Starting a business is easy, but the more challenging part of it is keeping an immaculate reputation. That’s the part that requires hard work and commitment. The most important thing to remember is that when you are your own boss, really … your customers are the boss. Give them what they want, and charge a competitive rate. Ideally, this should be a little cheaper than your competitors.
- Set yourself apart. The business owner should work personally when starting the business to assure quality standards are met, because reputation is the main ingredient for success. When you begin to hire employees, they must be trained to meet the high standard your customers will expect. Also, it is a great idea to do the things other janitorial services do not offer (i.e. doing windows, cleaning litter boxes, cleaning your refrigerator, or car), because that makes your business unique meeting individual needs.
- Decide what type of cleaning you want to specialize in. Janitorial businesses can do commercial or residential cleaning. Maid service jobs become stable income. If you keep your customers happy, they will remain a weekly or bi-weekly customer for years to come.
- Make business cards or have them made.
- It should say something like:
- Ruth’s Janitorial Service
- Professional Cleaning
- Commercial 561-123-4567
- Your first customer can be an excellent reference.
- It should say something like:
- Ask around about the prices of other cleaning services in your area. You can call them up out of the phone book, and ask them what they charge. Don’t tell them you are getting information to become their competitor. Just get at least 3 general price quotes on charges. Without knowing the going price in your area, it is hard to say what you should charge.
- Your competitors have more to offer in some ways if they have been in business for 10 years, already have a good reputation, the equipment, insurance, etc. It is a good idea to charge a little less than the lowest price found. Maybe a promotional offer for the first few customers, and raise the price for new customers.
- Create a professional looking flier similar to the business card. These (and the business cards) can be gradually placed on bulletin boards, passed out, or on display. You will get calls from them, but it is not enough.
- Write a little sales statement that is said nicely within 30 seconds or less. People are either interested or not interested, and do not need sales persuasion. Make calls right out of the white pages for residential, and yellow pages for commercial. Calls require a mind set of devotion –especially since you don’t have a boss. Say to yourself, “I will call 2 pages out of the phone book a day, or I will make calls for one hour a day.” And then plan the time you will do it, set the alarm –whatever. Without self-disciple, your business will not be successful.
- Try to avoid talking to people as much as possible call during the time most people are working. The answer machine will come on, and you can simply leave a message. If they are interested, they will call you back.
- A sample message would be,
- “Hello, My name is Wendy White.
- I have recently started a cleaning service in your area, and I am calling to see if you “might” be interested in cleaning services?
- If you are, please call me back at 561-123-4567.
- And hang up unless a person answered. If they do answer, they will say no thanks, or how did you get my number, or how much do you charge. Don’t worry about any negative comments. You will get positive responses. Some people will laugh and think God had you call to help them.
- It is a good idea to have a 3 to 4 hour minimum. Working for one or two hours is barely worth the drive.
- A sample message would be,
- To get commercial jobs, call Real Estate Offices and use the same 30 second sales speech. They may ask what do you mean? Tell them you will clean their office, vacant houses, rental apartments, laundry and halls, whatever they need. Call dentist offices, lawyers, small businesses that have offices. Apartment complexes are excellent.
- For commercial jobs you need to have an up right vacuum, mop, bucket, and cleaning supplies.
- For residential, it is best to use their products. This way they cannot blame you for any chemical reaction creating a stain. You can also bring your own products if they don’t have any or don’t have a preference for what you use.
- It is best to personally be at the jobs at first, to make sure the customer is happy.
- Getting a university phone book, and calling professors can target better customers for maid service jobs. They work hard and can usually afford maid service. If you don’t live by a university, you can select calls that are in more prestigious areas, or put fliers on doors of higher priced homes. A lot of your business will be by referral if you do quality work, and have a cheerful, pleasant, and professional disposition. A sincere smile is a very important business tool.
- Clean as if you are on a hidden camera, because you very well may be.
- When hiring employees, make sure the interview, background checks, and training are in place. You can write a letter saying that the employee has agreed to be an independent contractor, that you are subbing work out to. They clearly in writing are responsible for their own taxes, insurance, and liability. Keep records of this contract, with their name, id, and social security number. The IRS will want that information if the business went through you, or they will charge you the taxes.
- Be very careful about expensive items. If spot cleaning a carpet, ALWAYS say, “Are you sure you want me to put this on your carpet? Could it change the color of the carpet?” Then if it happens, it was clearly not your fault.
- Make sure you do a back ground check and get references from anyone you hire. *
- Be very careful about sending a new employee to a maid service when the customer is not there, leaving a key. If anything is missing, regardless of the contract your employee signed, the customer can still sue you, if they are missing their diamonds or whatever.
- There is a lot of responsibility, but there will ALWAYS be people wanting cleaning service, no matter what the economy is doing.
- After you have cleaned for someone for a year or longer, do not start cutting corners thinking you are doing it only this week. It can easily become an unconscious excuse to make the job easier, and your quality starts slipping as you begin to take your business for granted. This is very, very common. They had good service, but the cleaning people started doing less and less. Cutting corners are obvious, there is nothing sneaky about it.
Things You’ll Need
- If you decide to have your own supplies:
- Good upright vacuum
- Good broom and dust pan
- Clothe rags clean, unstained.
- Cotton smooth white rags for dusting
- Personal protection items, such as rubber gloves, aprons, coveralls and dust masks.
- Do not use furniture polish with wax in it. You will get build up.
- Quality glass cleaner
- Paper towels
- Good bathtub and basin cleaner
- Hard water stain remover, Lime Away or the Works
- Bags to put clean rags, and dirty rags.
- Mr. Clean or Spic and Span for floors
- Phone to make and receive calls
- Business cards are optional, but good to have
- Fliers are good, but not essential
- Making the calls is where the majority of your business will come from.
- Quality service assures when you get a customer they will become regular income. They will not call you back if the service was poor.
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