Author Topic: Starting a cleaning business  (Read 481 times)

wbsneed

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Starting a cleaning business
« on: September 24, 2018, 01:12:07 PM »
Hello all,

This is my first ever post. I've been reading around for a few days, and that has bolstered my idea to start a cleaning business. I've thought about this off and on for a few months, and see no real drawbacks. I work full-time as a cop in Central TX, just for anyone's curiosity. My job allows me a good bit of time to send emails, set up scheduling, etc. I also have a sister-in-law who I can trust to help me get this off the ground without doing 100% of the work myself. My goal is to start the business and eventually hire 5 or so cleaners to do the labor.

I'm posting because I don't know what my first step ought to be. Do I have to be licensed or bonded? What about insurance? I'm hoping that I can build enough of a client base while working on the weekend or after 5pm, because I need to keep my day job. I have been told to develop a business plan, but what else needs to happen right now?

Many thanks in advance
*(Sorry for the double post!)
« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 01:31:31 PM by wbsneed »

scantee

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Re: Starting a cleaning business
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2018, 01:51:27 PM »
Consider that the labor market is very tight right now. Particularly at the low wage end (which is what I assume you’ll be paying your cleaners) there is a ton of demand and not nearly enough supply. How will you compete with other employers of low wage workers? Will you have good benefits, flexible schedule, higher than expected pay? If you dont plan on distinguishing your business in any way then plan for high turnover.

I think these are the issues you need to be thinking through as you mull this idea over. A few years back it was all the rage for people to start service businesses with the thought that labor is cheap but business acumen is in short supply. Well business acumen may still be in short supply but labor is no longer as cheap. Paradoxically, it may be that a service business like this is not as great of a side hustle when the economy is doing well. A labor environment like we are in now likely preferences larger established businesses that have experience attracting and retaining employees (ie not side hustles put together n the fly).

wbsneed

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Re: Starting a cleaning business
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2018, 02:01:19 PM »
I don't know enough about it to answer all of that. Higher than expected pay would be my target; the city I live in has a fairly low median income, and there is no big name maid service around. I was wanting to put one in place designed by myself, not the franchise route.

Understandable concerns though, and thanks for bringing them up to me.

hops

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Re: Starting a cleaning business
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2018, 07:34:36 AM »
If you dont plan on distinguishing your business in any way then plan for high turnover.

The turnover at a handful of cleaning companies in my city is so relentless that the owners get heckled now on sites like Facebook, Craigslist and Nextdoor when their "positions available" ads reappear.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Starting a cleaning business
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2018, 07:58:18 AM »
well, in general you should probably talk to an accountant to pick the right business structure. They can also probably get you up to speed on payroll costs, workers comp ect other costs that would need to be baked into an hourly rate.

Then go get a business license.

You want insurance to protect yourself, but you are not legally required to carry it. Your customers may want you to have certain minimums.

Bonding is expensive and usually not required in the private sector, at least where I am.

is the sister  in law a co owner or just an employee?

wbsneed

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Re: Starting a cleaning business
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2018, 09:48:08 AM »
SIL would be an employee, manager type. I wasn't too worried about turnover until being informed on here how problematic that could be. A possible fix for this is already built in to my potential business environment...other have mentioned that there are a handful of cleaning businesses that suffer from high turnover - but there are not any standing cleaning businesses here. No big name maid services, only a few word of mouth type ladies who run a one man shop. Would offering a decent wage combat this issue? I think it would.

CareCPA

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Re: Starting a cleaning business
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2018, 09:58:44 AM »
So to recap:
1. No big name cleaning company.
2. City with low median income.
3. You plan to pay higher than average wages to decrease turnover.

In a low median income area, are people willing to pay to have their house cleaned? Maybe this is the reason there is no big name.
If there is demand, what are they willing to pay? Is this enough to afford higher than average wages?

I would test demand in your market before getting in too deep. Do the cleaning yourself/SIL, until you know if there is enough demand to have to hire people. It may be that the market is not willing to pay the amount that you need in order to afford employees.

The next step is to find your first customer. I would risk running without insurance, bonding, etc until I knew there would be revenue to support the business.

wbsneed

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Re: Starting a cleaning business
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2018, 12:41:06 PM »
CareCPA,

Thanks for the input.
I'd assume that median income isn't a great register for the likelihood of homeowners to pay for house cleaning/business owners for business cleaning. Those that can afford it might consider it, those that can't afford it obviously won't consider. I agree that I'll have to start out with the work myself on weekends and after business hours, for the most part, until I can see if it's a Go or No-Go.

I do appreciate the help