Start & Run a Home Cleaning Business

Start & Run a Home Cleaning Business

by Susan Bewsey

Paperback(Third Edition, Third edition)

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Overview

Learn how to start your own home cleaning business with the knowledge and insights of an expert.

Get started and keep organized
Target your market and assess competition
Polish both your business and cleaning techniques

Home cleaning is one of the fastest-growing service businesses in North America. A good cleaning service brings comfort and order into people’s lives and in today’s world, these are highly sought-after commodities. A home cleaning service can start out small, but it has the potential to grow to be a multi-million dollar business with branch offices and franchises. Your business can grow to the point where you need to lease office space, hire staff, purchase a fleet of vehicles, and develop your own products and customized services. With the help of this book, you can get your business up and running, and survive that essential first year. The book answers questions such as:

Do I have what it takes to run my own business?
What are the legal requirements for running a business like mine?
How do I find and keep clients?
How much should I charge?
What equipment do I need?
What other services can I offer?
How do I hire and train staff?
How does commercial cleaning differ from home cleaning?

This updated new edition comes with numerous forms and examples to get you started and keep you organized, now all included on CD-ROM. You can modify the supplied forms in MS Word format to include your corporate logo and identity, and produce copies as you need them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781551807669
Publisher: Self-Counsel Press, Inc.
Publication date: 04/28/2007
Series: Start & Run Business Series
Edition description: Third Edition, Third edition
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 8.25(w) x 9.75(h) x 0.37(d)

About the Author

In 1981, armed with a secondhand vehicle, a small staff, and a dramatic advertising campaign, Susan Bewsey launched her first cleaning business. Within three months, “the little cleaning service that could” was a success, and Bewsey sold her first franchise shortly after. By 1988, she had sold and resold 157 franchises and managed a fleet of more than 80 vehicles. After five more successful years, she parted with her latest home cleaning venture and is now a development and planning consultant for small business, primarily in the cleaning service industry.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION xv
1 SHINING IN THE SPOTLIGHT 1
1. Before You Get Started 1
2. Is This the Business for You? 2
3. Filling in the Vacuum 2
4. You’re on Your Way 5
2 SWEEPING THE NATION: GETTING STARTED 8
1. Targeting Your Market 8
1.1 Assess your market potential 8
1.2 Identify your customers 8
2. Assessing the Competition 9
3. Legal Requirements 10
3.1 Zoning 10
3.2 Insurance 10
3.3 Licenses 12
3.4 Business taxes 12
4. Choosing a Business Name 12
vii
CONTENTS
viii Start & run a home cleaning business
5. Choosing a Business Structure 13
5.1 Sole proprietorship 13
5.2 Partnership 13
5.3 Corporation 13
6. Professional Services: Your Lawyer and Your Accountant 14
7. Purchasing an Existing Business or Franchise? 15
8. Leasing Versus Purchasing 16
3 SETTING GOALS AND FINANCING 17
1. Your Mission Statement 17
2. Forecasting Your Needs 18
2.1 Analyzing your costs 18
2.2 Your cash flow projection 19
2.3 Calculating your break-even point 19
3. How Much Should You Charge? 20
4. Keep Your Forecast up to Date 21
5. Raising the Money 21
6. Your Business Plan 22
4 POLISHING YOUR TECHNIQUE: GETTING ORGANIZED 29
1. Knowing Your Business 29
1.1 A little clean fun 29
1.2 What you’ll need on the job 30
2. Organizing Your Headquarters 32
2.1 The home office 32
2.2 Locating away from home 32
2.3 Arranging your office 33
2.4 Site security 33
2.5 Vehicle 33
2.6 Telephone lines and cell phones 34
3. Organizing Business Records 35
3.1 Your billing/payroll system 35
3.2 Your bank statement 35
3.3 Your B/F (bring forward) system 36
Contents ix
4. Computers and Technology 36
4.1 Software 38
4.2 Printers 38
4.3 The Internet as a resource 38
4.4 A digital camera 38
5. Working with Suppliers 38
5.1 Making contact 38
5.2 Getting the best price 39
5.3 Environmentally friendly products 39
5 MARKETING 40
1. Visibility: Let People Know You’re Here 40
2. Creating Your Image 40
3. Advertising Strategy 41
4. Yellow Pages 41
5. Promoting Your Business at Trade Shows 43
6. Direct-Mail Marketing 43
7. Cross Promotions 44
8. Timing 45
9. Gain Maximum Interest 45
10. Using Color in Your Promotional Materials 47
11. Word-of-Mouth Marketing 48
6 RAGS TO RICHES: PRICING YOUR WORK 49
1. Your Goals 49
2. Quoting Basics 49
2.1 Have information ready for the client 49
2.2 Always visit the premises 49
2.3 Estimating and quoting techniques 50
3.Pricing 51
3.1 Charging by the hour 51
3.2 Charging per job 52
3.3 Charging on commission 52
3.4 Markup procedure 52
4. Tenders and Bidding on Contracts 53
x Start & run a home cleaning business
5. Save Money for Your Client; Save Time for You 53
6. Forms of Payment 54
7 GOING SOLO 61
1. Do You Want to Go Solo? 61
2. Research, Research, Research 62
3. Strategic Planning 63
3.1 Marketing plan: What advertising will you need to do? 63
3.2 Production plan: What tools of the trade will you need to be ready to “spring” into action? 64
3.3 Cash/Profit plan 65
3.4 Financial plan: How much money do you want to make? 67
3.5 Time plan: How much time are you going to use to generate income? 68
3.6 Human resources plan: What will you do if you get sick or injured? 69
3.7 Succession plan: What to do when it’s time to leave the business 70
8 GOING INTO LABOR: YOUR HIRING AND STAFFING NEEDS 71
1. Your Goals for Hiring 71
2. Analyze Your Staffing Needs 72
2.1 Who is your ideal worker? 72
2.2 Attracting your staff 72
3. Break Down What the Employee Must Do 72
4. Interviewing 74
4.1 Where 74
4.2 The application form 74
4.3 What you need to know 74
4.4 Designing your interview questions 78
4.5 The interview 78
5. The Trial Period 79
6. Uniforms 81
7. Legal Requirements 85
7.1 Know what’s required 85
7.2 Notify the tax department 86
7.3 Other requirements 86
Contents xi
7.4 Additional steps to take 86
8. Benefits and Incentives 86
9. Termination of Staff 87
9 TRAINING: MAKING IT FUN AND INFORMATIVE 90
1. “Fun”damentals 90
2. Setting Up a Training Facility 90
3. Meeting Company Standards 92
3.1 Encourage employees to learn by doing 92
3.2 Try to keep it simple 93
4. Tips for the Trainer 95
4.1 Tell or describe the task in detail 95
4.2 Show or demonstrate how the task is done 95
4.3 Have each employee try the task 96
4.4 Observe the trainee’s performance 96
4.5 Praise the employee or offer redirection 96
5. Incentives 97
6. Scheduling 100
6.1 Balancing different needs 100
7. Injury and First Aid 102
8. Breakage 102
10 CLIENTS AND HOW TO KEEP THEM 103
1. Meeting with the Client 103
1.1 Appearance and grooming 103
1.2 Turn on the charm 104
2. Good Clients and Bad Clients 105
3. Saying Goodbye or Withdrawing Services from a Client 105
4. New Clients: When to Say No 107
5. Special Concerns 107
5.1 Children 108
5.2 Tradespeople 108
5.3 Damages 108
5.4 Valuables 108
5.5 Breakage 108
xii Start & run a home cleaning business
5.6 Running out of product 109
5.7 Inadequate client equipment 109
6. Security 109
7. Special Services 110
7.1 One-time or seasonal jobs 110
7.2 Assisting personal domestics 110
7.3 Pet sitting 111
11 THE DAILY RUN 113
1. How It All Comes Together 113
2. Keep Your Staff up to Date 114
3. Handling Complaints 114
12 CLEANING “FUN”DAMENTALS 118
1. Cleaning Tips 118
2. Cleaning Tips for Your Clients 121
3. Tips for Home-Cleaning Teams 121
4. Tips for Window Washing 124
5. Tips for Wall Washing 124
6. Tips for Cleaning New Building Projects 124
7. Tips for Cleaning Offices 126
8. Know Your Products 126
9. Inventory Control 128
9.1 JIT inventory 128
9.2 Labeling your bottles 128
10. Product Safety 129
13 QUALITY CONTROL 130
1. Make One Staff Member Responsible for Each Job 130
2. Adjust Work and Team Schedules 130
3. Your Collections Policy 133
4. Client Problems 135
5. Employee Theft 135
6. Be Available for Clients 135
Contents xiii
14 SERVICES FOR DOWNSIZING HOMEOWNERS AND
ESTATE CLEANUPS 137
1. A New Market 137
2. Services You Can Offer to Downsizing Homeowners 137
3. Estate Cleanups 138
4. Disposal of Household Chemicals 138
5. Pricing 139
6. Growing Your Business 139
15 YOU’RE ON YOUR WAY 140
CHECKLIST
1 Final Walk-Through 131
FORMS
1 Calculating a Residential Quote 55
2 Calculating a Commercial Quote 58
3 Employee Application Form 76
4 Pet-Sitting Estimate and Waiver 112
5 Quality Control Card 132
6 Quality Control Diary 134
SAMPLES
1 Start-up Costs 26
2 Cash Flow Forecast 28
3 Receipts and Disbursements Journal 37
4 Your Advertising Message 42
5 Trade Show Contest Ballot 44
6 Invoice 60
7 Bulletin Board Advertisement for Employees 73
8 Job Description 75
9 Interview Guide 80
10 Questions for Prospective Employees 82
11 Employment Agreement 83
12 Termination Letter 89
13 Training Agenda and Memo 91
14 The Lighter Side of Training 94
15 Training Program Guidelines 98
16 Training Certificate 99
17 Availability List 100
18 Calendar/Schedule 101
19 Introductory Letter to Clients 106
20 Daily Run Sheet 115
21 Client Record System 116
22 Clean Your Way from Top to Bottom 119
23 Office Floor Plan 127
WORKSHEETS
1 Determine Your Wants and Needs 3
2 Building Blocks — Know Yourself 4
3 What Type of Services Should I Offer? 6
4 Your Competition 11
5 My Goals for My Business 23
6 Steps to Achieve My Goals 24
7 Timing Your Cleaning Tasks 31

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