The cleaning industry is a large industry, and one that presents good opportunities for those interested in a home-based service business. A home-based cleaning business typically presents low barriers to entry and can usually be started on a shoestring budget. Many companies specialize in either residential or commercial cleaning, with some companies focusing on a sub-specialty cleaning service.
The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compiles occupational projections data on many occupations. BLS does not have a single category for home and office cleaning jobs, instead breaking it down into “janitors and cleaners” and “maids and housekeeping cleaners.”
These two combined occupations accounted for nearly four million jobs in 2008. BLS projections call for nearly 200,000 additional jobs to be added to these two occupational fields between 2008 – 2018. More than 900,000 jobs are expected to be available over this decade due to growth and the need for replacement workers. 7.1 percent of maids and housekeeping cleaners were self-employed in 2008, while 5.6 percent of janitors and cleaners were self-employed.
Median annual wages for these occupations tend to be “very low” according to BLS data, with median wages between $18,990 and $21,450.
A cleaning business can be a relatively easy business to get started. Most people already have the skills or knowledge to clean a house or office, and many people will have everything that they need for their cleaning business already at home. These factors, coupled with the never-ending need for cleaning services, make this a comparatively easy business to launch.
Most cleaning companies specialize in either residential cleaning or commercial cleaning. However, there certainly may be some overlap between these specialties.
Residential cleaning involves cleaning customer houses and apartments. Residential customers may hire cleaning help because they are elderly or disabled and need assistance, or because they are busy with work and other commitments and simply prefer to have someone else handle their cleaning.
Commercial cleaning involves cleaning businesses, offices, and other commercial areas. Commercial customers may contract out all of their cleaning needs or only a portion of the cleaning. Commercial cleaning accounts can often be much larger than residential cleaning accounts.
Starting your cleaning business with residential accounts may be the easiest way to build a customer base. Residential cleaning accounts will typically require only equipment or supplies that you already own. Further, many residential customers may allow you to use their vacuum cleaner, mops, brooms, etc., thus lowering your start-up costs even further.
This business will require transportation to various job sites even though the office work may be handled at home. The vehicle will need to accommodate whatever equipment and supplies you typically carry while working.
Successful marketing techniques for a home-based cleaning business will vary depending on whether the business is targeting residential or commercial accounts. Each specialty will require a different marketing focus.
Residential accounts may best be marketed by word-of-mouth advertising initially. Contacting friends, family, and acquaintances, along with announcing the business on social media sites, can be a great way of securing those vital first accounts. Asking friends and family to recommend your business to others can also be quite effective. Eventually, marketing this type of business to residential customers may require directory advertising, newspaper advertising, and potentially direct mailings to targeted demographics.
Commercial accounts are usually best approached by direct marketing – particularly when you are trying to quickly secure new customers for a fledgling business. Contacting potential customers directly and explaining your services can be a great way to inexpensively market your business. This type of “cold calling” usually results in a lot of unsuccessful contacts, but several new customers can be the difference between success and failure for any new business. Later marketing techniques may include directory advertising and joining business associations like the local chamber of commerce.
Every business can benefit from a website. This online presence is difficult to beat in terms of the return on investment. A website for your cleaning business allows potential customers to find your business when they search for cleaning services in your area or city. A business website also allows you another opportunity to sell your services to potential clients, along with detailing what services you provide, what areas you service, and what your rates are for various types of cleaning services.
Business cards are always helpful for marketing a business. Many times a business owner will end up discussing his or her business in a conversation. Being able to pass a potential client a business card with all of your business contact information is an important tool in securing a new customer.
Residential cleaning services are usually the easiest to start. Commercial cleaning may require more equipment and larger vehicles to transport the cleaning equipment. Commercial accounts may also require business insurance or bonding – something that many residential accounts will not be concerned with.
Operating a cleaning business will usually require using a motor vehicle to commute between accounts, and to transport equipment. Make sure your automobile insurance covers you for business use of your vehicle. The insurance company may charge an additional premium for business use of your vehicle, but failing to notify your insurance company could result in denied claims.
Not everyone will care for the idea of cleaning houses or offices for a living. However, for those who do not mind cleaning the office and house cleaning business can be profitable. This business also offers the potential of being started on a limited budget and expanded once the money is coming in regularly.
– How to Start a Cleaning Service. Entrepreneur. Site Accessed on 28 October 2010.
– How to Start a Cleaning Service: Types of Cleaning Businesses. Entrepreneur. Site accessed on 28 October 2010.
– Bobby Scott. How To Start A Office Cleaning Business. Site accessed on 28 October 2010.