I recently connected with Whitney Bonds of "Tried & True Mom Jobs" who helps moms venture out into the workforce to help their families. It's an awesome mission. Whitney or Max as she goes by, asked me to write up a concise blog for her on "How to Start Your Own Cleaning Business". She wanted to bring this content and example to her large blog audience of moms to show them the potential of cleaning as a mom job. Let's cover my answers to her questions in this podcast episode as I believe it's a great piece of content to cover early on. Make sure to go back to the Pros & Cons of Solo Cleaning as I covered some of these points already.
What are the steps to setting up your own cleaning business? It’s important to first understand the various models available to you. There are many “Aunt Sallie” cleaners out there. They take great risk as do the homeowners hiring them as they are uninsured and not paying taxes. Do not do this! The risk is too great and the income is low. A solo cleaning company is insured, registered in their state, and pays all necessary taxes. They work as owner-operators. I did this for the majority of my New York business. The final model are the team cleaning independant and franchise businesses. In all cases, the simplest way to set up your cleaning business is to do the following:
How do you decide how much you should charge? Do not charge by the hour! That is the most critical first decision. You need to choose a starting rate for houses (or offices) at a price reasonable to your experience. I suggest $100-$125 per house as a beginner. Then track your time to calculate your hourly rates. Strive to get to at least $30/hour to start. If you are not at $30, it means you are either undercharging or taking too long. Over time, increase prices to the $40-$50/hour range. In some cases, like in my business, you can optimize to $80-$120/hour. This requires specialized training in my ISO Model Signature Solution.
How much money do you need to start a cleaning business? This answer depends on the business model you select. If you follow my advice and start as a solo DBA, you can legally be cleaning houses for under $1,000 in startup. At the rates I mentioned in #3, you can pay this initial investment back with 8 houses.
Can this be done part-time and still lucrative? Oh, yes you can! I was able to build a flexible company earning $55k profit per year on 2 cleaning days per week and no employees or subcontractors. I worked around 20 hours per week for over $1,000 per week in profit. This gave me 5 days per week to enjoy my family and work on other projects. This is a PERFECT business for moms to start. How do I know? Because over 90% of house cleaning owners are moms! They love this business because it’s simple, profitable, flexible, and rewarding. Check out the podcast episode, “Moms Helping Moms Helping Moms”.
How do you find clients or what are the best ways to get clients and retain them? This age-old question isn’t so much about the tactics, rather the strategy. You have to understand the nature of being a “Go-Giver” and then apply it. But in general, here’s how you find clients.
Do you have to set up any business requirements before getting started? This is a simple business with low barrier to entry. I have already over complicated it with my list of getting started in #2! Go and clean, make some money! That’s the only requirement. Stop talking about doing this amazing business and go do it! If you need help, I have free & paid resources to help you.
What supplies do you recommend to start with? For a housecleaning business, you need a vacuum cleaner & attachments, microfiber cloths for cleaning & dusting, a tote bin, spray bottles, sponges & scouring pads, toilet brush, and the basic cleaning supplies (all purpose, glass, kitchen & disinfectant). You can start with what you already have in your house to bootstrap or invest in your own cleaning system I recommend studying the science of cleaning, so you understand why to use what you use! I have this training available in my Solo Cleaning School.
How can you scale this business? Let’s not overcomplicate. I personally advise that you become proficient as a solo cleaner first. When you are profitable and ready to hire, you can take a few approaches.
Ken Carfagno has utilized SMART goals & accountability to build & optimize two solo cleaning businesses (in 2 states over 16 years) to earn over $60,000 per year profit on 2 cleaning days per week without employees. This podcast will help you at any stage in the journey from starting out to solo to seven figures!