There’s never going to be a shortage of demand for cleaning businesses, but making sure your cleaning business succeeds takes more than just a mop and a broom. People will always want someone to clean for them. After all, if it can get dirty, someone will pay you to clean it. In general, cleaning businesses fall into one of two categories: consumer and commercial. From there, commercial cleaning is mainly janitorial services with some specializations. The consumer cleaning sector is primarily occupied with maid services.
Despite the differences in the two sectors, there are still common challenges faced by both. And those challenges can often break a small business. Forbes estimates that 8 out of 10 small businesses fail within the first two years, and over 96 percent fail within 10 years. Here are five tips on how to make sure your cleaning business succeeds and thrives.
Don’t Go It Alone
One of the most important things to realize when you run your own business is that you don’t have to do everything by yourself. You have numerous resources available to you to help your business succeed.
For example, The ISSA is the International Sanitary Supply Association, founded in 1923. This association connects to other local and regional associations dedicated to cleaning businesses. While the ISSA is a paid membership organization, it does offer numerous tools for your business as well as a trade show that gives you the opportunity to network.
Whether you choose to pay to join a networking association is up to you. Keep in mind, however, that even though you’re in competition, some of the best practices for cleaning can be found from your competitors.
2. Stay Informed
There are new ways to do things and new technologies that come out all the time. Stay tuned to blogs and sites that focus on your business. It’s not just new ways to clean windows or carpets that should interest you either. Anything that can help your profit margin or make you a better asset to your clients should be looked at.
Additionally, you’re going to be working with numerous chemicals and solvents in your day to day work. Knowing how they interact and what that new blue jug of wonder-clean is made of is imperative to ensure you don’t accidentally release a cloud of chloramine gas into a small bathroom space. Talk to your suppliers and get to know what the latest products are that are coming out. Stay on top of trends as well; knowing the latest trend could give you a leg up on your competition when it comes to bidding for a new job.
Use Systems and Processes
A system is important for your cleaning business’s success because it enables you to be more efficient. Additionally, as your business grows and you start to gain employees, having systems in place ensures that the jobs will be completed accurately and on time.
Keep in mind that systems don’t just apply to how to vacuum an office or cleaning the foyers; you should have systems for invoicing, reporting jobs, and for handling the eventual disagreements you will have with customers. When you have a system in place, you will know how to handle a given situation and the process will guide you or your employees through it.
4. Find Your Niche
As much as it would be great to have your cleaning business succeed as a do-everything sort of business, that’s not realistic, especially in your first year. So, find your niche. If you’re a sole proprietor business, you won’t be able to handle a 30-floor building’s cleaning needs. Finding what you’re good at doesn’t mean you can’t revisit your business plan later down the road. It means that for now, you focus on what you know you can do and focus on doing it to the best of your ability. As you provide consistent and quality service to your clients, you will gain additional business that lets you grow.
Take Care of Your Employees
When you get to the point where your business requires taking on additional help, it becomes imperative that you take care of them. Remember what it was like when you were an employee, working for someone else. What didn’t you like? Train your employees and teach them the systems and processes that you have in place. Keep them caught up on the latest trends so that they become invested in your business. Encourage and don’t micro-manage your employees.
One of the hardest part about hiring someone to represent your brand is learning to trust them. But you wouldn’t have hired them if you didn’t see something in them that you liked. Go with that. With the proper training and care, your employees will want to do their best for you. Any spiffs or bonuses you provide for them will only increase that desire.
So, those are five quick tips on how to make sure your cleaning business thrives in today’s competitive market. Remember that you’re providing a valuable service to your clients and that your clients deserve your very best. With hard work, planning, and dedication, your cleaning business will make it past the two and ten year breaking points and beyond.
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