Do you want to start a floor cleaning business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a floor cleaning business with NO money and no experience. In the world generally, there are plenty ideas for an individual who plans to start a business and one of such options is to become a specialist in floor cleaning.
Even though big commercial cleaning agencies are into general cleaning, but there are instances where specialists are called in to help in cleaning the floor especially if the stain or dirt on the floor are resistant to the normal cleaning process. So, if you plan to start your own commercial cleaning agency and you are scared of the competition you are going to face in your area, then you should look towards starting a specialized cleaning service.
Indeed when you start a floor care business, you surely will be your own boss, but you don’t have to seek customers directly. This is why you need to develop business relationships with contractors who have residential and commercial customers in need of floor care. Note that these contractors sell floor care services to their customers and then hire you to do the work, paying you a portion of the money they collect.
We believe that if you maintain relationships with a few successful contractors at a time, you can secure enough work to stay busy all year long. Another thing is that you will need to gain experience in floor care before you start out in this business. Don’t be deceived, taking care of your own floors at home differs greatly from caring for a paying customer’s floors, and customers will likely hold you to higher standards.
17 Steps to Starting a Floor Cleaning Business
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
- 17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
First and foremost, note that the cleaning industry is diverse – some businesses focus on specialty cleaning such as windows or floors, others on general residential or commercial cleaning and yet more on laundry and dry cleaning services.
We believe that franchise businesses only account for about 10% of industry revenue – but opportunities still abound for the interested entrepreneur across all sectors. We were able to find out that the cleaning industry can be simply divided into residential cleaning, commercial janitorial services, specialty cleaning and laundry/dry cleaning services.
In 2015 there were approximately 875,000 businesses employing about 3.5 million people. We also believe that this industry as a whole is very prone to economic downturns and suffered through several rough years during the Great Recession; revenue fell by 5.3% in 2008 and another 6.1% in 2009. General cleaning services, and particularly residential services, are deemed an expendable luxury when times are tough.
It is also very important to know that the years of economic strength since then have seen the industry bounce back, and in 2015 it generated $51 billion in revenue. We believe that the recent upward momentum can be attributed to both unemployment and office vacancy rates declining as well as a pickup in non-residential construction activity.
This simply means that people have more money to spend and feel more secure spending it, and there are more offices that need cleaning. According to experts, economic activity is will keep rising for the next 5 years as well, including job growth of about 6% from 2014 levels to 2022.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
This business operates through individual cleaning service contracts between the company and an individual or business. We believe that your clients can be either residential, commercial, or both. Note that a cleaning service exists to ease the burden of cleaning and maintenance for a client, whether it is an office, industrial building, or a home.
We also believe that this business is an ideal business for an individual with an eye for detail and a strong work ethic. Note that cleaners also should be comfortable performing manual labour for many hours, since this is a job that needs you be on your feet all day.
Focused individuals who start this kind of business also tend to work long hours and interact with a lot of different personality types. Ideal customers are long-term corporate or multi-year clients willing to sign service contracts.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
It is very important for any serious entrepreneur who plans to start a new business to first of all conduct feasibility studies to get information and statistics that will help him or her make good business decisions. the sincere truth is that you cannot write a good and workable business plan without first conducting feasibility studies or market survey et al. Your feasibility studies will show you your strength, your weakness, the opportunities available to you and lastly your threats i.e. SWOT Analysis.
We strongly believe that if you are able to understand the information and statistics you generated from your feasibility studies, you will certainly build a very solid and highly profitable business. Indeed, the floor cleaning business is all about cleaning, polishing and maintaining various types of floors and flooring elements; floors such as tiles, terrazzo, carpets and wooden floor et al. Know that your core business is to make sure that the floor is as clean as it ought to be. The floor must be shinny at all times and it must be slip free.
But you will need to choose what you want to do with your commercial cleaning business. Do you want to clean small buildings or large buildings? Do you want to keep this business small or do you want to hire employees to do the work for or with you?
This will determine what sort of buildings you are going to target. Note that you can do small buildings such as banks, gyms, day cares, mom and pop shops or convenience stores. You can also do small office buildings or large skyscraper buildings and schools.
There are many options here. You will need to decide what you want to do. Also note that if it is just you or just you and a partner, you may want to start small. You need to start by targeting smaller buildings that you can do by yourself; then, when you get the feel of the business and want to hire help, target larger buildings.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
Reports have it that the average cleaning company loses up to 55% of their customer base every year due to poor service. That is because in this business, good work goes unnoticed for years, but a bad job gets you fired immediately.
Competition is very fierce in this industry. One of the reasons is because there are many small companies competing for both residential and commercial cleaning contracts. Also note that barrier to entry is low as there are very little expensive equipment needed and little to no training required for employees – so new competitors spring up all the time.
The best franchise opportunities are likely to be in specialty cleaning services that have a greater opportunity to differentiate themselves and are less likely to face local competition (if the proper business is selected of course!). Marketing, reputation and location are all key.
Cleaning businesses are most successful in urban or suburban locations with a higher than average level of affluence. Also in this industry, green cleaning is a marketplace phenomenon that is being driven by customer demand and the overall trending of the broad marketplace for environmentally preferable products and services. We believe that home and business owners are increasingly conscious of the chemicals used in their space, and cleaning services that focus on non-toxic supplies and processes have been gaining popularity.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- Anago Cleaning Systems
- CleanNet USA
- Molly cleaners
- The cleaners
- Merry cleaners
- The cleaning authority
- Cleaning masters
The cleaning industry is crucial for businesses as they will always need their premises, offices, windows, floors, appliances etc. in a immaculate state for customers and workers. This is why it is typically carried out by franchise cleaning businesses offering services such as office cleaning. These franchise businesses currently account for roughly 10% of the cleaning industry.
Just as we stated above, the cleaning industry is divided into residential cleaning, commercial janitorial services, specialty cleaning and laundry/dry cleaning services. As of 2015, office buildings account for 31% of the cleaning industry. In 2016 there were approximately 2,794 businesses employing around 20,567 people in the industrial cleaning industry. The current revenue from the cleaning industry is $998m. This is set to increase by 1.8% in 2017.
It is important to note that commercial and residential cleaning is the largest out of all the cleaning services with revenues expected to increase at an annual rate of 2.3% through 2016-17 to $9.1 billion. We believe that demand for household cleaning are down as people cannot find any cleaning services near them or cannot afford to have one come in all the time.
Reports have it that cleaning companies lose around 55% of their client base each year due to poor service. One of the big problems within the industry is that good work goes unnoticed but if something goes wrong it’ll be picked up immediately. As the industry grows, more and more businesses will start to compete with each other.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
There are three business models that work with a floor care business.
- You can create your own business from scratch and work as an independent contractor.
- You can choose to pay for a franchise so that you have an instantly marketable name for your floor care business.
You can incorporate a new business and hire an executive team and cleaning staff that will serve your community. When it comes to floor care, most entrepreneurs will start out as independent contractors because costs are lower and fewer supplies and equipment generally need to be purchased. It takes more capital to start a corporation, but it can also generate more revenue.
A lot of entrepreneurs do not know the benefits of buying a franchise. When you buy into a franchise, they will work closely with you as you start your business and take it to the point where it is running smoothly and profitably. Along the line however, you may discover that once you become established and financially secure, a franchise agreement is a decided disadvantage.
But for individuals who want to own their own business but would rather choose an opportunity that has proven successful for many others rather than gambling on developing their own system, a franchise is the way to go. Also know that a lot of franchises provide a degree of marketing support–particularly in the area of national advertising and name recognition—which is very hard for individuals to match when starting from the scratch.
But you should know that you will likely invest far less money operating as an independent service than as part of a franchise. Also if you decide to start from the scratch, you will not be tied to any pre-established formulas for concept, name, services offered etc., which we believe is both an advantage and a drawback. Note that this idea is an advantage because you can do things your way, but a disadvantage because you have no guidelines to follow.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
In this business, one of the biggest challenges you will be facing when starting will be the amount of responsibility that you will have on your shoulders. Have it in mind that once you decide to become your own boss, that it will be your responsibility to find new clients, earn enough money, manage your timetable, and if you are planning to get employees, you will be responsible for them too.
Another thing you should be weary of is the competition in the industry. Indeed there is a low barrier to entry into the general cleaning business, which is why you will see a lot of competitors: from individual cleaners to big cleaning service companies. That is why you should be aware of this fact and make sure you have something special in your services to offer your potential clients.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
Have it in mind that you can start your Floor Cleaning business as a Corporation, Limited Liability Company and limited liability partnership. You can start forming these business entities via your state’s secretary of state office. We advise that you consult an attorney or accountant to figure out what makes the most sense for you. For the sake of this article, an LLC is the best entity for a floor cleaning business. The benefits of the LLC simply include;
- Simple to setup
- Cheap to start
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
- Dirt Cleaners
- American Cleaning Service
- Fabric Services
- Clean Ribbon Cleaners
- Wet Sky Cleaning
- Alfred Cleaners
- Carpet Dry Clean
- Clean surface Company.
- Intercontinental Cleaners
- Home Cleaners
- Crystal Angel Cleaning
- Safe Cleaners
- Red Apple Cleaners
- Natural Cleaners
- Greener Cleaner
- Unique Floor Cleanings
- Pretty Dry Cleaners
- Artillery Cleaners & Laundry
- Cleaners help
- Cleaners zone
- New Life Cleaners and Laundry
- Perfect Dry Cleaners
- Everyday Cleaners
- Perfect Touch
- Pro cleaners
- Home Dry Cleaners
- Revolution Cleaners
- Future Cleaners
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
Floor Cleaners are trusted to work in private homes of their clients and offices. But it cannot be guaranteed that they don’t encounter many of the same risks as larger commercial cleaning operations and yet still face their own unique set of risks.
There are numerous kinds of business insurance that you can consider for your Floor Cleaning business. It is for this reason that you should consult an attorney or an insurance broker to be able to understand the insurance needs of your business, both presently and for the future. Insurance you will need may include;
- Property and equipment Insurance
- General Liability Insurance
- Crime & Fidelity Insurance
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- Product liability insurance
- Auto liability insurance etc.
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
Modernization has made it very necessary for every business to protect its intellectual properties. Intellectual Property rights which is vastly made up of patents, trademarks, trade secrets and copyrights -even the right URLs-, play an important role in monetizing innovation. When you allow others to steal your ideas in any of your business endeavour, you are simply letting them take the things that make your business unique and functional.
In this business, you might devise a means to carry out your activities and ideas to leapfrog your competitors. Intellectual property protection is needed in this unique industry to protect patents and new ideas, registered and unregistered trademarks, copyright, and trade secrets.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
We believe that certification gives employers, and/or the people they serve, certain levels of confidence that the individual knows how to provide their particular service at established standards. In the floor cleaning business, formal training is either not required or it is provided by the employer (or franchise), with no disclosure to the general public as to what was included or if the employee actually passed any formal testing. But it is still very needful and will go a long way to boost your cooperate identity.
Floor Cleaning has gone beyond a mop, bucket and vacuum. Nowadays a cleaner is entrusted with the care of a home, its furnishings and the health of its occupants. Note that with the many new materials being used in home décor, a professional cleaner has a much broader range of work than in the past as many of these newer surfaces require specialized care.
Also, apart from caring for the home and its contents, a professional cleaner helps care for health. This includes providing hygienic cleaning, effective sanitizing of surfaces, use of appropriate cleaning agents, and procedures to prevent cross contamination.
- IICRC hard surface cleaning technician certification
- HCT certification
- ISSA hard surface technician certification
- Cleaning Business Owner certification
- Green clean certification etc.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
Some of the most common licenses and permits that you need to acquire for your business operations are;
- Business license
- Fire department permit
- Air and water pollution control permit
- Sales permit certificate Etc.
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Just like all businesses known and unknown, you will need finance to buy equipment, hire staff and pay your bills. Beyond traditional financing, you have a range of options when it comes to raising money. Some suggestions include:
From your personal resources
You have to start by doing a thorough inventory of your assets. Analysis has it that people have more assets than they immediately notice. Note that this may include savings accounts, equity in real estate, retirement accounts, vehicles, recreation equipment, collections and other investments. At this point, you may decide to sell assets for cash or use them as collateral for a loan.
Going to Friends and family
Another step you have to think of after getting together your own resources is to approach friends and relatives who believe in you and want to help you succeed. You should be cautious with these arrangements; no matter how close you are, present yourself professionally, put everything in writing, and make sure the individuals you approach can afford to take the risk of investing in your business.
We indeed have to suggest this. It is not a crime to look around for someone who may want to team up with you in your business. You may also choose someone who has the financial resources and wants to work side-by-side with you in the business. Another option is to find someone who has money to invest but no interest in doing the actual work.
Making use of Government programs
Make it a habit to take advantage of the abundance of local, state and federal programs designed to support small businesses. You could try the U.S. Small Business Administration; and then investigate various other programs. Women, minorities and Veterans should check out niche financing possibilities designed to help these groups get into business.
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
In this business, there is this probability that your customers won’t come to your location. So, this is why you can consider starting from home. You should note that a lot of municipalities have ordinances that limit the nature and volume of commercial activities that can occur in residential areas.
Even though others may allow such enterprises but place restrictions regarding issues such as signage, traffic, employees, commercially marked vehicles and noise. Experts thus advice that before you apply for your business license, find out what ordinances govern home based businesses in your area.
But sincerely for your business to grow, you must get out of the home and into a commercial facility. These we believe will aid you build a successful and professional image, but before you begin shopping for an office, think carefully about what you will need.
Your Floor Cleaning office area should be large enough to have a small reception area, work space for yourself and your administrative staff, and a storage area for equipment and supplies. There is also a possibility that you may have to create space for a laundry and possibly even a small work area where you can handle minor equipment repairs. Also depending on the size of your staff, consider allowing for a small break area.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
Indeed self-employment is not for everyone. You should decide if you have the management and entrepreneurial skills to start and run your own business. Here are a few traits that are required of successful business owners:
You will need lots of drive to handle business demands including sales rejection, setbacks, and start up obstacles
You need to master the art of closing deals. Also, be ready to promote your business everywhere you go
You must plan your work and work your plan. Landing new accounts require constant attention. You must stay focused on your priorities and avoid distractions
You must ensure consistent results on a daily basis. You need a team that is detail oriented and disciplined
You must attain the business skills to accurately weigh the pros and cons affecting every decision.
If you are planning on getting a cleaning franchise, make sure you can live with the monthly royalty that is deducted from your income. Try to see if you can terminate relations if you become dissatisfied with the franchise control and rules. Check out litigation filed against the franchise and demand a full disclosure. The overall routine is not a lot different from cleaning your own home.
You empty trash, dust surfaces and wipe spills, dust mop floors, wet mop floors, vacuum carpets, clean rest rooms, refill soap and paper dispensers, and clean entrance doors and drinking fountains. Note that your cleaning equipment might include a commercial vacuum costing $200-$350, along with a trash pick-up container, mop bucket and press, wet mop, dust mop, dust wand, scraper, and basic cleaning supplies such as all-purpose cleaner, spray bottles, towels, trash bags, bowl cleaner, cleaner-disinfectant, and glass cleaner.
Your total supply requirements could run under $500 and would allow you to clean up to $3,000 a month in accounts. A local janitorial supply store can assist you with choosing the correct cleaning products. Here are some general cost projections:
- Start-up Training Manuals, audio, video, JanBid estimating software, literature and FREE ongoing expert consulting
- Basic set of janitorial equipment and supplies
- Business license and commercial checking account
- General liability insurance and fidelity bond
- Office supplies (computer and printer?)
- Monogrammed shirts, business cards, literature
Optional – accounting software, CPA or legal counsel $500-2000. One other great thing about starting your own floor cleaning service is that you don’t need all the funds up front. You can purchase a Start up program to learn all the ropes, get your cards printed, obtain licensing, and then start marketing. Once you land a contract, you can purchase insurance, office supplies, and cleaning equipment.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
Have it in mind that your day-to-day activities would include vacuuming, mopping, dusting and sweeping, window cleaning, and general cleaning of rooms and possibly exterior surfaces of some buildings. You also have to maintain customer accounts and invoices.
Also know that bigger companies spend a significant amount of time maintaining and signing customer accounts; while smaller cleaning companies typically maintain a small client load due to the nature of running a small business. On average, a small cleaning business can maintain between 20 and 70 clients. We believe there are a lot of business opportunities available for floor cleaning businesses.
You can approach building contractors to source for floor cleaning deals. Most floor cleaning business owners make huge profits from post construction cleaning. Also make sure that you submit proposals to construction companies and also to offices all around you.
When sourcing for floor cleaning deals, you can also launch an official website for your company; advertise your services on both print and electronic media and then source for referrals from your clients. If you are ready to work hard and smart, you will sure get good returns on your investment. Just ensure that whenever you have any opportunity to work for someone, you deliver a thorough job that will open up new business deals for you.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
Business networking events are a great way to meet potential clients. Hand out flyers to local businesses or in residential neighbourhoods (check local laws first). If you are experienced with direct mail, contact a list broker and buy a list of names of people who have already purchased cleaning services in the past. Then, mail those prospects, pitching them your services.
Create A Community Around Your Brand
You need to ask, ‘Does your business have a social media presence? If not, you may be falling behind the rest of the marketplace. Whether they realize it or not, floor polishing, waxing, and cleaning businesses need to do a better job connecting with their customers. Direct mail campaigns featuring mailing lists from a reliable list partner can jumpstart a social media drive by expanding your customer base and alerting them of your social media presence.
Use Viral Marketing
Note that viral marketing is one of the most elusive marketing techniques in a small business owner’s arsenal. We believe that by including viral elements in a campaign for a floor polishing, waxing, and cleaning materials business, the hope is that your brand and product line will take on viral qualities. But irrespective of the risk, viral marketers can influence the likelihood of success.
We believe that it can be tempting to think that you have what it takes to market your brand effectively. Maybe you do. But in our experience, there is no substitute for enlisting the services of a qualified marketing consultant. The best consultants possess a range of skills including the ability to accurately communicate your floor polishing, waxing, and cleaning materials business’ core competencies, value and product points.
More importantly, it will provide the expertise you need to identify the most productive marketing channels and raise your brand profile within the industry. As we continue to experience changes in the floor polishing, waxing, and cleaning business industry, exposing your strategy to the influence of capable marketing professionals should be a top priority.
17. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Marketing is tricky in the beginning. There are many ways to market your business and some will work and some may not. The following is a list of the many things you can do to market a commercial cleaning business.
- Flyers/Mailings/Cold Calling
- Phone Book
- Online Advertising
- Car Magnets
- Business Card Distribution
- Word of Mouth