Do you want to start a green cleaning business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a green cleaning business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample green cleaning business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample green cleaning marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for green cleaning businesses. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a green cleaning business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Table of Content
- 1 Why Start a Green Cleaning Business?
- 2 Starting a Green Cleaning Business – Market Feasibility and Research
- 3 Starting a Green Cleaning Business – Legal Aspect
- 4 Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Green Cleaning Business
- 5 Starting a Green Cleaning Business – Technical and Manpower Requirements
- 6 Starting a Green Cleaning Business – The Marketing Plan
Why Start a Green Cleaning Business?
There can never be a better time and generation to start a green cleaning business as people are increasingly becoming aware of the connection between chemical solvents and health hazards. The trend and need to go green is becoming very popular because people are beginning to learn that they do not have to sacrifice their family’s health – or the planet’s – for safer, cleaner surroundings. A lot of people don’t know that babies and kids are among the most vulnerable because they play, sleep and crawl across floors.
They crawl with their hands so and tend to pick up nasty things, and they don’t have to put it in their mouths to be affected by it. A lot of harsh chemicals are absorbed by the skin directly into the blood stream. Also on the floor, little ones come into contact with traces of bleach, carpet shampoo, and other common household cleaners. Vomiting and skin irritations may all be indications of illness or allergies triggered by cleaning agents used throughout the house.
In our homes, allergies and reactions can be caused by a simple housecleaning with popular cleaning solutions, which can include chemicals such as formaldehyde and hydrochloric acid. These compounds are linked to many conditions from headaches, to severe respiratory problems such as asthma and cancer. Your green cleaning business can take care of these issues and provide a much needed service to potential clients.
This is why you should ask yourself what the alternatives to grocery-store cleaning products are? Do they honestly work just as well? Many natural cleaning solutions are made of simple ingredients that can be found in the kitchen cupboard.
Vinegar has antibacterial qualities, as does lemon juice and baking Soda. Essential oils such as peppermint and sweet orange can be added to a drop or two of gentle dishwashing liquid and water, for a fresh, simple antibacterial cleanser that can be used on the kitchen counter.
Rosemary or sage tea mixed with washing soda and diluted with warm water make an effective floor cleaning solution for painted wood floors. There is no end to eco-friendly alternatives that are indeed as effective as the store-bought variety.
Even though a lot of cleaning solutions can be mixed up in the kitchen from common ingredients, people still employ professionals when they want the job done right. Some natural cleaners cost more than the store brand, but they may last longer and do a more thorough cleansing job.
When prices are compared between natural ingredients verses the store-bought variety, you might feel misled. But can you make a fair price comparison between a simple housecleaning product made of nontoxic ingredients, and a harsh chemical cleaner that could cause serious health concerns to you and your loved ones?
Also cleaning business professionals who want to target the growing market of consumers who prefer green cleaning can differentiate their services as “green and human-friendly,” “healthy green cleaning,” “green cleaning business,” or any number of other appropriate tags that will attract the right market.
This will help boost the business by letting the customers know that they use nontoxic, gentle cleansers and employ earth-friendly work-practices such as recycling. You need to understand that the demand for green cleaning services and healthy cleaning solutions is on the rise and you can also venture into it comfortably.
Starting a Green Cleaning Business – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
Within the past few decades, the green cleaning industry has grown from niche to mainstream. Indeed a lot of things have aided the growth of the green cleaning industry, the most important of which is that people are being informed. Information about what chemicals that are in the cleaning products which are used in their homes and their places of work has attracted their attention. A great proportion of people want what is best for their family, the environment, and themselves.
Also, with the rising need for more eco-friendly alternatives to traditional cleaners, green cleaning companies and green cleaning products have been increasing rapidly. Reports have it that the amount of eco-cleaners went from $303 million in 2007 to $640 million in 2011.
It is more than double the sales in just four years. Nowadays, almost every major supermarket sells green cleaning products. Also cost and effectiveness of green cleaners is a common concern with people making the shift from traditional cleaners.
Sincerely, traditional and green cleaners are actually very similar in cost and effectiveness. As for the effectiveness of green cleaners compared to traditional, the best way to decide is to put it to the test yourself. However, be aware that certain products that may market themselves as green may in fact still contain harmful chemicals.
When it comes to the success and growth of the green cleaning products, this can be attributed to a couple of factors. A lot of families have multiple parents who have full-time jobs, and therefore don’t have the time to maintain a clean home without the assistance of a cleaning service.
A lot of parents now understand the damage chemicals from cleaning products can cause, especially to children, which is why they consider hiring a cleaning service, and the type of cleaning products used are becoming more and more important.
Also have it in mind that the contributing factor is that a lot of businesses and office buildings are now turning to green cleaning services as well. Industry studies have shown that office buildings which have gone green have immense financial gains due to employee health, productivity, and retention as well as lower operating costs and certain government incentives. All these and a lot more are the reasons for the growth of the green cleaning industry.
Starting a Green Cleaning Business – Market Feasibility and Research
- Demographics and Psychographics
In this business, you need to understand your business demographics and Psychographics in order to identify the ideal consumer for your services and develop adequate marketing strategies. Indeed the general cleaning industry is a fast rising industry in the United States because their activities are needed in our day to day lives. Your clients can be small businesses–everything from doctors’ offices to insurance agencies to companies in strip centres and office parks–as well as retail shops.
Also know that making use of green natural products for your cleaning service instead of chemical cleaners prevents you and your staff from suffering from adverse health effects. It makes such a difference cleaning with great smelling aromatherapy products rather than inhaling the bleach and other harsh chemical smells of chemical products. You and your employees will enjoy cleaning, and your customers will love coming home to a home filled with wonderful aromatherapy scents.
List of Niche ideas in Green Cleaning Business
When building a successful cleaning business, be it a large or small single person operation, it is important to know what you want to develop. Will it be a residential or a commercial practice? Will you provide traditional cleaning services or focus on specialty tasks, such as green cleaning? Note that a residential green cleaning service is like providing a personal maid service for several individual houses.
Indeed a lot of independent service providers start with the owner serving in all roles, while others will start with the owner and a small staff; if you, as the owner, handles the administrative chores, chances are that you will not need to hire office help right away.
Note that starting a cleaning business may be possible with no employees, or just one or two part-timers since the cleaning services are mostly provided at night, since the client is working during the day. Also if you start a specialty cleaning business such as window cleaning, carpet cleaning, or floor maintenance, there are additional considerations including necessary equipment, required training, as well as additional insurance and bonding requirements.
Level of Competition in the Green Cleaning Business
We believe that the largest thing that is changing is the buying habits of consumers in the cleaning industry. Indeed it used to be that sales for residential cleaning services came through referral or traditional media channels like mail. Now, consumers are much more likely to go online, do some research and check out reviews to find the services they want. Traditional media has taken a backseat to online channels in many of the markets the industry compete in. Note that this change in buying habits represents a big opportunity for companies that are engaging their consumers online.
It is believed that the customary referral was typically a result of a conversion between a current customer and their friend. But the ‘new referral’ happens online and may come from a client’s social network or from a complete stranger. One huge advantage here is that businesses can participate in these conversations.
Whether it is responding back to positive or negative reviews or cultivating your own social community of happy clients, being an active participant in this dialogue sets you up for success. Because of this, developing a strong online reputation should be a crucial part of your local marketing plans.
It is also important to state that the future seems bright for cleaning companies led by innovators. Right from unique Renewable Cleaning methods and products for homes and businesses to emerging cloud, mobile and information technologies, cleaning professionals will want to stay well-versed in breakthroughs and the latest techniques. We believe that the labour trends will impact this industry to a degree. But you should know that almost all Labour related problems are geographic.
For example, if you live in a place where there are many homeowners and businesses that can afford cleaning services, finding people to clean those places will be difficult. If you live in an area with a large cleaning labour pool, it is unlikely that the population will have enough income to afford your services. This isn’t going to change in the future. More importantly, the biggest challenge this industry will continue to have is not finding people to hire, but rather finding great people to hire.
List of Well known Green Cleaning Businesses
- The green cleaning
- Molly Maid
- Seattle Green Earth Cleaning
- Mona cleaning
- USA Cleaning Master
- Mcguire cleaning
- Maid brigade
Despite years of threats and change, the general cleaning industry is now getting set for a promising future. But note that anyone who wishes to capitalize on growing opportunities must learn new skills and prepare to take on competitive challenges with creativity and a heightened sense of professionalism. In the current Cleaning Business, you need to keep an eye on the future so that you can prepare for what is ahead.
Indeed in a slow economy, it is clear that there are challenges ahead. But with new, affordable technologies empowering several sectors of the cleaning marketplace, enabling them to expand in exciting new directions, your chance of success is very high. In addition, a growing emphasis on measurement, training, standards, tools and systems will compel a heightened level of professionalism in the cleaning industry.
The future of the cleaning industry will be impacted by two major macroeconomic forces. First the US will see a slow but steady economic recovery, according to industry experts. On the other hand, reports have it that the country will see a modest reduction in the overall growth of the workforce in the coming years.
Starting a Green Cleaning Business from Scratch or Buying a Franchise
Buying the franchisee of a known brand can be of huge benefit, especially initially. One of the reasons is that the franchisor will work closely with you as you start your cleaning business and take it to the point where it is running smoothly and profitability. Once established and financially secure, however, a franchise agreement can prove to be expensive and a decided disadvantage.
But if you want to own your own business but want a proven system rather than gambling on developing your own system, a franchise is the way to go. Since most franchises provide a degree of marketing support, particularly in national advertising and name recognition, it is extremely difficult for individuals to match.
When you start from the scratch, you are not bonded to any pre-established formulas or concept, name or services offered etc. As with anything, this is both an advantage and a drawback. The greatest pro is that you can do things your way. Note that the biggest drawback is that you have no guidelines to follow. All the things you do, from defining your market to cleaning a bathtub, becomes a result of trial and error.
Also when you start from the scratch, every aspect of the business is your responsibility, both before and during your business’s lifetime. The good news is that operating costs can be lower since you are not tied to a franchise fee or the rules they established on how to clean and what equipment and supplies that must be used.
We believe that the choice you make will rest on the size of the operation, the desired speed of growth; the amount and type of funding to available; type of business entity (as in a corporation, LLC or a sole proprietor) that will be established.
Possible Challenges and Threats of Starting a Green Cleaning Business
There are a lot of challenges in this line of business which is why you need to research your industry thoroughly, for it will provide you with the backbone to overcome these challenges. Business school teaches you how to start your own cleaning business but it will seldom prepare you for the challenges in the real world of business.
Apart from convincing businesses and individuals to patronize your business, the first challenge that always comes up is penetrating the current market. Indeed competition is very stiff in all areas of business. It may take quite a while before your first client approaches you. Note that the best way to overcome this challenge is by remodeling your services and aggressively marketing them.
Also another challenge in this line of business is service delivery. Your clients will expect you to be effective at very high speed. If a client is going to pay money for cleaning services, they will expect you to do an impeccable job in just a short time.
If you are offering per hour services, this can be a major concern. It is much better to have fixed rates and a good speed at offering these cleaning services. When starting this business, always take advice from other professionals in the business. Check out what other cleaning businesses have to offer and be bigger and better.
Starting a Green Cleaning Business – Legal Aspect
- Best legal entity for a Green Cleaning Business
Deciding which business structure to use from all the different business structures – LLC, partnership, sole proprietorship, or corporation – for your business can be difficult and will rest on your preference and business size. Indeed when starting your business, you have to select one business structure from out of all the different business structures.
This choice determines how your business will be set up and organized. In most instances, you will probably have to choose between a limited liability company (LLC), a partnership, a corporation or a sole proprietorship.
For your green cleaning business, the LLC is the best business structure. Limited Liability Company is a very popular business form both overall and in the cleaning business industry in particular. LLCs combine the best aspects of a corporation and partnerships while taking away some trouble these forms come with. Like S Corps, Limited Liability Companies practice flow through taxation.
To register an LLC, you will have to submit an operating agreement which will clearly state the purpose of the business, how revenue will be split among the owners, what happens if one partner leaves the company etc. While LLCs are NOT corporations, they carry nearly the same weight to match the benefits. They are expensive to form and maintain and there are annual fees that need to be taken care of.
Catchy Business Name ideas for a Green Cleaning Business
First impressions are always the most important as oftentimes it is what sticks. For this reason how you name your green cleaning business goes a long way. Strive for something interesting and catchy to draw the interest of prospective clients since the main task when starting a cleaning company is securing customers.
- US Green Cleaning Service
- Diamond Green Services
- Green Ribbon Cleaners
- Green Sky Cleaning
- Brothers Cleaners
- Natural Dry Clean
- CleanSource Inc.
Green cleaning is also a niche in the general cleaning industry, and insurance will always remain relevant in the cleaning industry. Deciding on the perfect insurance for your green cleaning business doesn’t have to be confusing or overwhelming. Here are little Insurances needed to protect your business.
- Business liability insurance
- Property insurance
- Building coverage
- Business income and extra expense coverage
- Employee dishonesty coverage
- Employee Benefits Liability Coverage
- Hired and Non-Owned Auto Liability Coverage
- General liability insurance
- Product liability insurance
- Crime and Fidelity insurance
Intellectual Property Protection
There will not be a need to protect anything in then green cleaning industry.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Green Cleaning Business
We all know that certified accountants, plumbers and mechanics project a higher level of competency in their fields, and just as members of the American Medical Association and American Bar Association set themselves apart through training, experience and comprehensive examination, certification helps to immediately identify the cleaning, restoration and inspection industries’ most skilled and dedicated technicians and businesses. Here are few certifications for cleaning businesses
- Green Cleaning Professional Certification
- Institute of inspection cleaning and restoration certification – IICRC
- ISSA Green certification
- International janitorial cleaning services certification – IJVSC
- House cleaning technician certification – HCT
- Cleaning business owner certificate – CBO
Legal Documents Needed for a Green Cleaning Business
Every community/state/government has some form of licensing or permitting requirements for businesses. Below are few legal documents necessary for your green cleaning business.
- Business license
- Insurance policies
- Surety bonds
- Clients contracts
- Janitorial Bond/Housekeeper Surety Bond
- Heavy machine licenses
Financing your Green Cleaning Business
Irrespective of what you do, no matter how simple or complex, funding is needed. So knowing your initial source of funding is very important. Will it be your own, from your family and friends, from government programs, partners (silent or active), or a traditional bank loan. Each source has its own set of requirements.
Immediately initial funding is obtained it is also important to know how you will manage cash flow. Even though a lot of businesses are successful sales-wise, ultimately poor cash flow management leads to their demise. So it is very necessary to understand the pricing, billing practices, and even how you will respond to Request for Quotes (RFQ). Without clarity in these areas funding will not be in place for long term survival of the cleaning company.
Choosing a Suitable Location for your Green Cleaning Business
You can start this business from the comfort of your house, but to be able to gain authentic business growth in this line of business, you must get out of the home and into a commercial facility. Indeed doing this will help you create a successful and professional image, but before you begin shopping for an office, think carefully about what you will need.
Have it in mind that your office area should be big enough to have a small reception area, work space for yourself and your administrative staff, and a storage area for equipment and supplies. You may also want to have space for a laundry and possibly even a small work area where you can handle minor equipment repairs. Depending on the size of your staff, consider allowing for a small break area.
Irrespective of your target market, remember that chances are slim that your customers will ever come to your office. So look for a facility that meets your operational needs and is in a reasonably safe location, but don’t pay for a prestigious address–it is just not worth it. Also know that efficiency and good location are very important on this business.
Starting a Green Cleaning Business – Technical and Manpower Requirements
Indeed one of the coolest things about starting a green cleaning business is that you don’t need to purchase a lot of supplies to get started. In most cases, everything your needs can fit in just about any vehicle. This is because the vast majority of jobs you will land in the beginning stages of your business will be of the smaller variety, allowing for a minimal amount of supplies that will be needed. The manpower needed for your business depends on the size and scale of operation. Green cleaning equipment may include:
- vacuum cleaners
- carpet extractors
- carpet spotters
- auto floor scrubbers
- floor burnishers, (propane and non-propane fuelled)
- floor sweepers
- tile cleaning machines
- air movers
- power washers
- steam cleaners
- window washing machines
- hand dryers
- vacuum cleaner bags
- floor pads
- polishing stones
- microfiber cleaning equipment such as small washers, etc.
The Service Process Involved in a Green Cleaning Business
From our research, we have been able to note that there are no formal educational or training requirements for starting a green cleaning service. But the work is strenuous and needs that the worker be able to be on their feet for extended periods of time, be capable of pushing a vacuum cleaner or broom, and be able to lift up to 25 pounds.
Cleaning services include general services like trash pickup and floor polishing, and also include more specialized services like window washing. Carpet cleaning services not only clean carpets, but also can clean leather, tile, or offer water damage restoration services.
Indeed technology is a lovely tool which any business can use to begin improving efficiently, but only if the basic processes, procedures, and policies have been created to govern the decision-making that drives the systems. Here are few business processes to leverage in this business:
- Modern Time Tracking
Just like the IRS needs you to track both job time and travel time towards calculating overtime rates (which often change weekly), time tracking is a daily task that can easily get lost in the paperwork. A lot of traditional maid service scheduling applications offer some form of field time tracking options, though you may want to consider independent time tracking apps before committing to a bigger one.
- Mileage Tracking
Because employers must pay technicians for their travel time, it is in your best interest (and bank balance) to monitor both mileage and travel time to make sure you keep it to a minimum; that is where mileage tracking (aka GPS tracking) applications can increase the reporting accuracy and help you keep labour costs low.
- Web Blogging
Content marketing continues to dominate the SEO strength and search rankings of websites, and a weekly blog is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this. But it can be a pain to remember to stop and write and post once a week. We advise you use a blog scheduler to help you out so that you can dedicate a smaller block of time once a month to writing and scheduling 4-5 posts for the month that supports any specials or themes.
- Social Media
With the advent of technology, there are a lot free applications that let you schedule social media posts ahead of time so that you can make that a weekly or even a monthly task. Note that you will still need to monitor your social media sites daily to respond to comments, client contact messages, and reviews.
- Auto responders
When making use of email marketing, maybe you are using an email management system that complies with CAN-SPAM. And if you are, then check the additional features for an auto responder option. With this, you can program an automatic response sequence when a contact hits reply to specific emails or newsletters.
- Quick File Sharing
Indeed the very first time you bring on even a part time office staff member, you are going to need to share information and files and programs and passwords with that person. A great way to do this without investing in an expensive and complex office network is to use an online file-sharing service, many of which are free.
Starting a Green Cleaning Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing Strategies for a Green Cleaning Business
Properly marketing your green cleaning company is very important to your success. In addition to applying the traditional marketing concepts in your business plans, know the numbers, understand who your audience are, and craft your message to cater to the various shades of green of your target customer base.
- Know your target market
Note that the first step to successful marketing is knowing your target market. This is the group of people that you want to focus your marketing efforts on. You are selling a service and your ideal target market is people that need this service fulfilled. Build your marketing plan around this particular group of people.
- Differentiate your business
It is your duty to create a way to differentiate your business from all the other businesses that claim to do the same thing. You can’t say the same thing that everyone else says, like we provide quality cleaning, or you will always be competing on price. Find out what it is that you do better than everyone else.
- Establish a content that educates and grows trust
You need to be establishing content that addresses the topics, problems and issues that your potential customers are searching for online.
- Build a unique web presence
Research has shown that 57% of a buying decision is made before the customer ever picks up the phone to talk to a seller. That is because your prospects are going online to research the companies they want to do business with. So it is imperative that you have not just a website, but an online presence.
- Set the word out about your business
A lot of entrepreneurs don’t know that networking is not about making sales. Sure, that’s the desired end result, but it is all about increasing the network of people who know who you are. When you meet people, find out about them and think about how you can help them. Also keep in mind that most people you meet are not going to be a good prospect for you. But a lot of them will know people who are good prospects for you.
- Market your business through public relations
No matter how small or big your cleaning business may be, creating a “buzz” about the services and products you offer is a cheap way to get the word out about your business and get the attention of potential customers.
- Build a referral generating system from both customers and strategic partners
Building a system of referrals is one of the best (and least expensive) ways to promote business growth. By using your current customer base and your strategic partners to refer and promote your business, your business can grow in leaps and bounds. Strategic partners are people and companies that have a relationship with many of your ideal customers within your target market. Examples of strategic partners for cleaning businesses could be landscaping, fire restoration companies, plumbers and electricians.
Strategies to Boost your Green Cleaning Business Brand Awareness and Creating a Corporate identity
With low-cost of entry and more concentration of big firms in key markets, the green cleaning industry is a lucrative option for small businesses. Even though the industry is relatively recession-proof, successful entrepreneurs know that marketing and growing a cleaning business is critical to its survival. To ensure your business gets the best visibility possible, consider a wide variety of marketing strategies and options like;
- Picture the Kind of Cleaning Business You Want
- Focus on customers in each marketing stage
- Be unique and different
- Revisit your marketing strategies
- Don’t Give Up Knocking on Doors
- Network like crazy
- Get in Front of Clients Through the Back Door
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