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Starting Your Own House Cleaning Business

Updated on March 26, 2018

Doorway of Cottage Home

Is Self Employment right for you?

With the economy downturn, many are looking at self employment opportunities to provide financially for their families. For some, there simply may not be jobs available in their areas, others want the freedom to set their own hours and pay scale, but whatever the reasons, starting your own house or residential cleaning business, can be not only a great solution, but a profitable one as well.

A residential cleaning business can either provide full time income, or supplemental for additional income, depending on your goals. This should be your first place to start. Write down your goals. If you have no idea where you want to go with your business, most likely, you won’t get anywhere. You need to make some basic decisions about your business. Will it be a sole proprietor, or will you have a partner? Do you want to hire others to clean for or with you?

Advantages to Having a Home Based Business

There are many advantages to owning a home based business. A few are:

  • Flexibility in your schedule
  • Tax credits and savings unique to home based businesses
  • Having control over how you run your business
  • Providing a valuable service to others
  • Choosing the clients and/or employees you want to work with
  • The rewards of building something from the ground up and seeing it successful

Do your research about what other home cleaning services charge and the specifics of the tasks that involves. Check out at least five different companies or individuals providing services. Be sure to also look into some of the national chains pricing structures as well.

What services will you provide?

Determine if you want to specialize in a certain aspect of cleaning. This may mean specializing in a certain task, such as window washing, or cleaning ovens for example. It also may mean honing your business to a certain type of cleaning services like residential, commercial, or new construction. Will you prefer to be generalists, who can do it all, a Jack of all trades, so to speak?

Setting pricing is always a challenge, but a critical step of running a successful house cleaning business, or any home based business for that matter. Do some typical cleaning tasks with a timer. You’ll want to also time how long it takes you to clean a room, do this for a bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room, of average size. You’ll need to know this to set fair prices, both for you and your client.

Some cleaning businesses charge by the job regardless of how long it takes, while others on the other hand, choose to set an hourly rate. You’ll need to figure which pricing model feels right for you. If you choose to go with the ‘price per job’ model, you’ll need to consider how to handle the client who adds all the “oh, can you do this too”, tasks that really are beyond the normal scope of that price bid. A bathroom in one home can vary greatly in time it takes to clean, from a bathroom for someone else. You’ll need to figure a way to may sure neither you, nor your client will be taken for a ride financially.

You also need to decide whether or not you’ll provide cleaning supplies or if you expect your client to supply. There are pros and cons to both strategies. If you supply the product, your pricing should reflect what it costs you to do so. There are many wonderful cleaning products that can be purchased in concentrated form, and diluted for economical use. You can also choose to use products that work quickly for you, and the level of toxicity you’re exposed to on a continual basis. If the client provides the product, you may be working with some you’re not comfortable with, they may not do a very good job which will reflect poorly on you, and constantly be reading directions to find proper usage of all the variable brands you’ll be working with.

Obtain a business license, by going to your county courthouse or state’s application area to apply. Usually this is a simple procedure is usually inexpensive and many times can even be done online. Decide if you want to carry liability insurance or bonding, again an internet search can provide many answers for you, pricing options available. Spending the time of getting good, solid insurance quotes can save significant money, so worth the time. Of course, it’s always best to protect yourself insurance wise, to the best that you can afford.

Marketing your business

When you’re ready to begin getting clients, you’ll need to figure out how to market your business to get clients. A simple ad in your local newspaper is a great start and usually not too expensive. You may want to also submit a press release to your local paper about the startup of your business that can be a great way to get free exposure and new customers. You can try posting your services on craigslist for free. You most valuable form will be through word of mouth referrals from satisfied customers. You may want to implement some type of reward plan for those clients sending referrals to you. Network with the local Chamber of Commerce members and any other business networking groups that may be in your area, it all starts with relationships. Get professional advice when needed, whether that's an accountant, an attorney, or banking officer. Check out your local Small Business Administration as well, there may be great resources available to you.

Even with a sluggish economy, there are still many people who hire and need domestic services to keep up. If you wanted, services could even be expanded to include cooking meals, or running errands. Today’s families are running ragged and it’s common to need help.

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