Do you want to start an office cleaning business from home? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting an office cleaning business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample office cleaning business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample office cleaning service marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for office cleaning businesses. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting an office cleaning business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Why Start an Office Cleaning Business?
The cleaning industry is one industry that has successfully opened several business opportunities for entrepreneurs, and the good thing about the industry is that there is still room large enough for aspiring entrepreneurs to come into the industry and start their own business. One of the niche areas in the commercial cleaning industry that an aspiring entrepreneur can choose from is office cleaning.
Office cleaning business is one of the businesses that an entrepreneur can successfully start without breaking the bank for cash. At the same time, big – time investors can also leverage on the high demand for cleaning services by larger corporations to set up their own well – organized office cleaning businesses in strategic locations within a business district in the United States of America.
No matter the type of business you choose to start, it is important to state that before launching this business, you should ensure that you carry out your market research, economic and cost analysis and of course feasibility studies. If you get things right before launching your office cleaning business, it will not take you long before you secure enough corporate clients that would enable you break-even and start smiling to the bank.
If indeed you want to start your own office cleaning business, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well informed and equipped.
Starting an Office Cleaning Business from Home – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
The cleaning industry that office cleaning falls under provides several different cleaning services mainly for corporate organizations. Franchises in this large industry mostly fit into one of three areas: cleaning and janitorial services, carpet and upholstery cleaning services, and dry cleaning and laundry services. In 2010, there were about 50,000 cleaning services operating in the United States and about 9,000 carpet and upholstery companies, which brought in a total of about 40 billion dollars in annual revenue.
About 90 percent of the cleaning revenue is accounted for by cleaning companies, versus about 10 percent by carpet and upholstery. For instance, there were 30,000 companies in the laundry and dry cleaning business that brought in about 10 billion dollars in revenue last year, 70 percent of which were retail laundry and dry cleaning operations, and 30% of which were coin-operated laundry locations.
There were 824,394 workers in the cleaning industry in 2010. The industry is fairly top-heavy – the fifty largest companies account for about thirty percent of the revenue. About 7 percent of cleaning workers were self-employed. There are both small and large cleaning companies, but small companies tend to be restricted to residential cleaning, since large commercial cleaning requires many employees and specialized skills.
The economic depression of the last few years hit the cleaning industry as it hit most American industries, but the health care industry played a large role in managing to keep the cleaning industry profitable. As the number of elderly Americans increased, there was a greater need for cleaning services.
Low vacancy rates in office spaces are important to the continuing success of both the cleaning and carpet cleaning sectors, as they depend on getting most of their business from offices and commercial buildings. When office vacancy rates went up during the recent depression, business suffered significantly. For residential cleaning, the economy is also important. When incomes are lower, residents will choose to save money by putting off carpet cleaning.
Competition may come to cleaning services from larger catch-all companies who offer cleaning as part of a bundled program of many more services such as parking, snow removal, and pest control. In-house janitorial services operated by buildings and management companies may also serve as competition.
The cleaning industry is one of the fastest growing service industries in the United States. It is predicted that cleaning services will experience a five percent growth rate between 2008 and 2018, and this growth will be largely due to the health care industry, where elderly care needs will increase over that period. In addition, personal consumption for cleaning, laundering and repair of clothing is predicted to increase at a compound annual rate of 3 percent from 2015 to 2019.
Just like any other business, the demand for cleaning services usually declined during recession period/economic downturn and this is due to declining corporate spending on cleaning services and reduced demand from business clients. As the economy grows, and income increases, there will be corresponding increase in the demand for cleaning related services such as office cleaning.
Over and above, office cleaning businesses all over the world are still enjoying good patronage particularly if they are well positioned and if they know how to reach out to their target market (residential estates and households et al).
Starting an Office Cleaning Business – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who hire the services of office cleaning companies cut across all business and corporate organizations both big and small that have the capacity to pay for their services hence the demographic composition of an office cleaning business is all encompassing.
The truth is that when it comes to an office cleaning business, there is indeed a wide range of available customers. Your target market can’t be restricted to just offices and businesses within your location, but all the corporate organizations and businesses around the city where you have your business presence and who can afford your services.
So, if you are thinking of opening your own office cleaning business then you should make your target demographics all encompassing. It should include corporate organizations, medium scale organizations and small scale organizations in the city where your office cleaning services business is located.
List of Niche ideas Within the Office Cleaning Business That You Can Specialize in
The cleaning industry has two primary market groups: consumer and commercial. The consumer arena consists primarily of office cleaning services and residential maid services, along with carpet cleaners, window cleaners and a variety of other cleaning services required on a less-frequent basis.
The commercial arena is dominated by janitorial services which typically provide a wider range of services than maid services, along with other cleaning companies such as carpet and window cleaners that target businesses rather than individual consumers.
Another positive aspect of the industry is that within each category of cleaning businesses are market niches and operating styles that vary tremendously. This means you can build a company that suits your individual style and talents. If you like doing the work yourself, you can stay small and do so. If your skills are more administrative in nature, you can build and manage teams to do the work.
For people who like working outside, the opportunities in service areas such as window cleaning and pressure washing are abundant. Residential maid services offer fairly predictable hours; disaster restoration and cleanup can mean calls at all hours of the day or night. Few industries offer this tremendous range of choices and opportunities, and the need for general and niche cleaning is expected to increase in the future
The Level of Competition in the Cleaning Services Industry
The competitions that exist in the office cleaning industry go beyond competitions amongst office cleaning businesses in your location; you are expected to compete with other businesses in the commercial cleaning industry. So, it will be right to say the competition in the office cleaning line of business is tough.
The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your services or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure your workforce can carry out thorough cleaning services, you can deliver excellent customer care services and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
But over and above, there are several office cleaning services businesses and other cleaning services businesses scattered all around the United States. So, if you choose to start your own office cleaning business in the United States of America, you will definitely meet stiff competitions amongst office cleaning services businesses and other commercial cleaning services providers. Besides, there are larger office cleaning services companies – brands that determine the trends in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.
List of Well – Known Brands in the Office Cleaning Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by the customers and general public than the others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long while and so are known for that, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.
These are some of the leading office cleaning services companies and commercial cleaning services company brands in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Steamatic® Incorporated
- BuildingStars® Inc.
- Anago cleaning system
- ServiceMaster® Clean
- Bonus building care
- CleanNet® USA Inc.
- Stratus Building Solutions
- Jan – Pro Franchising International Inc
- Vanguard Cleaning Systems
- Coverall Health – Based Cleaning System
- Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services
- The Cleaning Authority
- Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning Services
- Chem – Dry Carpet Cleaning Services
- Von Scrader Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning Service
If you are planning towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.
Office cleaning business is not a green business, as a matter of fact; you will come across several office cleaning companies and other commercial cleaning services companies when you drive through town, search through directories and browse through the internet.
So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of what is required to rent a space where you are expected to open your office cleaning business and the amount required to purchase vacuum cleaner with attachments, white cloth rags, paper towels, toilet brush, toilet bowl cleaner, brooms, dust pan and brush, dry mop, wet mop and bucket, latex gloves, wet floor signs, extension cord, window cleaner, disinfectant cleaner, bathroom cleaner, furniture polish, soft scrub product for sinks, SOS pads, feather duster, high duster, caddy with handle to keep your supplies in, cleaning chemical supplies, detergents and soaps and also the running cost of the business.
Over and above, if you are considering starting an office cleaning services company, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of purchasing cleaning equipment, you should be concerned also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.
Starting Your Office Cleaning Services Business from Scratch vs Buying a Franchise
When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to buy the franchise of a successful and well – established corporate cleaning services company as against starting from the scratch. Even though it is relatively expensive buying the franchise of an established corporate cleaning services company, but it will definitely pay you.
But if you truly want to build your own brand after you must have proved your worth in the commercial cleaning services industry, then you might just want to start your own office cleaning services business from the scratch. The truth is that it will pay you in the long run to start your office cleaning services business from the scratch. Starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies before choosing a location to launch the business.
Please note that most of the big and successful office cleaning services business and other commercial cleaning services companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting an Office Cleaning Business
If you decide to start your own office cleaning services business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established office cleaning services companies and other commercial cleaning services companies that also clean offices. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn; if the economy is in bad shape, history has it that office cleaning services businesses and any other businesses that offer cleaning services usually struggle to maintain their old customers or even welcome new customers.
So also, unfavorable government policies can also hamper the growth of your office cleaning services business. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work out well for you.
Starting an Office Cleaning Business – Legal Matters
- Best legal entity to use for this type of business
You have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability Company which is commonly called an LLC, or even a sole proprietorship for a business such as office cleaning services business. As a matter of fact, if your intention is to grow the business and have offices and corporate clients all across key cities in the United States of America and other countries of the world via franchising, then choosing sole proprietor is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholders meetings and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your office cleaning services business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
Catchy Business Name ideas Suitable for an Office Cleaning Business
When it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Usually it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own office cleaning services business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Craig & Brad Office Cleaning Services, LLC
- Brick Walls® Office Cleaning Services, LLC
- Bally Clean Protect© Office Cleaning Services, Inc.
- Kings Court® Commercial Cleaning Company, Inc.
- Yes Boss™ Corporate Cleaning Services, Inc.
- Triple Tee™ Office Cleaning Services, Inc.
- Clear Whyte© Corporate Cleaning Services, Inc.
- Robert Gazelle® Office Cleaning Services Company, LLC
- 100 Percent© Office Cleaning Services, Inc.
- Tallahassee Brothers© Office Cleaning Services, Inc.
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your office cleaning services business.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own office cleaning services business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health/Medical insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
If you are considering starting your own office cleaning services business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run an Office Cleaning Business?
Aside from the results you produce as it relates to providing professional cleaning services, professional certification is one of the main reasons why most office cleaning services providers stands out. If you want to make an impact in the commercial cleaning services industry, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization.
Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career, and up-to-date in this competitive market. These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own office cleaning services company;
- Institute of inspection cleaning and restoration certification – IICRC
- International janitorial cleaning services certification – IJVSC
- House cleaning technician certification – HCT
- Cleaning business owner certificate – CBO
Please note that you can successfully run an office cleaning services company in the United States and in most countries of the world without necessarily acquiring professional certifications and business license as long as you have adequate experience cum background in the commercial cleaning services industry.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run an Office Cleaning Business
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own office cleaning services business in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Tax Payer’s ID / Tax Identification Number
- Chemical handlers certificate
- Health inspection Certificate
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Building License
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
Financing Your Office Cleaning Services Business
Starting an office cleaning services business can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale by running the business from your home or sharing an office space. Securing a standard office space in a business district and purchasing vacuum cleaner with attachments, white cloth rags, paper towels, toilet brush, toilet bowl cleaner, brooms, dust pan & brush, dry mop, wet mop & bucket, latex gloves, wet floor signs, extension cord, window cleaner, disinfectant cleaner, bathroom cleaner, furniture polish, soft scrub product for sinks, SOS pads, feather duster, high duster, caddy with handle to keep your supplies in, cleaning chemical supplies, detergents and soaps et al are part of what will consume a large chunk of your start – up capital.
If you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale office cleaning services business.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start – up capital for your office cleaning services business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
Choosing a Suitable Location for your Office Cleaning Business
The location you chose to open your office cleaning services company is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people with the required purchasing power.
If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a facility for your office cleaning services business in a not too visible or hidden location simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business and perhaps giving direction to potential customers.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your office cleaning services business;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for corporate cleaning services in the location
- The purchasing power of corporate organizations in the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of office cleaning services companies and other commercial cleaning services companies that also clean offices in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community
- Traffic, parking and security
Starting an Office Cleaning Business – Technical & Manpower Details
On the average, there are no special technology or equipment needed to run an average office cleaning services company except for vacuum cleaner with attachments, white cloth rags, paper towels, toilet brush, toilet bowl cleaner, brooms, dust pan & brush, dry mop, wet mop & bucket, latex gloves, wet floor signs, extension cord, window cleaner, disinfectant cleaner, bathroom cleaner, furniture polish, soft scrub product for sinks, SOS pads, feather duster, high duster, caddy with handle to keep your supplies in, cleaning chemical supplies, detergents and soaps, computers and receipt issuing machines, Sound System (For playing music), Point of Sale Machines (POS Machines), CCTV Cameras and Flat Screen TVs.
So also, you will definitely need computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
But if you choose to start a standard hi – tech commercial cleaning services company, then you would need 3 high pressure wand self-service bays; and 5 vacuum stations complete with fragrance and carpet shampoo dispensing machines, Insulator washers with a pump pressure of about 1000 psi and a nozzle pressure between 500 and 750 psi, centrifugal water pump, stainless steel water storage tank, high-pressure water hose, high-pressure dead-man type water wash gun and Electrical grounds for the wash gun and washing system and chemical supplies.
As regards leasing or outright purchase of an office and store facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short – term rent/lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long – term lease or outright purchase of the property.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard office cleaning services business with plans to have corporate clients all across major cities in the United States of America, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Supervisors, Sales and Marketing Officer/Sales Girls and Sales Boys, Accounting Clerk, and Cleaners. These are some of the key employees that you can work with. On the average, you will need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members to run a small – scale but standard office cleaning services company.
The Service Process Involved in the Office Cleaning Business
The operation process as it relates to office cleaning services companies depends largely on their area of operation and their organizational structure.
Usually, when an office cleaning services company gets a contract from a corporate organization to clean their office (either one – off or long – term cleaning), they will first conduct cost analysis for them to know the manpower and resources needed to carry out the job.
Once they conclude their cost analysis, then they will deploy the required manpower and machines to execute the job and then they will get paid after successfully carrying out the job. Usually their services include general services like trash pickup and floor polishing, and also include more specialized services like window washing.
It is important to state that an office cleaning services company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility.
Starting an Office Cleaning Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and strategies
Generally, running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch an office cleaning services business, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands that determine the market direction for the commercial cleaning services industry.
These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your office cleaning services business;
- Introduce your office cleaning services company by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to corporate organizations, small scale businesses, medium scale businesses and other key stake holders throughout the city where your office cleaning services company is located.
- Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across, so that those on social media or those who read blogs will know who to call when they need the services an office cleaning company within your location
- Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
- Directly market your services
- Engage in road shows in targeted business communities from time to time to promote your office cleaning services business
- Join local office cleaning services business associations for industry trends and tips
- Join local chambers of commerce and industry with the aim of marketing your services
- Advertise our business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)
Factors That Will Help You Get the Right Product Pricing
One key factor that will help you offer your office cleaning services at rock bottom prices is to purchase your cleaning chemical supplies directly from wholesalers and importers in pretty large quantities. The truth is that the higher the quantities of items that you purchase directly from importers and wholesalers, the cheaper you tend to get them.
Another strategy that will help you offer your cleaning services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Asides from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.
You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; with that, it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives.
Strategies to Boost Your Office Cleaning Business Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting an office cleaning services business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by opening offices all across key cities in the United States and franchising, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Your corporate identity has a lot to do when it comes to building a profitable business.
Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your office cleaning services business;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your office cleaning services business
- Install billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted business districts to create awareness for your office cleaning services business
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact corporate organizations, small scale businesses, medium scale businesses and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your office cleaning services company is located informing them about your office cleaning services company and other services you offer
- List your office cleaning services company in local directories/yellow pages
- Advertise your office cleaning services company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
- Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your office cleaning services company is located.
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your carts, vehicles, trucks and vans are well branded with your company logo et al.
Creating a Supplier/Distribution Network
In order to successfully run an office cleaning services business, you must establish good business relationship with wholesalers of cleaning chemicals and other cleaning supplies within the city where your office cleaning services company is located. Note that you would need a steady supply of cleaning chemicals and other cleaning supplies from wholesalers in order to remain in business.
So also, you are expected to create business networks with human resources and admin managers and managers of facilities. They are in a better position to give you corporate cleaning services contracts. Depending on your agreement with them, you might be compelled to pay a certain fee or commission.