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How to Start a Janitorial Business

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Opening your own janitorial business can be one of the best small businesses to start on a budget. You can begin by starting small and then building up a successful cleaning service however you like. Once you get comfortable with your business and brand, you can begin bidding on larger contracts such as schools or hospitals. First, you should determine if you want to offer cleaning services to residential, businesses, or both. 


How Much Does It Cost to Start a Janitorial Business?

According to Cleaning Business Now, you could start a janitorial business with a $1000-$2000 initial investment. First, you should write a business plan. It will help you identify your initial goals and develop your strategies. It can also help you determine some costs you haven’t considered yet.  


Here are some initial investment costs:

  1. Initially you should determine your legal structure. Review the advantages and disadvantages of each legal structure and choose the one which fits your business and personal needs the most. Depending on which one you choose, this could cost you approximately $50-$500.
  • Review all local, state, and federal guidelines. Determine what permits and licenses you should get. Initially, you should apply online to the IRS for an employer ID number. Then, you will apply for a sales tax license. Every county imposes different business license requirements and regulations. It can cost an average of $50 but that could also be dependent upon your business needs and your legal structure.
  • Every type of legal structure or business owner should consider liability insurance for their business. Liability insurance protects businesses’ assets and pays obligations. It comes in many forms such as general liability, product liability, professional liability, commercial property, and home-based insurance. You may want to be bonded too. Depending upon what you need, it can cost between $500-$2,000 a year. 
  • Purchase cleaning supplies and tools. Where do you initially want to clean? What kind of services will you offer? Will you offer environmentally friendly products, or will you offer a service some janitorial companies don’t offer like buffing floors? Think about starting small and building it from there. Initially, your most expensive item may be a vacuum cleaner. Cleaning supplies can start from $100-$500. 
  • Develop your marketing plan. Do you want to try to start with social media and email campaigns? Think about purchasing business cards, brochures, or logo shirts for a more professional image. Because social media can be a cheaper marketing tool, this could show the services you offer in detail. Also, consider a $100-$500 initial investment dependent upon your needs. 


What Are the Benefits of Owning a Janitorial Business?

Here are some benefits:

  1. It is an industry that keeps growing. The cleaning industry is forecasted to grow by 4% every year until 2029. Now more than ever, people are turning to janitorial companies to ensure their businesses and homes are properly disinfected and clean. What can you do differently to ensure your business is a success? When you are beginning your janitorial business, think about what you want to achieve. Set initial goals for your business that are a stretch but achievable. 
  • You can also start this business in a short timeframe. If you are starting small, you may be able to start within a month. 
  • You can also start with low upfront costs as mentioned above. You can even begin with just your own household cleaning supplies at first. Later, you may want to expand to offer more cleaning solutions or environmentally friendly products. You may want to test cleaning products to ensure you get the best quality for the best price.
  • Also, owning a janitorial business can offer you flexibility in your schedule. You can work from your home and you can start by working alone until you build up your business. This is a business that allows you to determine how big you would like to grow. 



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How Do I Get Janitorial Contracts?

At first, you can offer your services to friends and family. Then, ask them to recommend you to others. Think about starting a business Facebook and Instagram page. Later, you can work on your website which will showcase all your services.  

Be upfront with your cleaning costs and show how you are different than others. Could you offer online quotes? Make sure you respond to customer requests and inquiries quickly. Consider joining Facebook groups where you can be the expert. Also, what groups can you join in your community where you can network and possibly offer solutions to cleaning problems? You may not like to network, but it is very important if you want to grow. 

You may want to take classes to improve areas in which you need growth. There are some classes that may be low-cost or free through the small business association. You don’t need high-priced advertising to get your name out there. Develop a marketing plan, which will help you organize your thoughts and develop your marketing budget. Keep updating it as you grow so you can see what you need to do and what you need to stop doing.


How Do I Run a Janitorial Business?

Running your janitorial business will take planning to determine how big you would like your business to grow. Once the word is out about your business, you will start getting more clients and may need to hire employees. Don’t just hire someone who walks off the street. Think about hiring who you want to represent your image. Interview well and check references. You want to trust who you hire to ensure they represent your company and your brand well. 

Once you are ready to hire employees, think about using technology that will help you manage schedules and know when your employees arrive on their job site. Research and purchase good technology that will help you streamline your business practices. For example, 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.  It also offers 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 and 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.


Final Thoughts

If you want to own your own small business, consider the janitorial business. Whether it’s residential or business services, you can discover how you can offer solutions that may differ from others. 

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, marketing plan, and budget as well. Make sure you have estimated start-up costs, monthly expenses, and monthly income when developing your budget. 

Take time to develop your business in the beginning so that it will pay off in the end. 


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Author: Kimberley Kay Travis

Kim Travis, co-owner of Travis and Adams Consulting Group, has over 20 years’ experience in human resources and leadership roles. She has specialized knowledge in employment law, employee relations, recruiting, management consulting, leadership development, manufacturing safety programs, and writing business articles and blogs.

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