No wonder that many people want to open a cleaning business, as the residential and commercial cleaning industry is growing with great strength. You'll be able to control how many hours to work and which customers to accept. As you own your own business, you will also decide who to hire and how to market the company to your community. With time, money and preparation, you can start a successful career with your cleaning service.
Part 1 of 3: Creating a Business Plan
Step 1. Decide if you really want to start your own business
Having a cleaning service is something that requires more than just a groceries of cleaning products. Designing a business plan will help you think about all the different aspects of your business, building a good foundation for your business.
- If you have to divide your time with other activities - such as going to college or caring for an elderly or sick relative - it is better to evaluate carefully whether this is the best time to undertake.
- As much as you can enter the cleaning industry with relatively low investments, you'll still need a good start-up capital to buy equipment, hire a lawyer to protect your legal interests, and have an accountant take care of payroll and taxes.
Step 2. Set a budget
One of the main points of the business plan is the budget for the investments in your enterprise, since the money will determine the scope of the plan, the number of employees to be hired, etc. Do you have enough money to invest in enough cleaners to clean large spaces like offices, or do you need to start working with smaller homes?
The budget will also help you decide whether to join a cleaning franchise or start your own business. Franchises typically charge high membership fees, but help with other structural needs such as marketing, support, employee training, etc
Step 3. Advertise what only you offer
Chances are, you're not the only cleaning service in the area. So, if you want a share of the market, you have to think a little: what do you offer that no one else does? Why should customers choose you over your competition?
- For example, do you use cleaning products that do not harm the environment? Do you also offer carpet and rug cleaning? Do you work on weekends?
- Write three or four words that define your company's core values. What words do you want to leave stamped in your customers' minds? Some examples include: loyalty, trust, whim, excellence, etc.
Step 4. Create a customer service plan
Much of the cleaning industry is dependent on customer service. If people don't feel they can trust you, they won't be comfortable hiring you to clean their homes.
A good idea, for example, is to offer incentives to your most loyal customers. How about creating a referral program in which each customer gets 10% off when referring your service to friends or family?
Step 5. Set a price
Your price should be competitive enough that you don't lose customers, but high enough not to hurt your profit. You basically have three options:
- Charge by the hour. Some cleaning services charge by the hour, and the average amounts usually depend on the city and region in which you will work. This may be the best route with new clients, as you won't know for sure how long the project will take to complete.
- Covers by room or by footage. Some companies prefer to charge for the amount of space to be cleaned. If you're going to clean a large house (for example, a holiday home that needs to be cleaned and organized after months of being empty), this may be the best option for pricing work.
- Covers a fixed amount. Other professionals simply set a fixed amount for each cleaning, especially if they clean the same house more than once a month. If you clean weekly, or more often, charging a fixed amount usually works better than charging by the hour. However, if you go to the location less often, this option may not pay off as much as the work will be greater.
- Obviously, take transportation and cleaning materials into account when pricing your services. Labor is not the only thing to charge.
- Set up a billing system that is very clear and doesn't leave anything hanging. If you are going to work with a franchise, chances are you will simply need to adapt to the systems that already exist. If you're going to work independently, create your own note and receipt systems to bill customers, or simply work with card machines for payments. It is a good idea to clarify from the beginning how the charges will work.
Part 2 of 3: Putting the Business Plan to Work
Step 1. Hire skilled employees
The cleaning industry has a very high turnover, averaging 300%. Although it is more expensive to start by hiring experienced people with good recommendations, investing in employees and good working conditions will save you in the long run.
Talk to your attorney about legal characterizations of employees. For example, it is normally not allowed to hire Legal Entities to work every day and receive a monthly salary, as this characterizes an employment relationship
Step 2. Publicize the company
If you've worked in the cleaning industry before, you probably already know this, but it doesn't hurt to repeat: word of mouth is essential. If you already have loyal customers who can recommend your services, even better. Never worked in the business? Don't worry, there are still some things you can do:
- Create informational brochures to distribute in busy establishments such as community centers, gyms, churches and other places with potential customers.
- Get in touch with potential customers through social media. Create profiles for your service and include lots of "before and after" photos of your services, offer discounts, or create cool content to grab the public's attention.
- Make a local outreach. Register your company in cataloging services provided by service providers in the place where you will work.
- There are websites that act as a space to list their services directly through them (such as AirBnB), but the fees charged are usually high and are not always passed on to professionals, and they do not always allow cleaning staff to list their services on other websites. Be careful when betting on these services as it is often easier to earn money on your own.
- Always use the same logo and color palette on all promotional materials, including brochures, flyers, website and business cards. Thus, you already create the impression right away that you are a company with experience and that offers superior service.
- Another good idea is to uniform employees with aprons or polo shirts with the company logo.
Step 3. Search for your target audience
What audience do you want to reach? Want to work in the homes of parents who are too busy to clean? Want to help elderly customers who are unable to clean their own house? Defining a target audience right away will make it easier for you to define your marketing campaigns.
Try to identify gaps in the local cleaning market to know how to differentiate yourself. For example, there may not be many companies that offer products that are environmentally friendly and you can use advertising to fill that niche
Part 3 of 3: Maintaining the Enterprise
Step 1. Hire a lawyer and an accountant
The accountant is the professional who can advise you to cultivate your company and make it grow professionally. The lawyer will help protect your local interests during this growth. These professionals will also help advise you if you want to expand your area of expertise to other regions.
It's important to talk to the lawyer about the expansion to see how your salary will work. Depending on the type of company, the owner cannot continue to receive a salary for cleaning, as he works more in the administrative area
Step 2. Join ABRALIMP
The Brazilian Association of Professional Cleaning Market maintains on its website a list of member companies. Although this is not necessary for its performance, the association will add more credibility to its services.
To become a member, you must pay a monthly membership contribution, with amounts between R$314.00 and R$510.00 depending on the company's status. It is also necessary to fill out a registration form and contact ABRALIMP on the website
Step 3. Expand the business
As your business grows and gains a name in the market, it's a good idea to expand your business to other cities within your state. If you already have trusted employees, you could promote them and make them responsible for the new offices.