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 started my own cleaning business on three different occasions.
There are pros and cons, however. I can teach anyone how to start a cleaning business 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 start today.
With sites like Facebook, Google, and Pinterest, starting your own cleaning business 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 cleaning business at 10%.
2. Can start with little investment.
An office or residential cleaning startup is a good business 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 a business partner who is happy to work alongside you. If you put everything in writing and clearly define responsibilities this option could work wonderfully.
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 starting a house cleaning business are repeat customers. 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 cleaning assignments. But if you do a bang-up job, they’ll want you back. Things will eventually get dirty, and you can guess who your customers 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 approach every single day with the intention to completely satisfy all your customers. 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 businesses are somewhat diversified by nature. Another pro.
5. Easy to acquire new customers.
Well, it gets easier. It may not be as easy in the beginning, hang in there. While you’re servicing your customers today something is happening in the backend. Your reputation is growing.
This leads to more customers. One of great things about the 2nd cleaning business that I started was this phenomenon. We developed a reputation as the go-to cleaning 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 cleaning, pressure washing, floor waxing, residential only, commercial offices only. The choices are many. And there 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 cleaning business. 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 work 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 how to start a pressure washing business? Just contract with someone already do it.
Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. Kabir Bedi
8. Can start with a janitorial franchise.
If you are apprehensive starting a standalone company, partner with a janitorial franchise. You can benefit from their years in business and 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 in business. And who wouldn’t benefit from one of those?
9. Don’t need an office.
Start a house cleaning business 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 cleaning and homes need to be spruced up.
Tough times can lead to our next advantage to a starting small cleaning business.
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 cleaning company’s fully insured status helps to brand your business. 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 your customers feel protected.
13. Technology proof.
A robot cannot clean a toilet. Or take out the trash. Nor can it manage a cleaning crew. And this is a great thing.
Janitorial businesses are wise to take advantage of technologies in their field that allow them to operate better, but they never have to worry about being replaced.
14. Scale your business.
Grow your own team, grow a subcontractor network, franchise your cleaning 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 business in your market. These are just some advantages to a cleaning business startup.
1. Tough competition.
Because so many people are quitting their jobs and starting businesses, competition in the space has increased. This is great news for your customers, 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 any of the things needed to start a cleaning business. 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 leave their jobs. Your cleaning business 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 cleaning companies in your market, you decide to lower your price dramatically. This will bring in the clients, right?
It will. All the wrong ones. The customers 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 day you open a cleaning company until some day in the distant 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 as well as customers. 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 are not in tip-top shape, the stress of operating a cleaning business could be problematic to say the very least.
Customers will raise it with their constant demands and complaints. But will also raise because of the next disadvantage of running a cleaning business.
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.