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Starting A Cleaning Business

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David Fitz

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Jan 30, 2020
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Background

Just finished reading TMF .

I followed the usual script. I got good grades at school, went to Uni and messed around for 3 years. After leaving Uni I worked in the legal profession as a paralegal on shit pay initially. I was then offered a training contract to fully qualify as a solicitor which I accepted, before realising that I didn't want to be in the legal profession for the rest of my life and I pulled out. Since then I've taken sales roles in IT firms, start-ups, banks and the last role I was doing until very recently was selling life insurance. Hands down the worse job I've ever done, literally had the moment MJ describes in his book, sat in a f*cking cubicle age 30 thinking "How did I get here?". I quit this job to focus on mental health and got sober after struggling with excessive drink/drugs for years. 4months clean. I'm not working right now, I have some savings, maybe like £10k, I recently finished a personal training course because until I read TMF I had this great plan to "do what I love". Now I'm not sure that is the best idea and might put it on the back burner for now.

My skills/assets

- sales skills/relationship building. I can connect with people in person and over the phone. But I'm sick of making someone else rich via selling
- some savings and relatively little outgoings
- good understanding of customer service
- passion for helping others and the knowledge that solving other peoples problems is what makes money

Idea

I think a cleaning business would be pretty easy to set up and could get the wheels turning for me. Equipment would be cheap, I'm good at cleaning and I actually enjoy it. I could do a part time sales role remotely while building this to keep regular money in. I would have no problem knocking on doors and pitching/handing out fliers, could print them off, set up a website easily enough. Read quite a bit of that on here. Read @Tubs posts on that. Also read @Andy Black's post about probably already knowing enough which I took quite a lot from. I definitely don't want to bury myself in excessive research for the next 6months in a library or trying to read every single post on the forum. However I'm also aware that it's obviously a bit unconventional for a 30yo guy to decide to start a home cleaning business. Also think it has issues with making sure people are in etc which @Johnny boy mentioned. I've thought about lawn care/gardening but I think equipment would be £££ initially. I can't help thinking that anything related to roofing would be sketchy in the UK weather.........could be wrong about that though. Still a lot to learn regarding marketing/google ads, I don't really know about any of that right now.

I don't want to waste time, I feel like I need to start something. I'm here to learn and execute ASAP.

Any suggestions/tips would be greatly appreciated, glad to be a part of this forum.

Don't make the same mistake as me and start a low skill low income business. I realized after about 3 years that the money is in skilled labour. Flood and fire damage, hard floor cleaning, carpets and upholstery, rugs and so on.

I'm changing my business up this year and already I can see the difference in income from the skilled work. There's also less people doing this type of work as you need training and you need to invest in equipment.
 
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2dads

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May 27, 2021
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Mate great work, you have taken a lot of feedback and started!

Ride the wave and please update.

From doing cleaning my self, I have found a lot of work through sites like:

- Airtasker
- Work rabbit

Depending on you area, make sure you understand what they take (Commision) set high numbers and take photos at the start and end of any job.

Cleaning any glass? I have found metho and butcher paper a treat to leave no streaks. If you have not get a check list of tasks to complete on the clean:

- Spray shower with X
- Scrub shower with Y

It may seem simple but own these check lists, E- Myth revisited* (book) talks about procedures, start documenting and creating a system.

Lets say you grow your cleaning business - which I think you can. You need a way that some one who has very little cleaning experience can come in and do a sufficient job and to your standard in the shortest period of time.

It also means you can manage complaints when a customer says (shower was not done) and your worker has ticked all boxes that they have ownership and a system in place - I hope this makes sense.

Commercial cleaning - going into places and offering a weekly (before or after hours) clean is a great way to build up constant income, however just remember charge accordingly - your not a charity and don't allow a "master swap" - always have the balls to pull up and move on. Get a good list of customers who value you and your staff and GROW GROW GROW!
 

Fasted

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Dec 18, 2021
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hard floor cleaning, carpets and upholstery, rugs and so on.
Thanks for your message David. Makes sense. I plan to move into these in the next few months once I've built up domestic customers and have regular money coming in, hopefully then I can give the general cleaning working to employee(s) leaving me to work on carpets. There are some equipment costs with carpet cleaning which I'm a little hesitant to spend on until I've got cash coming in. But it's definitely on my radar. For now my plan is to outsource the carpet cleaning when booked in with general cleaning and take 25%.
 
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Fasted

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Dec 18, 2021
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UK
Lets say you grow your cleaning business - which I think you can. You need a way that some one who has very little cleaning experience can come in and do a sufficient job and to your standard in the shortest period of time.

It also means you can manage complaints when a customer says (shower was not done) and your worker has ticked all boxes that they have ownership and a system in place - I hope this makes sense
This is a very good idea, thank you.

I'm not on TaskRabbit yet because the hourly rate they recommend I charge looks very low but I should probably get on there as well initially just to fill my diary.

And yes I need to remember the before and afters shots, one guy has just asked for those and thankfully I took a few last week so had some to send. But everyone else seems to have a lot more so need to build it up.
 

2dads

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May 27, 2021
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This is a very good idea, thank you.

I'm not on TaskRabbit yet because the hourly rate they recommend I charge looks very low but I should probably get on there as well initially just to fill my diary.

And yes I need to remember the before and afters shots, one guy has just asked for those and thankfully I took a few last week so had some to send. But everyone else seems to have a lot more so need to build it up.

They can recommend what ever they want, you know your numbers - stay strong and make each job you win an actual win. Much easier to lower prices down the track then increase prices.

I did some lawns @ $75 at one stage, worked my a$$ of 3 hours

Got smart

Worked my a$$ of for 1.5 hours = $145.

Learnt my numbers and did not budge unless (I could learn - add to my portfolio) or wanted to keep busy that day

"You get what I am putting down?"
 

Fasted

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Dec 18, 2021
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They can recommend what ever they want, you know your numbers - stay strong and make each job you win an actual win. Much easier to lower prices down the track then increase prices.

I did some lawns @ $75 at one stage, worked my a$$ of 3 hours

Got smart

Worked my a$$ of for 1.5 hours = $145.

Learnt my numbers and did not budge unless (I could learn - add to my portfolio) or wanted to keep busy that day

"You get what I am putting down?"
Yeah I get you. I think home service work is just better paid over there though not a chance I’m getting that sortve rate in UK. I’m more looking at like 15ph at the moment, maybe 25-30 for end of tenancy/deep cleans. £145 for 1.5hr general cleaning would be very high over here. A customer I spoke to yesterday thought 15 was too high so we didn’t do the deal
 
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Last edited:

woken

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Yeah I get you. I think home service work is just better paid over there though not a chance I’m getting that sortve rate in UK. I’m more looking at like 15ph at the moment, maybe 25-30 for end of tenancy/deep cleans. £145 for 1.5hr general cleaning would be very high over here. A customer I spoke to yesterday thought 15 was too high so we didn’t do the deal
And I see that the US is more inclined to :
“Here’s $150, get the job done”

and the UK:
“How much is per hour? How many hours?”

That way everyone keeps thinking you are stalling to get more hours in. Lose-lose scenario.
 

Fasted

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And I see that the US is more inclined to :
“Here’s $150, get the job done”

and the UK:
“How much is per hour? How many hours?”

That way everyone keeps thinking you are stalling to get more hours in. Lose-lose scenario.
Yeah it’s trickier for sure. Margins a lot thinner. Things change when the cleans get more specialist - like carpet cleaning - people seem to accept that there’s equipment/training costs so are more agreeable to job type pricing rather than by hour.
 

Fasted

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Dec 18, 2021
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Last week:

Only two jobs last. £220 for the week so not great.

Felt like more of a pipeline/lead gen week. Set up a Facebook page.Tried some Facebook ads which someone offered to help me with. Called the leads that the ads received. I had a booking for this tomorrow but the guy cancelled cause he had to go into hospital for an operation of some sort. Anyway he wants weekly cleaning when he’s back next week. Then a guy who I quoted for his Air BnB business, said he needs someone up to twice a week, met him, hopefully he calls back this week. Also set up a meeting with a salon owner who says she needs cleaning twice a week, I meet with her Weds. All these look like potential regular £ but yet to materialise as of yet.

Today:

Better start to this week - £450 for a large end of tenancy clean today. My carpet guy took £125 - leaving me with £325. I’ve got 3hrs booked tomorrow but nothing booked in for rest of week. Hopefully those quotes come through.

I’ll probs try some more Facebook ads this week see what happens. I wanna get myself to £500pw ASAP. Realistically that’s not all that much but feel like that would be an important threshold to reach and then build on. I’m confident there is money to be made in cleaning in this city - I’ve just got to consistently find it. Need to start posting some flyers this week I’ve been lazy on that so far.

Still a lot to learn as well. Realising I can’t skimp on shit cleaning products, realising I have to give myself a set time limit per room otherwise I just lose track. And it’s super difficult to price some jobs sometimes - I know I’m leaving money on the table but at the same time I don’t wanna look as if I’m trying to rip them off. Some customers are prepared to pay good money, like the guy today, and it’s all chilled. Some people want your hourly rate and your minimum booking straight away and not a penny over, it’s a little more jarring. But yeah get me to 500pw consistently and I’ll be happy enough with that for first couple of months with just me cleaning. My financial investment in this is still very very low.
 
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2dads

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May 27, 2021
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Great news Fasted with the wins, in regards to setting times in a room - you are 100% right. As some one who has done a little cleaning I would suggest at the start of the job (quoting etc) walking the rooms - writting down each room.

Draw a quick map of the area and break down of areas of concern.

Say Bed Room One - skuff marks on walls, mark those areas on the walls etc
Put down a time for the room - say it will take you 10mins to do the jobs in room - add 30% for the time, rather have a little more for the unforseen. 13 mins is for bed Room One.

After you do all the rooms you have a rough time allowed - Example:

Room 1 - vac floor, mop, dust, air freshner, scuff mark on wall (x on map) 13min
Room 2 - var floor, dust book shelf 13min
Room 3 -vac floor, mop, dust, air freshner, scuff mark on wall, empty bin 13 min
Kitchen - clean sink 26min
Bathroom 1 - .... 26min

Total time: XX mins

You not have a clear time frame, get a milk crate/clear box, hold some cleaning supplies and your work pad in right and have a small timer (egg timer etc)

Enter the room, set the timer and get to it. If you allow 13 mins to get it done, you will get it done. If you allow 30 mins, you will use those 30 mins. If you finish early, move onto the next room.

This is my 2 cents, this could also be a way to get the most out of your staff and sets it up as a challenge. As a cleaner, in most cases close enough is good enough and some one with OCD is not the cleaner you want *Great you spent 3 hours doing my sink and cleaning the grim - but what about the rest of the house??**
 

Fasted

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Dec 18, 2021
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If you allow 30 mins, you will use those 30 mins.
Yup I’ve noticed this
the grim - but what about the rest of the house??**
Also fall victim to this sometimes and I’ve gotta watch for it. Like today I was cleaning this window panel when I realised I’d spent over five mins on a single panel trying to get it a absolutely perfect - wtf am I doing a need to move on - literally had a whole house to clean and I’m trying to get a speck of dust off
 

2dads

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May 27, 2021
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Yup I’ve noticed this

Also fall victim to this sometimes and I’ve gotta watch for it. Like today I was cleaning this window panel when I realised I’d spent over five mins on a single panel trying to get it a absolutely perfect - wtf am I doing a need to move on - literally had a whole house to clean and I’m trying to get a speck of dust off


Me and my wife did the cleaning when had a go at it, She works smart and has a high level of common sense - I on the other hand have a little bit more slacker approach. Need to get it to a good enough level, also if the customer does complain take the feedback - right it down. If people keep complaining that you leave smudges on the glass, well - fix it - use a different spray, change your clothes etc until it fixes that issue.

Also flip the feedback, they may want a premium clean and want you there for 4 hours - if they are happy to pay you for that you both may have just had poor communication. Any feedback is good feedback.

Be selective of your customers - I have met some cool people over my time - people pay for service. Save 10-30% to deal with some half whit? Or pay some one who rocks up, get's it done and has a smile

I know which I would choose.
 
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Fasted

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Dec 18, 2021
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Me and my wife did the cleaning when had a go at it, She works smart and has a high level of common sense - I on the other hand have a little bit more slacker approach. Need to get it to a good enough level, also if the customer does complain take the feedback - right it down. If people keep complaining that you leave smudges on the glass, well - fix it - use a different spray, change your clothes etc until it fixes that issue.

Also flip the feedback, they may want a premium clean and want you there for 4 hours - if they are happy to pay you for that you both may have just had poor communication. Any feedback is good feedback.

Be selective of your customers - I have met some cool people over my time - people pay for service. Save 10-30% to deal with some half whit? Or pay some one who rocks up, get's it done and has a smile

I know which I would choose.
Never had any negative feedback. I leave the place looking mint. But I’ve gone over on jobs sometimes by a full half hour so I say my bad I’ll just accept what we agreed as the price because it was me being inefficient. Obviously they’re not gonna complain about that but I know I’m shooting myself in the foot.

So far not had any half wits as such. But there’s one guy who bartered with me for an end of tenancy so I did a clean that was satisfactory to the price he paid and not the price I wanted for the job. He asked me back last week so we just wanted a non premium clean I think. One woman wanted a 3 bed shit show cleaned in 2 hours so I didn’t bother with that one. Actually she was probably the closest to half wit ive dealt with.
 

2dads

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Never had any negative feedback. I leave the place looking mint. But I’ve gone over on jobs sometimes by a full half hour so I say my bad I’ll just accept what we agreed as the price because it was me being inefficient. Obviously they’re not gonna complain about that but I know I’m shooting myself in the foot.

So far not had any half wits as such. But there’s one guy who bartered with me for an end of tenancy so I did a clean that was satisfactory to the price he paid and not the price I wanted for the job. He asked me back last week so we just wanted a non premium clean I think. One woman wanted a 3 bed shit show cleaned in 3 hours so I didn’t bother with that one. Actually she was probably the closest to half wit ive dealt with.

Sounds like you got this sorted, few months you can grow this puppy and put a staff member to do some of your work.

Grow it up - set some procedures and market it to your customer.

Get some solid numbers and profit and SELL or keep it going
 

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