A cleaning business is very rewarding when done right. As the adage goes, well begun is half-done. Here is a checklist to kick-start your cleaning business.
Have Clarity on all Components of the Business Plan
Start with a business plan. Identify the target customers, and draw up a specific set of services for them. For instance, the business could focus on residential or commercial customers, or focus on any type of clients in a specific area. Another option is to focus on a specific niche.
Draw up the list of specific services on offer for the targeted customers. Some examples include bathroom cleaning, carpet cleaning, weekly dusting, deep cleaning, dishwashing, and so on.
Price services based on the required labor, time, and effort. Market rates, competitor pricing strategies, and willingness of clients to pay also influence pricing in a big way.
Benchmark the proposed offerings with competitor offerings. Identify key USPs which delivers a competitive advantage to your business.
Comply with Legal and Administrative Formalities
Complying with statutory requirements is essential to establish a legal and credible cleaning business. Top clients always prefer dealing with legit businesses.
- Give the business a name
- Register the business. Many states require registering the business with the local authority and getting a tax number for employers. If the business is large enough, consider registering as an LLC (Limited Liability Company)
- Hire staff. Draw up a separate HR plan, and have a hiring plan ready, to scale-up as required.
- Take up business insurance for liability, vehicle, business disruption, and health insurance for employees.
- Buy uniforms for cleaning staff, to create a professional look.
- Open a bank account.
- Create an expense budget for purchases, equipment, gas, marketing, and any additional overhead.
- Set up automatic withdrawals for salaries and other regular pay-outs.
- Draw up an advertising and marketing strategy based on the business model and execute it.
- Set-up social media accounts and engage in marketing activities simultaneously.
Set up the Office Infrastructure
Rent or acquire the office premises, and furnish it. Next, set up the office infrastructure. This usually includes:
- Laptop or PC
- Phone line and mobile connections
- Business cards, letterheads, and marketing materials
- Cleaning business software
- Vehicles. Most cleaning companies have a supply van or truck. If not, have a plan to ensure the availability of vehicles as and when required.
Provision for Tools and Equipment
List out the types of equipment and supplies required to execute the services laid out in the business plan.
Tools and equipment may be divided into capital purchases and consumables. For both the categories, estimate business volumes and decide on the number of equipment required. Make sure to provision for spares and backup equipment, to cover for malfunction.
Most businesses buy the essentials upfront and scale-up as demand increases. Prioritize the items based on importance, price, and budget.
A sample list of tools and equipment required may read as:
- Vacuum cleaner
- Broom and dustpan
- Mop and bucket
- Extendable poles
- Scrubbing and cleaning brushes
- Microfiber cloth, paper towels, and wipes
- Rubber gloves
- Face masks
- Cleaning towels
- Shoe covers (to keep floors clean)
- Garbage bags
- Chemicals such as bleach, glass cleaner, surface cleaner, etc.
- Air freshener
- Heavy-duty detergent or degreaser
- Furniture polish
- Stainless steel cleaner
- Toilet and shower cleaner
- Descaling agent or chemical descaler
- Carpet cleaner
- Stain remover
- Wood cleaner
The actual list will invariably differ greatly from the above-mentioned sample list, depending on the target customers and the services on offer.
For domestic cleaning, some cleaning services expect homeowners to supply the cleaning products, but most providers supply the cleaning products themselves. Still, many providers offer homeowners the choice. If offering a choice, have clarity beforehand on the materials offered by the homeowner, and materials to be sourced in-house.
Likewise, for industrial and commercial premises, the contract may mention specific cleaning products, requiring adherence to specific brands and quality.
Regardless of the permutations and combinations, a thorough checklist is essential to estimate the capital required and how to finance the business. The profit and loss of the business depend largely on the accuracy of the checklist.
Deploy Field Management software
Cleaning business software makes operations easy, improves visibility, and automates critical tasks, such as :
- Creating and delivering quotes
- Converting bid into a job, assigning people, provisioning resources, and communicating to all stakeholders, automatically
- Accepting bookings
- Scheduling visits and jobs
- Accessing all client information from a central depository, improving efficiency and accuracy of services
- Creating professional invoices, auto-billing, auto reminders, and ensuring timely payments
Issuing mobile apps to stakeholders such as customers, field service employees, supervisors, and top management makes it easy for them to check schedules, tasks, job notes, client info, estimated time of arrival of the cleaning staff to a job, job progress schedule, and more.
Empirical evidence suggests that a field management suite improve efficiency and profitability manifold, and raise customer satisfaction in a big way.
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