Starting your own janitorial cleaning service is one of the easiest businesses to start. You can start it as a home-based business and grow it as you receive more jobs and income.
As with any new business, you should research, prepare, and follow the necessary steps to ensure your startup is successful. The more information you have, the best chance it has for survival.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 2.3 million jobs in the janitorial sector as of 2019. It is expected to continue to grow which makes it a good opportunity or business investment.
Here are some tips to build a successful janitorial cleaning service:
Determine the Best Janitorial Cleaning Service
Before getting started, you should determine if you want to offer residential or business janitorial cleaning services. You may want to offer both types of services. There are positives and negatives for each type. For example, residential cleaning can be done in the daytime, requires more cleaning detail, and more client communication. Business cleaning is usually at night. It also may require working with heavy machinery (buffing floors), but less client communication. You should determine how much competition each one has for your area.
Also, do you want to invest in a franchise? They have systems and processes which may help if you are new to the industry.
Ask yourself if you want to offer green services to become environmentally friendly? Do you want to offer other services such as buffing floors, window cleaning, or carpet cleaning? By conducting market research, you will find exactly what is wanted in your industry today. Talk to potential customers, read industry publications, or hire a focus group company to research what customers want from their janitorial service.
What could you offer that other janitorial cleaning services don’t?
Write a Business Plan
A business plan is a document outlining your business goals and strategies for achieving them. It will help you organize your thoughts, identify the competition, and generate more ideas to make your business successful. A good business plan will also force you to research and think about what is best for your business. Furthermore, if you want to obtain funding, most financial institutions will require a business plan. Even if you don’t need a loan right now, you may need one later.
Obtain Required Licenses and Insurance
Ensure you follow all state and local laws to start your own business. Research the necessary licenses you will need in your area. Check with the Small Business Association to determine if your state requires you to be licensed. If a license is not required, you will need to obtain a Federal Tax Employer Identification Number (EIN) through the IRS. If it is required, usually a tax ID number will be created with the license. When starting your own business in your home, ensure you follow all necessary laws for your zone. Also, you may want to get bonded which protects you in case anyone who works for you is accused of stealing property. You can also advertise on your marketing materials stating you are licensed and bonded. Furthermore, you may want to consider getting liability insurance as well.
Set up Your Budget and Determine Pricing
You should develop your budget and write down everything you will be spending to start and maintain your business. Make sure you have estimated start-up costs, monthly expenses, and monthly income when developing your budget.
Determine how much everything will cost you from supplies to hiring employees. How much do you want to pay your employees to compete with other developed businesses? Once you estimate your expenses, you can determine your rates and income. When determining your rates, do you want to charge an hourly rate or one flat rate? What do other businesses do and what can you learn from them? What could you do better?
Develop Marketing Plans
Once you have conducted your market research you should determine your marketing methods. First you should develop and get a logo with business cards. There are several online services that hire freelancers to get a customized logo for your business such as Fiverr or Upwork. Make sure your freelancer will provide you with digital copies in different formats so you may use them on your website, marketing materials, etc. Do you want to send out flyers to businesses? Do you want to participate in community events to market your business?
Join your local chamber to participate in networking events. Get your company name and image out in your local community.
Research and Develop Bid Proposals
You may want to respond to Requests for Proposals (RFP) or sign up to receive them. You can find government contracts on the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) page or your local government’s page. Research different ideas online and ensure your format and proposals are very professional. Because your bid will be against other businesses, you should try to price your services competitively. Some businesses will underprice to get the contract, so you will want to highlight your top services and other variables which will make you different from other bidders.
At some point, you will want to hire employees to help you as you grow. Ensure you develop a good job description, good hiring practices, and understand exactly what you want for your small business. Also, you want to ensure they present a clean, professional image for your business, especially if they will have customer contact. Once you start hiring staff, ensure they are an extension of the professionalism you want to maintain. Consider purchasing uniforms or logo shirts so they present a professional image. Also, conduct background checks on your employees. You want staff who you can trust. Your image depends on it.
Develop Best Practices
Research other companies to discover what they are doing to make their business more successful. For example, develop social media accounts so customers can message you directly. You should at least have Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. If you’re having a sale or running a promotion, post it across your website and on all your social media accounts. If someone is searching for a service in your area on Google, the sale will show up on there. Also, research shows 56% of customers now want to send messages instead of calling. Make sure you answer messages across your social media accounts and consider using text messaging as well. Could someone get a quote from you online?
Use Good Technology
Research and purchase good technology that will help you streamline your business practices. Are your employees clocking in or out on a time clock machine or are they writing down their times? Consider using a janitorial time clock app. This will allow you to create work schedules for your employees and assign employees to a specific worksite. In addition, your employees can clock in and out from anywhere.
The best mobile time clock apps offer GPS verification so you can ensure they are at the job site when they clock in and out. Also, employees can view their schedules on their phones or computer whenever you make changes. One of the biggest problems for industries is workers forget to clock in/out or turn in their timesheets late. By using a precise janitorial time tracking app and having the location verification at your fingertips, it’s easy to see which employees consistently are late to work, leave early, or don’t show up at all.
Allan, the president of Gecko Solutions had difficulties with turnover and maintaining timesheets. He tested several apps and found that ezClocker has the features his company needs. For instance, he assigns each building they clean a job code and then assigns the employees to that job code. He knows where they will be and what time they should be there. When he used it with the GPS feature, he could see how long his crew was taking to clean. He was able to determine the number of people he needed on the job site and it produced a savings for his business. Furthermore, he saves more time using the app. Therefore, he is able to spend more time with his employees, which helps with turnover.
Kourtnee Howard of Group K&D LLC learned how to provide janitorial services by investing in a franchise. They taught her to clean large facilities. The job duties she found more difficult were keeping track of employees and timesheets. Kourtnee says now she knows when employees are clocking in and out. Also, she has found the notes feature in the app works well for communication between her and her team. For example, they will let her know if they need time off or forgot to clock in or out through the app.
A remote time-keeping app proves to be more important than ever when you are managing your employees at different locations.
Starting a janitorial cleaning service may seem hard at first, but once you do the initial work, it will become easier with time. Conduct research, present yourself professionally, and hire workers to maintain that image. Ensure you spend time developing a good business plan as well. The time you take to develop your business in the beginning, will pay off in the end.