With the economy in a downslide, one of the best ways to make money is by cleaning people’s houses and sometimes commercial businesses, too. It’s an easy and relatively quick way to make money, and if you do a good job for your clients, you can be assured of some decent referrals and new clientele, too.
Now, you might think that one of the quickest ways to start a cleaning business is to buy a franchise. However, let’s take a look at this particular opportunity and see if it’s for you.
Franchises are good for one reason no matter what the business is (restaurant, cleaning business, etc.) and that is that you get name recognition because in general, franchises are spread at least throughout the region if not the country. This means that if you buy a franchise, you’re likely going to have some name recognition in your community.
However, with cleaning services, franchises aren’t often as good an opportunity as another type of business might be. For example, if you buy a restaurant franchise, name recognition is very important and if your franchises is well known, this at least ensures that you are going to get initial business, and then will have to keep up customer traffic by ensuring that service and food are good.
But it’s not that simple with a cleaning business. First of all, franchises come with some drawbacks too. Although it’s nice to have a certain amount of the infrastructure provided for you so that you don’t have to figure everything out for yourself, keep in mind that you’re probably going to have to pay some pretty hefty ongoing franchise fees, in addition to purchasing the business itself. This means that you’re going to have to charge enough to your clients to be able to cover everything the franchise charges YOU, other expenses not related to the franchise (such as gas and maintenance for your car, and so on), and have enough left over to make a profit.
In addition, if you franchise, you’re likely going to have to have employees who will need to wear uniforms. This means that you have employee costs and training to worry about, and you’ll have a uniform requirement, too. In addition, the franchise itself will probably set prices for you, which may or may not be enough for you to cover all of your costs and make a profit, too. And if your fees must be more than those of a small independent cleaner in the same area as you are, guess what? You’re going to lose potential clients to that business.
There are a few things you need to do to be a professional cleaning service, but they’re relatively inexpensive. Keep in mind, too, that if you keep your business independent and small at least as you are starting out, you don’t have to wear uniforms so that you can save on that cost, you can set your own prices based upon what you think you need to make a decent profit, and perhaps most importantly, you can run the business as a sole proprietor, which means that you don’t have to hire any employees until you get so many clients that you can’t handle all of them yourself.
A cleaning business is one of the easiest to start because it can be started with very little overhead (all you need are some supplies, the fees required to become bonded and insured, a car or another means of transportation, and of course some elbow grease). Spend as little as you can spend on expenses and still provide a good, quality cleaning service so that you have as much profit as possible. In addition, set your prices high enough to make a decent profit but low enough that you’re not going to price yourself out of the market.
A final note. You might be wondering why I’m so insistent on saying that you should be bonded and insured. Simply put, it says that you’re professional and take your job seriously, and that you are willing to put in the effort required to make sure that your clients are protected in the event something happens to their property while you’re cleaning. For example, if something gets broken while you are cleaning, the fact that you are bonded and insured says that you take responsibility for any accidents that happen seriously and that you will make good on any replacement has to be done. It also says that you respect clientele enough to give them this protection so that they don’t have to worry about having you in their homes.
Therefore, while franchising might be a good idea for other types of businesses such as a restaurant so that you have an infrastructure in place to make getting things going easier, you just don’t need it for a cleaning business. Do a good job, make sure you have the proper paperwork necessary, advertise, ask for referrals (yes, you can actually ask clients for referrals), and watch your business grow.