How to Start a Housecleaning Cleaning Small Business
Description of Job
• Clean, vacuum, and neaten homes or apartments. • Carry out other services as requested by the client. • Perform turnover cleaning of rental properties.
The Need and Demand For Housecleaning Services
Most of us, unless we live in a hotel (or in a dorm room and don’t care), are responsible for cleaning our house or apartment. At one time, the idea of hiring household staff was something reserved for the wealthiest among us; today, it may be much less of a luxury and much more of a necessity.
In a two-job family, who has the time to clean the house? For a stay-at-home mother or father with young kids, who has time for anything but the most basic cleanup tasks?
Scheduled or on-demand housecleaning services are very popular in residen- tial areas where one or more family members have jobs outside the home. Addi- tional opportunities exist in tourist areas, where houses and apartments must be cleaned after each rental.
Challenges Faced By a Housecleaning Business
Not all houses are the same; not everyone’s idea of minimal orderliness is iden- tical; and few people have exactly the same definition of cleanliness.
The biggest challenge is to have a written agreement that specifies exactly what services you will perform, as well as your expectations from the client. Standard services include vacuuming all carpeted areas, washing kitchen and bathroom floors, dusting, cleaning of kitchen cooking surfaces, sanitizing of bathrooms, and general neatening.
The sort of work that is ordinarily beyond basic services includes jobs such as polishing silver, washing window exteriors, and cleanup after parties.
In most cases, you will be working within an occupied home or apartment and trusted not to steal or damage valuable items. You may be given a set of keys or the code for a burglar alarm and must safeguard them. You will need legalprotection against liability and may want to seek bonding. You may be asked to provide references.
You may have to work while your client is in the home or apartment; think carefully before accepting a job where you do not feel personally safe.
If you build your company to include additional employees, you should seek references from them and check for criminal records; any problems they cause will become your problems. Your attorney or insurance agent may recommend that you have your employees bonded as a reassurance to your clients.
Thing to Know Before Starting This Business
Some people have the “clean gene” and some seem constitutionally unable to keep their homes in shape. You know which type you are; be sure you are willing to become a cleaning genie for a stranger.
There are many web sites and books that give special tips and tricks for cleaning.
How to Get Started With the Housecleaning Business
Advertise in the local newspaper and in shopping guides. Put a business card at the supermarket, and, if you have access to the bulletin boards at any companies, leave your card there as well.
In tourist areas leave your business card and references with real estate or rental agencies.
Up-front Expenses for the Business
You’ll need to purchase an arsenal of cleaners, sanitizers, deodorizers, polishes, and other products. Then there are mops, dusters, and the biggest investment: an industrial-strength vacuum cleaner.
You’ll also need a traveling case for your products and equipment and a vehi- cle to transport the whole kit and caboodle.
As a commercial cleaning contractor, you should be able to purchase sup- plies at a discount or from a wholesaler. Warehouse stores also offer good deals on extra-large containers.
Other costs include advertising and promotion.
How Much to Charge for the Housecleaning Services
Housecleaners generally charge by the hour, with the rate including the cost of the supplies you use and a portion of the cost of the vacuum cleaner and other capital expenditures.
For regular clients, you could work out an arrangement whereby they provide all of the cleaning supplies to meet your needs; in that case, you would charge a lower hourly rate.
You can expect to be asked to give an estimate of how long it will take you to complete the job. Make sure you take into consideration unusually large homes or apartments and unusually messy abodes. The frequency of cleaning will also make a difference; dust and dirt accumulate over time and make for more work. You could offer a discounted rate to clients who agree to schedule frequent visits.
Legal and Insurance Issues
➀ Legal ➁ Legal ➂ Legal ➃ Accounting ➄ Insurance.