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Starting a local sanitation business. Thoughts?

Eric10x10

New Contributor
Hey guys.

I've been thinking of starting a local sanitation business, serving a major North American city with a population of 3+ million people.

The idea is to start small: purchase a capable commercial steam cleaner - such as this one, priced in the $1,000-$1,500 range - and get things started.

During the initial phase, the main (and perhaps only) service will be to sanitize, deodorize and disinfect people's sofas, mattresses, and carpets using super-heated dry vapor (steam). I do not want this business to be seen as another general "house cleaning company". Instead, I want us to be seen as "the guys who specialize in sanitizing, disinfecting and deodorizing things and places prone to germs and bacteria accumulation".

We will charge a flat fee between $50 and $200 per service, based on the volume of work.

I may (or may not) hire a few part-time employees who will be working on-call. However, for the most part during the first few weeks, I expect myself to be the one attending the jobs.

My background is in technology. I am an experienced copywriter, and I am quite competent when it comes to creating paid local campaigns on Google and Facebook; this is where we will be generating new business.

Of course, I will also be making a cool website allowing people to get instant quotes online.

I believe a catchy and persuasive video showcasing why people need to consider sanitizing, disinfecting and deodorizing their house on the regular will go a long way to get the customer's attention.

I will also be incorporating, and purchasing a liability insurance as well.

To be honest, I am quite decided on getting the ball rolling very soon. However, I thought it would not be a bad idea to post this here to look for people's thoughts on what I need to consider prior to the launch. A little bit of encouragement wouldn't hurt either! :)

How does all this sound to you guys? Should I just take a leap of faith and jump right in?
 

Duane

Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
FASTLANE INSIDER
Have you checked the amount of people searching this service online in your area?

Do you know roughly the total income per year your niche service does in your city?

Is there a growing demand for this service in your city or a shortage of excellent service companies? Why are you choosing to start this specific company?

If everything makes sense to start the company, what are you going to offer that you completely dominate all of your competition in? Is it best price? Fastest service? Highest Quality service?

How are you going to implement the above services to where any employee can do it with minimal training and they consistently meet company expectations? How are you going to automate picking up new clients and managing employees so you don't need to do any work in the business?
 

Paleo

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I'm in a related business and have several thoughts:

1) If you call yourself a "sanitation" company, people will think you are running garbage trucks. A good business actually, but not what you are doing.

2) A fee based on volume of work is not a "flat fee" It's an quote like any other contractor.

3) You would be working a lot longer than "the first few weeks" yourself.

4) I don't see you getting decent employees to work "on call". It's hard enough to get people to show up to a regular job. About the only people who work "on call" are doctors and hookers.

5) This is an extremely niche business which might appeal to some germophobes but not much beyond that. I doubt you can build a business around it.

6) Carpet cleaners already use the hot water extraction technique to clean carpets. This is hot enough to kill most germs.

7) People want their stuff CLEANED, not just "sanitized."

8) True deodorization is a whole complex subject with specialized products that involves a lot more than just killing germs.

9) A slick website and copy is great but it doesn't really create demand. You have to go into people's homes, talk to them, and understand their concerns and needs.

10) This WOULD be an awesome additional service to upsell if you were already providing services with a proven demand. House cleaning, carpet cleaning, etc.

11) Starting at $50 is very low for a non-recurring service. You need to charge a lot more. I won't start a truck for less than $100 for a non-recurring service, even if the truck would be back in 30 minutes. Your time, service and equipment are valuable, don't overlook that. I have weekly recurring services I charge a lot more than $50 for.

12) Thanks for bringing this company and their equipment to my attention. I might buy a machine and try it as an add on service.
 

minivanman

Platinum Contributor
Speedway Pass
Are you talking something like zerorez?

Yeah, I owned a carpet cleaning business before and you threw me right for a loop calling it a sanitation business.

Depending what part of the country you are in, lots of people are going to hard floors now. By talking with the people that bought my cleaning businesses, not many people have carpet any longer. Even apartments are going to hard floors. Personally, I still have my DEEP carpet back here in the office area but the rest of the house is hard floor. While I do love our original hard floors, I'm a carpet lover.
 
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Eric10x10

New Contributor
Are you talking something like zerorez?

Yeah, I owned a carpet cleaning business before and you threw me right form a loop calling it a sanitation business.

Depending what part of the country you are in, lots of people are going to hard floors now. By talking with the people that bought my cleaning businesses, not many people have carpet any longer. Even apartments are going to hard floors. Personally, I still have my DEEP carpet back here in the office area but the rest of the house is hard floor. While I do love our original hard floors, I'm a carpet lover.
Yes. The concept would be quite close to that of Zerorez.

This will essentially be a service that will be of interest to germaphobes. Can be thought of as elimination of germs, bacteria, allergens and viruses.

It will not be limited to carpets alone. Any surface in residential (or commercial) locations prone to bacteria and germ accumulation can be cleaned. Think mattress, pillows, sofas and chairs, bathroom & kitchen walls etc.
 

Neng Her

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Are you talking something like zerorez?

Yeah, I owned a carpet cleaning business before and you threw me right form a loop calling it a sanitation business.

Depending what part of the country you are in, lots of people are going to hard floors now. By talking with the people that bought my cleaning businesses, not many people have carpet any longer. Even apartments are going to hard floors. Personally, I still have my DEEP carpet back here in the office area but the rest of the house is hard floor. While I do love our original hard floors, I'm a carpet lover.

Right on the dot.
 
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