If you’re ready to be your own boss, starting a cleaning business is one of the cheapest options available. As our economy grows, so does the need for more offices and homes that need cleaning.
But just like with any startup, there are risks to starting your own cleaning business. Take a look at these common mistakes entrepreneurs often make when starting out.
Charge Market Rates
Wanting a cleaning business and knowing it’s a viable business idea are two different things. Even if you’ve already started the process of acquiring customers without doing market research, you can’t be certain you’re charging the right rates.
Businesses have to remain solvent in order to stay in operation. Solvent means the company earns enough money to pay its expenses and salaries.
Charging too little might seem like a quick way to get customers but it can affect your ability to stay solvent down the road. At some point, you won’t be able to keep up with the volume necessary to make low prices profitable.
You are also targeting clients that are bargain hunters. Bargain hunters are usually not the most loyal or reliable audience to market cleaning services to.
They’re less likely to be repeat customers because they either can’t afford your services at market rate or will leave your business the moment they find a cheaper option.
Services priced too low can also affect your credibility. Unless there’s an obvious difference in your services that justifies a discount, desirable clients might be wary of why your prices are lower than other quality cleaning businesses.
You don’t pay the same for a gallon of milk today as you would have paid in 1980. This is because inflation increases the price of goods and services each year.
Make sure your cleaning business follows suit by raising its prices each year. If your clients are willing to pay higher costs for groceries, they should expect to pay higher prices for household services.
These increases should be incremental and not drastic. The average U.S. inflation rate is 2.3 percent per year.
Most clients won’t have trouble affording the new changes and will pay the increase without consequence. Be sure to communicate the price change well in advance of rolling out new pricing.
This gives clients a heads up that you are making changes to their bill and gives them a sense of control over the situation. Avoid explaining or apologizing for making price changes.
A client who pays $200 per month for cleaning services would only see an increase of $4 to their monthly bill. This amount isn’t worth discounting and doing so could hurt your business in the long run.
Remember, your business is also a consumer, which means you’ll spend more money on cleaning supplies and transportation each year. Each year you don’t increase your prices, you lower your business profits.
Hire the Right Employees
Hiring the right employees requires patience. You might be tempted to go out and find the most experienced team available but there is a limit to this talent pool.
You can find a much bigger selection of employees if you give inexperienced candidates a try. Having a bigger talent pool is important because it impacts the number of clients you can service.
Set up a training system for inexperienced candidates to help them learn the business. The way you schedule your employees should consider their experience levels, allowing newer employees to shadow those with more experience.
Over time, the inexperienced will learn tips and tricks from senior employees. This cycle can continue repeatedly as your company begins to scale up.
Know Your Role
A cleaning business isn’t a source of passive income. Nor is it an opportunity to show off your cleaning skills.
Your primary role is making sure your business makes money. This means taking on the role of account manager in addition to a business owner.
An account manager makes sure each customer is satisfied and makes sure invoices are settled each month. Satisfied customers receive great services.
Visit job sites after your team leaves to check whether they are following cleaning protocols and client instructions. Surprise inspections are also a great way to maintain quality control.
If any issues arise, you’ll know how to respond becasue you’ve seen how your team approaches each client’s property.
Consider a Niche Cleaning Business
Cleaning services are needed by almost every business. Still, it’s impossible to try to sell to everyone in your city.
At some point, you’ll run out of time or money in your marketing budget without anything to show for it. Appealing to a niche market is the best way to target your marketing efforts and get better customers.
For example, medical facilities have their own specialized set of cleaning needs. If you can hone in on what it takes to be the best in this niche market, you’ll have more satisfied customers.
These customers are likely to refer your business to other people in the industry which is one of the best ways to market your services.
Be Ready to Serve
Many people dream of becoming their own boss. Starting a cleaning business, however, is about service.
Cast out any fantasies of setting your own schedule or only focusing on the parts of the job you love. When you first start out, there will be long hours and lots of grunt work as you get adjusted to owning your own business.
There’s an art and a science to keeping your business profitable and your customers happy. The only way to find the right chemistry is through experience.
For more information on how to start your franchise, contact us for more information.