Most people don't like cleaning, but then most people don't get paid to scrub toilets and wash windows. The commercial cleaning business can be lucrative, flexible, and built quickly, making it a great home business choice.
What does commercial cleaning business offer?
- Stable Market: The janitorial industry doesn’t ride the boom or bust wave that other markets do, such as residential cleaning. Businesses need their offices cleaned in a good economy or bad if it wants to maintain a professional and clean environment. Commercial cleaning offers a steady market with consistent demand.
- Simple Product Offering: Nearly every commercial building is in need of some type of janitorial services and providing this service isn’t rocket science. Whether an entrepreneur decides to plug into an existing franchise model or build it from the ground up, what businesses need is fairly consistent across the board such as emptying wastebaskets, cleaning bathrooms, and the typical sweeping and mopping.
- Repeat Business: Commercial cleaning is an ongoing service business. Meaning companies and other businesses need the service over and over, which brings in a consistent business for you as well as a stable, regular income.
- Entry-Level Workforce: While you can attempt to do all the work yourself, you'll maximize your time and income by hiring people to help you. The good news is that your employees don't need formal education or training, so you don't have to invest in expensive training or recruiting costs. Furthermore, most work is done once the office is closed, so you can hire people who need evening schedules or want a second job. The only downside is that there can be a high turnover rate.
- Low Overhead: Outside of cleaning supplies and other essentials, someone interested in a commercial cleaning franchise doesn’t have to fork over a lot of cash to buy a bunch of equipment, vehicles or inventory. In fact, I ran across someone who said they started without a vacuum or a car. With that said, you'll want to invest in tools and equipment that will maximize your time and effort as your business grows.
How to Get Started in Commercial Cleaning
- Decide if you'll start from scratch or buy into a franchise. Starting from scratch means more work initially, but you can do it on a budget. Franchises come with name recognition and a business plan, but can be expensive to buy. Also, will you be a one-man show or will you hire helpers?
- Take care of business start-up tasks such as choosing a business name, setting up your business structure, registering your business, and writing your business plan. If you hire employees, you'll need to get an Employee Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS (it's free), and you'll want to learn about laws related to being an employer.
- Obtain needed insurance and surety bonding.
- Decide on your target market and anything that can set you apart from other commercial cleaning businesses. Do you want to focus on specific businesses (such as real estate offices) or maybe a specific section of your town? Things that can make you stand out include green cleaning (use non-toxic products), price, and level of service.
- Obtain the necessary equipment and supplies. You might be able to get them wholesale at cleaning specialty businesses. Items to have on your list include cloths, disinfectant, air freshener, trash bags, broom, mop, vacuum, cleaners, and a carrying caddy. You would need equipment for each cleaning team if you're hiring help.
- Create your pricing structure, including how you'll calculate bids, billing system, and contract agreements.
- Print business cards, brochures, and other printed materials.
- Market your business. Use your network, put ads in business media your target market reads, have magnets or a sign on your vehicle, and any other marketing tactics that will help you get the word out.
- Do a good job and ask for testimonials and/or referrals to build your business faster.