House to House Cleaning Business: Cleaning your own home and cleaning professionally are two totally different things.
Even though you clean your home constantly.
Learning how to clean professionally takes a lot of time and effort.
When a client pays for your services.
They expect to come home and find their home spotless, tidy beyond reproach and smelling pleasant.
1. House to House Cleaning Business
However, for some people, it’s actually easier and more enjoyable to clean other people’s houses.
Because there is no personal investment – just pride in a job well done.
If you’re mulling over the possibility of starting your own house cleaning business.
You’ll need to be fit, prepared for some dirty work.
And willing to market your services through friends, family, and other people.
In order to slowly build up your client base.
It may take a while to build a solid group of clients, but with the right attitude.
A good reputation, and word-of-mouth referrals, you’ll eventually build a solid cleaning business.
House to House Cleaning Business
2. What is one of the most important things to consider before you start your house cleaning business?
3. Before you decide to start your cleaning business, make sure this kind of work is right for you.
While this is one of the easiest businesses to start due to its low/non-existent overheads and reliance on basic skills, you need to be able to live up to the promises.
Cleaning is hard, strenuous work. You need to be in good physical condition and able to bend over, kneel down, reach up and do repetitive actions for a sustained amount of time.
If you have experienced past injuries, check with your doctor that it’ll be okay to take on this very physical work for a living.
4. Consider your office skills.
You will need to have basic office skills and some accounting skills.
You will need to be well organized and to have a system in place that keeps you this way.
Clients won’t appreciate missed appointments.
Or forgetting to clean areas of their home just because your system is messed up.
House to House Cleaning Business
5. Be a good communicator.
You need good customer relation skills and a willingness to engage with people.
You can learn these skills if you don’t already have them––just be open, honest and friendly initially.
And you’ll begin to learn how to interact more confidently as time goes on.
6. Consider your personal legal or criminal history.
Many potential customers will consider you unwelcome to work in their homes, businesses.
Or near their children if you have a criminal record.
Or you are going through a serious dispute with another person.
Clear up any legal loose ends before applying to work for someone.
7. Have back up savings where possible.
If you’re planning on leaving your full time position to start a cleaning business.
Make sure you have at least six months of savings.
Or, keep your full time job and start out part time.
8. Plan the business, as you’d do for any new business idea.
As part of your business plan, consider:
- What sort of cleaning business will you develop? Is your business a general house cleaning one or will it specialize in such cleaning as green cleaning, end-of-tenancy cleaning, open home cleaning, after-party cleaning, removing smoke damage, etc. The more specific your cleaning type becomes, the more you’ll need to research, learn and possibly seek qualifications for.
- Will your business offer different types of cleaning? Related to the sub-step above, perhaps your business will grow over time to include more niche services.
- Will you use your own products or will you use those of the client’s? If you make your own products or believe in certain products, this might form the core of your business. Or, you might be happy with what the client wants used (note that in some cases, you will need to be flexible even if you do use your own cleaning products––after all, it’s not your home).
- Where will you operate? Check out the cleaning services already in your area and beyond. Is the market able to take one more cleaning service or is it currently saturated?
- What transportation do you have? You can’t really rely on the family’s own car filled with buckets, mops and cleaning products, at least not for long, as it’s too messy and takes away a vehicle from everyone else needing it. If you’re cleaning using the client’s products, you might get away with using public transportation; otherwise, you’ll need some means for getting to and from the houses, especially if they’re in very different areas.
- What is your price scale? Check what existing services charge. Can you undercut them for a while without going into the red? See below for more information on how to charge.
House to House Cleaning Business
9. Set up your accounting system.
What is your business system for keeping track of invoices, expenses, sales tax, etc.?
You’ll need accounting software, an understanding of how to use it and a separate place to keep all business documentation.
So that it doesn’t get mixed up with your personal expenses.
If you don’t feel confident, there are quick online courses that can help you learn this easily.
Or ask about help from government organizations that support those setting up in small business.
10. Charge reasonably for your work.
Sell your services based on your quality of work and not your low rates.
If your rates are too low, clients will think that your work is sub-standard and that you’re not experienced.
Also, you want to attract the clients that can afford your services.
As the old saying goes “You get what you pay for.” Of course, charging too high will lose potential clients too––most people needing cleaning services will have a limit on how much they can afford.
- Some companies charge by the hour, some charge by the room, some charge a flat rate per home and some charge by the square foot. While this variety sounds good, it is better to charge by the home, not by the hour (taking into account house size, of course). If a client knows they have to pay one set fee, they don’t care if you take 2 hours or 5 hours, provided you get the job done. Most clients appreciate knowing what they are paying up front and not having to fork out added expenses. Of course, exceptions can, and should, be made, such as cleaning the oven or cleaning a particularly badly soiled part of the home.
- Be sure to estimate houses not only by square footage, but by number of occupants, cleanliness of occupants, contents, and pets. Square footage alone does not indicate the time it takes to do a deep cleaning or the regular ongoing service.
- No two houses are the same and there is no set charge for all homes. You have to clean for awhile yourself to get some experience and to work out a system to clean efficiently. Only you know what you want and need to make. Decide what you need to make hourly to cover all expenses and still make a good profit.
- A word of advice: Make sure when you start your company that you charge what you would charge if you had employees. Some people make the mistake of undercharging when they start out just to get customers and then later on when they grow and need to hire help, they aren’t making enough money on their houses to pay help.
11. Get insurance and bonding.
Trust comes from knowing that you and your services are guaranteed by some back-up.
Insurance and bonding provides clients with reassurance, so you must be bonded and fully insured.
- Liability insurance rates depend on your insurance carrier and where you’re located. You can yearly or quarterly with most insurers and you can purchase your bond through a local insurance company. Note that a bond needs to be renewed every year.
- Each person you hire will increase your liability insurance but it’s well worth the cost because while you may be careful and trustworthy, you can’t always vouch that an employee will remain that way, especially when working beyond your supervision.
- Note: If you hire employees and cover them under your insurance, they must be an employee on payroll and not a sub-contractor. If you employ them as a sub-contractor your insurance may not cover them, check to make sure – (some policies do cover sub and independent contractors, such as the one offered through Eco-Friendly Residential Cleaner’s Association) If they are a sub-contractor they are required to carry their own insurance.