Cleanliness is important in our homes and offices so there is a constant demand for cleaning services. Because of that, although not so glamorous, more people are now thinking that they should start a cleaning business.
Starting your own cleaning service sounds easy, right? In reality, just like any other businesses, starting a cleaning company requires not just the cleaning equipment but also thorough planning as the cleaning industry is complicated. Let us help you with key things to consider before you decide to start your own cleaning company:
Consider your business entity type
Unlike many other types of businesses, a floor cleaning business can be started with a relatively small investment – that is, if you’re starting out as an independent business owner. Estimates of startup costs start at under $2,000, assuming you start with the bare minimum on cleaning equipment. That low starting figure may not be the best fit for your business, though, and might not cover essentials such as vehicle expenses or larger equipment purchases. However it’s often possible to add equipment as your business grows, or to take the option of renting some of the equipment you need for a certain job.
If you plan to pay for a franchise, however, you may need a bigger investment as franchisees will provide you with everything you need, from the most effective ways to clean up to assistance on how to market your business. Start-up costs may be higher if you choose this route, but the good thing is you’ll be provided with tried and tested business plans and solutions, thus saving yourself from disappointments and headaches.
Having a budget is essential to planning a profitable business. With a solid understanding of startup costs and a flair for frugality, your floor cleaning business will have lower cost hurdles to clear, an important consideration when startup revenues are still in their infancy.
Research hourly floor cleaning rates and flat rates
Ensuring you’ll turn a profit clears the path to longevity for your floor cleaning business. That’s why it would be best to invest some of your time in learning the going rates so you can establish competitive prices early on, taking into consideration important factors such as your competitors’ rates, your location, your customers, the size of the property as well as its condition, and any other additional tasks that you may need to do. The following are various pricing models you can use for your cleaning services:
- Hourly rate. This is the most common and easiest way to charge your customer. The average hourly residential cleaning rate is between $25 and $40, but you can ask your competitors how much they usually charge to get the average rate in your area.
- Flat rate. If you can estimate the number of hours it will take you to clean an area, you can charge your customers a flat rate with specific services this covers. You can plan to offer a basic cleaning package at a certain fee, and then charge an additional cost for extra services such as carpet cleaning. Don’t forget to charge a price that will be fair to you considering the cleaning products and equipment that you’re going to use.
- Square footage rate. This pricing model suits large areas such as business establishments or vacation houses. Most cleaning companies charge these properties, which could be larger than 1000 square feet, with commercial cleaning rates as they often have office spaces or rooms that may need more cleaning staff and deep cleaning.
It can be tempting to set your rates low to attract new business, particularly if your expenses are relatively low because you are doing most of the work yourself or don’t have much equipment yet. However, raising prices later on once you have learned the true costs of running a growing business can be a difficult task. Instead of distinguishing your business on price, it’s better to establish a reputation for quality work at a fair price.
Protect your floor cleaning business with the right insurance
Uninsured or underinsured businesses are at risk from liability lawsuits – a risk that can even affect your personal assets. As a cleaning service, even when you or your staff are well-trained and take great precautions, accidents could still happen. If you don’t have the right cleaning service insurance, you’ll face possible financial devastation in damages and fees. The following types of insurance will be of interest to you as a cleaning business owner:
- Commercial General Liability insurance: At the minimum, you’ll need commercial general liability insurance to protect your business against bodily injury and property damage claims. It is designed to ensure that if you or your staff accidentally damage a property, it will be properly compensated without you having to shell out a lot of cash to pay for it. The same goes with injuries where medical bills will be paid by the insurance company.
- Commercial Auto insurance: You will also need commercial auto insurance if you’re using your own vehicle for your business, as your personal auto insurance won’t cover most business-related risks like damaged cleaning equipment in case of an accident.
- Surety bond For some clients, you may also need a surety bond. This type of insurance covers loss of money or other property when your staff is involved. In short, it covers theft or stealing as long as a police report is filed and the person involved is convicted.
Tips for Starting a Floor Cleaning Business
When starting a business, it often pays to specialize. That’s why starting a floor cleaning or a floor care business can be such an attractive option. By specializing in floor cleaning, nearly every aspect of your business becomes more efficient, from marketing and employee training to the actual service being performed. The floor cleaning business has its challenges, though, and economic downturns or a poor customer experience can contribute to reduced revenue or high churn. Here are some tips that can help you build a floor cleaning business that can survive and thrive:
- Attend a floor cleaning seminar. Attending a short course seminar about how to properly clean floors would be beneficial because you will be taught best cleaning practices depending on the floor type so you can avoid damaging your future customers’ floors.
- Get the right equipment. You won’t just need the usual mop and broom, you’ll also need polishing equipment to shine the floor.
- Determine your business model. Decide if you’re starting out from scratch as an independent contractor, or if you would be paying a franchise so your business already has an established name. You might also want to consider starting a team and to start to hire employees that would do the cleaning for you.
- Take care of your reputation. In the cleaning industry, your reputation as someone who provides a quality cleaning service is very important because your service needs to beis just as good as your cleaning projects themselves. Even a single negative experience from past customers can lead to cancellation of future cleaning contracts.
- Don’t stop innovating. Yes, floors stay the same, but new products to better clean these floors may be available in the market. There may also be newer floor cleaning techniques that could be more practical. Try to find newer and more effective approaches to maintain the quality of your service.
Be efficient in marketing your floor cleaning business
Phonebook yellow page ads are largely a thing of the past. Most of your customers will be looking for you online and often sometime even from mobile devices. This is where it pays to be a specialized business. It’s much easier to optimize your marketing efforts when your business is highly focused on one type of service.
- Invest some time in building a professional looking website that highlights testimonials and makes your services easy to understand.
- Be sure your website is mobile-friendly, as some of your customers will be looking for you while using their phones or tablets.
- Website hosting with a professional template is surprisingly affordable through providers like Wix.com or Squarespace.com and will provide an easy way for customers to reach out either by phone or through a contact form.
- Look for free or inexpensive places to market your business locally and get your website listed as a local business in Google and in business directories like Yelp. Search results featuring local businesses get a lot of traffic compared to results further down the page.
- Consider doing some blogging yourself or hiring someone knowledgeable to add useful content to your website on occasion. Be careful to review the content and be sure it represents your business well. For many of your potential future customers, the first experience they have with your business will be your website content. Copywriting or web content on your site should reflect your expertise.
Starting a floor cleaning business might not be easy, but it’s also not too difficult. You can start by offering your service to your friends and family to determine if this would be the right business for you. If you’ve decided to finally start a floor care business, get business licensing and other necessary permits to make your business legal. Just remember the most important requirement your business should have: establishing trust among your customers and building a reputation that shows your cleaning company is dependable.