Most new house cleaning companies make these common mistakes. Anyone can start a House Cleaning Business. But not everyone can be successful at it. Having a house cleaning business is so much more than driving to someone’s house and cleaning. There are planning and careful considerations that have to go into it first. Here are the top mistakes new house cleaning companies make and prevent them from making money.
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Mistake #1 New House Cleaning Companies Make.
Not Charging Enough for Cleaning Services
Of all the mistakes new house cleaning companies make, not charging enough is the one I see the most. This mistake can cost you your business by eating away at your profits. It may be tempting to underbid the next solo-prenuer who has little to no overhead so that you can gain more clients. This is especially easy to fall prey to when you are first starting out and wanting to grow your customer base. While this seems tempting to increase your client base, it will most certainly decrease your profits!!!!
Cover your expenses
1st let’s start with a little accounting lesson. Profits (Your salary) = Revenue (sales) – Expenses (payroll, gas, supplies).
Your expenses will be higher than Susie Solo-prenuer House Cleaner.
- She doesn’t have employees to pay
- She uses her clients cleaning supplies and equipment
- She does not have business insurance.
All of which set you apart from her and ADD value to the service you offer. She may charge $75 to clean a house, whereas you may charge $120 for the same house. This is because it costs you $60 just to provide the service (because you have business insurance, own your own equipment and supplies, and possibly have employees).
If you underbid Susie at $70, that only leaves $10 to cover fixed costs (insurance, taxes, office equipment, supplies, customer management software etc.) and profits (YOUR SALARY). You might as well quit now because you will be working for free. And no one wants to work for free, at least I don’t.
Charge a Reasonable Price
Of course, you can’t charge whatever you want. Supply and demand do apply to the cleaning industry just like most other industries. But you have to charge enough to cover your expenses and pay yourself.
When setting your house cleaning prices you must consider what other companies in your area are charging offering similar services, your cleaning times and what you want to make per hour, what your expenses are, and how much profit you need to make.
I go over all of this in my blog post: What to Charge for House Cleaning Services. PS…there may even be a free worksheet to help you set your prices.
Need help Tracking your Revenue and Income???
Read Maid Service Bookkeeping: A beginners guide.
Mistake #2 New House Cleaning Companies Make.
Not Having a Consistent Price List
Having a consistent price list or structure allows you to bid on jobs quicker. And if you put in the research work and have a consistent cleaning routine, you will make a profit each time. So many business owners fall into the trap of adjusting prices for clients to land a job, this is especially so for newer businesses. DON’T EVER LET A CLIENT INFLUENCE YOUR PRICE. You will end up working for less than you are worth!
Not having a consistent price structure will most likely lead you into sticky situations. If a client who has a cheaper rate refers a client you have to either honor that price or charge them more for a similar clean. The referred client is going to expect the lower rate you are offering their friend. You’ll end up with either no referrals or cleaning for free!
Having a consistent price structure will take any question out of bidding jobs and streamline your quoting process. If you run into a potential client who feels your price is too high, then you don’t want them as a client. Tell them Thank You for considering your business, leave your business card and ask them to call you if they change their mind. And move on to the next one.
There were several times I had these types of bids call me a few months down the road saying they could not find reliable or quality service and signed up! After all, that is what you are selling. So don’t be afraid to walk away from a client who is not willing to pay for your service. Don’t have a Consistent Price Structure, get one here ——–> What to Charge for House Cleaning Services
Get my FREE Pricing Worksheet
Take the guess work out of House Cleaning Prices! Download my FREE House Cleaning Price Worksheet.
Get my FREE Pricing Worksheet
Take the guess work out of House Cleaning Prices! Download my FREE House Cleaning Price Worksheet.
Mistake #3 New House Cleaning Companies Make.
Not Having a Consistent Cleaning System
Similar to not charging enough for cleaning services, not having a consistent cleaning system will eat away at the money you make as well. This is a mistake I see new House Cleaning Companies making. They are too excited to get their first client, that they clean how the client wants them to clean. You are in the service industry to offer a unique service. Take the time to develop what that service is and looks like, and then stick to it. You will begin to build efficiencies that will save you TONS of money. And you will offer a consistent service your customers can count on.
Control your service, and you control your price
It is important to develop a cleaning system that works for you and the services you offer. Having a consistent cleaning system will ensure faster cleaning times and increase the money you make. Cleaning faster will cut down on payroll costs because your cleaners will spend less time in their homes.
What a consistent cleaning service looks like.
- Use the same products and equipment each time you clean a house.
- Have a cleaning checklist and stick to it.
- Clean each house in the same pattern every time.
Having a consistent cleaning system will keep your cleanings organized. When you step into a house you know where you start and where you end. Learn about the tools Pros use to improve their own Cleaning System: Must-Have Tools for Speed Cleaning
We cleaned with 2-person teams.
- The 1st Cleaner started on the Bathrooms and Kitchen
- 2nd Cleaner began on the Dusting and Floors.
When they stepped into a room they cleaned top-to-bottom left to right. The same steps and same motions were used for each house we cleaned. Learn about my Professional Cleaning system that allowed me to charge $37/ hour, keep long-term clients and get referrals. —> A Maid Services Guide to Cleaning Professionally.
Mistake #4 New House Cleaning Companies Make.
Not using the right products
Many new house cleaning owners will use the same products they use in their houses. These products can be more expensive or they can be damaging to your client’s surfaces. Many owners are unaware of this risk, which is why it makes it one of the top mistakes new house cleaning companies make.
Don’t use products from the drugstore
What you don’t want to do is go to your local drugstore and purchase consumer products. These products are harsh and cost more money to use. Using harsh over-the-counter cleaning supplies can be damaging to your health and skin. As you or your employees are cleaning 3 – 4 houses a day these chemicals can be hard on your skin, lungs, and eyes.
Don’t damage your client’s surfaces
Using the wrong product on fragile surfaces can cause damage and cost you lots of money and headaches. You want to become an expert in the field, so not knowing how to use your products will look poorly on your business too. Clients are used to consumer-grade products like Windex or Clorox Clean up. Resist the urge to cater to clients’ wants.
Check out my post on House Cleaning Supplies and download a FREE equipment and supply checklist for professional house cleaners.
Find a quality all-purpose cleaner
You will want to find a quality, Eco-friendly product that can be used on multiple surfaces. There are several products out there that will work. Using a good quality multi-purpose cleaner will simplify your cleaning process as well. Your cleaner will have fewer products to transport and will require less training.
My favorite all-purpose cleaner was Ultra One Cleaner. This stuff is awesome. It is safe on all surfaces, including granite and stainless steel. It cuts through grease, cleans up rust, and cuts through soap scum, and hard water stains. Yet it is safe on skin contact.
Mistake #5 New Cleaning Companies Make.
Not Planning for the Unexpected
Not planning for the unexpected is not something business owners always think of. Accidents happen, weather happens, people get sick, and clients have to cancel. We know that all of these things could potentially happen.
The businesses that survive are those who plan for them to happen.
Your business and clients should have processes in place and procedures to follow when the unexpected happens. Having procedures will set expectations in the beginning and will lessen the impact of potential surprises for the client and you. While we don’t have control over when and why things happen. We can have control over how our businesses deal with them after they happen.
Items your business should be prepared for
Last minute cancelations
It may happen with the best client. Emergencies happen and it is inevitable that your business will experience last-minute cancellations. To prepare for this, your business should have a cancellation policy in place to cover the cost of the cancellation. $30 – $40 is usually standard, and we always forgave the 1st last minute cancellations.
Inclement weather happens
Inclement weather is another unknown. Running my business in Florida, we have hurricane season throughout summer and fall. We were lucky and never had any issues, but in our client policy, we included a statement that during inclement weather where conditions were unsafe we would not be able to serve their home. And that we would be in contact with them to reschedule as soon as conditions were safe.
Equipment breaks down, and you should plan for it too. Cleaners should carry extra supplies in their vehicles, in the event, they run out or break something, they will have a quick replacement. You don’t want your cleaners not to be able to clean a house or run behind schedule because they did not have the tools they needed.
Breakage is an accident you should for sure plan to happen. We have processes in place for safety and to minimize breakage, but because we are humans, items do have the potential to break. Carrying insurance and having a plan in place to replace or repair will make your company stand above other one-man cleaning persons. Related topic: Why Every Cleaning Business Should Carry Insurance.
To summarize, the 5 mistakes new house cleaning companies make.
- You must charge enough to cover all of your expenses and to pay yourself.
- Have a consistent price list, and stick to it.
- Clean consistently every time.
- Use safe and effective products
- Plan for disasters
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Thank you very helpful.
Hello Amanda, your welcome! I am glad that it was helpful for you.
I started my cleaning business and this is very helpful. I was glad to read the cancelation policy. I have that in place too..
Hello Shamina, I am so glad that you found the list of mistakes house cleaning companies can make helpful. Having a cancelation policy in place is great to help mitigate client cancelations. When a client cancels last minute you loose money, because you could have cleaned for another client during that time. Requiring a 24 hour period for cancelations give you time to book another house cleaning so that you don’t loose money :).
Best of Luck with your Cleaning Business!
I’m thinking about starting a cleaning business but not sure about how to word the ad especially with the pandemic. How much would you charge? Also what equipment do you have?
Hello Sadie! How exciting to be starting your own business! It can be difficult and scary to start a business with COVID-19 right now. I do recommend using Google Ad’s if you have the money to spend for the advertising. You don’t have to spend more than a few dollars a day and it is a great way to reach local customers. The ad should be simple and use key words such as House Cleaning Service in Your City Name. This article by Zenmaid is a good one for developing keywords for your ad.
If you are looking for help on your pricing and what to charge, I have an article that walks you through developing your prices that I recommend you read. There are so many factors that go into prices, so it is not a simple answer.
I have all of my recommended equipment that I have used in my business listed on My Recommendations page. I list the type of vacuum I used for my cleaning business, other tools and also the cleaning supplies that I used and highly recommend.
I hope that you find the resources helpful! Thank you so much for stopping by 🙂