Posted / 7th October 2019
You’ve decided you want to establish a cleaning business – great! But now the difficult part starts.
What kind of cleaning business?
Who do you want to clean for?
How much should you charge?
How should you market yourself and where will you get clients?
Don’t worry. It might sound difficult, but we’re here to decode the jargon and help you to build a strategy that will help you to thrive!
The difference between commercial and domestic cleaning
It might sound obvious, but there is quite a big difference. Commercial cleaning usually covers places of work, offices and communal spaces. Domestic cleaning is the cleaning of someone’s home.
The reason it’s important to consider which one is your niche is because they must be handled differently and produce very different business results. For example, you can charge much more for commercial cleaning – but you might require specialist products and you’ll almost certainly have to work anti-social hours. Domestic cleaning may not always pay as well, but you can often use products owned by the client already – and you’re unlikely to be asked to clean outside the hours of 9am-5pm.
As the business owner it’s also worth remembering that the training is very different for commercial and domestic cleaning. The rules on use of chemicals is much stricter in commercial cleaning, but the margin for error is much finer in domestic cleaning. A mistake in a home is far worse than a mistake in an office, usually.
Take all of this into consideration when you’re looking at which industry you’d like to work in.
Premium vs. low cost pricing
Once you’ve decided where it is you want to clean – you need to decide how much you want to charge. Again, there are several schools of thought for you to consider.
As a solopreneur, you don’t have huge overheads. You can use your client’s cleaning materials and you’re likely to be running just one vehicle. You have two options: if you’re planning on staying solo, you can keep your prices lower than the average and ensure that you’re always fully booked. Or you can prepare for growth and aim to expand your team by starting with your prices a little higher, putting enough aside as a float for later expansion.
Conversely, you can start off as a team from the get go. This will require you to have a bank of savings or an investor. Again, you can decide whether you’re pitching for fewer high net worth clients who want a specialist job, or lots of cleaners completing several lower paid cleaning jobs a day.
Whether you’re a team or a solopreneur – people expect to get what they’re paying for. With a lower price point you can take on more clients, spend less time at each address and often use their products or cheap alternatives. With higher paying clients, a higher level of service will be expected – this means uniforms, professional equipment and branded vehicles. There are pros and cons to both.
Running a lower cost service means a lot of organisation – purely because you’ll likely have more clients. Running a premium service requires more effort and more investment in marketing and appearance.
Marketing your services
Once you’ve decided on your cleaning type and your niche – it’s much easier to develop a marketing plan. Of course, word of mouth is your most valuable asset in any sphere. However, office blocks and commercial buildings look for their cleaning team in a very different way to domestic searchers.
Meet your clients where they are! If that’s Google Business, get listed! If Facebook is where your families in need of help are, let them know you exist!
With a cleaning business, your specialism and your professionalism are paramount – but know that both of those look different, depending on the sphere you’re in. Own your niche and don’t try to be everything to everyone. Good luck!