CHAPTER 2-: This is the second chapter of “The Complete Guide to Starting a Cleaning Business.” As a result of some standards that have been laid down by major players in the cleaning industry, some interesting facts have emerged. Therefore, If you are a player in the cleaning industry, it is important for you to know about facts and statistics of the industry; it will enable you plan and project your business growth. Statistics are not mere figures; they play a major role in helping businesses position themselves to achieve their goals.
The approach to take if you want to start a business in any industry, is to first study the facts and statistics in the industry you intend building your business. So, in essence, part of what you need to look out for when conducting your feasibility studies is to gather all the available facts and statistics in the industry and make plans on how to leverage on them to achieve your business aim. In some cases, you might see some frightening statistics that might put you on your toe but that doesn’t rule out the fact that entrepreneurs are making fortunes from cleaning business.
One thing about the cleaning industry is that the mode of sourcing for clients and also the mode of operation is almost similar in most countries of the world. So in essence the statistics and facts that will be discussed in this article will be applicable to the cleaning industry in all the continents of the world.
Feasibility Study of a Cleaning Business
Now the fact that the cleaning industry generates enormous and ever increasing competition can be both a burden and a boon for you. It is a burden in the sense that it puts you under a lot of pressure to survive in the industry, compete with your upstart business rivals and slowly climb up the ranks to go head to head with the big cleaning companies. It is a boon because the more intense the competition is, the bigger will be your rewards.
You should hardly be surprised by the fact that this industry is so competitive. A lot of people are willing to pay a good sum of money to have their houses and offices cleaned. It all comes back to the idea of people needing other people to get their job done. This is why the service sector has been on the rapid rise for decades now.
Cleaning services also provide a cost effective solution for most businesses who have quickly learned that hiring an outside company to clean their offices and work stations for them is a much cheaper alternative that employing in house staff for the sole purpose of cleaning . In house staffs demand salaries and benefits, whereas cleaning services do all the work efficiently for a relatively cheaper service fee. Hence, there is great market demand for cleaning services in the current economy.
Some Factors to Consider Before Starting a Cleaning Business
Your job as an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to step foot into the cleaning industry is to have a complete and crystal clear understanding of the cleaning business market. Before you can begin your journey into this sector, you need to spend a considerable amount of time doing your homework about the sector. You must know the ins and outs of the business, along with the advantages and disadvantages. It is only then will you be fully prepared to tackle the challenges that will come your way.
The market demand for cleaning businesses is not uniform in every city across the state. Sometimes, they can vary greatly from one neighborhood to the other. For instance a location that is jam packed with commercial buildings will certainly have a greater demand for cleaning services than a location that is home to college dormitories and small residential apartment buildings, where the residents may not have the financial capacity to afford a cleaning service. Figuring out which areas have a concentrated demand and which areas do not is just a primary aspect of your market research.
The next most important factor that you must weigh in during your market research is the specialty that you want your business to be based on. Cleaning services have two major markets that can be targeted.
- Residential Cleaning Services
- Commercial Cleaning Services
Corporate / Commercial Cleaning Deals Yield More. The major and largest source of cleaning contracts for commercial cleaning companies is from corporate offices. As a matter of fact, office buildings accounts for about 31% of the total contracts available to commercial cleaning companies. The reasons why a commercial complex may require the services of a cleaning company have been discussed already.
What about a residential building? Home Cleaning Deals Pay the Least. Home cleaning contracts pay the least when compared to hospital cleaning, office cleaning and factory cleaning deals. That is the reason why most cleaning agencies would always targets corporate cleaning contracts. There are plenty of residential complexes across cities that house people who are too busy to take care of their homes on a regular basis. These people therefore call upon a cleaning company to make sure that their house does not turn into a dungeon full of dust, cobwebs and creepy crawlers. If you are aiming for the residential market, you can choose to provide state of the art:
- Maid service
- Window cleaning
- Carpet cleaning
- Garage cleaning
- Basement cleaning
- Roof cleaning
- Gutter cleaning
- Pool cleaning
- Foreclosure properties cleaning
- Water damage/leakage cleaning
- Smoke damage cleaning
- Foreclosure cleaning
And of course last but not the least construction site cleaning. With the commercial cleaning, you can provide janitorial services and parking lot cleaning services which residential clients will not be in need of.
Once you find your niche and decide upon your area of expertise, you can take a more direct approach with your market research. For example, if you decided to provide janitorial services to commercial complexes, then you can dig up the records of all the cleaning companies who provide similar services and find out how well they performed in the recent calendar years. If their numbers are impressive and if their style of business is in line with your business philosophy, then you might as well finalize your decision to specialize in janitorial services for commercial buildings.
Whether your business will cater to the commercial clients or the residential ones is completely up to you to decide. Do not rush yourself into taking a decision, as a wrong choice will have severe detrimental effects on your business later on once it starts operations. Make a well informed choice. If you want, you can always be brave and resort to the option of catering to clients of both the sectors.
If you can successfully dig your way into both markets, then you stand a good chance of luring in way more customers than you would have if you had stuck to one particular field. With that being said, focusing on both the markets will keep you extremely busy, so make sure that you do not bite off more than you can chew.
10 Challenges to Expect When Starting a Cleaning Business
There is hardly any business that does not come with its own fair share of challenges; and so running a cleaning business does not immune you to facing the challenges that is unique to cleaning business. One good thing about challenges and obstacles in business is that the more you overcome them, the higher the success rate you will achieve in the business.
If the picture you have of a business is all about smooth sails, then you should forget about it because there is no business that you can start that you won’t be confronted with one challenges or the other. Even if you perfected your business plans and strategies, once you hit the ground running, the reality of the business will show – up.
Aside from the fact that the cleaning industry in most countries tend to be saturated, you still need to up your services at regular interval if you intend keeping your clients as long as you want. If there is a drop in the quality of services you render as a cleaning company, then you are likely going to lose you clients because there are many options that they can fall back to.Now let us quickly consider the 10 challenges of running a cleaning business;
1. Stiffer Competitions
Loads of entrepreneur who intend starting their own business would prefer starting a business that is less technical; a business that won’t put them under undue pressure and cleaning business is one of such business. If you count the number of corporate cleaning companies in your city, you will realize that there’s quite an appreciable number hence the increase in the competition. Organizations are willing to drop any cleaning company that they hire once they are no longer satisfied with them and they can get other cleaning companies to do the job without delay.
2. Continuous Improvement of Service Delivery
One of the challenges corporate cleaning businesses face is the challenge of ensuring that there is continuous improvement of their service delivery. If you run a corporate cleaning business and you have handful of clients that you are handling their cleaning, then you are expected to always be on your toe or else you will be dropped by the organization.
3. Managing Ad – hoc or Temporary Staff
Another challenge that is unique to corporate cleaning companies all over the world is that challenge of managing ad – hoc or temporary staff. The truth is that, the nature of the cleaning industry requires that they engage employees within the period that they are expected to handle a cleaning contract; hence most of the employees are temporary / ad – hoc. No doubt it is difficult managing temporary / ad – hoc staff because any of them can decide to resign whenever they like or even leave your organization without notice and that will create a vacuum in your organization if you don’t have someone to occupy their position.
4. Difficulty of Penetrating the Market as a Newbie
If you are newbie in the cleaning industry, one of the major challenges that you are going to face is the challenge of penetrating the market. As a matter of fact, you would be required to cut your teeth with smaller organizations before you can win cleaning contracts for bigger corporations. No big corporation would want to contract their cleaning to a corporate cleaning company that is just starting out.
5. Recruiting of Competent Employees
Another challenge that corporate cleaning businesses face is the challenge of recruiting competent employees. The truth is that most of the people that apply for cleaning jobs are those who are not skilled; those who just need a job to keep body and soul going. It is difficult to recruit competent cleaners; you just have to be willing to pay more than your competitors if you want to recruit the best cleaners in your city.
6. Opportunity to Properly Train Cleaners
The fact that cleaners leave cleaning companies at a short notice or even without notice makes it difficult to invest in training them the way they ought to be trained. Most corporate cleaning companies are confronted with this challenge hence they just have to make do with basic training / induction programs that will enable the cleaners to get started.
7. Accidents in the Work Place
Because most people who pick up cleaning jobs are not skilled or have educational qualifications, they tend to neglect some of the basic health and safety tips put in place to guarantee their safety in the work place. Aside from health and safety tips that are put in place to ensure that cleaners are safe while conducting their cleaning jobs, the ability to make use of some of the cleaning equipments/ machines and chemicals should be considered before assigning any cleaner to carry out a cleaning job if you don’t want to record preventable accident that may occur.
8. Commitment and Dedication from Cleaners
Another challenge that corporate cleaning companies face is the challenge of having committed and dedicated cleaners in their payroll. The fact that cleaners are not well paid makes it difficult to get most of them to be committed to their jobs.
9. Quality Control
If you run a corporate cleaning company, one of the challenges that you are going to be confronted with is the challenge of ensuring that there is no plummet in the quality of the services that you are rendering. If there is a plunge in the quality of the services that you are rendering to your clients, you stand the chance of losing the contract. So, you must ensure that your quality control officer is up an doing in ensuring that the quality of the services that your organization render is not below the expectations of the organizations that you are servicing.
10. Handling of Chemicals by Employees-: Lastly, another challenge that corporate cleaning companies face is the challenge of handling cleaning chemicals. If cleaners are not properly trained on how to handle chemicals, they will be exposed to danger.