How to Start a Cleaning Business – Bootstraps

If you are tired of working for a boss and want to be the boss then this is for you!!

One of the easiest businesses to start from “bootstraps” is a cleaning business. All you need is to make some contacts with property management companies or commercial businesses who use cleaning contractors on a regular basis, a business plan and some basic equipment to start.

The first thing you need to do is to prepare a business plan. Click here for A Free Business Plan Template. This template can be adjusted to suit any business you wish to start, and is the one I used to get my business plan prepared.

When I started in cleaning my niche was end of tenancy rental properties and properties going on the market. I also cleaned for some social housing services. These were the hardest to clean, but also brought in the best income. I would clean one property over a day or two and make enough income for a week! These were also the best payers!

The beauty of a cleaning business is that it takes minimal costs to set up and the costs to run it are also very low. Here is a list of items you will need:

    1. Vacuum Cleaner. Get a good, hard working vacuum cleaner.


  1. Steam Cleaner. A steam cleaner is a must have, and if you can find one that has a wand which is easy to hold up for cleaning ceilings and walls, you will be set!

  2. Step ladder. You will need a good one which will hold your weight and also be safe to use for difficult to reach places, but not too high that you risk a fall. I got mine from a local general hardware store.
  3. Cleaning agents. Initially I bought cleaning products from a local supplier, and I loved them. You will need to find what works for you. So my suggestion would be to look at what works best for you. Don’t buy anything from the supermarket because the cleaning agents are super expensive and don’t to have as good a job as those purposed for big cleaning jobs. It actually all depends on what kind of cleaning you are going to do – more on that below.
  4. Cleaning cloths and magic sponges. I prefer microfiber cloths, but the old fashioned cloth nappies actually do a brilliant job too! Magic sponges will change your life. They are amazing for scuff marks and even stubborn lime in the shower.

  5. Oven Cleaner. A good commercial oven cleaner is your best friend. The cheap supermarket bought ones don’t do nearly as good a job and end up costing more in the long run.

  6. Gloves.  You need a good quality glove to protect your skin from the chemicals you use.  There are a lot of gloves to choose from but I only recommend the black Nitrile gloves.  They are the best for cleaning and honestly last long enough for a whole house clean without having to be changed.  They don’t break easily and the provide sufficient protection for your skin.

When I bought all this it cost me an initial $500.00 and that was it – I was ready to start cleaning!

Once you have your business plan, start to talk to property managers, real estate agents, social housing corporations and housing complexes or high rise blocks of flats/apartments. They are all on the look-out for professional cleaners. I actually did all this while still working full time, and took leave to begin my marketing to local property businesses.  I made use of all my contacts, and I was very clear that it was not my goal to be the cheapest.  It was my intention to provide an excellent cleaning service, at competitive rates, but not the cheapest.  Cheap means poor quality, and I intended to start as I intended to finish.

The other option to get clients is to place an advert in some local publications or local facebook pages or on any site that is free. You may need to charge less for regular on-going work, which will not require as much elbow grease or cleaning products.

If you want to know more about how to price your services read on…

Pricing is all important and you want to see what your competitors in your niche of the market are charging, and try to work out what the market will bear. In my experience, you will find that there are those people who want your service but are only willing to pay a fraction of what it is worth. Cull them from your business! They are not clients you want! To be totally honest, my best clients were the ones who wanted a whole house cleaned – these were real estate agents or home owner who wanted to put their property on the market.

I also took “before and after” photos. This set me apart from other cleaners in the industry and was a sought after service. I used an iphone6+, the photo layout app, the pdf converter app and then the pdf optimizer app. Seems like a lot, but once I had the hang of it, sending the before and after photos was super easy.

I started a facebook page and, without much advertising expense, got my name out there.

Good luck with your new venture, you can do it!!

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