Every business needs a safe, clean environment in which to work. But, cleaning isn’t exactly at the top of the average CEO’s to-do list, which is why most companies hire cleaning services to get the job done.
Commercial cleaning is a much bigger industry than you might think. The market is expected to reach a value of $74,299 million by 2020 worldwide, with North America having the biggest amount of revenue.
This is a fast-growing industry with a significant amount of opportunity for growth. But, you have better chances of succeeding in starting an office cleaning business if you do it sooner rather than later.
Here’s the simple step by step guide you need to get your business idea off the ground!
1. Research Your Market
No matter how clear of a vision you have for your business, you need to get an in-depth understanding of the market you’re about to enter.
You have to dig much deeper than the success of commercial cleaning worldwide and start researching the specific opportunities available for your business in your local area.
Some of the questions your research should answer are:
- How much of a need is there for office cleaning services?
- Who is my biggest competitor?
- What kind of company fits my customer persona?
- What’s the local economy like right now?
This is also a good time to look into startup costs, state registration requirements, and industry regulations.
2. Define Your Services
Once you have a better idea of what’s going on in your market, it’s time to start thinking about what you plan to bring to the table. Take your time to define all the services you want to provide and think about how you’ll be able to accomplish them, too.
Maybe you choose to read more about carpet cleaning and basic interior services. Or, perhaps you’re more interested in the possibility of cleaning the windows on high-rise buildings.
Your cleaning company could also focus on workplace bathrooms and kitchens.
3. Write a Business Plan
Although identifying your services is a good start, remember this is just one part of your entire business plan. There’s much more to be done, considering a complete business plan includes:
- company values and mission statement
- startup budget and long-term financial planning
- funding ideas
- a plan for growth with specific quarterly/annual objectives to meet
The more specific you are with your business plan, the better. This will provide you with a sense of guidance as the company grows; it will help you stay on track in the early stages of growth and understand where you’re headed as the business really starts to take off.
4. Register Your Business
You can’t enjoy your company’s growth if you haven’t officially started it yet. Even with an in-depth business plan and some funding, your cleaning service company is just an idea until it’s registered.
This step is a lot easier than it sounds. All you have to do is research your state’s requirements for starting a business and get your tax paperwork in order.
The paperwork you fill out will vary depending on how big of a company you plan to grow and whether or not you’re going into it alone or with a partner. It’s worth taking the time to consider all your options before you jump the gun on registering.
It’s also a good idea to open a business bank account using your new tax registration number.
This will help you keep all your personal and corporate finances separate, making taxes much easier to do when the time comes.
5. Get Funding
Taxes ensure that you have all your finances in order, while funding is what helps you access all the finances you need. You can go about your startup financing in a few different ways.
The first is by crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is a form of asking a lot of people for a little bit of money. A lot of entrepreneurs do this with their friends and family when they need help getting their business off the ground.
Such funding usually comes in the form of donations, although some people may want you to pay them back.
Speaking of paying others back, there’s also the option of taking out a small business loan or joining a peer to peer lending program.
A small business loan gives you access to funding via a bank, while peer to peer lending means you can give your loan application directly to a lender. These options both have their own specific interest rates and payment expectations.
Additionally, you can explore the options of venture capitalist funding or simply going it alone and putting your own savings into your new business.
6. Try to Keep Startup Costs and Overhead Low
It’s one thing to get your hands on the money you need to start a business and another to blow it all with frivolous spending. You have to make sure you have all your ducks in a row when managing the finances of your cleaning business.
Two of the best money-saving initiatives you can use are to keep startup costs low and to only spend what you absolutely need for overhead. Startup costs may include:
- business registration fees
- initial equipment expenses
- office expenses
- marketing and branding tools
Some of these expenses will roll over into overhead costs, aka the things that your business will pay monthly or annually. These include payroll, taxes, insurance, and marketing and branding costs.
Such fees apply to both startup and overhead because you will likely pay a bigger amount when you’re just getting started than when you’re maintaining the operations you put in place.
But, the main thing to remember about all of these expenses is that you don’t have to go all-out on them. Take office expenses, for example. Since the majority of your work is going to be done on-site at client locations, you don’t need to splurge on a big, fancy office.
You may not even need a huge team of employees right away or that much equipment, either. You can start small and work your way up as the business grows.
7. Buy Cleaning Supplies
Cleaning supplies should take up the majority of your startup spending. The equipment you buy depends on the kinds of services you plan to offer. But, you have to account for transportation equipment and employee uniforms, too.
Not to mention, it’s good to keep in mind that there’s a big difference between cost and value. Make sure the supplies you’re purchasing are top of the line products that can get the job done. The last thing you want is to invest so much into cleaning supplies that can only provide subpar results.
8. Invest in Insurance
Buying insurance is another thing you need to do before opening for business.
This is a critical step. Imagine if you booked your first big gig as a cleaning service and an employee got injured on the job. Between workers’ compensation fees and legality issues, you’d be in danger of going out of business faster than you got started!
That is unless you have insurance to protect you and your employees. Investing in insurance now means you’re prepared for any emergency that happens later.
It helps you take care of your people and protect your company’s interests, too.
9. Build – and Train – Your Team
What’s better than having insurance to cover your team in the event of an accident? Preventing one from happening in the first place.
You need to train your team in every aspect of the services you plan to provide. Make sure they understand the safety risks associated with things like mopping floors and moving furniture around.
Go over the appropriate steps to take in the event that something does go wrong as well.
Most importantly, take this as an opportunity to stress the importance of doing a good job. Your team should understand the difference between an outstanding cleaning job and an average one, and should always strive to produce the former.
10. Establish a Brand
The next step in starting your office cleaning business is to establish a brand that business owners and team leaders can easily recognize. Take the time to create an eye-catching logo and to make sure your brand tells a story. Think about what you want people to associate with your business, then determine which colors and words/phrases will bring these things to life.
11. Create Amazing Marketing Campaigns
Last but not least, start marketing your services.
Identify which marketing tools will best fit your business and make the best campaigns you possibly can.
If you have no idea what you’re doing, skip the DIY process and go straight to the professionals. It will require more of an investment on your end, but it will be well worth it once you start to see the returns that innovative marketing can provide.
Starting an Office Cleaning Business Made Simple
At the end of the day, there’s one thing you should remember above all else when starting an office cleaning business: don’t give up. There’s no turning back once you’ve set your mind on something and started to put in the work.
But, this doesn’t mean the process is going to be easy. You’re going to experience some bumps along the road and question yourself from time to time. Once you see all the pieces of your new business come together, though, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish!
For more entrepreneurial insights and ideas to help you succeed, click here.