Are you ready
to start and run your own house cleaning
|If you’re reading this, it’s
probably a sign that you’ve
already decided to start a residential
cleaning business. You’ve
got your mind made up. You know
this is what you want to spend
your time and energy on for several
|Starting a business and getting it
off the ground is difficult and
painstaking work, and shouldn't
be taken lightly. So, make sure
you’re committed to your
|Some people think that to start a
house cleaning business does not require
a great deal of skill and/or organization.
Everyone knows how to clean, right?
So how difficult can it be to run a
business based on house cleaning? This
would be a dangerous state of mind to
adopt before entering the fast-growing
(and increasingly competitive) residential
cleaning industry. You should acquire
all the management skills and tools
you can before launching your cleaning
|If you haven’t done so already, you
might want to spend some time considering
various different alternatives. Ask yourself
|Do you have enough capital to launch
your new house cleaning business, and
keep it running and growing during its
initial start-up years?
|Do you have the skills necessary to
run and manage an office? Although it’s
important that you know a thing or two
about cleaning, remember that running
a house cleaning business is very different
from knowing how to clean a residence
effectively. (See the book “E-Myth
Revisited” for an interesting
analysis of the differences between
making the best apple pies in town and
running a successful chain of apple
A house cleaning business requires
ongoing contacts with customers. For
a start, you need to interact with
prospects when they call you. I have
been surprised when calling certain
businesses (house cleaning businesses
as well as businesses in other industries)
to hear the phone answered unprofessionally,
in some cases even by a child. Do
all you can to maintain a professional
and friendly demeanor. Your prospective
clients want to hire a company to
clean their houses who are trustworthy,
personable and are responsive to their
As day-to-day operations of your
house cleaning business progresses,
there will be daily interactions with
clients. Some will be calling with
complaints and some will be calling
to inquire about additional service.
It is important that you handle such
queries in a professional manner,
and you're responsive to the clients'
In short, your "people skills"
will be a critical factor in your
success. If you don;t like working
with people, or you feel that this
is not your strong point, then you
may want to reconsider the idea of
starting a house cleaning business.
Alternatively, you could hires someone
or take on a partner who des have
the people skills required. In any
service business, dealing effectively
with clients is an important skill
House Cleaning Industry: Changing Demographics
|To understand this new rapidly growing
industry, and why it will continue to
grow, we need to consider how the average
family has changed in the last few decades.
|Gone are the days where one spouse
(usually the wife!) would stay at home,
while the other worked. There wasn't
a high demand for maids in those days.
|The only households who employed maids
employed them full-time and most average
families could not afford this.
|These days it seems that to stay securely
middle-class both spouses need to work.
So this is what we have today. A family
where both mom and dad are working (often
both full-time) and with the kids and
school and shopping and holidays and
home improvements there just isn't time
|It used to be that young people would stay
at home also, but these days many young professionals
are moving out of home into their own apartments
and the last thing they want to spend their
weekends doing is cleaning!
Business Plan for Your House Cleaning Business
|The first thing you should do is to
write a business plan, which will be
your road map for your business over
the first few years. As you progress
in the business, you should revisit
your business plan from time to time,
and evaluate how well you have kept
to your plan. You will also want to
think about where you have deviated
from the plan, and ask yourself why.
|However, don't feel that that you must
stick to the plan. It's quite possible —
inevitable even — that you will find
that circumstances change as you progress,
and you'll need to adjust your plans accordingly.
In fact this is one of the important things
you'll find about being a small business owner,
being flexible and re-examining your business.
But having planned the business from the start,
you will be able to be more aware of the changes
you make from the original "master plan"
and this will help keep you organized and
disciplined as you progress in building your
house cleaning business.
|The business plan for your new house cleaning
business should cover the following areas:
|Your company name.
|The legal structure of your company.
|The names and role definitions of
your management team.
|The budget, including:
|a) Start-up costs.
|b) Ongoing projected monthly
| Projections of income over time.
Also: When will your house cleaning
business begin to be profitable?
| If you’re going to be operating
with others (as a corporation or LLC,
for example), you'll need to specify
the share allocations of each of the
|A financial plan, showing where you
will raise the necessary capital you’ll
require to get the business off the
Consulting For Your New Cleaning Business?
|If you’ve run one or more businesses
before, then you probably have learned
through experience about the many do’s
and don'ts of starting and running a
business. If you don’t have experience
in running a business, whether a house
cleaning business or any other kind
of business, then you should probably
get some sort of training and help,
so that you don’t have to learn
everything through experience.
|I started my first business when I
was about 18 years old, and being arrogant
and consumed with an unrealistic sense
of my own skills in almost any endeavor
I chose to undertake, I
|launched into the business without much
forethought. I was studying business at university,
and had done very well in all the business
courses I took at university and high school.
The business started off well enough, and
soon I had the main newspaper in town giving
me free publicity – something I took
somewhat for granted at the time. When I look
back on these events, I’m personally
amazed at my own naïveté. I was
so good at promoting and selling water beds,
the first in this large city to do so, that
I actually educated a lot of other people
about the beauty and advantages of water beds.
Soon, some businessmen with a lot more experience
than I had set up a shop with elegant displays,
were purchasing expensive, sexy ads in the
press, and were promoting water beds as the
latest thing in luxury furniture that you
must have of you are to be fashionable.
|I had a great idea, but didn’t execute
it well. I was under-capitalized and lacked
a coherent business and marketing plan. Others
with less imagination then me, but with better
organizational skills managed to outdo this
|I look back at this with some amusement.
I invested only a few dollars in the enterprise
and actually sold enough water beds over a
three-year period to give me a reasonable
income. But I missed out on the opportunity
of becoming the waterbed king of the city!
No worries. That was a long time ago, and
money wasn’t the most important thing
on my mind back then.
|You’re probably going into your new
residential cleaning business with the object
of making a good profit, and having a good
living come out of the business. You will
be putting a certain amount of capital at
stake, and spending a considerable amount
of time, so the fewer mistakes you make the
better. If you are planning to become part
of a national franchise, you’ll receive
a lot oft training from the franchise organization.
If the franchiser has done their job well,
they will provide you with a lengthy and detailed
list of things to do, and not to do. For this
you’ll pay an up front franchise fee,
and you’ll also be paying the franchiser
a percentage of your monthly sales every month,
for as long as you continue to be a member
of the franchise organization.
|Statistics show that a large percentage
of new businesses fail within the first year
of starting. Many more fail in years 2 and
3. There is a very small percentage of small
businesses still in business after five years.
However, the figures for members of franchises
are much better.
|Why is this? A lot of it has to do with
the fact that a good and competent franchise
organization has thought through all the aspects
of what it takes to run a successful house
cleaning business. They’ve thought about
how to select and train the employees; the
design of uniforms, the company logo, where
you should spend your marketing dollars, and
more. Some franchisers also provide you with
computer software, which you can use to help
manage your franchise (and which will be used
to keep track of your monthly sales, so that
the franchiser and you will know exactly how
much you owe the franchiser from month to
|Note that some franchisers will allow you
to choose your won software. This is not a
bad idea, in my opinion. Consider what could
happen of you’re locked in to using
a particular piece of software. One very large
national franchise chain nearly had a resolution
on its hands a few years ago, because the
franchisees found the software they were provided
to be inadequate and slow, and lacking in
|Another alternative is to find a different
way of educating yourself about running a
home cleaning business. These days, there
are other alternatives. Some other options
|Internet Sites (such as this one)
|Consultants and Coaches
The World Should You Start Your New
Residential Cleaning Business?
|No matter where you are in the world, the
residential cleaning industry, or maid service
industry, can be a very lucrative business.
|Many people of course open for business
in whichever area they happen to be situated.
|Others, however, who have the capital to
invest in moving, or who have several areas
nearby that they could concentrate on may
want to consider a few things.
|1) Average Income
|You definitely want to find out what the
average income of your area is. House cleaning
is not for everyone. Typically the types of
people who hire house cleaners are families
where both spouses. Not only do they not have
the time to clean, but of course they are
more likely to be able to afford to pay for
|You want to focus on middle class areas.
Of course if the residents are too wealthy
they are likely to have their own live-in
|There are several places where you can check
out maps that detail household income levels
throughout the United States, as below:
|Just try Googling"United States income
map". You should definitely check
out the specific income levels in your
local area also.
|There are some very "hot" residential
cleaning areas, but often these have already
been discovered by other cleaning companies.
This doesn't mean that there is necessarily
no room for any more, but you do want to carefully
consider how you will fit in with your competition.
|It may be more wise to pick an area that
|House cleaning is a booming industry in
many places in the world. As countries develop
and change it is becoming more common throughout
the world for more than one family member
to work and this appears to be a key in determining
which households hire a maid.
Of Your Maid Service Business
|Now that you’ve decided to start
a maid service business, and you’ve
picked a launch date, and decided on
a location for your offices, you are
ready to decide upon the legal structure
of your business. You may want to consider:
A Sole Proprietorship
|In this form of legal structure,
the owner of the business simply
applies to do business under a
trade name from the appropriate
|authorities. You can choose a fictitious
name and register it, so you’ll now
be Mary Smith d/b/a (doing business as) Miracle
Maid cleaning (or whatever name you choose).
|The advantage of doing business as a sole
proprietor is that it’s easy and inexpensive
to set up. The disadvantage is that the business
is inseparable from you, legally, so that
if there is ever a problem with the business
(and problems do happen unexpectedly from
time to time – ask me about some stories
some time) you will be held personally responsible
for all the debts of your business. If you’re
sued, for example, people may go after all
your assets, including your bank account,
your house, your car, and any other assets
you might have.
|A partnership is where two or more people
decide together to start and operate a business.
It is more complicated to set up than a sole
proprietorship (all partners must jointly
sign a partnership agreement), and it has
the same disadvantages.
A Corporate Structure
|Forming a corporation is the most popular
method of creating a business structure within
which you will run your business. You will
need a lawyer to help get the necessary documents
in order. Requirements differ from state to
state. The advantage of a corporation is that
it is a limited liability entity. The assets
and profits belong to the business, and if
the business is ever sued, or goes bankrupt,
your personal assets are not at risk. (No
one thinks it will happen to them, but unexpected
problems sometimes arise, and these things
can and do happen sometimes.)
|There are various different types of corporations,
such as a “C Corporation”, or
an "S Corporation”. Your accountant
or lawyer can help advise you in which type
of corporation will work best for you.
|If you form a corporation, your business
will be officially known as “Maine’s
Maid Service, Inc.”, for example.
A Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)
|This is essentially another form of legal
entity which you can create. If you form an
LLC, your business will be known as “ABC
Residential Cleaning, LLC”, for example.
|Note: You should consult a lawyer and an
accountant before deciding on what legal business
structure to use for your house cleaning business.
The information presented here is for advisory
purposes only, and should not be a substitute
for professional legal advice. A trusted lawyer
should be able to help you select a structure
for your residential cleaning business, based
upon your needs, your tax status, your marital
status and other factors.
House Cleaning Company
|What's in a name? that which we call
By any other name would smell as sweet;
|- William Shakespeare
|It’s important to invent a good name
for your new house cleaning business. You’re
going to be putting a lot of time and energy
into providing excellent service for your
clients, and building up a good name for your
company. You’re going to be marketing
the business, using a variety of methods.
If you want to change your name at some point
in the future, you can do that, but it can
be very time-consuming and costly. And, importantly,
you’re going to have to start developing
brand recognition for your new house cleaning
company name from the start. So, try your
best to get it right from the beginning. As
you’re going to be living with the name
for a long time, choose carefully.
|Some points to keep in mind when
naming your house cleaning business:
Don’t use a name that is
already in use by another company
providing the same service as you.
Any large house cleaning or maid service
company will have trademarked their
name, meaning that no one else can
legally use it. If you choose a name
that is already trademarked, you’ll
most likely get a call, sooner or
later, from the trademark holder (or
their lawyers) demanding you change
your name. Not something you want
to have to spend your time doing.
If you get it right when starting,
you can save yourself a lot of time
and trouble later on.
You can do a check on your proposed
name on the internet. Go to the Government
Trademark and Patent office (http://www.uspto.gov)
, and check to see if your proposed
name is trademarked.
You should also do a search of the
internet to see if the name you’re
thinking of for your residential cleaning
business is already in use by someone
else in your country.
Note that there is a body of law
which provides a common law trademark
to business owners who’ve used
a business name for a long time. If
that business operates in only one
city (or one state, or one country)
and they don’t have a registered
trademark, you could take a chance
and use that name in another state
(or country). However, I don’t
advise this. Rather, try to come up
with a wholly unique name that you
can trademark yourself if and when
you decide to do so. (You can apply
for a trademark yourself on the USPTO
web site, or you can hire a lawyer
to perform the process for you.)
In summary, chose your name carefully
– you may want to expand at
some point into other cities or states
and if your name conflicts with others’,
you may have problems keeping your
chosen name in all the locations where
you wish to do business.
Be cautious about naming your new
business after yourself. There are
many house cleaning businesses with
names such as “Mary’s
Cleaning”. The advantage of
a name like “Mary’s Cleaning”
is that it has a personal feel, and
people who like Mary would be inclined
to retain her for her services. However,
although Mary’s Cleaning might
grow and prosper in its initial location,
problems could arise down the road
when Mary wants to sell the business.
Unless the new owner’s name
is Mary, that personal touch has been
Note also that you can’t, in
general, trademark a person’s
name. You might be able to trademark
Mary’s Cleaning, for example,
but it will probably present difficulties.
(Note one important exception to
this rule: Wendy’s hamburger
restaurants, which were named after
the daughter of the founder, who liked
to promote his business personally,
even after it had become a successful
|Choose a name that reflects the type
of work you do, if possible. It’s
a good idea to include some words in
the title that tell the public what
you do. Think of including one or more
of the words: Cleaning, house-cleaning,
residential cleaning, maid service,
etc. Note that having some descriptive
terms in the business name could also
help you alter on when you begin to
think about SEO (Search Engine Optimization),
a skill that is becoming more important
day-by-day in today's internet-dominated
world. (See more about SEO below.)
|If you can, choose a name that will
be memorable. Some good names are Maid
To Please, Maid For You, etc. (But note
that these names are already in use.)
|It's also a good idea to make sure
that the name can be easily understood
when spoken over the phone. It sounds
silly, but some names may look good
on paper but not sound quite so good
when spoken out loud.
|You’ve already decided what
market segment you plan to appeal to,
haven’t you? If not, it’s
important to decide if you’re
going to present your business as one
appealing to the wealthy, discriminating
consumer, or you might be appealing
to the average consumer, or you may
be appealing to people to hire your
business because you’re the least
expensive. You’ll want your web
site to reflect the style of your business.
|I believe a residential cleaning business
needs to have a personal touch. If I’m
looking for someone to come and clean my house,
I want to feel comfortable that the person
I hire is reliable, honest and trustworthy,
competent, and accessible if and when I need
to talk with them, to give them any special
instructions on what to clean, how to clean
|You’ll want your business to be able
to provide this personalized service, as much
as possible, by having friendly, well-spoken,
intelligent people answering the phones, and
having specialty house-cleaning software that
enables you to record the special requests
and needs that each individual customer wants.
These notes should print out onto the job
tickets that are given to the employees when
they go out to do their cleaning jobs for
|If possible you should have your logo
created for you early on. This way,
you can begin to establish your company
presence as you can use your logo on
your flyers and other marketing pieces.
|A well-designed logo, however, can
be expensive and if money is an
issue you may wish to opt for
a plain text logo initially. You
can still choose your company
colors and incorporate these into
your temporary logo.
|It really is important for your company
to have a web site. These days it is
a must for any kind of business, but
especially yours where prospective clients
are likely to visit it to find out more
information about your company.
|In addition to this, many customers
these days will search for a cleaning
business online, so it is vital that
you have some kind of web presence.
|Having your own company email address as
opposed to an AOL or Hotmail email address
will also add to increase your company's professionalism.
|It can be expensive to have a web site created,
but there are several companies around that
offer inexpensive web site templates.
|Thoughtful Systems offers one such template
and they will work with you to allow you to
customize it somewhat and will assist you
with setting up your company email addresses
and submitting your site to Google.
here to find out more about Thoughtful Systems'
web design services.
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