Are you interested in starting a housecleaning business from home? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a housecleaning business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample housecleaning business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample housecleaning marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for housecleaning businesses. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a housecleaning business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Why Start a Housecleaning Business?
The cleaning industry delivers diverse services. This is because of the need for people to have their surroundings as well as their personal effects spic and span. All over the world, as it is the case with America, cleaning business is never handled with levity. This is because of the profits and huge returns on investment this industry rakes in to both individuals and enterprises as a whole. It is for this reason that loads of people are turning to this trade all the time. What is more, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to delve and kick start this business.
Recent Statistics has it that in the year 2010 there were about 50,000 cleaning services operating in the United States and this is segmented into the following category; about 9,000 carpet and upholstery companies, which raked in a total of about 40 billion dollars in annual revenue. Also, about 90 percent of the cleaning revenue is accounted for by cleaning companies, in competition with about 10 percent by carpet and upholstery.
There were approximately a total of 30,000 companies in the laundry and dry cleaning business that fetched in about 10 billion dollars in revenue in the year 2015-70% of which were retail laundry and dry cleaning operations, and 30% of which happened to be coin-operated laundry sites. As earlier mentioned, the cleaning business is all encompassing; it includes general services like waste disposal cleaning business, floor polishing, and more specific services like window washing. Carpet cleaning service isn’t only about cleaning carpets, but also involves the cleaning of leather, tile, or water damage restoration services.
Cleaning companies are usually said to be located in urban and suburban centers where there is a lot of office space. For those who operate dry cleaning business, it has to do with collecting clothes, either at a retail place or from a customer’s home, and cleaning them either at the site or a central facility. It also involves pressing the clothes, and returning the clothes to the customer.
Starting a Housecleaning Business from Home – A Complete Guide
- The Housecleaning Industry Overview
In the United States of America research has it that there were 824,394 workers in the cleaning industry in 2010. As such, it can categorically be said that the industry is fairly lopsided. One of the reasons why this is so is the fact that fifty largest companies account for about thirty percent of the revenue. Furthermore, about 7% of cleaning workers were self-employed. There are both small and large cleaning companies.
One of the challenges some cleaning outfits face especially the small companies is that they tend to be restricted to residential cleaning, since large commercial cleaning requires many employees and specialized skills. The economic crunch in the united states of America that has picked up sort of affected 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.
It can also be said the competition level in this industry is really on the high side and this is because of the remarkably low fences of entry into the field which gives room for a very stiff level of competition. It is for this reason that the profit margins tend to be low, and customer retention becomes critical. Labor costs normally characterize about 80% of total operation costs. Costs are often the most important factor for businesses when choosing a provider in this industry.
In America it is vital to state that Immigrants are a significant part of the labor force in this field, so knowledge of related regulations can be crucial. There is usually the possibility of an Immigration audits to happen, hence business owners must be ready for this to happen at all times. The cleaning business on the part of employees is one trade that exposes them to dangerous chemicals which can have adverse health effects. These factors lead to high employee turnover which can be a serious issue for businesses.
Starting a Housecleaning Business from Home – Market Research and Feasibility Study
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who need the services of a private housecleaning coy cuts across the public sector, the organized private sector, households, communities and people of different class and from all walks of life.
Below is a list of the people and organizations that need the services of private cleaning companies;
- The public sector (public facilities et al)
- Organized private sector (Corporate organizations)
- Businessmen and Businesswomen
- University Campuses and Schools
- Event Planners
- Estates and Communities
- Religious Centers
- Sport Organizations
List of Niche ideas Within the Housecleaning Business That You Can Specialize in
Just like it is with other forms of businesses, there are loads of opportunities embedded in the cleaning business. As a matter of fact, one could actually juggle more than one niche at a time. This is so that there isn’t redundancy and that the full and adequate chances that are available in this trade can be tapped into.
Here are some niches / areas that a private cleaning company can be specialized in;
- Office cleaning
- Home cleaning
- Dry cleaning
- Upholstery cleaning
- Carpet cleaning
- School cleaning
- Clubs, bars and hotel cleaning
- School cleaning
- Church/ religious house cleaning
- Post construction cleaning
- Preoccupation cleaning
The Level of Competition in the Cleaning Industry
Surviving in the business world as a private housecleaning company requires that one brings to the table more than the expertise. As a matter of urgency, it is important that you have got to work at thinking even without a box. This is because there are loads of people in the trade already who are doing exploits. As such, for you to be able to outshine others, you have to be ready to possess an excellent business spirit.
The competition is the cleaning industry is such a very stiff one that makes only the strong to be the ones who can survive and get good returns on their investment. All areas of cleaning have already been exploited in America. However, one sure thing that is able to spur you on is the fact that the sky is too big enough for two beds to collide. Find a niche and do it really well and soon you would become a household name.
List of well – Known Brands in the Cleaning Industry
There are a myriad of cleaning c companies in the United States of America that have gone past the dreadful teething business stages, and can be adjudged to be a success. Here are some of the leading private cleaning companies in the United States of America;
- AirScan – Titusville, FL
- Academi – McLean, VA
- Custer Battles – McLean, VA
- DynCorp – Falls Church, VA
- G4S Risk Management – Palm Beach Gardens, FL
- GK Sierra – Washington, D.C.
- Jorge Scientific Corporation – Arlington, VA
- KBR – Houston, TX (Formerly a Division of Halliburton)
- MPRI, Inc. – Alexandria, VA
- MVM, Inc. – Vienna, VA
- Northrop Grumman – Los Angeles, CA
- Raytheon – Waltham, MA
- Titan Corporation – San Diego, CA
- Triple Canopy, Inc. – Herndon, VA
When there is a plummet in vacancy rate in an office, it contributes to the success of the cleaning industry. This has a lot to do with that 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 in America, business suffered significantly.
This is also the case with the residential cleaning niche; this is because when incomes are lower, residents will choose to save money by putting off carpet cleaning. Competition might come to cleaning services from superior cleaning companies who are willing to do business at a very professional level. These companies offer services such as; parking, snow removal, and pest control.
Starting a housecleaning business might seem so easy at first, but in the true sense of the word, it does require loads of hard work. Hence, it is indeed a serious business that requires thorough economic analysis so that the risks and other pressures associated with starting a business from the scratch or investing in a business idea are alleviated.
If you are looking to start a housecleaning company in the United States, you should not only be saddled with acquiring an office facility and equipping the facility or hiring the best hands in the industry, you should also be concerned on how to attract clients and secure very encouraging contracts that would announce the presence of your private cleaning company to all and sundry.
On the regular, setting up and running a housecleaning business in the United States can be cost effective simply because you don’t have to maintain a large workforce when you don’t have a cleaning service contract to implement. As a matter of fact, with key good company’s profile, highly trained, highly qualified and highly experienced employees in your team, you wouldn’t have to struggle much to win security contracts when you submit your bids.
Is the Housecleaning Business Worth Starting from Scratch or is Buying a Franchise Better?
It is true that one sure way to gain popularity and make good money when starting out in an industry might be possibly to start out using the name of another brand through franchise. However, truth remains that it isn’t all types of business that may be required to ride on that franchise crest. There are some businesses that might be better of being built from the scratch to a state of success.
One thing is certain, people are motivated to start a business based on various factors and incentives. If you are looking towards building a business that you intend controlling, a business brand that you hope to one day transfer ownership to your children and perhaps also sell franchise in future, then starting from the scratch should be your best bet. But if you are only interested in making money and multiplying your wealth, then you may as well buy the franchise of a successful cleaning company that is willing to sell its franchise.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Housecleaning Business
Generally in the cleaning industry, both the already established private cleaning outfits and start – up companies are subject to threat and challenges from government policies, global economic downturn which usually affects spending and unforeseen natural disasters (disasters that may cause setback).
Another threat that you are likely going to face when you start your own private cleaning company is the arrival of a well – established private cleaning company in the location where your business has a strong presence.
Starting a Housecleaning Business from Home – Legal Matters
- Best legal entity to use for a housecleaning business
It is so true that starting a private cleaning company is indeed a serious business which is why the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business to can grow. Choosing a legal entity for a housecleaning company is some worth straightforward especially if you decided to grow the business big.
When it comes to choosing a legal entity for your private cleaning company you have the option of choosing from a general partnership, a limited partnership, an LLC, a “C” corporation, or a “S” corporation. It is important to clearly state that these different forms of legal structure for business has its own advantages and disadvantages; which is why you must weigh your options properly before making your choice on the legal structure to build your private cleaning outfit on.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your cleaning company; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and tax issues. If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your private cleaning company, then you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is the most suitable. You can start your cleaning company as a limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or even a ‘S’ corporations especially when you have the plans of going public.
Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will afford you the opportunity to grow your company so as to compete with major players in the security industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, stock market, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company; you will enjoy flexibility in ownership and in your management structures as well.
Catchy Business Name ideas Suitable for a Housecleaning Business
When it comes to choosing a name for your cleaning company, there are no hard and fast rules to follow. This is so because private cleaning companies are not like other business who hopes that their names can help them attract passersby who may just walk in to want to do business with them; there is no rule of thumb.
Here are some catchy business name ideas you can choose for your private cleaning company;
- Spic and Span
- Cleaners Cop
- Snow White Cleaners
- Hygiene Mates
- Dirt Avengers
The Best Insurance Needed for Housecleaning Business
In the United States and of course in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policies that is required by the industry you want to operate from. Besides, the nature of the cleaning industry requires that you have the proper insurance cover in place or else you will be forced out of business if anything goes wrong with the security contract you are handling.
So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best insurance policies for your housecleaning company; it is their duty to help you assess the risks involved in the type of security business you intend running and then advice you accordingly.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own private housecleaning Company in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Risk Insurance
- Payment protection insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
Intellectual Property Protection and Trademark
If you are considering starting your own private housecleaning company, then you should consider filing for intellectual property protection. Filing for intellectual property protection for a private cleaning company goes beyond protecting your company’s logo and other documents, but also protecting your software applications and of course the name of your company.
If you want to file for intellectual property protection and also register your trademark in the United States, then you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Housecleaning Business
In America there are various legal documents that is usually required to be owned by various businesses. However, these documents could very much vary. This is due to the fact that there are different things that may be needful as the case may be.
These are some of the basic legal document that you are expected to have in place if you want to start a private cleaning company in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Security Clearance Certificate
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement
- Company Bylaws
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
Writing a Business Plan for a Housecleaning Business
If you are looking towards starting a private housecleaning company, then one of the first steps that you are expected to take is to consult experts to help you write a good and workable business plan. The truth is that, in order to successfully run a housecleaning company, you would need to have a good business plan in place.
A Business plan is the blue print that is needed to successfully run a business; with a workable business plan in place, you will reduce the trial and error approach of doing business. You will be able to manage your business with purpose and perhaps precisions; you will know what to do per time and how to handle challenges, growth and expansion.
So if you want to start your own housecleaning company, you are required to write a detailed business plan that can pass reality test when subjected to it; you should work with the facts, figures and other indices in the cleaning industry as it applies to the country you intend starting the business.
The whole idea of writing a business plan is not just for the sake of having a business document in place; but a detail guide on how to effectively run your business from the scratch. Your business plan should outline and cover strategies on how you intend to manage and grow your private home cleaning company. The rule of thumb in writing a business plan is to try as much as possible to be realistic and never to over project when putting figures on income and profits et al. As a matter of fact, it is safer to underestimate when writing a business plan so that you won’t be so disappointed when reality sets in.
These are the key areas that should be covered in your business plan;
Executive summary and Company’s descriptions: you are expected to write about the concept of your business, descriptions of your company, your company’s vision statement, mission statement and where your company will be located and also if you intend selling out franchise or opening outlets in different cities in the United States of America and in other parts of the world.
Other key components that should not be missing in your business plan are products and services offering, SWOT analysis, competitive analysis, marketing and sales analysis / strategies, target market, market goals, pricing, costing and financial projection, publicity and advertising strategy, expansion and growth strategies, budget and start – up capital generation et al.
Detailed Cost Analysis for Starting a Housecleaning Company
There are several expenses that you would have to make before successfully launching your own private cleaning company. It is important to state that the location you choose to launch your business will definitely impact on the overall cost of starting the business which is why it is very important to have concluded and analyzed your feasibility studies and market survey before drawing up a budget and sourcing for funding for your business.
Here are some of the basic costs you must look towards fulfilling when starting a private cleaning company in the United States of America;
- The Total Fee for incorporating the Business in United States of America – $750.
- The budget for Insurance, permits and license – $5,000
- The Amount needed to rent a suitable office facility with enough space in the Unit
- States of America (Re – Construction of the facility inclusive) – $50,000.
- The Cost for equipping the office (computers, printers, fax machines, furniture
- Telephones, filing cabins, safety gadgets and electronics et al) – $15,000
- The Cost of Launching an official Website – $700
- Additional Expenditure (Business cards, Signage, Adverts and Promotions et al) – $2,500
- Other miscellaneous – $1,000
Going by the report from our research and feasibility studies, we will need about $120,000 to set up a small scale housecleaning company in the United States of America. On the average, you would need over 200 US dollars to start a medium scale housecleaning company in the United States of America.
If you choose to start a large scale housecleaning company, then you should look towards budgeting about 2 million US dollars and above. This money includes paying experts that will be on your employee / payroll.
- Financing Your Home Cleaning Company
If you choose to start your home cleaning company on a small scale, you might not need loads of resources to launch the business, but if you decide to start on a large scale, you will sure need to raise the required start – up capital to launch the business.
If you are starting your company on a large scale, you will need a decent office facility, office equipment and furniture, and money budgeted for the payment of salaries and utility bills for at least a period of 3 months and you will also need money to purchase essential cleaning equipment, vans and gadgets et al. In essence you are expected to generate your start – up capital.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first thing and perhaps the major factors that you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan 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 residential cleaning company;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Applying for loan from your bank / banks
- 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 Location for Your Housecleaning Company
Choosing a location for your business is not what you should do without due consultation. The truth is that if you get it wrong with the location where you have decided to pitch your business tent, you are more likely going to struggle to make headway with the business. One of the major reasons why a business struggles, fails and eventual close shop is the fact that the owners decided to choose a wrong location for the business.
Nonetheless, if you are able to build a successful cleaning company brand, you can pitch your business in any part of the world and still make success out of the business- especially if you run a security consultancy and advisory business. Conversely, if you are just starting out; especially if you are a newbie in the cleaning industry, it is important that you locate your business in an area with healthy business activities.
These are some of the factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your residential cleaning outfit;
- The demography of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The numbers of private cleaning companies in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community / state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
Starting a Housecleaning Business – Technical & Manpower Details
If you are tinkering with starting a home cleaning business, then you should be ready to purchase effective cleaning equipment, gadgets and accessories – these are some of the basic technical areas you are expected to spend part of your startup capital.
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing an office space, the size of the private cleaning firm you want to build, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. If you have enough capital to run a private cleaning outfit, then you should consider the option of leasing a facility for your office; when you lease, you will be able to work with long – term planning.
As it concerns the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with; you should consider your financial capacity before making the decision. But good enough, you don’t have to maintain a large workforce if you run a private cleaning company. You can recruit and train employees when you have the need to.
Averagely, you would need a Chief Executive Officer or President (you can occupy this role), an Admin and Human Resource Manager, cleaning Consultants and Associates (Different areas of specializations as it applies to your business), Business Development Executive / marketing Executive, Customer Service Officer or Front Desk Officer, and Accountant.
Over and above, you need a minimum of 10 key staff to effectively run a medium scale private cleaning firm. Please note that there will be times when you are expected to go out of your way to hire experts to help you handle some high profile contracts. If you are just starting out you may not have the financial capacity or required business structure to retain all the professionals that are expected to work with you which is why you should make plans to partner with other security outfits that are specialized in areas you aren’t.
- The Services Process Involved in the Cleaning Industry
The services process involved in the private cleaning industry depends on the niches the company is into. On the average, the process starts with biding or submitting proposal for a cleaning contract, once the contract is won, then it is expected for the entire contract document to be signed and advance payment made as required.
Once the payment has been sorted out, then the cleaning firm is expected to deploy cleaners as required to execute the job. Over and above, it is the practice for private cleaning companies to first access the risk involved and the nature of job they are to do before billing the organization that requested for their services.
Starting a Housecleaning Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing Ideas and Strategies for a Housecleaning Business
Private cleaning firm is not a business that you have to retail products which is why you must do all you can to maximize any opportunity that comes your way.
So when you are drafting your marketing ideas and strategies for your housecleaning company, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company’s profile which must include the profile of your board of directors and management team. The truth is that if you have highly qualified, trustworthy and successful cleaning professionals in your board and core management team, it will definitely give you leverage in the market place.
Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your housecleaning company;
- Advertise your business in relevant business magazines, TV and radio station and also make yourself available for security related talk shows and interactive sessions on TV and Radios)
- List your business on local directories / yellow pages (both online and offline)
- Attend health related expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business
- Join local chambers of commerce around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your private security company.
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to all the corporate organizations, community leaders, schools, hospitals, hotels and government offices in your target area.
- Promptness in bidding for contracts
- Create different packages for different category of clients in order to work with their budgets.
- Engage in direct marketing, referral marketing and also email marketing.
Possible Competitive Strategies for Winning your Competitors in the Cleaning Industry
It might be challenging competing as a newbie in the public cleaning industry especially in a highly organized market like that of the United States of America, which is why you must be deliberate in choosing your board members and your core management team. Also you have to look into the service offering which you propose tom proffer.
As a residential cleaning company, if you have the required expertise and equipment to carry out a contract, then you are likely not going to struggle to compete in the industry. Hence, ensure that you put in your best whenever you have the opportunity to handle any contract. You should be known for delivering excellent cleaning services at all times. Creativity, excellence and attention to minute security details should be our signature.
Lastly, ensure that your organization is well positioned and if possible form strategic partnership with other key stakeholders in the security industry; it will sure give you competitive advantage over your competitions.
Possible Ways to Increase Customer Retention for a Housecleaning Business
When it comes to business no matter the industry you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customers’ retention and perhaps to attract new customers is to satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your services delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service provider or products.
Statistics has it that one of the major reasons why customer’s source for alternative service provider or product is when there is a drop in quality. Another reason is poor customer service. If you can continue to improve on the quality or your services and your customer service delivery, then you won’t struggle to maintain your loyal customers.
Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers and building loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.
With a customized CRM system you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick survey, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk text messages and customized e – mails and above all you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).
Strategies to Boost your Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate identity
When it comes to creating brand identity for a housecleaning business, the caliber of clients you have worked for and the nature of contracts you have handled is always a major brand booster.
It is pretty important to work with your consultants to help you map out publicity and advertising strategies that will help you walk your way into the heart of your target market. First and foremost, you should ensure that your brand is visible and well communicated which is why you should make provisions to work with different class of people in the society. All your publicity materials and jingles should be done by some of the best hands in the industry.
Below are the platforms you should leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create a corporate identity for your private cleaning company;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to all the corporate organizations, community leaders, schools, hospitals, hotels and government offices in your target area.
- Advertise your business in relevant magazines and websites
- List your business on local directories / yellow pages (both online and offline)
- Promote your business on satellite TV stations and radio stations.
- Attend health related expos, seminars, and business fairs with the aim of creating awareness and promoting your brand
- Engage in direct email marketing
- Leverage on the internet (social media platforms and your official websites) to promote your business
- Ensures that your workers wear your branded shirts at all times during working hours and also make sure you brand all your company’s official vans, trucks and cars et al.
Creating a Suppliers / Distribution Network for your Housecleaning Firm
The nature of the cleaning industry gives room for private cleaning companies to network amongst themselves and also network with other health related agencies and organization. This is so because the issue of cleaning cannot be handled in isolation. It is the practice for cleaning companies to get regular health updates.
It is important to state that there will always be room for private cleaning firms to form strategic alliance with one another which is why it is important to maintain a good network within the industry.
Tips for Running a Housecleaning Business Successfully
The truth is that, irrespective of the kind of business you run, your ability to get all the members of your team on same page at all times is one of the keys you need to successfully run the organization.
As the chief executive officer or president of a private cleaning company, it is you responsibility to give direction to the business. Part of what you need to do is to ensure that you create time for office meetings; a time where challenges, feedback, projections and relevant issues are discussed. The meetings could be daily, once in a week, twice a week or once in a month. The bottom line is that there should be consistent meetings in your organization.
Carrying out appraisals on a regular basis and training your employees will help you run your organization effectively. Encourage your employees to pursue certifications in their various area of specializations; it will help your organization’s profile and of course it will help the individuals. You can choose to fully or partially sponsor some of the certifications.
Lastly, you should keep your doors open for suggestions from members of your team and your clients. It is very important to reward excellent performance in your organization; it will go a long way to encourage healthy competition in your organization.