CLEANING BUSINESS...................How to run a Successful Cleaning business

Office cleaners Portsmouth


The time of recession indeed could be an opportunity for innovation and a turn around enterprise for a discerning mind. If you are searching for low cost business idea that needs not much preparation, then cleaning business is the ideal one. 

This is not a new business at all, in fact when you look around you, many people are already doing it. Perhaps before now you have looked down on the business, but those doing it now will tell you that they have no regret venturing into it.
In spite that the market is saturated, there are still demand for it. From the homes, offices, parties, there are quite lots of options.
However, you’ll need to have a clear vision about where you plan to position your cleaning business in this somewhat crowded market and carve a niche for yourself to ensure your start-up and stands out.
The following will serve as guide towards running a successful cleaning business:
Decide the type of cleaning business you want to run
There are Four main types of cleaning company:

Domestic – domestic cleaning involves cleaning people’s homes (normally while they’re at work) and can be undertaken by you as soon as you secure some clients. You may eventually take on staff as your client-base soars.

Commercial – in order to clean commercial properties you’ll need a team of people (the properties will  tend to be large office buildings. In Nigeria today, the operators are  more in the banking halls) and it may be that your role is more managerial than on the ground cleaning.

•Industrial Cleaning

Manufacturing plants and warehouses are noisy places. It is not an office environment.  It’s critical that the plant operation is understood and worked around. Manufacturing plants and warehouses are dynamic.  Just as manufacturing operations have to deliver ‘just in time’,

Fundamentally, manufacturing plants present more difficult cleaning environment and safety is very important.  To provide cleaning aservices will require specialized equipments and training, as well as well structured monitoring and job supervision.  It would normally paid more handsomely for the provider, which explains why cleaning service providers like such appointments.

Schools and Vehicle cleaning.
Bear in mind your skills set (are you prepared to clean every day or are you more suited to the administrative side of a cleaning business, where you are the one that co-ordinates your staff and goes around for marketing) and where there’s the best market opportunity in your desired area.  Cleaning school premises is as busy an assignment as the cleaning of Hospitals.  Employees deployed to these areas are people who understand the job and has some maturity and are patient.

Research, research, research
As mentioned above – researching the potential market and local demographic will be key in determining the type of cleaning business you should start. If you’re planning on running a domestic cleaning venture, you’ll need to ensure that people in the locality are financially capable to pay for someone else to do their domestic chores, likewise for a commercial business,. Market research will also be key in determining your prices (try posing as a prospective client and ringing around the local competition to ensure your pricing point is competitive).
Never stop learning
Technology advances affect the equipment you use, safety issues affect the chemicals you clean with, and there will always be ways you can enhance your organizational and managerial skills. Read industry publications, go to meetings and conventions, participate in trade organizations, and encourage your suppliers to keep you up to date.
Tap all your resources
A wide range of associations serves various aspects of the professional cleaning industry. These groups can help with operational, marketing and management issues. Many state and government agencies also offer support and information for small businesses.
Clean it like it’s your own
Regardless of what you’re cleaning and whether you’re doing traditional house cleaning, janitorial work, or providing a specialty cleaning service, clean like you’re cleaning your own home or office.
Develop systems
Systems provide a structure that allows you to work consistently and efficiently, and also lets you create a company that will continue to run whether you’re there or not. Create systems for every function: cleaning, laundry, supervision, reporting, customer service, accounting and management.
Be careful! 
Though time is your most valuable commodity, don’t rush so much that you get careless. Customers will usually understand when accidents happen, but you’re better off if you don’t have to fall back on that. Also, the cost to repair or replace something–in out-of-pocket cash, time lost and damaged customer relations–is usually far more than the time you might save by working carelessly.
Don’t under-sell yourself 
When you’re starting out, you may be tempted to try to undercut your competitors prices. A better strategy is to simply outperform them by providing quality work.
Take care of your employees 
Your employees are critical to your success; after all, it’s the quality of their performance that determines whether your customers are satisfied. Look for ways to make them want to do their best. Train them well, don’t micromanage, and treat them with respect. Provide bonuses and incentives for top performance, and consider offering perks such as letting them use company equipment in their own homes.

Find a niche 
Don’t try to be all things to all people; pick the market you can best serve, and focus on that. For example, if you choose to service smaller office buildings, you may not be able to provide quality work at a profitable price level to larger facilities. Excel in what you’re doing and build consistency in the services you provide. When you try to serve too many markets, you won’t be successful in any of them.
Develop your computer skills 
You need to be as skilled with your computer as you are with a mop or buffer. The cleaning business may not be particularly high tech, but you don’t have time to do estimates, billing, payroll, inventory control and other record-keeping by hand.
Track labour costs 
The biggest single expense you have is labour, and you must stay on top of it. If you aren’t watching your labour costs every day, they’ll get away from you. Compile a daily over and under report, which makes it easy to spot trends before they become major issues. If labour is on the increase, figure out where the problem is. Is the customer asking for extra services you aren’t charging for? Did you underestimate the time it would take to do the work? If you’re under on your labour estimates, make sure your employees are providing the quality you’ve promised.
Invest in customer service
The quality of your cleaning is important, but it’s not everything. Building strong relationships with your clients requires a serious commitment to customer service. Don’t assume that just because the work looks satisfactory to you that it is to your customers–or that there’s nothing else they want or need. Be sure to follow up with them consistently to find out how things are going.
Keep your eye on the economy 
As long as things get dirty, there’ll be a need for professionals to clean them. But economic changes can mean changes in your market. Residential cleaning services, for example, are often seen as luxuries, and an economic downturn could affect your customers’ willingness and ability to pay to have their homes cleaned.
When business profits shrink, companies look for ways to cut expenses, which means they may examine their budgets for services that can be reduced or eliminated.
Also consider how the world economy can impact your profitability. For example as oil prices now has skyrocketted, that means you’ll have to spend more to operate your vehicles, and your general utility costs will probably increase. 

When the cost of lumber goes up, so does the cost of bathroom tissue, paper towels and other disposable paper products you provide to your customers. You may be able to pass along some of those costs, but don’t depend on a thriving economy to keep your business profitable. Have plans in place so you can shift your market focus if necessary.

Don’t take every job. 
If you can’t make money on a job, or if the work is undesirable for any reason, turn it down. It’s better to focus your time and energy on profitable work you enjoy.


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