Basic Start-Up Costs: How Much Does it Cost to Start a Business?

You constantly ask yourself – how much does it cost to start a business? Costs of starting a cleaning business is generally affordable especially if you work within your budget and purchase items only as needed. You can opt to finance and grow your business as you get more clients.

Life of a Cleaning Business Startup

On average, you will need no more than $1,000 – $2,000 to be a business owner. In the beginning, you may also prefer to do most of the work to avoid or reduce salary expenses. The challenging part is getting an initial client base. To do so, you can try reaching out to friends and small business owners and offer your services. As with any business owner who is starting out, perseverance and hard work is crucial especially in the early stages. Also, check out your local government to see if you can get a small business loan.

Register your cleaning business

The cost of registering your cleaning business startup depends on the type of business you want. The Sole Proprietorship is the least expensive business type to register for with costs anywhere between $30 – $60 at your local County Clerks Office. A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is slightly more expensive with costs ranging from $100 – $500.

Open a bank account

You will need to open a checking account for your business after you register your business name. Banks generally require a deposit of $100 although this money is yours so it is not really an expense.

Get insurance

The third step after registering your business and opening a checking account is to look into getting liability insurance. This type of insurance will cost roughly $500 – $2,000 per year. Depending on which state you live in, you can pay your insurance bills monthly which means you do not need to shell out the entire amount at the start of the year. As your business grows and you hire a cleaning staff, you may need to get workers comp coverage as well.

Purchase cleaning tools and products

If you are starting a small household cleaning business, you may find some items you need from your home. You can then supplement with other chemicals and supplies from a nearby store. The amount of supplies you need will depend on the cleaning services you offer therefore your cost will vary.

In general, you will need basic cleaning supplies and tools such as sponge, disinfectant, paper towels, and mops. There will be a few more expensive items in your inventory such as a vacuum cleaner. However all in all, $300 – $500 should be enough to get you started.

Note that you do not need to buy all the tools and products you need before signing up your first clients. You can make these purchases in almost real-time. The only downside is that items are cheaper if you buy in bulk but you can do this once you gain a regular and loyal set of clients.

Develop business and promotional materials

Consider having business cards and flyers printed out. Whenever a client asks you for a business card, it shows professionalism if you have these on hand. Business cards typically cost $50 to get a couple of thousand printed out. If you employ staff for your cleaning business, you may also want to consider wearing uniformed shirts or aprons with your business name and logo which will cost around $100 – 200.

As you see, starting a cleaning business requires a fairly low investment. However, be prepared to wait for 3 – 6 months before you start to become profitable. If you can, keep your day job and be financially conservative so that you can better sustain the business and weather growth challenges. That’s the secret to understanding how much does it cost to start a business. Remember that cost is only one part of the equation.  Review how to increase your revenue by reviewing Part 1 and Part2 for how to price your services!

Are you a cleaning business startup? Tell us how much it costs for you below!

10 Best Cleaning Products for Your Business

Every successful cleaning business needs these 10 best cleaning products.  You can find these at your local grocery store or pharmacy, so don’t forget that these products will be your life blood!

1) Vinegar – Vinegar is great for removing grease and for cleaning windows and surfaces. It acts as a mild disinfectant and removes bad odor. Vinegar is also great for killing salmonella and E.coli even if it is not registered as a disinfectant with the EPA.

2) Baking soda – Baking soda is a natural mild abrasive and deodorizer that is effective in removing tough stains. Unlike vinegar, baking soda is non-toxic and does not smell. It is particularly useful in cleaning the kitchen sink and the shower.

3) Dish soap –  Dish soap is very versatile. Aside from cleaning dishes, it can be used for removing stains, cleaning surfaces, appliances, glass, and blinds. Better yet, dish soap does not harm or stain delicate surfaces.

4) Rubbing alcohol – Rubbing alcohol is an environmental-friendly cleaning ingredient and disinfectant. It evaporates fast and is great for cleaning surfaces that cannot be cleaned with acids. However, do not use rubbing alcohol to clean open flames or near heat because it is flammable

5) All purpose cleaner – Cleaners are terrific for cleaning surfaces, appliances, counters, and stainless steam. Remove grease, grime, and dirt with an all purpose cleaner. This cannot be used to clean glass though.

6) Glass cleaner – You will need a glass cleaner to clean mirrors and windows. This cannot be mixed with other cleaning products

7) Disinfectant – Disinfectants are effective for cleaning points of contact as well as kitchen and bathroom surfaces where bacteria thrives. It is useful for controlling odors. To save money, you can also select an all purpose cleaner with disinfectant.

8) Washing detergent – Buy the liquid kind, you can also use it as a stain pretreatment by pouring a little on the stain and letting it sit before throwing the garment in the wash.

9) Murphy oil soap –  This is best for cleaning finished wood and other household surfaces. Murphy oil soap gives a natural shine to surfaces. It is generally an eco-friendly product that is biodegradable.

10) Disposable leather cleaning wipes – These are great for cleaning leather sofas and chairs. You can also use this for dusting off leather books and apparel such as boots.

When starting out, I would recommend looking for cleaning supplies that are within your budget. Try different products and see what works best for you before buying in volume as your business grows. Your nearest department store or grocery will have most, if not all, of these items on hand. These are the 10 best cleaning products!  Remember that these are still chemicals, so get the insurance and bonding that you need!

Have you used anything better? Comment below and let us know!

10 Best Cleaning Tools for Your Business

When you are starting your own business, you may feel overwhelmed and confused as to what you need because there are many specialized supplies and tools in the market. Have no fear! Here’s a list of cleaning tools to get you started. We will talk about supplies in one of our next articles.

1) Microfiber cloths – Can be used dry or dampened with water or cleanser. When used damp, these are effective in removing stains and dirt. Microfiber cleaning cloths are also machine washable. When cared for properly, expect to get hundreds of washings out of these cloths.

2) Sponge – There are many types of sponges such as cellulose sponge, abrasive sponge, natural sponges, and dry sponges. Make sure to select non-scratching sponge to avoid scratching surfaces. Bring at least two with you to separate the one used for the bathroom and for the kitchen.

3) Toothbrush – Use any old toothbrush to clean hard to reach areas. Make sure to disinfect the toothbrush after every use.

4) Paper towels – These are great for cleaning toilets, kitchen tops, and bacteria-heavy areas. Get the sturdy and ultra-absorbent paper towels.

5) Rubber gloves – Find a durable pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands from household chemicals, hot water, and grease. Bonus tip: for leak-resistant gloves, put a cotton ball at your fingertip so your nails do not tear the rubber.

6) Spray bottles – Use spray bottles to dispense water, cleaning chemicals or insecticides. Get bottles that have an adjustable spray nozzle, measurement markings on the side, and labels.

7) Vacuum cleaner – There are many vacuum cleaner models out there. Review your requirements and select the right vacuum cleaner based on criteria such as height, weight, power, and size. Other consideration are: filters, bag-free vacuums, and pet hair features.

8) Sponge mop and bucket – Sponge mops are very effective on textured and tiled floors. Compared to other mops, these are easier to use. Only disadvantage is the longevity of sponge mops. Replace them once the sponge begins to come apart or smell.

9) Dust mop – Dust mops attract and collect dirt on surfaces. These work especially well on hardwood floors. Before, covers were made of cotton but microfiber materials are increasingly being used. Covers can be removed, cleaned, and reused before replacing.

10) Broom and dustpan – Brooms are very basic and is a must-have in your arsenal. Selecting the appropriate broom depends on the type of space (indoors vs outdoors), the floor type, the debris you are trying to clean, and whether there are tight spaces and corners

I know this article is a list of “10” cleaning tools but as a bonus, you should also get a supply caddy. It is worthwhile to invest in a supply caddy to store and transport your supplies. Get a supply caddy that is durable, has a comfortable handle, and lots of compartments and pockets.

If you think these are pricey, that’s why it’s important to understand your pricing strategy from the start! Check Part 1 of our pricing strategy here.

Are there any tools that you like to use?  Comment below and let us know!

3 Ways on How to Make a Good First Impression When Meeting Your Clients

The first meeting with your prospective clients is your opportunity to shine. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of making a great first impression. Studies have shown that how people first view you can be lasting and changing that impression can take a very long time. Here are three tips on how to make a good first impression which help you build a loyal client base who will keep coming back.

Arrive on Time – Being punctual demonstrates professionalism. Always be on time which means accounting for traffic and other unexpected situations. To be safe, leave early and if you end up arriving early, it’s ok to wait in your car or in the parking lot. If you are late in showing up, the potential client will wonder how well you will handle future appointments, whether you will even show up, or whether you will end earlier than what was agreed upon.

If an event that is beyond your control does come up and will require you to reschedule your appointment, contact your client as early as possible to inform them so as not to keep them waiting. If a rescheduling is required, make sure you can guarantee your availability in the new date and time you both agree on.

Dress Appropriately – Be presentable in your first meeting. Since you are representing your cleaning business, make sure to appear clean and organized so that you convey a consistent message. Doing so is also a sign of respect for your clients because you are showing that you put the effort. Check that your hands and nails are clean, your hair is combed or in a net, and your clothes properly tucked and irones.

Great Body Language – Be aware of your body language. When you first meet with your client, do these three thing: smile, make eye contact, and give a firm handshake. Stand upright and adopt an open posture which means not crossing your arms or legs. Be enthusiastic and energetic otherwise your client may mistake your nervousness as being disinterested or bored. Remember, your client is opening the doors to their homes to let you in. Be friendly to make them feel that you are somebody they can entrust their homes to.

Keep these three tips in mind on how to make a good first impression and you will set yourself apart from other cleaning business services. Making this great first impression will pay dividends for your business in the long run!

Do you have any success or horror stories of first impressions?  Comment below and share with the group!

Identifying Potential Clients for Your Cleaning Business

You must be wondering who the potential clients are who would be interested in availing of your cleaning services. Let’s say your business is catered to homeowners and residences. There are two ways to list out your potential clients. The first list is based on demographics while the second list is based on specific cleaning needs.

In terms of demographics, there are many groups of people who would need help cleaning their homes. This is proof that there is a huge opportunity and market awaiting you if you own a cleaning business. Here is a list to get you started:

  • Single person finding a way to have more time to spend on a hobby or pursue interests
  • A working couple with children who want to spend more time with the family
  • Empty nesters or parents with children already in college and who moved to a different home
  • Senior citizens who needs assistance and unable to conduct rigorous activities

Beyond demographic profiles of potential clients, there are people who seek cleaning services everyday driven by specific needs or timing. Think about these situations:

  • People who want a thorough spring cleaning after the winter season
  • People who prefer starting the new year fresh and are looking to tidy up their homes
  • Individuals or families who are renters and are moving out of their homes. Part of moving out requires them to make sure their house is clean before returning the keys to the homeowner or condominium management
  • Home sellers who want to make their property look clean and organized before opening their homes to potential buyers
  • People who are organizing a big party or celebration in their homes and need help cleaning before and/or after the event.

The list is endless. As you can see, there is a big market out there for cleaning services depending on types of people or specific occasions. When looking for potential clients, conduct research and determine what types of clients you want to serve and develop an action plan to reach them. Visit prospective clients and hand out business cards or flyers. Start a direct-mail campaign and offer an introductory discount. If you use sustainable products or have special cleaning tools, highlight this and differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Have you had success in getting clients? Please share your comments below!

5 Traits of a Successful Business Owner

Starting your own business is not for everyone. Being an entrepreneur requires certain traits and these traits are essential to be successful. You should reflect and assess whether you have the relevant traits to start and run your own business. To get you started, here are 5 traits that are key to being a successful business owner.

1) Resilience – Owning your own business requires resilience. Starting a business is not easy and there are numerous challenges along the way. You need to remain resilient through the highs and lows of your journey including sales rejection and setbacks. Be committed and dedicated to the goals you have set out for yourself and always remind yourself of the reasons why you are trying to be a successful business owner.

2) Budget-minded – This skill is particularly useful if you are a first-time business owner. When you are starting out, there will be expenses such as cleaning supplies and equipment to get you off the ground. This is normal and necessary but you need to take note of these expenses so that things do not go out of hand. Make sure that your service rates are enough to cover your costs and still provide a decent margin of profit.

3) Action-oriented – If you are your own boss, you need to be a self-starter because nobody will be there to determine your task for you. In the beginning, you will need to do a lot of work yourself or with the help of your business partners such as calling customers, restocking on suppliers, and doing administrative work. Once your business is off the ground and you start to develop a list of clients, you must ensure great results to help you gain loyal and repeat customers.

4) Organization – You must always plan your work. Be detail-oriented and have paperwork and other documents in order. Make sure you have adequate cleaning supplies on hand. Landing new account requires work so it is important to always stay focused and be organized.

5) Salesmanship – Finally, you need to learn the art of selling your cleaning services. Promote your business wherever you are. Be active in social media such as Facebook and make sure your business is listed in directories such as Yelp. More importantly, be honest with potential clients so that they will trust and hire you and your team.

There you have it! Reflect on your skills and experiences and determine whether you have what it takes to be a successful business owner.

Do you think there are any other traits that I didn’t cover?  Please comment below!

Cleaning Service Etiquette Video

Great tips for keeping those profitable cleaning business jobs! These are common sense, but important tips to make sure your cleaning business stays strong.

Business matters make sense and they’re FREE, so use them often and wisely!

Don’t have a cleaning business yet?  Check out our guide to starting your own cleaning business here.

Can you think of other ways to be a professional?  Please comment below and let us know!

Best Canister Vacuum for All the Hard to Reach Places

Canister vacuums are a popular choice for people looking to buy a vacuum cleaner. The best canister vacuums are a type of vacuum cleaner in which the suction motor and filtering system is housed in a square or rectangular body. This is one of my essential tools when I started out.

The top of the line canister vacuums incorporate a “clean air system” and is known from producing strong suction especially when used with attachments. If you clean large areas of flooring, then a canister vacuum cleaner is for you. In addition, if you have asthma or allergies, go with a canister bagged vacuum that has a good bag and a filter.

The advantage of canister vacuum is its maneuverability. It is easy to use canister vacuums under tables and low furniture, something that is hard to do with a traditional upright vacuum model. Another advantage is that canister vacuums are easy to store as it takes up smaller space.

The disadvantage of canister vacuum is that because of the need to haul the unit, it requires more energy to tug the canister. Canister vacuums also usually require separate heads for carpet and bare floors which will need to be manually changed. Overall, canister vacuums cost more than upright vacuums of the same quality.

Now that you have been introduced to canister vacuums, we reviewed some of the best canister vacuum cleaners out there to help you decide on what model you want, need, and should get!

Best Canister Vacuum Reviews Start Here

Miele S2121 Olympus Canister Vacuum Cleaner

best canister vacuum miele olympus 177x300 Best Canister Vacuum For All the Hard to Reach Places

Editor Recommendation: Best overall canister vacuum, get it now!

This Miele S2 Olympus vacuum cleaner is great for smooth surfaces to solid surfaces such as tiles and hardwood to rugs and carpet. I like that it has six power settings so you can easily vary the suction power according to the flooring you are cleaning. Another thing I like is that it already includes three accessories — a dusting brush, upholstery tool and crevice nozzle.

Pros

  • Good on low profile rugs but best on hardwood
  • Quiet and efficient. Variable suction options are great as you can put on quiet mode without waking up small children
  • Easy to maneuver, compact, and lightweight

Cons

  • Replacement bags slightly pricey
  • Lightweight because some of the components is made of plastic
  • Cord is short so may need an extension, depending on area of cleaning

>>Check out prices for the Miele Canister Vacuum on Amazon Here<<

Panasonic MC-CG917 “OptiFlow” Bag Canister Vacuum Cleaner

best canister vacuum panasonic optiflow Best Canister Vacuum For All the Hard to Reach Places

This Panasonic canister vacuum cleaner model has the OptiFlow Technology which helps maintain a consistent volume of airflow through the dust bag even as it fills up with dirt.  It also has a HEPA filter which effectively captures small particles such as allergens, irritants and pollutants.

Pros

  • Uses large, high quality dust bag with an above average capacity to store dirt. Bag is made of cloth-like material
  • Great suction power effective in sucking up dirt and pet hairs
  • Optimal selection of tools and storable onboard: Air turbine pet hair brush, upholstery tool, crevice tool, hard floor tool, and dusting brush
  • 6 feet hose is sturdy and flexible

Cons

  • Air turbine brush is less efficient than that of a similar motorized brush
  • Lack of bag full indicator
  • Height indicator on the power nozzle a bit difficult to see

>>Check out the latest discounts for the Panasonic Optiflow from Amazon<<

Eureka Mighty Mite Canister Vacuum, 3670G

best canister vacuum eureka 300x300 Best Canister Vacuum For All the Hard to Reach Places

Editor Recommendation: Best value canister vacuum! AMAZON BEST SELLER

This Mighty Mite canister vacuum has powerful brush rolls that is effective in cleaning carpets. It also has a full set of tools for specialty cleaning such as stairs and upholstery. It is also great for cleaning the insides of a car as it can suck up small particles from under the seats. Overall, for its price, it is one of the better affordable vacuums out there.

Pros

  • Floor attachment moves easily and flattens itself allowing you to completely get under furniture with low clearance.
  • Long cord and long hose means no need to keep unplugging
  • Great value in terms of cost vs. performance

Cons

  • Vacuum bags are not popular and may be harder to find replacement
  • Great for old rugs that can be easily damaged by rotating brushes, not the best for non-carpeted flooring
  • Noticeably louder than other vacuum cleaners

>>Check out the Mighty Mite on Amazon, it’s a BEST SELLER<<

Bissell Zing Bagless Canister Vacuum, Caribbean Blue

best canister vacuum bissell 261x300 Best Canister Vacuum For All the Hard to Reach Places

Editor Award: Most environmentally friendly canister vacuum

The Zing bagless canister vacuum is a convenient whole-home cleaning system. The vacuum is lightweight and its compact design makes it easy to move around the home. The variable suction control means that you can turn the suction down and clean fabrics. Also pretty affordable in my opinion.

Pros

  • Very lightweight and easy to carry up and down the stairs
  • Best for tile and laminate flooring. Not so much for wall to wall carpeting
  • Bagless which makes it easy to dispose the dirt and reassemble

Cons

  • After some use, motor starts to make sounds and give off smell
  • Hose and pipe are not as sturdy. Not good when warranty is up
  • Cannot be used for heavy duty cleaning. Good for dust pick up in the house

>>Check out the Bissell discounts on Amazon here<<

Sanitaire SC3683A Detail Cleaning Commercial Vacuum

best canister vacuum sanitaire Best Canister Vacuum For All the Hard to Reach Places

Editor Award: Top commercial canister vacuum

The Sanitaire lightweight HEPA-ready commercial canister vacuum is great for bare floors and hard surfaces. This vacuum comes with a carpet cleaning attachment that you can use for low-pile carpet and area rugs. Vacuum features a completely sealed filtration system to prevent dust leakage. Given its price and performance, this vacuum is great if you are just starting a commercial cleaning business.

Pros

  • Bag is very easy to remove and replace
  • Cord is 20 feet long and wraps underneath the vacuum
  • Hose is sturdy and does not kink when used

Cons

  • Hole in extension of vacuum is larger causing less suction per square inch
  • Tends to overheatsquickly. Be careful with the handle, the body, the plug, and the outlet.
  • Bag has no closing flap causing dirt to spill out when bag is removed while unit is in cleaning position

>>Check out Sanitaire discounts here<<

These are the best canister vacuums that are on the market and accessible.  If you can think of any others please comment below!

Best Steam Mop for the Dirtiest Floors

The neighborhoods I clean have homes that are usually “green built certified” and because of this, using a steam mop is important to my business. Steam mops are changing the way people wash floors. It used to be that the common choice was the wet swiffer-style mop. However, now the best steam mops can do a better cleaning in the same amount of time. The upside is that the best steam mops give you convenience, performance, and cleanliness. The downside is that steam mops are more expensive than non-electric mops.

If you want to be able to clean an area with less time than a regular floor mop and bucket, then a steam mop is for you. Always remember to wear shoes when using an electric steam mop. Make sure the unit is not plugged in when stored and do not put any detergents in the water tank. The tanks are designed to be used with water only.

If you think a steam mop is for you, check out the best steam mops out there to help in your decision-making process.

Hoover TwinTank Disinfecting Steam Mop

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Hoover Twintank Steam Mop

Editor’s ChoiceBest Steam Mop

The Hoover TwinTank model gives you the ability to clean with steam alone or add Hoover’s disinfectant solution. I find this useful because steam alone cannot eliminate all harmful bacteria without long exposure time. When used with the solution, the combination becomes even more powerful in killing bacteria.

Pros

  • Two part water and solution combination is very effective
  • Steamer comes with docking station and multiple mop heads
  • Lightweight but very sturdy

Cons

  • Actual mop is on the bigger and heavier side
  • Need to keep pressing a button to get continuous steam
  • Don’t work as well on laminate floor as it does on tiles

Check out the Hoover TwinTank in Amazon here. Best Steam Mop for the Dirtiest Floors

Bissell Steam Mop Hard-Floor Cleaner, Green Tea

best steam mop bissell green tea Best Steam Mop for the Dirtiest Floors

Bissell Steam Mop

The Steam Mop’s swiveling head is great because it allows you to reach nooks and crannies. The profile is also very compact making it easy to store in small spaces.

Pros

  • No chemicals no solutions needed. Suggest you use distilled water for best results
  • Great for ceramic tiles and bamboo floor as water dries quickly
  • Very quiet which lets you clean while the small children sleep

Cons

  • Not as great for wooden floors
  • Mop does not pick up dirty water so need to use a towel to dry the floor
  • Cord is a bit short but can remedy with an extension cord

Check out the Bissell Steam Mop prices on Amazon here.

Oreck Steam-It

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Oreck Steam It Steam Mop

This Oreck steam-it model uses low pressure range to remove dirt and grime. It is relatively easy, safe and cost effective. There is no need to use any chemicals or detergents. The physical appearance looks like a vacuum.

Pros

  • Big reservoir lets you clean 3 rooms and a kitchen easily
  • Control knob makes it easy to process correct amount of steam for each surface
  • Very good for hardwood and porcelain tile floors

Cons

  • Heavier unit which makes it hard to push
  • Steamer has tendency to shoot out a bit more water than necessary
  • Placement of handles make it necessary to use upside down so you won’t be able to clean windows

Check out Oreck Steam-It on Amazon here. Best Steam Mop for the Dirtiest Floors

 

Eureka Enviro Hard-Surface Floor Steamer

best steam mop eureka 224x300 Best Steam Mop for the Dirtiest Floors

Eureka Steam Mop

This Eureka floor steamer is used to clean sealed hard floors, tile, marble, and others. The package will include two machine washable magic clothes, a funnel, and a measuring cup. The manufacturer says that you can use tap water with this steamer but I personally would not recommend it. Best to use distilled water.

Pros

  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Pads are thick and can clean larger area than regular Swiffer products
  • Use on/off switch with your foot and unit can stand by itself

Cons

  • Only 15 minutes of steam available per fill up
  • Head is a bit big making it hard to reach bottom of cabinets and furniture
  • Swivel head has limited movement making it harder to turn sideways for narrow areas

Check out discounts for the Eureka Enviro Hard-Surface Floor Steamer on Amazon here. Best Steam Mop for the Dirtiest Floors

 

Shark Professional Steam Pocket Mop

best steam mop shark professional Best Steam Mop for the Dirtiest Floors

Shark Professional Steam Mop

This steam mop from Shark is great for deep cleaning and sanitizing hard floor surfaces. It has what is called Intelligent Steam Control which enables you to have continuous steam delivery and 3 settings of variable steam depending on your needs.

Pros

  • Water tank is large so you can clean a few rooms without needing to refill.
  • Mop covers are easy to put on and take off. The head is big and even if it flips over, you can use the other side
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • Note the instructions that comes with the unit: Do not use on unsealed wood or unglazed ceramic floors
  • Handle is a little short so you can only do a certain spot one at a time
  • Unit cannot stand on its own

Check out Shark Professional Steam Pocket discounts on Amazon here. Best Steam Mop for the Dirtiest Floors

The review of the best steam mops are here.  Please comment if you’ve had a better experience with a different mop!