Is it your dream to start a janitorial business? Starting up this — or any — business may seem like a daunting task, but it may not be as overwhelming as you think. If you focus on the right clientele, it can help build a profitable cleaning company faster than you might think. Here are a few basic tips to launch your cleaning service business.
First Things First: Make Sure This Is What You Want
Starting your own business is a task you should never take lightly. Assess what skills you bring to the table. Do you love cleaning and organizing things? Probably, if you’re even considering this business. But can you handle getting your hands dirty at first? What about supervising employees? How about finances and bookkeeping? What do you know about accounting or are you willing to hire someone to handle the books? As a start-up, you may have to do a lot of tasks on your own, depending on how much money you have to invest.
Organizations such as SCORE can advise business owners for free, but they won’t do the work for you. Consider other options besides hiring full-time help for the management of a business. It’s a far better investment to hire and train your field service workers to build your janitorial business and reputation.
There are also software programs that can help you with everyday management tasks until you need to — or can afford to — hire additional employees. We’ll talk more about that later, but first, you’ll have to manage the legal and financial steps to start a business.
Do You Have the Resources?
Starting a janitorial service business isn’t cheap. Setting up the business, renting commercial space, buying supplies, and hiring employees is only the beginning. Marketing will be a constant expense, even if you utilize free advertising on social media. You’ll still need to put some money into marketing and advertising.
You may need to take out a small business loan or consider having investors come into the company. If you bring in investors, whether they are strangers or friends and family — especially if they are friends and family — put everything into writing to avoid disagreements in the future.
Do the Paperwork
Before you start any business, you need the proper business licensing and structure. Each state has different regulations for business licenses so you’ll have to check locally for your regulations. You also need insurance and decide whether you’re going to be a sole proprietor business or a limited liability corporation.
Hot tip: An LLC protects your personal assets from any kind of legal action or bankruptcy in the future related to your business. That may not be the most pleasant thing to consider, but it’s essential to plan for that possibility.
Do Your Homework
Write a business plan for your cleaning service. This will help you clarify your company’s mission statement and goals. Create contracts for services and a price list, from mopping to handling hazardous waste.
Decide what kind of services you’ll offer. Will you focus on residential cleaning services, commercial janitorial services, or both? If you live in a major metropolitan area and can stomach it, crime scene clean-up is highly profitable! Each has different requirements and different marketing.
Research the marketplace. What kind of competition do you have? What services are they offering? How much money are they charging? Can you offer environmentally-friendly cleaning services? Can you handle hazardous materials? If there is a lack of available services in one area, that presents an opportunity.
For instance, maybe most of your local businesses have to contract janitorial services from another city or county because of a lack of local commercial cleaning companies. That can present a huge opportunity and niche for your cleaning business.
Which Clientele Allow the Quickest Growth?
Your local janitorial market opportunities play an important role when deciding on the focus of your new business, but let’s face it — you have limited capital and time and you need to put your money where it yields the most bang for your buck. That’s actually a good strategy whether your business is new or not.
When choosing between the two kinds of clientele for cleaning services, which do you think will be potentially more profitable, residential or commercial? If you answered commercial cleaning services for business, you’re right.
These are the high-paying customers and some of the most reliable clients you can contract with for janitorial services. Consider focusing primarily on getting commercial clients first if you want to build high-paying clientele and references. Arrange meetings with managers of the companies to discuss how you can save them money by contracting you for their janitorial needs.
Business owners want reliable cleaning services that comply with any government regulations at the best cost, and they often schedule services overnight. Make sure that either you or any employees you have for your startup can handle those shifts. Then be prepared to make the best professional presentation when you get to those meetings.
Marketing Materials to Start Your Janitorial Business
To make a professional presentation, you want to have certain things on hand. You probably already invested in some business cards. Consider making these magnetized or creating a business magnet that managers can easily place on a filing cabinet for quick referral.
Another marketing option is creating a brochure for your business that you can present to managers during a meeting or that you can mail to them to reach multiple businesses quickly. Break down the services you offer, the economical pricing, and what sets you apart from the competition.
Building a website and a social media presence has become a necessity in this digital age. You can hire professional designers for your website and printed materials, and you can find good deals for professional graphic design services on sites like Fiverr. You don’t want to hire your nephew unless he’s trained in graphic design — amateur-looking websites and marketing materials may cost less, but you’ll earn a lot less because businesses won’t take you seriously.
Don’t forget word-of-mouth advertising. By giving your clients excellent customer service and keeping them happy, they’re bound to spread the word about that great new janitorial service you’re providing. Word-of-mouth advertising can be the best advertising you get. Don’t neglect review sites such as Yelp and private customer reviews to establish your reliability and authority in the industry
Get Some Help
We know money is tight when you’re building a business and especially when you face tough times such as pandemics and inflation. That’s why ServiceWorks is here to help with our special software to support many of the functions of running a cleaning business.
ServiceWorks can help by giving your business lead management, customer invoicing, automated routes and schedules, and so much more. Try it out for free with our free trial – no credit card required.