There are still even more opportunities available to you regarding how you might like to shape your new cleaning business. The other areas of service covered below are also something you should look into before deciding the direction of your business. Take some time to consider what might be the best fit for you, and how you could make your business thrive in your local area. Always make sure to look into the specifics of a business before jumping into it head-on, as you may not be fully aware yet of the downsides or difficulties that a certain business could present.
- Customers: As you build your client-base, you should try to primarily focus on commercial clients, since these customers will need window cleanings on a routine basis. You can create a contract with them for a weekly schedule, rather than just an occasional cleaning for residential cleanings. Restaurants, doctor's offices, and car dealerships are all great places to start, as they require clean windows on a regular basis to maintain an appeal to their customers. Most of these locations also have a lot of windows that can get dirty easily with the traffic passing through, so they will require frequent cleanings to maintain that cleanliness.
- Equipment: Although you may be looking for commercial clients starting off, be careful to only take on 1-2 story buildings until you have the proper scaffolds and equipment to clean the taller buildings. The first equipment you should start off are the actual tools you need to get the window clean, from buckets to scrubbers and squeegees. A ladder will be necessary to reach the higher parts of the windows, and an extension pole could be a great help as well. Make sure that you research top window cleaning techniques and then try them out as much as you can before starting off. Once you have perfected your techniques and found products that work well, you can then market your skills to potential customers. Being experienced with the tools and products will help you come across as more professional and experienced, and will also help you deliver quality service.
- Customers: With this business, you will also find many of the same customers mentioned above. You will have a mix of commercial and residential clients, but commercial customers will make up a majority of your regular appointments. Residential clients are less likely to hire a blind cleaning service as frequently as commercial clients will, but you will still have homeowners contacting you every once and while for their blind cleaning. Another specific group you may find are apartment owners who are leasing apartments that come with blinds or shutters. Since they want their apartments to be refreshed in between leases, this also includes a thorough cleaning of the window covers.
- Equipment: There are many different types of blinds you will come across, from wood blinds to vinyl blinds to shutters. You should make sure that you buy versatile equipment that you can use on a majority, if not all, of your client's blinds. Blind dusters are a good base to start with, and then you can look into steam cleaning machines. Make sure that your equipment is easily transportable, as you will be carrying in and out of customer's homes. You should be efficient at taking down and putting back up the blinds, so that this doesn't prove to be a hassle or time-consuming process while you are at the customer's residence.
- Customers: You have the choice to determine the direction of your business, although you may find a variety in types of customers. While homeowners are frequent clients you will see, you also have to plan for storefront cleanings, graffiti removal, and fleet washing for businesses with delivery trucks or something similar. Commercial customers can prove to be your most consistent and high-paying clients, so you shouldn't count them out. Companies with fleets of cars or trucks will need to maintain a quality cleanliness, and that can sometimes only be achieved by pressure washing, especially when a truck goes through tough wear on a weekly basis.
- Equipment: Quite simply, your business will require a pressure washer of high quality. Don't try to save a little cash by buying the cheap option. It will only cost you more by breaking down and it will make it harder to provide professional service. Hot water units clean better than cold units clean and are more suited for industrial type work, and be sure to purchase equipment with higher horsepower (at least 18 HP) so that you can use them for full work days. Since this is such heavy-duty equipment, you should look into a warranty in case anything malfunctions or needs replacing. Apart from this, though, you will also need multiple water hoses, low and high pressure, as well as surface cleaners and chemicals/soaps, depending on what you are cleaning specifically.
You and your employees should be experienced and professional with your use of this equipment before offering your cleaning services to customers. If you haven't yet purchased a pressure washer, you can even rent one from Home Depot for a week and practice daily. Most likely; your friends and family won't turn down a free cleaning if you need to practice on different areas and spaces. Don't just focus on one area, such as a driveway, but perfect your skills on fences, decks, house siding, and anything else that a customer may request in the future. A short amount of practice won't make you an expert, but it is a good place to start. There are courses and guides available online to teach you the dos and don'ts of pressure washing and you can always work under another pressure washing company at first to learn the techniques.
Ceiling and Wall Cleaning:Interested in learning more? Why not take an online Starting Your Own Cleaning Business course?
- Customers: Once again, a majority of your clients for this business will be commercial clients. Unless homeowners have high ceilings that are difficult to clean on their own, you won't find too many of them hiring this type of business within their home. However, storefronts, schools, and restaurants are just a few of the clients who require this type of cleaning. These places typically have a standard of cleanliness to maintain, so they will hire professionals for ceiling and wall cleanings. Different contaminates such as smoke, dust, and other pollutants will dull the appearance of a room, reduce the light, and present an unhealthy environment.
- Equipment: Dusters and high-reaching cleaning tools are necessary for high ceilings, and you also should buy a durable ladder if you need to get close up to remove intense stains. Just remember to always be careful when bringing a ladder into a residence or workspace, as this can present risk of scratching the floor or knocking something over. Determine what you prefer to use to clean, whether you opt for strong chemicals or a more "green" approach, or perhaps even both. Make sure to test them out before using them for a customer, so that you can stand behind a promise of quality cleaning with honesty.
Disaster and Restoration Cleaning:
- Customers: Unlike the other types of cleaning services, you can't count on a regular customer-base when entering this business. Storms, fires, and other disasters will be the primary driving force behind your service. Entering into this industry can be inconsistent, as you may have dry periods where there aren't a whole lot of customers calling you. On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, you may have a huge influx of customers following a natural disaster that effects a wide population of people. From homeowners to commercial clients, your client-base will most likely be extremely varied. You should be prepared, following any type of disaster or widespread damage, to start getting your contact information out immediately and even going door-to-door of homes that look damaged from whatever happened. People will just be starting to look for restoration services, because it is a necessity that they can't avoid, and you can offer your services immediately if you keep your eye out for such an occasion.
- Equipment: The type of equipment you need will depend on how you decide to direct your business. You may focus on water damage repair, fire damage, or any other type of damage restoration. If you choose to offer a wide variety of services, in order to reach a larger client-base, then you will need more equipment. Once you determine the direction of your business, you can then look into the necessary supplies for that specific restoration cleaning. From something as simple as brooms to get out debris to heavy-duty equipment, your needs are sure to vary and change from client to client.
- Customers: Your clientele will typically be homeowners in this business, as they are the primary owners of chimneys. You may find that real estate agents or rental homeowners also are consistent customers, as they may have a routine chimney sweep whenever somebody moves out in order to prepare for the next owner or renter. The reason that it is important for anybody with a chimney to get routine cleanings is because otherwise, it could present many risks for an accidental fire from the accumulation of soot in the chimney. The demand for this service is consistent and high, as there are many risks for homeowners who forego chimney sweeps.
- Equipment: To get the job done, you will need a variety of different chimney brushes, tarps or cloths, a vacuum with attachments, and ladders. As you gain experience and learn the best methods for cleaning, you may discover additional tools or supplies that help you get the job done efficiently. Always remember to keep the rest of the home clean by using the tarps or drop cloths. Chimney sweeping is not something you can do expertly without prior training, so you may want to research proper techniques and even work temporarily for someone in another location (Just so they are not direct competition once you start your company).
What Else is Necessary For Each of These Services?
The bullet points mentioned above are just the specifics for each individual service, but there are some commonalities that these services share which are also important. Running a business takes more than just having the ability to clean. You also need the business skills to keep it running, along with the following:
- Qualifications: Before starting out, you will need to check what the local and state requirements are for a small business in terms of licensing and registration. This may involve a contracting license and state tax registration, so be sure to check with your state's department of revenue and business. It is best to make sure that all of this is in order before you start buying equipment or reaching out to customers, so make sure that this is one of your first steps.
Furthermore, you could greatly benefit from business liability insurance, as you will be working within customer's homes and office spaces. This will help cover the damages in the event of an accident, or even cover personal injury claims. It is better to be safe than sorry when working on somebody else's property, because you never know what might happen. Some commercial clients may even require that you have insurance, because they don't want to deal with the possibility of something happening with a business that doesn't have insurance.
- Further Necessities: Apart from the equipment listed for each individual service, there are some other necessities as well that you may need to invest in for your business. First off is a company car, or some other reliable and professional means of transportation. Your vehicle is the first impression you offer your customers when you show up at their home or office, and it is also a great way to advertise your business. As you pull up into customer's driveways, they won't feel too trusting or comfortable if they look out and see a beat-up, rusty van with no identification. Be sure to maintain proper care of the company car and have clear identification, as a professional look will keep your customers at ease and help validate your business.
You need a reliable vehicle so that you are never delayed on your way to an appointment, and make sure that is big enough to carry any of the equipment you may need. If you cannot afford to buy a vehicle specifically for the business, you can always purchase some magnets with your logo and information to transform a personal car into a work car. Just make sure that any employees you send to clean also have reliable cars and have access to these magnets to help provide a more professional appeal.
Another aspect that each of these services require is an office set-up, but this is something you can even do from your home if you don't have an actual office building. As your company grows, you will need a designated space for customer files, schedules, employee documents, and all the other files that come with running a business. Set up a system within this area to stay organized.
- Professionalism: When you first start off, you may not be experienced with providing quotes and setting rates. When setting your initial rates, take a look at what the local competition is offering for a general going rate for these types of services. If needed to win over customers, you can offer deals or lower your prices slightly, but always make sure you aren't being hurt by lowering your prices too much. An important aspect to providing quotes is that you come off as a professional and not too ineffective. While you may be making numbers up in your head as you go along, you don't want the customer to think that. Instead, come up with a system for providing quotes, such as charging per square foot, and then explain to your customer that this is the reason why you provided the number that you did.
No matter which area of specialization you choose to focus on, it is important that you master the techniques of that specific field so that you can provide professional and quality service. Hire dedicated and trustworthy employees, since their work will be done with your business's name on it. With the right determination and skills, you can make your new cleaning service a success.