How to run a Janitorial Service
How to run a Janitorial Service:
Do your research
A lot of the work you’ll put into your business happens right at the start. Do your research and educate yourself on how to clean properly and how to avoid cross-contamination from one client’s home to the next.
“Do your research on cleaning chemicals, find out what can affect what, what’s going to hurt surfaces, and what’s safe to use. Get that education before you even start cleaning anyone’s home,” Grace tells us.
The AHCA offers useful cleaning certification courses to help get going. But money is often tight for an entrepreneur just starting out. There are other helpful resources you can use to get educated on the basics of cleaning.
Grace tells us to take advantage of free resources online. “When I started my cleaning service, I couldn’t find anything YouTube. Now there’s a ton of stuff, which is great. That’s a huge part of starting your business in the beginning, and it costs nothing to educate yourself.”
Choose a value proposition and a name
Your value proposition is the heart and soul of your business, it helps you target the right customers and stand out in a crowded market.
Getting your company values on paper will help you communicate to your customers what they can expect from your business.
The Reynolds like to think of this as carving out your niche. “Niching out is one of the best things you can do for your business. Look at your community and pinpoint its needs.
“Having a niche also keeps you focused on what you’re getting good at, because different types of cleaning require different types of skill and different types of your mindset about how to get the job done the quickest,” Grace explains.
Your niche could be clients who work night shifts or untraditional hours like first responders, doctors, and nurses.
Even if you don’t define a specific niche, you still have to differentiate your business and what you offer.
When deciding on your value proposition, think about:
How do the cleaning services you offer solve your customers’ problems or pain points?
What features or services help your company stand out from the rest? It could be your:
- Price point
- Vetted and certified staff
- Easy online booking
- Environmentally friendly cleaning products
- Target market
- Time guarantee
- Location, etc.
Once you know what your business values are, you’re in a good position to come up with a business name to run your janitorial business. You might choose a name that plays off your values (e.g., incorporating the word ‘green’ or ‘speedy’ to go with your time guarantee), or you may choose to let your creative side come up with something catchy.
Plus, make sure your name is:
Easy to spell
Easy to pronounce
Less than three words
Get your business license
You’ve got your name and you know what you want to offer your market. Now you’re ready to start running your business legally.
Grace recommends getting your business license and insurance, as soon as you can.
First, decide what your business structure is, If you’re in the U.S. and you want complete control over your business, you might want to register as a sole proprietorship.
If you’re opening your cleaning business with two or more people, you’ll have to register as a partnership. A limited liability company (LLC) is best for medium or higher-risk businesses.
Purchase cleaning insurance
When it comes to protecting your business and your future employees, cleaning insurance is a must. “You really shouldn’t be cleaning anyone’s house without insurance.
That was something that I did right away,” Grace tells us.
Cleaning a home without insurance is a high-risk game to play, Grace says.
“You could burn someone’s house down.
You could break something that’s really valuable or scratch up something, especially when you’re just getting started, getting the hang of your work, and getting to know the properties.
Insurance gives you a safety net and it’s an essential part of running your cleaning business.
The last thing you want as a brand new entrepreneur is to accidentally cause damage to a new client’s home, without insurance, and get yourself in debt.
Shop around for the right insurance plan for your business and check out various providers in your area.
Build your cleaning brand
You can now use your value proposition to transform your business name into a brand, choose your brand colors and create your company logo. You might choose to hire a professional to do this for you.
For a less expensive option, you can create your own with free online tools like Canva.
Use your logo for everything: your vehicle wrap, website, uniforms, business cards, door hangers, estimate, quote and invoice templates, and more.
Remember: Your logo doesn’t have to be ‘for life’. You can always change your logo down the road! It’s very simple to swap out an old logo for a newly updated version on your website, social media, email signature, and invoices.
It’s worth noting that replacing your logo on physical places like uniforms or vehicle wraps will be more expensive and time-consuming.
Do the cleaning yourself at the beginning
When you’re just starting your janitorial business, doing all of the cleanings yourself is an obvious way to eliminate labor costs.
You can schedule cleaning jobs around your schedule. Whether that’s around your full-time job or on weekends. You’re your own boss.
Cleaning yourself also allows you to ease into your new business, taking the pressure off finding a long list of customers right away to keep employees busy.
By taking it slow, you can focus on quality service, perfecting your workflow, and building your reputation, rather than relying on low cleaning prices to build your client list.
“Even if you’ve read 1,000 blogs on how to clean and watched 150 YouTube videos, you still won’t have that system down until you start doing it on a regular basis.
So, I think for matters of quality and financial ability, wait until you’ve really established that client list,” says Grace.
“You need to feel a little bit overwhelmed before you hire.”
Build your service list and pricing
When building out your service list, look at what your competitors are offering. Use their websites as a resource to get your service list started and look out for any gaps in the market. That’s an opportunity for your business to stand out.
While you can use your competitors’ services and pricing as a starting point for your business, don’t get too concerned with what they’re doing.
“I think the best way to deal with a competitive market is to not see anyone as high competition and more just like, ‘Okay, they’re there. I want to be there too. So, how do I get there?’”, Grace suggests.
“For a long time, there were cleaners who thought ‘I’m not going to share what I do. I’m not going to share my secrets.’ You really don’t see that so much in the cleaning community anymore. People realize that what the competitors are doing doesn’t really hurt them. There’s a lot of business needed.”
Your pricing structure also directly influences your profit margins,
“Some cleaners charge based on square footage and some charge an hourly rate. However you decide to do it, pricing your services is a huge factor in making your business successful,” says Grace.
Pricing your commercial cleaning services involves:
- Calculating your hourly rate
- Calculating your hourly rate with employees (if you have any to start)
- Factoring in overhead, insurance, and equipment
- Making adjustments for special services and materials
- Estimating profitability
- Factoring in taxes and fees