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How To Start A Housekeeping Business On A Shoestring Budget
Starting A Small Business
Starting a housekeeping business is one of the easiest service businesses to get up and running. It is possible to make a decent income and work hours that are more inclined to your home life, especially if you are a Mother with children in school. You can build a customer base that fits the amount of time you can spend working while your kids are in school and you do not need a large amount of money to get things going. In fact you will only need enough cash to pay for an advertisement or make a few fliers to hang on the local grocery store's bulletin boards. I have never used the store but, I have seen fliers, for people who offer cleaning and painting services. Starting a small business can be yours for the effort.
There are some things to consider as you start and build your business. Getting these fundamental ideas to work for you can make your business start up faster and easier. Knowing how to clean a house quickly and confidently is a major factor in whether or not you will be a success at starting a small business.
If you do not have a clue about how to clean a house it would be a better idea to learn how first. The main issue in cleaning for a living is being extremely organized while you are working. This is also how you will calculate your rates for pricing as you will have to have an idea of how long it takes you to get the job done. You do not want to wind up making $2.00 per hour when you should be making $20.00 per hour.
Make A $100. Budget To Start Your Business
Purchase the items listed here to get started. It will not cost more than $50. for all of the items listed and if you have to leave a few things off the list to start that is okay. Have the basics and you can buy the other things once you get going.
I suggest putting an advertisement in your local paper to get going. Do not use the largest paper in your vicinity but rather, try one of the bargain finder type papers. You should be able to advertise in one of these for as little as $10. to $15.per week. You should also be able to get a discount by advertising for a month at a time. I will talk about placing your ad and basic cleaning supplies a little later.
Half of your start-up cost for starting a small housekeeping business will go to cleaning supplies and the other half will go to advertising for customers. You might have luck at placing a flier in the local grocery stores but I have never done that. I do see fliers for housekeepers all the time so, I guess it works for somebody. I like to use the newspapers because it seems a little more professional and it has always worked for me.
$50. Budget For Cleaning Supplies
- 1- 2 gal. bucket
- 1- 1 gal. bucket (try to find buckets so one will fit inside the other)
- 1- split bucket or divided bucket for your supplies
- 4 or 5 pump spray bottles
- 1- toilet brush
- 1- long handled small brush
- furniture polish
- wood cleaner
- 12-white terry cloth rags 12" x 15" is best size (per house)
- scratch free cleaning pads like the ones to clean Teflon
- steel wool or steel scouring pad
- soft scrub
a high duster with extension handle
Budget $50. To Place An Advertisement For Customers Before You Buy Anything
Do not spend any money on supplies until you get a customer. You can have people calling you and requesting a bid for your services before you spend money on any supplies. This helps to keep the start-up cost as low as possible. You will have to be prepared to sell yourself on the telephone when the calls start coming. You will also have to be prepared to view potential houses and make your bids. If you are unsure of the amount to charge you can always do a little research to find out the going rates for your area. One way to do this is to have some companies come out and bid on your house. Find out what they will do, for what price and, for what length of time. Take a look at several competitors and ask lots of questions. Ask more questions about the things you are unsure of if you had to make a bid for work. This will give you a wealth of information.
Having someone look at your house to clean it can also work to help you build a PITCH for your own bids. Listen to what the person is saying as they tell you what they offer as far as service goes. Pay particular attention to how they are trying to sell themselves to you. Evaluate their pitch and think about how you would do it differently if it were you trying to sell yourself to a potential customer. Was there anything they did or said that really impressed you or turned you off?
Learn from your competitors by watching and monitoring how they go about trying to get you for their customer. You can even take notes if you want. After they have quoted you a price you can dismiss them by saying you will call them if you decide to use them. As soon as they leave write down an outline for your own business based on what you have learned. Refine the outline and try to somewhat memorize the basics of it. Keep the outline by your telephone so that it will be handy when the phone calls start coming in.
For Your Business
Starting A Small Business Based On These Words
- Honesty / Integrity
- Dependability / Reliability
- Professional / Respectable
Honesty and Integrity
You want to build a good reputation and offer outstanding quality of performance in order to make your company take off. Good News travels but Bad News moves faster than lightening so keep that in mind as you grow and progress in your venture. Try to always be as honest as you can with your customers. Your integrity means a lot when people are allowing a stranger to come in to their home. You will be working on your own and your customers will need to feel safe and secure in allowing you to roam freely about their house. If you accidentally break something while you are working own up to it. It happens and your integrity will be in jeopardy if you try to ignore or hide a mistake. Just be up front, apologize and offer to pay for any damages. Learn from your mistakes and do not let it bother you. Everybody has a bad day from time to time, but it is always best to call the mistake to the attention of the customer rather than having them come to you with it. That makes you look shady. Not a good way to build a reputation.
Dependability and Reliability
When you make an appointment always make sure to keep it. Do not waste your customers time. You will not want them to waste your time so be sure you are prompt and maybe show up just a few minutes early. You can always wait in your vehicle until the exact time you are supposed to be there. Do not make a habit of calling and changing your plan to clean at a certain time. Be routine because people like routine. If you tell them you will clean at *am on Tuesday mornings, make sure that is what you do. This is a key factor in people getting annoyed with the housekeeper. Always do everything you can to be dependable and reliable.
Professional and Respectable
This is your business you are trying to promote and build. I can not emphasize enough, how important it is to always put your best foot forward. Dress neat and show up clean and orderly looking. This includes your vehicle, your shoes, your hair and so on. I am not saying you have to wear a uniform but you should make every effort to make a good impression. First impressions go a long way. You should never work barefooted or in flip flops or sandals. Put on a pair of tennis shoes or some other comfortable working shoe and make sure they are clean. You should never wear dirty shoes or dirty clothes into someone Else's home to clean for them.
Be considerate and gracious when you are speaking to your customers. A polite and respectable demeanor also goes a long way in making a positive impression. Be friendly but, try to keep the conversation on a business level. People do not want to hear your problems. Most, have enough of their own to think about. Do not use harsh language and talk loud or rude. Just be nice and polite and it will usually work out best for you.
The main thing is to treat people the way that you would like to be treated by someone coming into your home to work. Keep that in mind always. The nicer you are the better everything will go. These few things can break your venture before you ever get started. You could be the best housekeeper in the world but, if you have a bad attitude it is not going to get you very far.
About Cleaning Compounds
I have used just about every chemical on the market at least one time in my life for cleaning something. I think I have lost all the skin on my hands a few times from harsh chemicals and I know that I have had a few rashes and caustic burns from different cleaners. I have worked commercial, industrial and institutional in the housekeeping field and have over 30 years of experience in operating, working and managing people in this industry. I am speaking strictly from experience when I say that the best housekeeping chemicals I have found and now use are manufactured by Melaleuca: The Wellness Company. Although the opportunity is available to me I do not sell these products unless a customer requests to purchase something. I do handle that and, I do get quite a few orders from my customers. However, If you are interested in these great products or would like additional information about using them please contact Sepi, nickname or short for September. She can help you get started with Melaleuca and answer questions about their company. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I absolutely use Melaleuca Products and I use Soft Scrub w/ Bleach. I use Murphy's Oil Soap on wood floors and woodwork. I like to use vinegar and water where I can because, it does a great job and, makes the house smell fresh. This is good to use on wood floors from time to time and also for windows and glass. I try to avoid any aerosol sprays and all other cleaning compounds. I will add that if there is a mold or mildew problem in damp areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, the best thing I have found for that is Tilex for Mold and Mildew. I do not purchase the Tilex but rather have my customers spray it on after I have cleaned because, I can not breath the vapors from this product at all. I would suggest you do the same and let your customers deal with the vapors but, do recommend it.
You can use other products at your discretion but I am telling you what works. The thing about the Melaleuca Company is they require you to sign up for a monthly purchase and, this requires some sort of direct withdrawal from a bank account or credit card. I am not crazy about their marketing approach but I tolerate it because, I love the products they manufacture. I did not start using them. I started with cleaning chemicals I bought at the store. The thing that got me was different customers required me to use different stuff and the next thing I knew, my hands were peeling and cracking from all the different chemicals. Not only that, I was breathing all kinds of lung damaging vapors. Now my company offers Melaleuca and am no longer subjected to harsh chemicals. My employees also fall in love with the Melaleuca Product Line after using it for a couple weeks.
About Making Your Bid And Payment
You can decide what your income will be by figuring what it will cost to do the work, what it will cost to pay for supplies, gasoline, advertising and other misc. expenses. Add those costs up. Now figure out how much you want to make per hour. You will take the amount you make per hour and multiply it by the number of hours you work at a given location. That is what you will charge the customer and your profit will be the amount left over after subtracting your cost or expenses to do the house.
Do keep in mind that you have to work within, what the market will allow. You are not going to get as many customers at too high a price, but people do have a tendency to take advantage if you price yourself too low. Remember what I told you about researching what other companies charge and try to fit within the range you feel will work. You can always raise your prices after some time on the job and after you prove yourself to your customers. You can also hire help that will take some of the burden off of you and increase your income at the same time. That would come later when you have more work than you can handle or you can start with help and build as you go. This is all up to you.
Good news travels and if you are doing a good job it will not take long for people to ask you if you have room to clean for their friends and families. I have been operating a small housekeeping business for many years and have not spent a dime on advertising since my 3rd month in business. I do not have business cards and I turn down more work than I can even think about. There are weeks when I get as many as 4 requests to clean for new customers and I have to turn them down. That is because I have all I want to do. Reputation is everything in this industry and if you work hard, stay reliable and do a consistent job, you can make a good income by operating a housekeeping business.
Starting A Small Cleaning Business And Making It Grow
With time you will get the basics down and the work will become routine. This is when you will want to consider just how big you would like your business to get. The dynamics of the operation do change as the small business takes on more accounts. Keep in mind all of the reasons why you wanted to start your own business as you make the decisions on growing. The bigger you get the more responsibility the business will require. The sky is the limit but you should work at the size that is best for your personal situation.