How to Start a Cleaning Service Business?
Are you thinking about starting a cleaning service business on a shoestring budget? If you like cleaning your house, then this might be the right business for you. The pandemic has taught both the general public and corporates the importance of cleanliness and hygiene. Enterprises are realising that health and sanitisation directly affect the customer experience, and thereby their bottom line.
Why Should You Start A Cleaning Business?
Many companies and individuals need help to clean their properties. This has led to a huge demand for both home and industrial cleaning services, especially in big cities. A cleaning business offers services like cleaning, fumigation, pest control, vacuuming, etc. through trained professionals. It is a very lucrative business, because cleaning is something that many people don’t want to do themselves.
A commercial cleaning service includes a set of cleaners who visit different parts of the facility periodically to identify any cleaning requirements. Cleaning services can be of two categories-commercial and residential. This service system is on-demand and unorganised.
Starting a cleaning business is just like starting any small business. It is easy and fast, and an entrepreneur need not have to spend too much money on it. You can do it either full-time or part-time, from your home or an office. Here we will discuss with you the right strategies on how to start a cleaning service business:
1. Business Plan
Expecting to succeed in a business without a plan is akin to expect a car to reach its destination without a driver! Write a business plan before you take any action. It should have details like what type of cleaning service you intend to offer, and what are your target clients or homes. Also include the different cleaning packages and the prices for each.
At the very start you have to decide whether you will be catering to commercial or residential spaces. This decision is important, because it will affect a lot of things-from the equipment you buy, to your marketing plan.
Do your market research. The clients that you will cater will determine the type of equipment that you will need. One of your missions should be to end the stigma around the cleaning industry, so that such services get resources to grow, along with respect.
It will help if you have some cleaning background. If you don’t have the experience, educate yourself about different cleaning methods, ingredients, etc. In light of the pandemic, you should be careful not to cross-contaminate different client’s homes.
Different types of niche require different skill sets and mind-frame. Try to find your own niche. For example, your niche could be first responders like doctors or nurses, who have to spend long hours at work.
Pick a good name. A good tip is to put the name of the region that you want to serve. It will add more credibility. For example, if you want to serve in Noida, you can put a name like “Noida’s Best Cleaners”, or “Noida’s Favourite Cleaners”. After that you have to register your name so that it is not taken by anyone else.
The next step will be registering a domain name for your website. This will help you in social media marketing.
4. Licence and Registration
Register your business with the appropriate government authorities and get a commercial license.
It will be a good idea to get insurance for your company. This will cover if anything happens while you are cleaning a client’s home.
If you don’t have the money to start the business, you can apply for a loan. Remember that in the initial phase everything that you earn has to be put back into the business.
7. Marketing Strategy
Marketing is not just asking people to buy your service, but to differentiate it from others. You have to engage your customers. Set up your social media sites and give tips to people on how to clean their house. You can also make short videos to show clients how they can be tidy.
Build your brand. You will have to print business cards, T-shirts with your logo on it, and uniforms for your workers. It is good to look professional. You can focus on B2B like the hospitality sector.
Your website should facilitate online booking. If you are targeting a neighbourhood, get the home-owners association’s permission to give fliers door-to-door.
Buy eco-friendly cleaning service equipment. These include duct cleaning and disinfecting equipment, hand-soaps, brooms, mops, buckets, rags, vacuum cleaners, etc.
In the cleaning and facility management industry, processes are labour intensive and the attrition rates are high. To maintain the cleanliness at a facility, the supervisor has to be physically present constantly. The quality of cleanliness will depend a huge deal on your cleaner’s perception of cleanliness. If any deficiencies in service are not identified on real-time, it will lead to dirty facilities and unhappy customers.
All of the above requires you to hire dedicated and experienced staff. You have to maintain a paper-based tracking system of the cleaner’s activities, and ensure that cleaning is done on a periodic basis.
10. Customer Service
You have to provide your services at competitive rates and give your customers flexibility in terms of payment. Also, you should be ready to give any support that your client asks for during working hours. Your clients should feel special and get their money’s worth.
If you target commercial spaces like office buildings, your services might include the following:
- Disinfecting and fumigating services (in the current Covid-19 scenario).
- Emptying trash cans.
- Floor Waxing.
- Cleaning doors and windows.
- Washing floors.
- Cleaning the kitchen area.
- Cleaning washrooms.
- Pumping septic tanks.
Commercial cleaning services get steady work and the business is lucrative, because you can offer add-on services like . However, there is more competition in this line of work, compared to residential cleaning, and working hours may be odd.
Consumer cleaning involves cleaning people’s homes and may involve the following:
- Carpet cleaning.
- Window cleaning.
- Maid services.
- Janitorial services.
Residential cleaning will require less investment to start. Home-cleaning robots have gained popularity during the pandemic, and this is an innovative cleaning business strategy. Since most homes require cleaning once a week, you have to acquire a large number of clients to sustain.
If you are into residential cleaning, clients will give you the keys to enter when they are not present in their homes. So, you have to honour the trust factor. If you have a set of keys with you, remember to put the client’s name on a label in each key, to prevent them from getting mixed up.
You should check the background of your employees to reduce the chances of theft, and bad service. Reputation can make or break this type of business.
If you want your cleaning service business to grow from say Rs one lakh to Rs 10 lakhs, then you have to scale it up. You have to pitch for new clients and explore new markets. But you have to proactively put systems in place to handle the growth.
You can use data analytics and predictive algorithms to compute cleaning and usage requirements, and send detailed work instructions to your cleaners. These tools are based on Internet of Things and can provide you with real time information like status of soap dispensers, paper towels, etc. Smart integration of AI can increase your business’s productivity, and help your workers.
Prospects of cleaning business
There is a huge untapped market and the initial investment is minimal. If the quality of your work is good, you can easily get more business through word-of-mouth. A typical cleaning business pays off in about a year.
Cons of the business
Cleaning is often seen as a manual job with no prospects, and services in India are cheap. It is not glamorous like some other small businesses. It involves tough physical labour like carrying heavy loads, crawling on your knees, etc.
If you can work tirelessly and good in handling people this is the right business for you. Hard work and smart marketing and help you grow fast in this competitive market. So, clean your way to profits!
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