Industry with Massive Potential: Starting a Commercial Cleaning Business
Have you ever walked out of an office complex after finishing work, thinking: “Oh, boy, what a mess. Somebody must be making a fortune cleaning up this place”? Well, guess what: you were right. Commercial cleaning is a lucrative prospect for starting entrepreneurs because you can start right off the bat with minimal fuss. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s take a look at the stats:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cleaning industry has had, on average, an annual growth of around 6.6% for the past 10 years. What’s more, this trend will most likely continue into the future, as the projected growth suggests a steady rise up until the year 2026 (at least), making it the fastest growing occupation inside the States. This is huge, considering the fact that the commercial cleaning industry is already worth somewhere around $78 billion, according to these statistics, employing approximately 3.5 million people in about 875,000 businesses in the year 2015 alone. The only real downside is that it’s not recession-proof, as there was a 5.3% fall in revenue back in 2008, as well as a 6.1% fall in 2009; it is generally perceived as a luxury in harsh economic times — hence why so many people do their own cleaning during this period. Meaning, as long as there’s at least a small economic growth going on, the cleaning industry will follow suit.
In this business, you have two options: you either start a franchise, or you try your luck by going solo. If you want to kick-start it all by yourself, you need to work on building that brand name from the ground up. Likewise, you need to do your own research and conduct your own training before you start working on your new business model. Now, although starting a cleaning business looks fairly simple, running it as a franchises gives you the added benefit of ongoing support and brand recognition that you wouldn’t otherwise get if you went all on your own. What’s more, you get to learn how to do your job properly through some initial training and lectures. For instance, how to interact with your customer base, how to run your business, how to perform inspections, and so on. In a nutshell, the assistance and guidance you get is simply invaluable, especially for inexperienced, or first-time entrepreneurs, who are still learning the ropes of the trade.
Now, seeing how no formal training, or education, is required to get a job within the industry — as well as the low barriers to entry — the competition can get quite intense. Anyone with an entrepreneurial mindset, and a small starting capital, can launch their own cleaning business — training is mostly done on-the-job, and getting some basic equipment is all you need to get the ball rolling — resulting in hundreds of small businesses competing for a slice of that pie. That is why proper marketing is key for the success of your new enterprise. Usually, people make the mistake of relying solely on their friends and family to be their business’s regulars, instead of just asking them to put out a good word for them. According to a report made by Nielson, a whopping 92% of customers trust referrals made by friends and family (word-of-mouth marketing), more than traditional advertising methods. Furthermore, you also need to start working on building your online presence as well; considering that as much as 75% of customers use the internet to research or look up a business before making a purchase. This includes: your own website, social media, review sites, online referrals, and so on.
Once you have your business model in place, and a solid marketing strategy up your sleeves, it’s time to get your hands dirty with some technical aspects of your business. For starters, you need to figure out exactly how much money you have at your disposal; in other words, you need to set aside a budget for your small business. How much are you willing to invest in advertising? How about insurance? Do you need any licenses and permits to run your business? What about employees and equipment? Also, don’t forget the taxes! In addition, you want to register your company as either a sole proprietorship, a partnership, an LLC, or as a corporation; look it up and determine which business structure suits your particular business.
Bonus Tip: Specialty cleaning services
As with any other business, the best opportunities come from niche markets. Namely, there is far less competition in the window, and carpet, cleaning services than you have in your regular floor cleaning department. However, this of course requires some specialized training and expertise that a starting entrepreneur might lack, but it’s definitely something to look out for in the future. Additionally, it might also require some specialized (read: expensive) gear to operate; so be careful not to bite off more than you can chew before you fully develop your business.
At the end of the day, it all falls down to you. Prepare that business plan, pick a business model, and take it from there.
You may also be interested in: 6 Steps to Finding Investors for Your Startup
Writer: Tracey Clayton
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