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Start a Green Cleaning Service

Updated on February 4, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

If you are ready to go into business for yourself, or make a little extra money consider a green cleaning service. Your own eco-friendly business can provide a steady income in any economy.

Housekeeping chores are one of those things that will go on for ever. As long as there is dust in the air and people in a home it will need to be cleaned regularly. With the majority of Americans spending hours every day at work and away from their homes a cleaning service is a business that will always serve a need. With the increasing popularity of non-toxic cleaners and environmental concerns a cleaning service that can boast that it is eco-friendly, organic, and green may often have the edge over competing services that use conventional cleaning solutions.

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Your Market

You will have two types of customers. You can choose to work with one or the other, or both.

  • Commercial customers – will be businesses like doctor's offices, business offices, and small retailers who need their businesses cleaned. This will entail less clutter control but may have more actual dirt to clean since there will be many people going in and out. You will be cleaning on an agreed upon basis, usually when the business is closed.
  • Private homes – this is the traditional housekeeping service. You will probably be asked to do bathrooms, kitchens, vacuuming, and dusting. Deep cleaning is usually charged extra. You will be going in to the home on an agreed upon basis. Usually the homeowners will be away and it will be during traditional working hours.

Green Cleaning Services Use Green Cleaning Products

If you are being hired as a green cleaning service your customers are interested in organic, non-toxic cleaning. Some of them may have auto-immune disorders, allergies, or other health problems that makes it important for their environments to be clean and non-toxic.

Since there is a level of trust that is involved in your relationship with your clients it is imperative that you use only products that you know are “green”. Some companies that are respected in the organic and green genre are:

  • 7th Generation
  • Mrs. Meyers
  • Planet
  • Ecover
  • Dr. Bronners

You can usually get these green cleaning products at your local natural foods store and at many traditional grocers. Rarely will you find these cleaning products at a janitorial supply, and you will rarely find them as cheaply as traditional, chemical based products. Don't use items like “Clorox Green”. These cleaners from the big corporations tend to not be as green as they claim.

A less expensive way to use green cleaner is to make your own eco-friendly cleaners. Common, inexpensive household items can be used to clean as effectively (and sometimes more effectively) than the commercial cleaners. Some of these items are:

  • Baking soda
  • Borax
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Fels Naptha soap

What Services Are Involved?

Usually all or most of the following are part of a basic home cleaning fee:

  • Vacuum all floors
  • Dust Furniture
  • Empty Trash
  • Clean sliding glass or french doors
  • Straighten rooms
  • Dust windowsills and baseboards
  • Remove cobwebs
  • Cleankitchen counters
  • Kitchen sink and faucets
  • Outside of appliances
  • Clean stove
  • Inside of microwave
  • Dust knick knacks
  • Sweep and mop floor
  • Clean bathroom counters and sinks
  • Clean tub and shower
  • Clean toilets inside and out
  • Clean mirrors
  • Sweep and mop floors

Extra services include:

  • Windows
  • Laundry
  • Moving furniture to vacuum beneath (deep cleaning)
  • Oven
  • Cupboards
  • Stripping beds or making them
  • Dealing with large amounts of clutter
  • Dealing with large amounts of pet hair, etc.

Start Up Costs and Items You Will Need

Starting a home based business means lower business start up costs but there are still items you will need to have.

  • A vehicle to get to your clients homes
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Business cards
  • A website (a free site like blogspot or wordpress is fine to start with
  • A cell phone so that your clients can reach you easily
  • A vacuum
  • Advertising (flyers, etc)
  • A ledger or notebook to help you keep track of your income and expenses.
  • A notebook to keep track of your mileage in your car

You may want to get a magnetic sign or decal for your car with your website address on it

If you are going to run your green cleaning service out of your home you will not need much money. Many of the things on the above list will be things that you all ready have. Your stat up costs could easily be less that $100.00

Be sure to check with your county about ordinances and zoning laws. Usually running a cleaning service from your home is no problem but it is always a good idea to check.

Billing

In order to charge your clients fairly it is a good idea to research what other cleaning services are getting in your area. Because you are providing a specialized service you can probably charge about 10 percent more than a conventional cleaning service. If you are charging by the hour rather than by the home you can expect to earn about $5 to $10 more an hour than what your competition is charging.

You will want to estimate how long it will take you to do a client's home. Two to Three hours is about average.

It is between you are your customers how they pay. You can choose to bill them monthly or have them pay each time you clean. You can choose to take checks or cash only or you can open a Paypal account.

A paypal account makes billing easy. You would send them a paypal invoice each week, every two weeks, or once a month. Your customers could pay you by credit card if they wished. They would also need to have paypal account, however. Billing through paypal is an easy way to keep records for your small business.

Your Image

You should remember that you represent your business. If you have a sloppy appearance it will not reflect well on your business. Some people choose to wear something that becomes a uniform so that they are easily identified. For example, since you have a “green” business you may want to use Khaki pants and a green polo shirt as your uniform. Putting a logo on the shirt would be a great idea. You would wear it to meet with clients, shopped for supplies, and also when you cleaned their homes. By wearing an outfit that is easily identified with your business you are branding yourself and creating instant advertising.

Word of mouth is the very best advertising so be sure to do the best job you can every time. Eco-friendly cleaning service might be the green home business you have been looking for. It is easy to do part time until you get enough clients to support full time employment.

Comments

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    • profile image

      ms De 

      6 months ago

      Thanks a lot it was very helpful . Great ideas for a start up .

    • profile image

      john doe 

      6 years ago

      You can go to any custodial supply co. now and buy friendly green clean products with out having to spend time and energy making your own has anyone ever heard of electric water

    • Gruene Steam profile image

      Gruene Steam 

      7 years ago from Austin, TX

      Great Hub that not only outlines the many benefits of using green cleaning methods, but also give some great insight on how to start a green cleaning service. Thanks for all the information!

    • crescentaurora1 profile image

      crescentaurora1 

      7 years ago from Alameda, CA

      Great idea!

    • profile image

      riddhik11 

      8 years ago

      Thanks a lot. I have searched on this topic a lot but haven't found good one like this.

    • JuliaR62 profile image

      JuliaR62 

      9 years ago from Madison, WI

      Thank you, Marye.

      I have cleaned homes for years and always did it "green". I think there's great potential in the market for green house cleaning. Besides benefiting the home owner, the cleaner also takes care of her health.

      You've given great starting information. Thank you.

      Julia

    • skye2day profile image

      skye2day 

      9 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Thank You for the information.I need to do something. My business in the hair profession is all time low. Hubby was laid off. God will provide He will come thought he always does. Thank You great hub. I have a couple of new hubs check em out

    • thelesleyshow profile image

      TheLesleyShow 

      9 years ago from US

      Very useful information! thank you.

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