Accidents happen, right? I know you don’t really want to admit it….But they do. That is why you carry car insurance, health insurance and house insurance. So why would you not carry insurance for your cleaning business?
You could get into a car accident on the way to a clients home. An employee could spill a harsh cleaner on a clients wood floor and ruin it. Or they could be stepping on a ladder dusting a high area and fall. You could be vacuuming and back up into a table holding a very expensive vase that cost more than your car!
If you don’t carry the right kind of insurance, you could be financially responsible for injury or property damage caused by your cleaning service. Here is a list of the different types of insurances you should carry and how they protect your client, your employees and yourself.
TYPES OF INSURANCE FOR YOUR CLEANING BUSINESS
If you are driving your own car, make sure you contact your current insurance provider. You will want to verify that you are covered traveling between cleaning jobs. Not all personal car insurance will cover accidents which happen during business operations.
If you are purchasing company cars and having employees driving, you will 100% need to obtain coverage for the vehicle and for your employee’s. Having a business specific car insurance coverage will help to cover the costs of any damage your business is found to be liable for during a car accident, up to your plans limits.
GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE
Business liability insurance is coverage that protects your companies assets and pays for liabilities incurred because of business operations. What that means for you as a Cleaning Business Owner is it will cover costs for damage you or your employees caused while cleaning your clients house, up to your plans limits. You will want it if something breaks or is damaged.
When cleaning multiple homes a day you and your employees will come across many different surfaces and valuables. Using the wrong cleaner or materials can damage your clients property. You will not want to be in a situation that your business is liable for damage and you can not afford to fix it. You will certainly loose that client. But on top of that they will tell all of their friends, co-workers and family members not to use your service.
Your clients will understand that accidents happen. But what will make you more credible and stand out from all the others is how you handle mistakes. And if you are not properly insured to pay the cost to correct damage to your clients property you will quickly develop a bad name for your business.
Carrying Bonding Insurance (or being Bonded) will help keep you credible and build trust with clients. It is This will help cover costs for any fraudulent activities like theft, up to the amount of the bond.
What it means for you is that if an employee commits theft inside a clients home, after a claim gets filed and proven liable, the bonding company will cover the amount of the loss. This type of insurance is very standard for the cleaning and janitorial industry as well as,
This will cover costs of injuries to your employees while they are working.
So now you know what types of insurance is out there for your cleaning business. Here are the reasons why you need liability insurance when you start a cleaning business.
WHY YOUR CLEANING BUSINESS NEEDS INSURANCE
1. Stand out above the other ‘so-called’ cleaning companies
It is so easy to start a cleaning service. Many people will start with the cleaning supplies they have at their home, obtain a client and start cleaning homes. I have come across more ‘companies’ like this. They are not a ‘REAL’ business… they don’t register a business with their state, they don’t pay taxes (another topic for another day), they take cash under the table, and they don’t carry insurance. You will prove yourself a credible business when you can say you carry Business Insurance. Which leads me to reason #2!
2. Use it as a selling point
I can’t tell you how many contracts we received over other companies because we carried liability insurance. Customers loved hearing that they were protected if we damaged their property or if our employees were dishonest. You can justify your price point (I hope your not under bidding your competition, you’ll never profit successfully!) if you have insurance and Susie House Cleaner does not, you will more likely land the job.
As you are growing your client base and meeting new clients (psst…here’s some awesome low cost ways to grow your client base!) , they will not know you a part from the next stranger on the street. So telling them that you are insured, can give them piece of mind, build trust and assure then that you are a responsible business owner and can protect their stuff….which leads to point #3
3. Protect yourself
I am sure you started your cleaning business to make money…am I right??? Carrying insurance will help you to protect your assets. If you don’t carry the proper insurance when your cleaning business is liable for damages, you can be held liable. You don’t want to work hard at growing your business just to loose it.
Where to Get Cleaning Business Insurance
Now that I have talked you into getting Insurance for your Cleaning Business you need to go out and get some! You will want to get 3 quotes (like you would for your car insurance). I recommend starting with your car insurance company. You already have a working relationship with them, and you may even get a discount for carrying both personal and business insurance with them.
Next I would visit a local Insurance broker. Brokers will reach out to several different insurance agencies to get the best price and coverage for you. They will create a package for your insurance needs. When you are carrying different types of insurances and using different agencies, it will be easier to funnel all through one broker.
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Most people don’t like to clean. We live crazy, busy lives now a days and in most families, both parents work. Cleaning generally gets thrown to the bottom of the to-do list!
That’s where you could step in. For a few hundred dollars a month, lots of middle class families are hiring maid services to meet their cleaning needs. They keep up on the clutter, and you come in weekly or every other week and clean the big stuff like bathrooms, dusting, mopping… you name it.
And the awesome thing is, it takes very little effort and very little money to start your very own cleaning business. That’s right, you could easily start a cleaning business in a day…that’s ONE DAY.
The cleaning industry is a very low entry, easy access market. With little financial start up costs and licensing requirements, virtually anyone can start a cleaning business. In fact when I started grad school I started a cleaning business as a fun project and hobby. But figured out how lucrative the cleaning industry could actually be!
I have created a step by step guide to help you in starting your own cleaning business.
How to Start a Cleaning Business
1. Business Plan
Your business plan is like your road map. You need to have a documented focus so you know where to go. Without you will become lost.
At the bare minimum, your business plan should answer the basic who, what, where, when and how of your business functions. This will allow you to clearly define and be consistent with your services.
When you continue to grow and evolve with the ever changing markets and needs of your customers you can reevaluate.
- Who will you serve. You need to designate who will be your target market. Will it be higher income families or middle income families?
- What services will you offer? Will you offer continual residential continual services or 1 time foreclosure cleans.
- Where will you service? Will you service your local neighborhoods? A local city or metropolitan area?
- When will your hours of operation be? Will you clean Monday – Friday, 8am – 4pm? Will you include weekends?
- How will you run your business? Will you hire employee’s? Will you clean with 1, 2, or 3 person teams? What kind of equipment will you use (and subsequently need)? Will you use green cleaning or traditional cleaning supplies?
2. Pick a name
This part can be fun. You can get creative here. But keep in mine, your name should clearly define what your business does.
Start with the core key words of Maid, Cleaning & Service. Put that at the top of a sheet of paper and start writing as many adjectives and adverbs that will describe your company and describe what makes your company stand out.
3. Choose your business structure and file your name.
A business structure is the type of legal structure your company operates as. The type of structure you choose will determine what type of tax return forms you will need to file.
The different types of structures include sole-proprietor, partnerships, Corporation, S-Corporation, or Limited Liability Corporation. Each have their own tax advantages based on your business type, liability and size. It is extremely important to educate yourself on the different structures and how taxes are paid and filed with each. You should ALWAYS consult with a tax professional who is familiar with your situation.
Start with whom ever prepares your taxes. They will be familiar with your personal tax situation and can lead you in the right direction for your needs.
For information on choosing a Business Structure check out the following sites.
Once you have chosen your business structure you will need to file your name with your state. To save money you can file one your own. Or your CPA can assist you in filing. Registration requirements vary by state. Be sure to check with yours to make sure you are compliant. Fund your state here. To see what your state requires for business set up
4. Apply for an EIN.
An EIN is an Employers Identification Number. It is a tax ID number to identify employers and certain businesses. This is an important number, if it is not required for your business entity, you will need it if and when you hire employees.
To apply for an EIN you will need to file a SS-4 with the IRS.
It is free and simple to apply, so I highly recommend doing it now.
You can apply online (I highly recommend this option!), by fax, snail mail, or phone. The IRS has information on the options of filing here.
To apply online you only need to be a business operating in the US. And as the owner you have to hold your own
5. Get a Business License
The good news is there are no Federal Licensing requirements to start a cleaning business, Yeah!. (Another reason the cleaning industry is so easy to jump into!) BUT, some states and/or local municipality may require a business or occupational license to conduct business in your area.
A business license (also called an occupational license) is basically a permit that allows you to conduct business in your local jurisdiction. When you apply and are approved, you will be authorized to conduct your business in the specified geographical area.
For instance the city municipality in my area requires what they call a ‘Business Tax’. It is their version of an occupational license. For a residential cleaning company the ‘ta’ is $50. Which really is not very much.
Not sure if your area requires a business license? The easiest way to know, is to call your local municipality and ask. That is what I did. It was a 5 minute call between wait time and conversation.
The SBA is a world of training and information. Visit this page —–> SBA.gov to find your state and search licensing requirements. Not all states and municipalities require this, and if they do the costs are minimal. But it is very important that you verify the information. You could be liable for fines in the future if you do not comply with your states and local municipalities requirements.
7. Get Business Insurance and/or Bonding
Accidents happen, we don’t like to admit it, but they do! In the cleaning industry we clean many different surfaces and around lots of possible break-a-bles that you’ll want to make sure you will not be liable to repair or replace any of that damage. That is why insurance is a very important piece of your cleaning business. When you first start a cleaning business, it may seems easy to cut costs and/or corners by not obtaining insurance, but it can really cost you in the end.
I remember thinking insurance was going to be this HUGE expense…..in fact I was really nervous about this step, that I put it off to the very end. But once I called around for quotes I realized it really wasn’t! Insurance is based on your business volume and payroll amount. So if you are starting out with just yourself, you will not be spending thousands or even hundreds of dollars of insurance. My first monthly premium cost to insure myself was about $30/month!
Insurance is so important for your small business, I dive into how it can help your company stand out and protect you from costly mistakes. Read all about it here —–> 5 Reasons to insure your cleaning business
To get insurance, always get multiple quotes. It is similar to shopping around for car insurance. In fact I recommend that you start with your car insurance company. You already have a relationship with them, and sometimes you can get a discount with bundling with your car insurance.
Other good sources to shop for liability insurance is through a local insurance broker. I ended up using a local broker when I started my company. I gave them the coverage I wanted and they shopped around for the best deal. And so, they ended up coming in lower than my car insurance provider did.
Well that is it! Now you can market your services and get your first client…which you can learn how to here —–> Growing your Cleaning Business …. and you will be on your way to success.
You are never alone and I am here to help. If you ever have any questions drop me an email and I will be glad to help guide you in the right direction. I have been there and I have lived through it! I know what you are going through 🙂
Starting a cleaning business is a low cost, low entry business to start. With that comes a flood of entrants trying to take advantage of the same opportunity. Seeing that competition can be intimidating. Making growing your cleaning business seem overwhelming and impossible.
To stand out from the competition you have to think out side of the box and get a bit creative.
Growing your cleaning business with low to no budget.
Brand your Car
At first, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a vehicle wrap for your car. (Though it will be something you want to add down the road when you have more revenue.) You can purchase vinyl lettering at Wal-Mart or craft store. Put your ‘Companies Name’, indicate ‘Residential Cleaning Service’, and your ‘Phone Number’.
Every time you pick up your kids from school all those parents in the car rider lot will see your vehicle, there are 180 days in a school year. Times that by 2 (for drop off and pick up), that is 360 potential impressions per parent!
Or each time you clean a home, that clients neighbors will see your vehicle. The longer they see your car parked in their drive way the same time, every other Wednesday at 9:00 am the more likely they will call. They will see that you are reliable (because they see your vehicle the same time), and you obviously do a stellar job because your client keeps having you come back.
Because you have your companies name plastered to your vehicle, be sure to always act accordingly. Remember everyone you drive past, may be a potential client. Drive politely. Don’t cut any one off. No road rage, and for heavens sake don’t give anyone the bird!
Another rule of thumb. If you are a smoker, don’t smoke in your car! You would not smoke in your office, so don’t smoke in your vehicle. There are several reasons why, but for this post I will just say because of the whole image. With the whole air quality and sanitation phase, most home owners do not want to hire smokers. So if you do happen to be a smoker, try to keep it out of your vehicle for the sake of your image.
My first 2 clients (I considered them my first, because they were complete strangers!) were obtained this way! Best $20 I had ever spent. One was a bi-weekly clean at $145 for 2.5 years, that was $9,425 in revenue off of a $20 investment. Not too shabby!
Join local Facebook groups
Local Facebook groups are a great way to get your name in front of a large group of potential customers. To find local groups on Facebook, type in your city’s name in the search bar. Choose groups similar to services offered, swap shops, parent related groups, realtor groups, and any neighborhood groups you want to service.
Once you join, don’t over populate the feed with advertising. This makes you look desperate and pushy. Instead create a strategy to add value to the group. It is OK to introduce yourself and service when you first join, but after that try not to post advertisements.
The best marketing strategy with these groups is to respond to cleaning needs, contribute to discussions with helpful, professional and friendly content. You want to be seen as a expert in the cleaning field. Someone who provides valuable services, and not as a pushy used car salesman!
You will find others offering cleaning service, so you will have to make sure to stand out (in a good way!). Rules to follow to preserve your brand is to always be professional. Don’t fall into the trap of negative posts, be personable but don’t divulge your dirty laundry.
It is important to build relationships with members. If they respect and grow to trust you, they will be more likely to refer clients your way or higher you in the future….even better 🙂
I have seen small business owners post about their services, only to post a few days later about the lady driving a Blue Ford Focus who cut them off on Hwy 301 Tuesday afternoon at 3:00. That kind of post may elicit more response, but it is not going to make you look like a professional business owner.
Donate to local organizations
Community service is a great way to spread the work about your company. Silent auctions are a lucrative and popular way that local organizations/groups fund raise. Donating a 3 hour cleaning would only cost you your time. You will help. You will gain cleaning experience, a potential client, reference, and referral.
The people that purchase these gift certificates have the need for cleaning help, and usually are tied to the organization in one way shape or form. Which means they will be supper gracious to you for offering up your services to help support that group.
There are several ways to find these opportunities. You can utilize the Facebook groups. Contact churches or schools directly letting them know you would be happy to help support their group.
Donations are not only good PR, but it also helps get the word out about your service. Most all groups accept certificates, and only a few were even redeemed. You will gain more positive exposure commenting on these announcements as a reputable company willing to help and donate back to the community.
Join and network with your kids PTO/PTA
PTO’s are constantly looking for volunteers and donations. You can support your child’s school and promote and grow your cleaning business. There are so many different avenues you can take with this. I wish I would have implemented this with my cleaning business. There is something uplifting about helping the community!
Teacher appreciation is huge in schools, with budget cuts and stagnant salaries schools welcome any support they can give their teachers. Offer 1 free cleaning to the teacher of the month. Or better yet if there is no teacher of the month program you can spearhead it and put your cleaning company’s name as the sponsor of the program. Teachers put in a lot of time and effort into our kids so pampering gifts, such as a sparkling clean home, is always much appreciated.
Other ways to support your school include purchasing an ad space in the school newsletter or sponsor level, donate raffle items for silent auctions, provide the ‘clean up crew’ for after hours school events, set up a table/sponsor a game at any school carnivals. You can get really creative with this so think out side of the box!
Offer Discounted Services to Friends and Family
I did this when I first started my business. I only promoted it on Facebook, but knowing what I know know, I would have utilized my email list as well. Tell all of your family and friends of your newest business venture.
Do them a favor by offering a free service in return, ask for a review and to use them as a referral. This is a sure way to build your reference list and a review base to add to marketing material. Plus you will prove your value, so they will be that more likely to refer you to people they know….See how every one wins!
Reach out to local Real Estate agents
Realtors work with home buyers. At a sale, a good realtor will give a gift to the new home buyer, welcoming them into their new home. What better gift than a move in clean! (From your company, of-course!)
Another way to service a realtor is buy offering cleaning services for house showings. It is no secrete that a clean home shows better and a home that shows better sells better! If a home seller does not have a house cleaner, their realtor could recommend bringing in your company!
Working for realtors can help keep you busy, plus build more repeat clients. They meet and work with a lot of home owners. Make their life easier and help them sell more houses and they will keep you in mind when their clients need your services.
Obtain a new home purchased list.
New home buyers are usually new to the area. They don’t already have a cleaning service and probably in the market for one. Put together a fun letter, or post card if you have the budget, and mail it to the address.
Make sure to talk about all the awesome ways you will make their life better. What value do you bring them? What makes your company better than the next? Offer them their first cleaning free! Or if you have a few extra dollars, throw in a free $50 Bed Bath and Beyond gift card so they can pick out something fun for their new house!
Get creative, be causal, be fun and be professional.
How do you find newly purchased homes in your desired neighborhoods? Visit realtor.com type in a zip code you want to service and search. It will then populate a list of homes, with street addresses, of recently sold homes, by date.
Now try it! Write down 2 ways you can promote your business this month at your child’s school and implement them!
A few things to keep in mind when growing your cleaning business. Always, always, (sorry I have to say it again) ALWAYS present yourself in a professional manner. This will help you stand above 80% of the so called cleaning businesses out there.
You don’t have to spend a lot, or have a huge budget to market your business in the beginning. Now get out there and implement these low cost steps. You have nothing to loose and only new clients to gain!!!
Let me know what works for you and how many clients you can grow you company with!
You have 2 days to squeeze in soccer games, ballet classes, grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning your house date night, family game night…and if you manage it, sleeping in and free time. Working all week hardly leaves much time for house work and memory making family time. Spend more time doing the latter and less on cleaning. With the right system and the right tools there is no need to spend all day cleaning your home. So how do you start cleaning efficiently?
The most important thing with cleaning efficiently is to have a plan, move sequentially with your steps. Don’t waste extra time and steps going back over surfaces or grabbing supplies from another room. Cleaning should flow from one surface to the next and one room to the next.
When I owned my cleaning business, we used this process every time with no deviation. We were able to clean a 3000 square foot home, with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms in 2 hours and 45 minutes.
An efficient home cleaning system will maximize your steps (you should never clean the same surface twice) and maximize your cleaners cleaning power (let your cleaner work for you!).
5 Rules to cleaning efficiently
Have your cleaner and tools in reaching distance. Wear an apron or carry a bucket. Don’t waste time looking for a cleaner or wasting steps to get a tool.
- Avoid having to clean an area more than once. Always clean from top to bottom. Gravity is real, dust and debris will fall onto area’s already cleaned.
- Limit the amount of steps you take. To maximize your steps, clean left to right. You will make a complete circle around the room never wasting a step.
- Use the right tools for the right job. Use tougher tools for tougher jobs. For example, use razor blades to scrap off stuck on grime.
- Let your cleaner work for you. Let your cleaner work. Most cleaners need to sit on surfaces to penetrate grime. Let them and you will scrub less.
The more you adapt to the cleaning process the faster you will become! Cleaning efficiently has become a game for me. Each time I clean, I try to achieve more efficient bench marks. My husband laughs at me because I will wear my fitbit to count my steps. I get excited when I can finish cleaning my entire house in less than 2000 steps!
Next time you clean your house wear a step counter, most newer smart phone can count your steps, and record how many you take. As you start getting less steps you’ll know that your efficiency is improving. And that just means more time to do the things you actually love!
The Cleaning System –
- Remove rugs, shake debris off and set to the side. Vacuum the floor. It is easier to vacuum 1st before the floor gets wet. After that it is nearly impossible.
- Clean the vanity, wiping with your right hand (or left, which ever is your dominant) and lifting contents with your left hand. Try to avoid removing every thing and having to place it back. It wastes extra time and steps.
- Sanitize and clean the toilet.
- Scrub the tub and the shower. Make sure your cleaner has time to soak on the surfaces. Soap scum will clean off easier with minimal scrubbing required.
- Mop the Floor. Start in the farthest corner of the bathroom and mop your way out of the door.
- Moving from the bathroom, dust from left to right, top to bottom of the room. Long dusting first and then follow with short dusting.
- Vacuum starting from the furthest corner of the room and making your way out the door.
- Attack these bathrooms in the same progression as the master bathro. They are smaller and will take a third of the time.
- Start in the children/guest bedrooms. Dusting from the left of the door, long dust and follow with a short dust.
- Dust the living room, family room, den, and any other remaining rooms. Use the same dusting pattern, left to right and top to bottom.
- Starting left of the kitchen sink, wipe down the counters and any appliances and cabinet faces you pass by. Wipe with the same process as in the bathrooms, lift with your dominant hand and wipe with your other. Wipe all debris to the floor, you will vacuum them up.
- Wipe the face of the refrigerator, stove top and inside of the microwave when you pass.
- Finish the kitchen with the sink.
Vacuum and mop
- Starting in the farthest bedroom vacuum your way to the kitchen.
I want to hear from you!
Let me know how you did! Track your steps and you time and comment below.
Do you have any tips on how you improve your cleaning efficiency? Let me know, I love hearing other ideas to improve upon my own process!