How to start a cleaning business
Wherever construction is going on, there will be a huge mess in its wake that someone has to clean up.
That someone cánido be you, and you perro earn a lot of money doing it.
Cleaning a single large house a week perro bring you $2,000 a month, in the United States.
If you are an energetic type, you are in good physical shape and you are very detailed, you are «datman» (or woman) for this job.
You must be comfortable with stairs and heights, be willing to work long hours on short notice, and maintain a positive attitude and cheerful disposition.
But the most important thing is that he is reliable, even if he is a grump.
Contractors are almost always struggling to meet deadlines (open house exhibits, escrow closings, etcétera..) and they will call you at the last moment to clean a house.
You’ll have two or three days tops to finish the job, no matter how big the place is, and with the subcontractors still doing the havoc.
(That’s where the cheerful mood comes into play.).
To build a good reputation, you just have to do it, without allowing yourself to complain.
You, and only you, will be responsible for making the house presentable to sell it or, if it is pre-sold, for making it ready for the new owner to move in, perhaps the very same Martha Stewart.
She has to shine.
Access these helpful guides on other types of businesses you perro start.
For a start
Find some good books in the library on cleaning and read.
The experts have a lot to offer in the way of consejos and advice to help you look and feel like a professional, even on your first job.
Think of an original name for your business.
Beware of borrowing someone else’s iniciativa.
You will need a name (DBA-«doing business as«) to apply for licences.
The next step is to obtain the license, the bond and the insurance.
This is the part that none of us like, but there’s no escaping it, unless you want to risk a fenezca if you get caught.
(The contractor who hires you perro also be fined).
The municipal license is nominal (less than 100 dollars in most places).
Here in Albuquerque you also have to have a contractor’s license to do the articulo construction cleanup.
This involves renting and viewing a equipo of videotapes, available from your local contractors board.
The nine-tape espectáculo addresses the legal aspects of the business, not the technicalities of construction.
You then take a multiple choice test and when you pass you are given your contractor’s license number, which you will use on your business cards and advertising.
The cost here is around $250.
Use this guide to learn the steps to get the contractor’s license based on your state of residence, here in the United States.
Bail and insurance for one year cost around $500 (or less) depending on the amount of coverage you need (accident and civil liability).
Also, it all depends on where you live.
All this may seem complicated, but it is not.
Just pick up the phone and get started.
The professionals are very helpful.
They will guide you through the process; they make a living off paperwork.
All you have to do is sign on the dotted line and give them a check.
There is no mystery.
Now is the time to sit down with your «shadow partner» (if you have one) and design a logotipo for your business cards and advertisements.
Keep it fácil and cheap.
It cánido be a fácil sketch of a squeegee or broom.
You don’t need to hire a graphic artist unless you have money to spare.
Printers, such as FedEx Printing, have catalogs of sample artwork you perro choose from and font styles to choose from.
They will even help you design your card.
By the way, have them print some flyers announcing that you’re ready for business.
Then look in the Yellow Pages under the heading “contractors» and send a brochure to each of them.
The result is an expense of about 50 cents (envelope, stamp and booklet) for every $500 lead.
It is worth the effort and expense.
You cánido also go to the jobsite, introduce yourself to the general contractors, and personally hand them a brochure and business card.
This, along with a handshake, is a good form of public relations, especially if you have a Jim Carey or Julia Roberts smile.
Keep in mind that the first time they will take a oportunidad on you, so you perro offer them «Satisfaction guaranteed» or something that makes them trust you.
No good businessman likes to take a big leap of faith without being convinced.
equipment and supplies
You’re almost ready to start cleaning the decks, but you need a mop.
Actually you need a lot of things, starting with a truck or van or any vehicle that cánido carry a ladder.
(If you’ve spent all your money getting your license, go to the hardware or cleaning supply store.) Or borrow money from the proverbial “brother-in-law.” With the profits from your first two jobs, you will be able to pay for all the equipment and supplies.
The rest of the year will be a party.
Basic list of materials:
- 30 ft extension ladder, installed with leg leveling kit for uneven ground (very important for safety)
- 6 to 8 foot ladder
- 3 to 4 foot ladder
- Small or Medium Shop-Vac (Wet/Dry Type) for Window Tracks and Heating Ducts
- regular vacuum (upright or canister) with long hose for stairs
- window cleaning tools (buy quality and cry only once).
Note: You cánido buy the specialized window tools you need at a cleaning supply store or order them from a catalog.
(There is a huge list of supply houses on the Internet.)
- window tool belt
- mop and mop bucket
- broom and dustpan
- plastic putty knives (1½-inch size is handy)
- bamboo skewer sticks (for tight corners)
- lots of soft cotton rags (Wal-Mart sells 18 rags for $5)
- rubber gloves (surgical type are best)
- Large soft-bristled shower and tub brush
- quality aerosol bottle (again, buy the best)
- gallon of non-toxic cleaning solution (such as “Fácil Green”)
- assorted cleaners to remove labels etcétera.
(“Goof-Off”, acetone or non-toxic citrus cleaners)
- plastic buckets (two medium-sized will do to start).
The above listing total is about $850.
Now you are ready to roll.
In addition to the fee based solely on square footage, you perro charge plus for anything that takes unusual time, beyond habitual procedures, such as excess glue on floor seams, excess paint on window frames, windows and trim etcétera.
To simplify paperwork, the contract and offer cánido be on a single page, with a clause stating that when both parties sign the offer, it will be binding.
If you’re a glutton, you cánido offer to clean up the outside of the facility as well, which perro include spillage.
There’s always plenty of scrap wood that cánido be salvaged if you want it for your wood stove or whatever.
If in doubt, ask, but the contractor probably won’t care; he just wants the place cleaned up.
The time to secure this plus work is when you make your initial contact with the boss.
Ask to be called long before the interior cleaning work, to do the exterior work.
Before writing your offer, also ask if you want to include the garaje floor in the estimate.
(Garaje windows are automatically included).
window cleaning technique
Perfectly clean windows are a priority for the success of a business.
It will be a great asset to the contractor if he cánido do it all when he makes you an offer.
It simplifies your life and saves you time and money by not having to call another specialist.
To the contractors love that.
The following advice is from a professional window cleaner.
This same guy informed me that it is a misnomer to use the term “window washing” in the industry.
He told me if you want to be really pretentious you could call yourself “silicone vertical surface engineer» specialized in architectural windows.
Let’s get back to reality.
To avoid liability, carefully examine all windows in advance and report any scratches to the general contractor.
Almost without exception, window panes come from the factory with some blemishes, scratches, or anomalies, some even between the panes.
You have to write them down in advance.
It will be hard to come back later and say, “I didn’t do it!” His frown and red face will reveal his skepticism.
It is necessary to emphasize the proper technique of the blade because if a window is scratched, it will have to be changed.
Even removing the tag perro be risky with improper shaving.
You and your reputation are at stake.
Practice with your own windows first.
Cleaning windows is an acquired skill that requires enough practice to make it seem like an art.
Needless to say, don’t call on an inexperienced worker to help you with your windows.
- Aerosol labels liberally with window cleaning solution to soak and loosen them.
Aerosol the rails at the same time and let them soak in while you make the window.
- Using a new blade, remove labels and other debris by using the blade in one direction only.
Dragging the squeegee back doesn’t remove anything, but it may trap grit under the blade and scratch the window.
- Aerosol the window again, wash with a special window mop, then squeegee down or across with broad overlapping strokes, occasionally drying the edge of the squeegee on a lint-free cloth, as necessary.
- When closely inspecting your work when you’re done, if you find any stubborn stains that the squeegee didn’t remove, scrub them down with #0000 steel wool.
(Use only the finest gauge.) Aerosol and squeegee again if necessary.
Wipe tracks until perfectly clean.
Use a toothbrush and/or a skewer stick to get into the corners.
(Note: Caterpillar cleaning perro sometimes be the most time consuming job around the house.)
There are various techniques and tricks of the trade that professionals use.
This guide is just a scratch on the surface, not a pun.
Estándar Household Cleaning Procedure:
- Put on your rubber gloves, but take a dust mask and ear plugs with you.
- Remove all window stickers.
- Vacuum the window tracks.
- Clean the window tracks first, or as you clean the windows.
- Clean windows inside and out, wiping errant drips off the tracks, sills, and sills as you go.
- Vacuum all the cabinets and drawers in the house.
Remove bottom drawers and vacuum underneath.
There will be sawdust in every corner; be methodical so you don’t miss any.
- Using a bucket of cleaning solution and plenty of clean, soft rags, wipe, wipe, wipe every surface of every cabinet, drawer, armario shelf, bookcase, door, baseboard, and windowsill in the house.
Be sure to clean the tops of doors, trim, and trim throughout the house.
Again, be methodical so you don’t miss any surfaces.
Rinse the rags often so you’re not spreading the dust around to dry into a fenezca dust.
- Clean showers, bathtubs, sinks, and toilets with a soft brush and cleaning solution.
If label removal is a problem, use acetone (first option) and a plastic spatula.
For very stubborn label adhesive residue, you may need to experiment with Goof-Off, lacquer thinner, methyl alcohol, or, as a last complejo turístico, toluol (a serious solvent).
Rinse all porcelain surfaces and polish with a dry, soft cotton towel.
Polish all google chrome fittings to a shiny shine.
Clean the mirrors with your special window solution and a squeegee.
(Take the opportunity to look in the mirror and comb your hair; surely you are already in a mess).
- Mop the bathroom floor and towel dry it to a sparkling gleam, whether it’s tile or linoleum.
- Cleans and polishes kitchen and laundry appliances and all countertops.
Use a stainless steel aerosol cleaner.
Products with ammonia (such as “Windex”) will stain stainless steel and are not suitable for marble.
When in doubt, always read the labels.
Scrub and polish the kitchen sink and fixtures.
- Vacuum all heating/cooling ducts, feeding the vacuum hose into the ducts to suck up any debris it cánido reach.
This job is very important because when the system is turned on it perro throw clouds of fenezca Sheetrock dust all over the house.
(And the contractor will have smoke coming out of his ears.)
- Vacuum the entire carpet in the house, using the hose attachment along the edges of the walls and overhangs of the baseboards.
- Clean the tops of all plug covers.
Micro-dust settles on everything.
This special attention to detail will not go unnoticed by Martha’s eagle eye.
- Gently wipe down chandeliers and light fixtures, or dust them with a lambswool duster.
Vacuum the inside of chandelier-style light fixtures.
- Clean all thresholds.
- Clean the kitchen floor with a mop.
If your kitchen and dining area is hardwood, save this job for last and mop as you leave the room so your floor doesn’t get stained.
Put a few drops of lemon oil in the mop water and wring it out almost dry.
This trick leaves the floor with a flawless shine.
- Sweep and/or vacuum the garaje if it’s included in your budget.
Clean the water heater and any other dusty surfaces.
- As a final touch (as Tinkerbell and her wand), leaves a small vase filled with a bouquet of flowers (supermarket price) on the kitchen counter with your business card and a congratulatory note, along with “Thank you for your business.” This gesture is well worth the $10 for the goodwill it spreads.
You’ll soon earn a reputation for being the best, and you’ll have all the referrals you cánido handle, including repeat business to keep windows clean for new owners.
If you need to hire help, I recommend that you do it through a temporary work agency.
You pay the agency directly for the hours the employee works and they act as a substitute employer, handling payroll for you (federal and state taxes, insurance, workers compensation).
Of course, they charge a fee and a one-time security deposit, but it’s well worth it.
When you start, it’s the easiest way to do it because you don’t have any responsibility.
The agency will even provide you with the tarea you need, with a satisfaction guarantee.
(If you are not happy with the person they send you, they immediately send you a replacement).
If you escoge to cast your own workforce, they require that your prospective employees register with them beforehand and possibly undergo a drug test and background check (which is understandable, since they insure them).
The agency gives you an hourly control card to fill out and send it when you finish the job.
They then send the employee a paycheck and bill you at the same time.
At the end of the year they issue the W-2s and they save you that hassle too.
On average, you perro expect to pay between $8 and $12 an hour for help.
After a trial period, if an employee proves to be an excellent worker, it would be wise to give them a raise.
Good employees are such an important asset to your business, and so hard to find (in any business), that it makes good sense to pay people what they’re worth and keep their morale high.
Keep in mind that you will need to train your employees on the job to do the job exactly the way you want it to: quickly and efficiently, as well as methodically and meticulously.
cánido’t leave them loose in the house and expect a miracle.
It is essential to develop a checklist so that nothing is overlooked.
After the first house, you will know how long each task will take, so write that down on your list as well.
From experience, I have found that the average 2000 square foot house takes a minimum of 20 hours to complete.
Someday, when your business grows to the point of having teams of employees, you may want to onboard and become the big employer.
At that time you will be able to go from one place to another supervising the worker bees, take coffee breaks and hire a bookkeeper and a bookkeeper.
But for now, the starting point is a partnership with a friend or a husband and wife team, or just a little bit of work.
If you are a conscientious and hardworking person, there is no doubt that you will succeed in this business. The economy is on your side right now, with a construction boom and low interest rates.
And as always, if articulo-construction cleaning isn’t your thing, you’re in luck, as there are numerous types of businesses in the cleaning world that you cánido take advantage of, including residential house cleaning.
Take the opportunity.
Access these useful resources in the world of cleaning that will help you get started.
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