Starting a Cleaning Business

This type of business explicit initial outlay requires low investment or is equal to the amount of cleaning equipment. On the other hand, if you want to establish a cleaning service in a proper way, you will need either special equipment, cleaning solutions or an equipped commercial location with a staff of well-trained cleaners. However, this business can be run from home successfully.

Types of Cleaning Companies and List of Services Rendered

The cleaning industry can be divided into two market groups: commercial and consumer. The first arena consists of janitorial services, the second arena is dominated by residential area cleaning services.

The list of cleaning services:

  • Carpets or floor cleaning.
  • Window washing.
  • Janitorial services.
  • Residential maid service.
  • Organic cleaning service.

Usually the larger the company is, the wider its range of services it renders.

Today you can leap into cleaning business in two ways. The first suggests opening a company to serve a definite client (for example, a shopping mall or a large company’s office) on the base of primary contract. The company may render services to a chosen object only, gradually increasing the clientele. The second way proposes deciding on a niche. It may be, for instance, carpet cleaning because this service is required on a more-frequent basis. A small cleaning company can stand out as an expert in the field of focused services with a highly-trained staff.

Opening an Office

A cleaning company may do without a commercial location at all. A home call center may be enough: an agent will receive orders and send a cleaning team to an object. However, an office is necessary for those who want to develop business.

In the best way, an office area must be large enough to have administrative staff workspace, negotiation room, storage area for keeping cleaning solutions and supplies, laundry with drying and washing machines for cleaning supplies and working uniforms. A reception area with a microwave, refrigerator and cooler will be good too.

During the initial days of operation, you may perfectly do with a small commercial facility less than 150-200 sq.ft. The thing is that your clients may never come to your office, all negotiations are held on their premises. The only function of a commercial location is in filling positions. So, you had better avoid investing in a large and respectable office for the first time. The market players estimate the rent payment amount in $39 per sq.ft.

Marketing and Getting Clients

Cleaning services managers recommend to decide on the particular niche, and than fill in vacations and buy equipment for chosen premises only. The advertisement has little effect in this case, so almost all companies receives first orders via personal connections.

You had better choose an object that requires daily cleaning or regular customers. Single orders are more profitable, but they occur time to time. However, employees wages and rent payment must be made on a regular basis. You can search for clients who need daily cleaning in a commercial premise or in a shopping mall. One cleaning company may serve several offices in one facility, gaining profit due to the coverage.

Cleaning services contract is usually valid until the end of the first calendar year. The parties define services that will be performed by contractor, the schedule of dry and wet cleaning, business hours, etc. The contract also defines the compensation for the services rendered. A calculation of costs is attached to the contract, where charges for labor, supplies, equipment, incidental expenses (administrative and renting costs) and profit ratio are enumerated.

Besides, the contract suggests client to provide a contractor with workspace in the cleaning area. This space is equipped by lockers for working uniforms and supplies’ storage. The equipment storage and dining area are organized at the same place.

The Staff

A cleaning company staff usually consists of a HR specialist, customer service manager and cleaners. You may hire outsourced accountant. During the initial days of operation, a cleaning service’s owner performs the HR specialist responsibilities: fills in vacations, conducts the surveys, negotiates with employees, runs documentation. As business grows, you won’t do without a HR specialist. A customer service manager will supervise quality of services a cleaning team renders on the client’s premise, will control supplies usage, etc. The number of managers depends on the cleaning area. There are no special norms; usually one manager is responsible for supervising 90,000 sq.ft. of cleaning area or keeps on track the process of maintaining of several objects with total area in 50-60 thousand sq.ft.

The number of maids or cleaners also depends on the cleaning area. Cleaning services owners have estimated norms on the basis of their experience. On average, one maid serves 8,000 sq.ft. during 8-hours shift. As a rule, one cleaner is taken for maintaining 5,500 sq.ft. of commercial locations or 9,000 sq.ft. of shopping malls with more empty spaces. Each cleaner must be provided with a working uniform kit: working dress, two t-shirts, fitted hat, work gloves (rubber of textile).

Cleaning Equipment

The professional cleaning equipment, supplies, as like wear parts and chemicals, can be bought in special companies and large retailers.

The minimal kit of cleaning equipment includes mops and pads, a modern analogue for brooms and wisps, costing $60, large rolling cleaning caddy, equipped with section for chemicals storage and waste trolley at the price of $250, scraper ($15) to remove the sticky mud, and cleaning cloths for dusting ($10). Each cleaner must be provided with such kit. You will also need to buy a vacuum and a window cleaning kit.

The entrepreneurs recommend buying industrial floor cleaning machine ($2.500-15.000) for a daily cleaning of shopping malls and large premises. It will allow to replace the labor of several maids and to fasten the process and quality of cleaning.

All cleaning companies’ owners agree that the personnel must be trained. Special training centers or other large cleaning companies may offer training courses. You had better choose such courses where the personnel is taught to various cleaning techniques and is trained to apply different kinds of chemicals, solvents, soaps and supplies according to the type of stains. A cleaner must understand what chemical and in what concentration is required to clean a definite surface.

Experienced entrepreneurs recommend to organize safety and labor protection systems because of high risk of injuring employees.

What Does it Cost to Start a Cleaning Service

Entrepreneurs recommend to estimate the minimal cleaning area required for your company to break even before taking an order on a regular basis.

The value of supplies expenses depends directly on the cleaning area within the first order, which caused the company starting.

The ROI profitability metric depends of way of cleaning. It is not high for a daily cleaning and is equal to 10-15%. The special works in cleaning industry provide the higher ROI index – 25-40%.

There are the following directions for a cleaning business development: technical direction in case the company provides sanitary, electrician, carpenter assistance; customer service direction – what means rendering wardrobe, check-rooms, navigation services; and information providing direction.

The template of costs calculating for a cleaning service with nine cleaners.

The list of approximate single project costs:

  • Supplies and equipment – $3.600
  • Working uniforms – $350
  • Washing machine – $500
  • Office furniture and appliances – $2.000
  • Phone communications – $800

Total: $7.250

  • Regular monthly bills:
  • Rent payment – $750
  • Phone payment – $20
  • Accountant wage – $3.000-6.000
  • Customer service manager’s wage – from $3.000
  • Nine cleaners’ wages – $12.600-31.500
  • Office supplies – $25
  • Chemicals, solvents, soaps – from $100

Total: $19.395 aprox.

Keep in mind that these are approximate costs only! Costs and expenses may be less or more for each case.

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