Nationally, the average hourly rate is between $40 and $65 per hour. You will want to determine your rates for your house cleaning services based on your experience, area, and the services you include.
As you think about your prices, think about the money you will have to pay upfront to start your business. For example, consider the cost of:
- Business insurance
- Cleaning products, such as sprays and soaps
- Cleaning equipment, such as vacuums and mops
- Paper towels
Make sure your income allows you to cover those costs.
Create a Legal Business
After forming a plan for your business and knowing what you want to offer, your next step is to create a legal business. This is an important step for several reasons:
- It helps your business appear more professional. New clients will be more inclined to take you seriously if you have a legal business.
- It helps you manage your liability. Making your business a separate entity from you helps protect your personal assets. For example, if your business falls into debt, you do not want your personal assets associated with that debt.
- It can help you manage your finances. You will find it easier to take other business steps, such as opening a business bank account. Banks will generally want to see your business formation documents and your employer identification number (EIN) to open an account. While some may allow you to open one using your Social Security number, that will entangle your credit and finances with those of your business.
To create a legal entity for your business, you often have a choice between a limited liability company (LLC), a general partnership, a corporation, or a sole proprietorship. You will want to review the benefits and drawbacks of each to determine the path you want to take.
To create one of these business structures, you will generally need to gather information about how you want to govern your business, the rules it will be subjected to, and the unique business name you have selected.
Once you have created your business, make sure you look into getting the liability insurance you need. As a home cleaner, you will enter people's homes. Being insured in case something breaks or gets damaged accidentally, for example, is vital to protecting yourself, your business, and your clients.
Build Brand Recognition
Once you have created your new business, you'll want to attract the attention of potential customers. Here are some strategies you can use.
Don't Overlook the Power of the Referral
For cleaning businesses, word-of-mouth recommendations will be one of your strongest assets for connecting with your client base. Let satisfied customers know that you appreciate referrals and online reviews. Offer customers business cards with your contact information so they can easily reach out to you again (include extras so they can offer them to friends or family members interested in your cleaning services). You can also encourage referrals by offering people discounts if they refer someone who becomes a new client.
Pay Attention to Review Sites
Build your profiles on these sites and encourage customers to leave reviews to help you build a strong star rating. Make your profile look as professional as possible to attract the interest of prospective customers. For example, you can include details about your cleaning process or unique experiences you have, such as experience cleaning vacation homes or antique items.
Build Your Online Presence
Finally, create your own website and online presence. You can take to social media and demonstrate your expertise to your target market by offering tips and information about home care. You can engage people in conversation and encourage them to reach out if they want a professional full-house clean.
You can also create a website that articulates your services and helps you appear in searches for local home cleaners. If you do not have experience creating a logo or building a website, you can work with freelancers on platforms like Upwork. A well-made website will make it far easier for customers to get to know you.
The Day-to-Day Tasks You Will Need to Do
As you run your business, you will find there are day-to-day tasks that do not involve cleaning. Staying on top of these tasks, however, can help you avoid falling behind on your paperwork and potentially missing valuable information when it comes to paying taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or managing other legal responsibilities. Here are the types of tasks you'll want to complete regularly.
- Check your social media profiles, email, and review websites for questions from customers or even requests for appointments. Staying on top of your inbox can help you engage customers and appear reliable and trustworthy.
- Balance your books. Carefully record any money you've spent on your business and any money you've brought in. This includes recording details like the miles you drive on your company car, as this is an expense for your business. Remember to include cleaning supplies when you need to refresh your supply. You can easily add different expenses and income with Skynova's accounting software, making balancing your books much simpler.
- Monitor your quotes. When customers reach out about potentially hiring you, you will often give them a quote regarding how much it will cost for you to clean their homes. If you have quotes you have not heard back from, you will want to follow up and encourage them to hire you. Fortunately, Skynova can help you create, send, and manage your quotes.
- Send and follow up on invoices. Skynova makes it easy to send invoices with the press of a button. If you have given customers invoices that they have not yet paid, though, you will want to follow up on those.
Start Cleaning With Skynova
Starting your own cleaning business offers an exciting opportunity to be your own boss and do work that interests you. As you begin the process of organizing your business, though, keep in mind the importance of using the right accounting software for service providers like cleaning business owners.
Skynova's software products make it easy to track your account books, create invoices and quotes, and monitor your accounting throughout the year. When it comes to investing in your business or paying taxes, you'll have a firm understanding of your accounts and the confidence to help your business grow.