Start a cleaning business and rake in the money, right? Janitorial services generate $50 billion dollars annually. So, launching one can be profitable. In fact, I have launched my own company on three different occasions.
There are pros and cons, however. I can teach anyone how to start their own operation from scratch and all the benefits. But failing to include the disadvantages is not fair. So, here are the pros and cons of a janitorial startup.
1. Can launch today.
With sites like Facebook, Google, and Pinterest, starting your own side hustle is easy. Heck, you can even launch right now on Craigslist. Talk about immediate confidence. Take an idea, and produce a paying customer from it? Yes, it’s possible.
It’s all about the supply and demand. And there are always customers looking for a great service. Average job growth in the US is 7%. It’s 42% higher in the custodial sector at 10%.
2. Can start with little investment.
A commercial or residential maintenance LLC is a good gig to start with no money. You can use your existing equipment and supplies at home. It has even become popular to use the client’s supplies.
For items that you do not have, tap your credit cards. And because you may be starting this side hustle on your own, consider approaching friends and family for cash.
Another way to limit cash outlay is to consider taking on a partner who is happy to grind alongside you. If you put everything in writing and clearly define responsibilities this option could be great.
You can also apply for small business grant or loan. These are just a few options that allow you to avoid spending your own money.
3. Repeat customers.
The third thing I like about running a housekeeping service is the residual income. The benefits are numerous. You can budget future revenue, easily schedule your work week, and solidify your relationships with existing clients.
You will have some one-time bookings. But if you do a bang-up job, they’ll want you back. Things will eventually get dirty, and you can guess who your clients will call.
4. Lose a customer and the world doesn’t stop.
This takes me to the next pro. Build a steady base and you can protect your losses. If you have 15 clients and lose just one, it’s not that disruptive.
You will not have to lay off staff or get a small business loan. Now, this is not to say that you shouldn’t try to completely satisfy all your users. But things happen. And it’s okay.
Stay on top of customer reviews, and consistently add to your client list and you’ll be fine. Cleaning ventures are somewhat diversified by nature. Another pro.
5. Easy to acquire new accounts.
Well, it gets easier. It may not be as easy in the beginning but hang in there because something is happening behind the scenes. Your reputation is growing.
This leads to more customers. We were quickly known as the go-to cleanup crew in Beverly Hills, California.
I literally recall going through my list of current clients with a major retailer, and she told me to stop. She’d heard enough and that we were hired.
6. Multiple services offerings.
Offer window and pressure washing, floor waxing, residential crews, commercial crews, etc. The choices are many and they’re all up to you.
If you enjoy one service over another just do that. You find that you can make twice as much money doing X vs Y, you can go that route instead.
This leads me to the next advantage to running a custodial agency. Subcontractors.
7. Subcontractors are a great thing.
Subcontracting is simply partnering with a company that is an expert in something you are not. You enter into an agreement with the sub to complete task for your customer.
The advantages to this arrangement are clear. Working with subs allows you to become a problem solver for your clients. You don’t have to learn pressure washing. Just contract with someone already do it.
Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. Kabir Bedi
8. Can begin with a janitorial franchise.
If you are apprehensive opening a standalone company, partner with a janitorial franchise. You can benefit from their proven systems.
Becoming a franchise owner can increase the likelihood of long-term success for certain. I like to also think of them as a mentor. And who wouldn’t benefit from one of those?
9. Don’t need an office.
Establish a maid service from your home? You certainly can. Clients will never visit you. They have no reason to. The overhead associated with an office can be completely avoided.
10. What recession?
Companies may scale back during economic challenges. Homeowners may cut cost. But during tough times maintenance still needs to happen. Buildings require upkeep and homes need to be spruced up.
Tough times can lead to our next advantage.
11. Good profits.
Making good money in the janitorial industry has been done by many. They do a great job, take care of their staff, and repeat.
But they are also able to generate very good profits. Whether that’s charging a premium for their service, package bundles, or keeping a close eye on overhead all roads lead to profitability.
As mentioned previously, you can also simply add additional services too.
12. Insurance and bonding cost are affordable.
Advertising your agency’s fully insured status helps your branding message. Maintaining a current insurance policy is mandatory in many cases too. But don’t let this concern you.
Getting proper coverage from well-known insurers is not difficult. You’re covered if something goes wrong, and buyers feel protected.
13. Technology proof.
A robot cannot clean a toilet. Or take out the trash. Nor can it manage a crew of people. And this is a great thing.
But janitor proprietors are wise to take advantage of technologies in their field.
Advances in tech will help you operate smarter, faster, and better than your competitors.
14. Scale your creation.
Grow your own team, grow a subcontractor network, franchise your operation, or plan to sell it from the beginning. Take it to whatever height you wish.
Be the next big thing in the country or become the go-to establishment in your market. These are just some advantages to choosing to pursue this profitable sector.
1. Tough competition.
Because so many people are quitting their jobs and chasing their dreams, competition in the space has increased. This is great news for your prospects, but not good news for you.
Too much competition can lead to taking shortcuts to gain clients. May you lower your price. Or pay your staff the absolute minimum. You do this all to compete. Making money in this environment is next to impossible.
2. Physical work.
A gym membership will not be needed if you choose this undertaking. You will experience plenty of physical movements.
So many in the beginning that your entire body will be sore and aching. Working hard for your income is one thing. Constant physical work may take its toll.
3. Employee turnover.
People quit their jobs. And your workplace will not be immune. Just when you think you can sit back and relax, your key employee decides to quit and take half your staff with them to compete against you.
Having to constantly look for, hire, and train employees is not for those with little patience. Managing employee turnover takes diligence, and a good disposition.
4. Insurance claims.
Stuff will be stolen and broken. If you think it won’t happen to you, you’re being naïve. You can vet people until your blue in the face. Conduct the most thorough background check known to man it will still happen.
Despite hiring and training only the best your team will break things. Frustrating to say the least, but par for the course.
5. Race to the bottom mentality.
You know you shouldn’t play the game. But what choice do you have, right? In trying to compete with the other guys in your market, you decide to lower your price dramatically. This will bring in more clients, right?
It will. All the wrong ones. The ones that lie, cheat, and steal. This group will not write a good review, challenges all charges, and complains regularly.
6. No vacation time.
Breaks only come with key employees and solid systems in place. From the first day you open your doors, until some day in the future, you will be working.
If you take your regular vacation again this year who will run your operation? It takes a minute to develop trust with employees and clientele. You need both to be on solid footing if you plan on going anywhere for long periods.
7. Elevated stress level.
Every time my phone would ring, I would have a mini panic attack. “What’s the problem now?”, I would ask myself. If you’re not in tip-top shape, the physical and mental grind could be problematic to say the very least.
Customers will raise it with their constant demands and complaints. It comes with being a CEO. But your anxiety may also raise because of the next disadvantage.
8. Responsible for a team of folks.
Customer issues. Employee issues. Vendor issues. Payment (or lack of) issues. They all become your issues. And you alone are responsible for them.
With a regular 9-5 you just did X. Someone else was responsible for Y and Z. But not here. One of your team members is in jail for a DUI? Your problem. Your main person can’t make it work for a week because their kid is sick? Yup, that’s your concern too.
Here’s my point, starting your own cleaning business can be awesome. I have been fortunate to be wildly successful with them in the past. But they come at a price. If you go into with your eyes open, and your sleeves rolled up, you’ll do just fine.