Home | Carpet Cleaning | Tile and Grout Cleaning | Maid Services

How To Start Your Own Cleaning Service Business (Office Cleaning House Cleaning)

House and apartment cleaning services are gaining in popularity. The main reason for this is due to families that have 2 working adults/parents in the home. The overworked family has no time for cleaning their home. Their need to supplement the family income creates the opportunity for you to set up a lucrative business.

Ten years ago, businesses of this kind were serving only the affluent - homes of the wealthy people where people didn't want to be bothered with the drudgery of house cleaning, and had the money to pay someone to do it for them. But times have changed, and today the market includes many middle-income families in every residential area across the entire country. The potential market among apartment dwellers is great also. All in all this is a business that has grown fast, and has as much real wealth building potential as any we can think of.

Cleaning services are generally associated with women owners, however, men are finding that they can organize, start, and operate very profitable home and apartment cleaning businesses just as well as women. It's an ideal business for any truly ambitious person wanting a business of his or her own, especially for those who must begin with limited funds. Actually, you can start this business right in your own neighborhood, using your own equipment, and many items you already own.

Many enterprising homemakers are already doing this kind of work on a small scale as an extra income-producing endeavor. There's a growing need for this service. Organizing your efforts into a business producing $40,000 or more a year is quite possible, and you can get started for $100 or so, always using your profits to expand and increase your business.

In most cases, no experience is required. Everyone knows how to dust the furniture, vacuum carpets, make the beds and carry out the trash. But you must ask yourself if making a house clean and bright is important and uplifting work. If you look on it as degrading or as drudgery, don't involve yourself in this business.

Pricing your services will always be a constant challenge for you. You will learn as you go. The pricing really depends on you, the services you provide and how thorough you are. To start off, your best bet is to figure out what you need to make ends meet per week. Then, divide that number by amount of hours you want to work per week. Then be sure to add any expenses you will incur by working that many hours (ie. Daycare, Gas, Cleaning Supplies, Insurance, Equipment Repairs, Etc.) Also count on a little downtime for traveling between jobs, sick days, auto breakdowns, etc.

As a general rule, you shouldn't charge less than $12.00 - $15.00 (USD) per hour, per person on a job (depending on where in the world you are located. Most cleaning companies will charge $20-$30 (USD) per hour, per person. This is just a guide, and some parts of the US or other countries may be much different.

Here is an example:

A 2-Bathroom, 3-Bedroom house with a Living Room, Kitchen, Dining Room, Hallways, Stairs and a family room, will approx. take 4 labor hours as long as there is not a lot of clutter (always be sure to notice the amount of clutter and how dirty/dusty the home is when doing an estimate and take that under consideration). Labor hours means the amount of time it will take multiplied by the number of people cleaning. For example... A 4 hour labor job breaks down like this:1 person-4 hours, 2 people-2 hours, 3 people-1.33 hours, etc.). I personally wouldn't recommend charging less than $15.00 /hr. Charging $15.00/hr would bring this job to $60.00 Per visit. Charging $20.00/hr would bring this job to $80.00

You want to be sure you charge enough to provide a quality service. If a prospective customer is trying to lower your rates, they are not worth having. It's OK to be higher than another company as you should never try to gain new customers by just offering the lowest price. Always sell the quality of your work rather than the price!

Customers will expect to pay more for cleaning services that offer a quality service and bring their own supplies and equipment. Make sure if you are using your own equipment, you put a lot of effort into finding the right products. Customers like name brand products being used in their homes and offices.

Customers will also expect to pay more if your company is insured. Insurance is well worth the investment to protect yourself and your company in the event something gets lost, broken, or damaged. It is also a wonderful selling tool.

Remember... Sell quality, not cost!

TIP::::: You should consider providing services in schedule friendly timing:

- Weekly is every week

- Bi-weekly is every 2 weeks

- Monthly is every 4 weeks (not the same as coming the 1st of every month)

As far as supplies and equipment is concerned, you should consider obtaining the following:

- Vacuum Cleaner with attachments, or 2 different vacuums

- Paper towels

- Terrycloth rags

- Furniture polish

- Glass cleaner

- Multi-purpose cleaner

- Bath tub/Shower cleaner

- Toilet Bowl Cleaner

- Abrasive cleanser (like comet)

- Sponges (consider using sponges with an abrasive side and a soft side)

- Feather Duster

- Caddy (to carry it all)

- And anything else you may need to perform the services that you offer

You also need an advertising campaign of some sort. Most people start out using the classified ads and the Internet. A listing on the Cleaning Service Directory (www.house-cleaning-services.com) is very inexpensive and can help you get leads quickly.

You might also want to consider creating a flyer, such as the following:

HOUSE CLEANING / APARTMENT CLEANING

We do the work - You relax and take it easy.

You get the best job in town, at rates you can afford.

Your satisfaction is always guaranteed!

For more details,

Call Jane Doe: 123-4567 - ABC Cleaning Services!

Here's an idea for making a flyer....

Visit your stationery store to pick up a pad of "fade out" graph paper, a couple of sets of transfer (rub-on) letters, a glue stick, and if they have one, a Clip Art book.

Take these materials home and clear off your kitchen table. Take a sheet of graph paper, and temporarily tape the corners down on the table. Then take a pencil and a ruler, and mark a rectangle five inches wide by six inches long along the lines of the graph paper. This will be the overall size of your flyer when it's finished.

Look for a Clip Art piece depicting a harried housewife engrossed with either cleaning tools or in the act of running a vacuum cleaner, or some other household chore. Cut this piece out, and with your glue stick paste it in the upper left-hand corner of your rectangle. Then take your transfer letters and make the headline: HOME OR CLEANING. Next, type out the body of the message on ordinary white typing paper. Be sure to use a relatively new ribbon, preferably a black carbon ribbon, and upper case letters. Cut this strip out, and paste it onto the graph paper, centered just below your headline. Then use some transfer letters that are about twice as large as your typewriter type, and paste up the action part of your message: For details, call Sue: 123-4567. Cut out a couple of border flourishes from your Clip Art book, paste them under your action line, and you're ready to take it to the printer.

In essence, you have a professional advertising "billboard." You can check around in your area, especially with the advertising classes at your local colleges, but generally they'll do no better than you can do on your own, using the instructions we've just given you, and they'll charge you $50 to $100.

Once you have this advertising flyer completed, take it to a nearby quick print shop and have about 200 copies printed. You should be able to get two copies on a standard 8 1/2 x 11 sheet, and running 100 sheets of paper through the press should cost under $10. For just a few cents more, have the printer cut them in half with his machine cutter, so you will have 200 copies of the advertising flyer.

Now take these flyers, along with a box of thumbtacks, and put them up on all the free bulletin boards you can find - grocery stores, Laundromats, beauty salons, office building lounges, cafeterias, post offices, and wherever else such announcements are allowed.

Handling the customers...

When a prospective customer calls, have your appointment book and a pencil handy. Be friendly and enthusiastic. Explain what you do - everything from changing the beds to vacuuming, dusting and polishing the furniture and cleaning the bathroom to the

dishes and the laundry. Or, everything except the dishes and the laundry - whatever you have decided on as your policy. When they ask how much you charge, simply tell them, you'll need to see the home and make a detailed estimate for them. Then without much of a pause, ask if 4:30 this afternoon would be convenient for them, or if 5:30 would be better. You must pointedly ask if you can come to make your cost proposal at a certain time, or the decision may be put off, and you may come up with a "no sale."

Just as soon as you have an agreement on the time to make you cost proposal and marked it in your appointment book, ask for name, address and telephone number.

Jot this information down on a 3 by 5 card, along with the date and the notation: Prospective Customer. Then you file this card in a permanent card file. Save these cards, because there are literally hundreds of ways to turn this prospect file into real cash, once you've accumulated a sizeable number of names, addresses and phone numbers.

When you go to see your prospect in person, always be on time. A couple of minutes early won't hurt you, but a few minutes late will definitely be detrimental to your closing the sale. Always be well groomed. Dress as a successful business owner. Be confident and sure of yourself; be knowledgeable about what you can do as well as understanding of the prospect's needs and wants. Do not smoke, even if invited by the prospect, and never accept a drink - even coffee - until after you have a signed contract in your briefcase.

Once you've made the sale, the best thing is to shake hands with your new customer, thank him or her, and leave. A little small talk after the sale is appropriate, but becoming too friendly is not. You create an impression, and preserve it, by maintaining a business-like relation ship.

When you go to make your cost estimate, take along a ruled tablet such as those used by elementary school students, carbon paper, a calculator and your appointment book. Some people find it easier to work with a clipboard and ordinary blank paper with

carbon. Later on, you may want to have general checklists printed up for each room in the house, with blank lines or space for special instructions.

Whatever you use, it's important to appear methodical, thorough and professional, while leading the prospect through the specifics he or she wants you to take care of: "Now, you want the carpet vacuumed and all the furniture dusted and those two end tables, the coffee table and the piano polished as well, I assume?"