So, you are looking to start your own cleaning business?
I’m Emma Selby and I am the founder of SiGNAL, a business enterprise park, and training centre dedicated to helping people achieve their dream of a successful small business.
Since we launched SiGNAL almost 5 years ago, we have helped numerous people set up and run their businesses, and we’ve provided workspaces for several of them here at SiGNAL as well.
Why do people want to set up their own cleaning businesses?
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, many people have been re-evaluating their lives and making choices that allow them the flexibility of deciding when and how they would like to work. Working around the demands of a family and positively impacting your own and other people’s lives are a great incentive.
Starting a cleaning business is inexpensive and you can easily have clients within hours of launching. It’s also fantastic for cash flow because you get paid at each job or even in advance of the appointments.
Whatever your motivation for starting a cleaning business, there are a number of things you need to think about to give it the best chance of success.
You will find our business-plan template useful. We've designed it specifically for people like you starting up a new business and it asks you lots of relevant questions to help you think through a robust business plan. Download a copy here today.
3 important first steps to setting up a cleaning business
- Market research
The first and most important thing a new business owner must do is market research.
It's essential to understand whether there's a demand for your services, how much people pay in your area, who your competition is, and whether your business is viable in your locality.
There are choices to be made at the beginning that will really affect your business plan. For example, will your clients be domestic or commercial? Who is already offering that service in your area? Is the market big enough in your area? Will you specialise (e.g., end-of-tenancy cleaning)?
There are a lot of cost and profitability implications within this decision. If you plan to work for domestic customers, you may only need to invest in a few essential items such as cleaning chemicals, mops, and microfibre cloths. However, you will need to understand the range within which you will be happy to travel. As fuel costs rise, the cost of travel will be an even more significant factor in your profitability. You will also need to factor in the time traveling between jobs as time is money. Other costs associated with running a vehicle will need to be taken into consideration.
Cleaning companies for commercial customers will need to think about hours of work as many companies will want cleaning outside of normal working hours. This may impact childcare arrangements or other commitments.
As your cleaning company grows and you get the opportunity to come off the tools and into a more managerial role, you may reach the point that you require a desk or an office to work from. When you reach that stage then we can cater for that here at SiGNAL. Contact one of the team of see what space we currently have available here
Branding is so important because it can make a memorable impression on your customers, and it can also allow your customers to know what to expect from your company. It is a way of distinguishing yourself from the competitors and clarifying what it is you offer that makes you the better choice. Your brand is built to be a true representation of who you are as a business, and how you wish to be perceived.
Through your market research, you should have a good idea of what customers in your area you are most likely to engage with. Are they interested in similar types of services? Do they have any more unusual requests where your flexibility and discretion may be required? For example, we have had many cleaning businesses take offices with us over the years, including a registered crime scene/forensic cleaner.
If you plan to run your business in a more affluent area, you may want to focus your marketing on busy professionals, who are more likely to be able to have disposable funds to give them more time back in their day.
Customers are attracted to brands that share messages that resonate with them. By understanding your customer, you can develop a brand that really appeals to them, not just in terms of the services you offer but also imagery and language you use in branding materials.
Another important factor with branding is that it also needs to reflect your pricing. A flyer produced on a flimsy piece of paper using free stock imagery for a luxury service with a price tag to match doesn't reflect the service and quality customers should expect. On the other end of the scale, however, an affordable service that is branded as being exclusive and high-end could confuse your target customers.
If you're just starting up, it's well worth speaking to a brand specialist about how to align your branding with your target customers and the services you offer.
We use a great design agency called Brandstorm who have their offices at SIGNAL.
- Business know-how
There's more to running a cleaning business than having the right equipment. While some courses include some business know-how, such as having the right insurance, most don't teach you how to run a business.
If you're changing careers, you may have relevant transferrable skills that will help you with the day-to-day aspects of being a business owner. However, do you have all the skills you need to make a success of the business?
It's well worth investing in your business acumen to give yourself the best chance of making a good living. There are various ways you can get training, for example, online courses, run by Udemy or the Open University, Adult Ed, or through the local council. Here At SiGNAL, we run a number of training courses for business owners, and we can also point you in the direction of many other local training providers. We also have a great number of online resources HERE much like the business plan template you’ve downloaded here.
These 3 steps are just for starters! But if you explore these first, you'll get a better understanding of what you need to do to be a successful business owner and the next steps will start to fall into place.
If you’d like to talk to me personally about starting your business in Bordon, why not book in for a chat here - I can give you some good pointers and get you started up as soon as possible! Book me here