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!

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!