So you’ve decided to start a house cleaning service. Now, you’re wondering how to make your business grow. Your potential clients have plenty of cleaners to choose from, so how do you make your cleaning business stand out from the rest?
Here are seven steps to grow a thriving house cleaning business.
1. Learn cleaning skills
Cleaning may appear straightforward, but there are many important skills to learn.
As a cleaner, you must learn how to use chemicals safely and effectively to clean different areas and materials. Understanding how to use personal protective equipment (PPE) is vital. You'll need to know how to deal with biohazards, flammable liquids, and sometimes dangerous building materials like asbestos and lead.
To master these and other professional cleaning skills, you can get a certification from the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) or the Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Industries (IICRC).
For Penny Jackson, owner of Austin-based Penny’s Personal Touch Cleaning Services, training begins with a basic skill. “Training always starts with vacuuming. Going into other people's homes for the first time can be intimidating. They don't want to touch things. But if I just teach you how to vacuum, you're getting to know the home without walking around being nosy. You're actually doing your job,” she says.
2. Figure out your cleaning business niche
Not every cleaning business is the same.
Do you want to do house cleaning? Apartment cleaning? Carpet cleaning? Window cleaning? Short-term rental property cleaning? Boat cleaning? Environmentally friendly cleaning (also known as “green cleaning”)?
Each kind of cleaning business has different requirements, advantages and disadvantages. Some types of cleaning businesses require larger operations or business insurance to get hired.
Spend time researching online to see what other house cleaning businesses in your area offer and what clients want. Then, create a niche for yourself where you'll be the most competitive.
3. Market your residential cleaning business
Whether you're looking for your first client or already have a dozen, spend time on marketing to grow your house cleaning company.
Some great ways to market your cleaning service:
- Networking. Networking may not cost money up-front, but it can lead to business opportunities immediately or down the line. Let people know about your house cleaning business and ask for referrals.
- Contact real estate agencies or home builders. Contact companies that might refer you to others. This can give you a leg up over competition with potential clients.
- Advertise around the community. This is a great way to find local jobs. Build brand recognition by putting up flyers, pay for ads in local brochures or magazines and get your name out at local community events.
In a crowded market, it pays to find ways to stand out.
Perhaps you could guarantee all of your products will be environmentally friendly. Or you could offer flexible scheduling, such as evening or weekend time slots.
Maybe you could build an audience by publishing a newsletter or blog with free cleaning tips, introductions to your cleaning staff and product reviews. Pick an approach that plays to your strengths.
4. Offer personalized services
One great way to grow your cleaning business is to give free estimates and sit with clients to find out what they want. Not only will this will help you see a potential client's space to work out how much time it will take to clean, but it also helps you form a personal connection that makes a big difference.
According to Mckinsey, customer experience with a company has a huge impact on how likely they are to be repeat customers, and that especially holds true for a small cleaning business.
Sitting with your clients shows that you care about them, allowing you to develop a pricing plan that is fair to them and worthwhile for you. And when you need to raise your prices? They're more likely to understand.
Not only does personalization help you build relationships with your clients, it helps you do your job better. “Personalization comes with growing confident and feeling like you’re a professional at what you do. You’re not a maid, you're a housekeeper; you understand how to care for a home in a manner that even the homeowner doesn't,” says Jackson.
Be sure to check in with clients afterward a job to make sure they’re satisfied and see if they have any feedback. If there are any problems, this allows you to address them quickly. It’s a great way to build trust and make sure that your clients will choose you again in the future.
5. Build a team of great cleaners
Soon after starting out, you’ll likely want to expand your house cleaning business by hiring employees. That allows you to take on more jobs or bigger jobs and retain even more clients. But it’s important to bring on employees in the right way.
Your employees are key to the success of your business. Here are some tips about building a team of top cleaners:
- Spend time on safety training; consider sponsoring your employees to take certified cleaning courses
- Provide your employees with proper equipment and tools
- Don’t micromanage; earn your employee’s trust and respect
- Offer perks such as paid sick or vacation time
- Provide bonuses for quality work
- Take your employees’ feedback and concerns seriously
6. Create an efficient cleaning workflow
Time is money in the cleaning business. Working on time management will benefit both you and the customer, as expectations are clear and match reality.
Always be punctual, and schedule your jobs in a way that allows you to fit more than one job each day. When you’re in the field, you’ll also benefit from the following time-tested cleaning methods, including:
- The right-hand rule. Work to the right and counterclockwise, so you don't have to backtrack.
- Top to bottom. Clean from the highest points to the lowest so you can bring dirt and dust down as you go.
- Dry to wet. Start with tasks that don't involve liquid before using the liquid so that you won't smear dirt around.
Don’t feel like you have to take on every opportunity. If you’re not equipped or prepared for certain jobs, it’s okay to say no. It's better to focus your limited time on clients for whom you know you'll do a good job.
7. Manage your business operations
For your house cleaning business to grow and expand, you need to take care of much more than just cleaning. Make sure you have a business plan to keep you on track toward your goals.
As your residential cleaning business grows, you’ll want to develop scheduling, payroll and logging systems. Remember to file taxes and consider purchasing cleaning business insurance to protect yourself and your business.
NEXT helps your cleaning business thrive
NEXT makes protecting yourself and your business easy. We provide customized small business insurance that’s matched to your company, so you only pay for the cleaning business insurance you need.
And if you have questions? Our U.S.-based, licensed insurance professionals are available to help you every step of the way.