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Whether you're quite new to cleaning or you've clocked up years in the trade, a commercial cleaning business can be a rewarding venture. But before getting your hands dirty, you'll need to work out the business and legal practicalities including how to structure, price and market your new company. Plus, there's a bucket-load of equipment and software to think about.
Read on to mop up the key points of launching a commercial cleaning business.
A commercial cleaning business is one that specialises in cleaning services for corporates and other organisations. Commercial cleaners tend to work at commercial premises including offices, schools, hotels, cafes, gyms and other shared spaces like in apartment blocks.
This type of company differs from other cleaning services such as home cleaning, industrial cleaning or end-of-lease cleans.
Fortunately, there aren't any specific qualifications needed when it comes to starting a commercial cleaning business. In many ways, the key to the success of your venture will depend on the working relationships you build up with your clients.
Here are five core skills you'll want to master to set yourself up for success:
In addition to these and other key skills, it's really important that any small business has a well-considered business plan. This can take your business from its first phase as a startup through to eventual business growth, as our guide explains.
Before you can start your business, you will need to register as a Sole Trader, a Partnership or a Company.
Another option of getting into the cleaning business is by buying a franchise. A franchise means you will be working under an existing cleaning company, but you will still have many of the fundamental rights of a standalone business.
With a franchise, there's often a yearly fee and a percentage of sales you will have to pay to the company. You may want to explore your loan options when you're starting a franchise. Some companies will provide you with key equipment, such as a vehicle.
As a minimum, you'll need to think about the following equipment:
If you choose to hire staff for your commercial cleaning business, you may also want to consider investing in apps to streamline the work schedule of each employee and keep track of your cleaning inventory.
Some of the apps available for this purpose include mHelpDesk, Jobber, Housecall Pro, Service Fusion and Intuit Field Service Management.
Also, you must abide by Occupational health and safety and workers' compensation guidelines.
You'll want to feel confident that you're starting your commercial cleaning business on the right legal footing.
Some of the key agreements you may want to get in place include:
If you draft these agreements on your own, consider hiring the services of a lawyer to look over them to cover any loopholes. You can avail of online legal services and some free templates to help you get started with the likes of Lawpath, LawDepot, LegalVision, Sprintlaw and Net Lawman.
Finally, don't forget about getting the right business insurance in place. In particular, you may want to get public liability insurance to offer protection if a client gets injured or their property gets damaged as a result of your operations.
Add your business to Google Search, Google Maps and other Google properties through Google My Business. Many people use this site to search for nearby services. List your business on Google's search listing and link it to Google Maps.
Think about creating a basic website with the likes of WordPress, Wix or Squarespace. Invest in a domain name, a business logo and online ads for your website. Show off your testimonials and achievements with your website, and network with related businesses who may recommend you to their existing clients.
There are several online marketplaces, Airtasker being just one, that you can use to advertise your services and gain new clients. These include:
Don't underestimate the power of social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Nextdoor. They are sure-fire ways to make noise about your company.
After you have a few jobs under your belt, you might want to ask for customer testimonials to help scale your business faster.
Generally, commercial cleaning companies charge around $25-$50 per hour on average. Rates will vary from state to state and a number of other factors influence the cost of a cleaning service.
When you're thinking about your pricing structure, a good general rule is to avoid the temptation to undercut the going market rate, even if you are new to the field. This aggressive pricing tactic can lead to cashflow problems if you're not careful.
To work out how to price cleaning contracts, you could:
If you're self-employed, it helps to educate yourself about the taxation laws in your area so you can put away the right amount of money early on. Figure out when and if you need to register for GST.
You may also want to create a plan on how you intend to save any extra money you make, which you can invest in growing your business' future.
Is a commercial cleaning business a good idea?
Despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19, the commercial cleaning market remains steady with fairly consistent demand. In 2021, the market is estimated to be worth $11.7 billion.
How much do commercial cleaners get paid?
A cleaner typically earns $22 per hour while a night cleaner can expect to take home around $25. These figures are based on data from PayScale and were correct as of 15 January 2021.
Does the business owner need to be there for a commercial cleaning job?
No, the owner doesn't usually need to be around during the actual clean. After all, the purpose of hiring a cleaning service is to save hours of peoples' time.
What's included in a basic cleaning service?
A basic cleaning service includes cleaning all floors, wiping down any visible surfaces, cleaning toilets and general dusting. Finding out as much information as possible from your client will only help you when it comes to meeting their specific needs.
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