Getting started on a cleaning business…..

Not my usual slightly cryptic title for this article but I think sometimes being clear and to the point has it’s place.

Taking part in a business challenge recently really got me thinking differently about various projects but also made me look at the journey we have taken in building our business. I also considered what we really would have found helpful at the start.

I am a person of lists, spider diagrams and notes on scraps of paper. Anything that removes information from my head is welcomed. When planning my week or a detailed task, I will often set things out on paper so I can see all areas clearly. Considering our journey from redundancy to running Spotless Interiors is no exception.

My thoughts turned to wondering how, or if, I might be able to help others venturing out to start a cleaning business. If I could, I wondered how I might do so. I then made a diagram of all the areas to consider and be aware of, from our experience. Many of these will however apply to anyone venturing out on their own.

I think it is easy to get bogged down in the multitude of aspects of running a business. Wondering what you are not aware of or how you are going to get to grips with it all. However, when first starting out there has to be a realisation of which areas are your priority. These, for us, were those:

  1. Your ethos. I talk about this briefly in several of my other business blogs but really it is such a central part it probably deserves more attention. Many refer to a USP (Unique Selling Point), looking at what makes you different but for me describing it as an ethos fits. The reason is, your ethos will stream through both the service you provide to clients, the way you approach things and make decisions and if applicable, how you manage your staff. Be clear on what you aim to achieve and what drives you. What are your values? Where do you hope to get to with this venture?
  2. Where will you get your clients from? This is discussed more in my article Embrace the Circle (but also the square). Giving thought as to whom your clients are likely to be and where you will find them will give you a good indication of where to go to attract them and also what methods of marketing are likely to work best. In terms of a cleaning business you are also going to need to decide where your operational boundaries will be.
  3. Technicalities. The ‘boring’ part. You’ll need to register with HMRC, decide how clients are going to pay you, what methods or apps you will use to record all your expenses, income, schedule of appointments. Obtain insurance, set up as a company maybe and find an accountant if necessary.
  4. Products and equipment – Level of service – What is included. Testing products out at home, we discussed what elements would be included in our costings, what we would charge extra for, whether we would provide products and equipment or use the clients etc. Be clear on what you will be selling and be consistent in providing.
  5. Charges. We failed in this area. We knew relatively early on that we would operate differently to many other similar companies. Our service would look after both clients and the team. This has cost implications and we did not factor that in well enough from the beginning. Do your research. Be clear what it is going to cost you to run the business and how much you might need to charge to make it work. Point 4 above will have a huge impact on this. If your business works differently to others, if you provide a superior service, do not be afraid to charge accordingly. But be sure to tell your client what they are paying for.

Getting started on a new business can be really daunting. Yet it can also be incredibly exciting. If you can organise the elements you need to attend to, to get up and running, you can concentrate on the exciting part and leave everything else.

Photo by Pereanu Sebastian on Unsplash

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