How to Start Your Own Commercial Cleaning Business - Steps 1-5
Step 1: What Buildings to Clean:
First and foremost, decide what you want to do with your commercial cleaning business. Do you want to clean small buildings or large buildings? Do you want to keep this business small or do you want to hire employees to do the work for or with you? This will determine what sort of buildings you are going to target.
There are many different areas of commercial cleaning. You can do small buildings such as banks, gyms, day cares, mom and pop shops or convenience stores. You can do small office buildings or large skyscraper buildings and schools. There are many options here. You will need to decide what you want to do.
If it is just you or just you and a partner, you may want to start small. Target smaller buildings that you can do by yourself. Then, when you get the feel for your business and want to hire help, target larger buildings.
Step 2: Business Name:
So, now you know what sort of building you want to clean. Now, you need to set up the business. First, you need to decide on a business name. You will want to pick something professional since you are dealing with professional people that you will have to sell yourself to. I don't recommend using a "cutesy" name. This will turn off many of those professionals that will be hiring you. Choose something that shows what you are made of. For example, Florida's Best Cleaning Service or Tampa Bay's Professional Commercial Cleaning. Adding your service area to your business name is also a big plus because your clients will be able to relate to you.
Step 3: Business License and Bank Account:
Now that you have a name, it is time to get your business license and bank account. Go to http://www.business.gov/register/licenses-and-permits/ and find your state. Contact a representative to see what sort of license is required for commercial cleaners. Most times you will only have to file for a DBA (doing business as), but this will vary from state to state.
Once you have a business license, you can then get a business checking account. There are many out there that will give you free checks and free transactions, so shop around. My business and personal are at the same bank, so they gave me a plan where I get free checks and free deposits and withdrawals. Check to see if your bank offers the same.
Step 4: Commercial Cleaning Insurance and Bond:
Now that you have a license and bank account, it is time to get liability insurance. Liability insurance will be a requirement for commercial cleaning. They will want to see your insurance certificate and some businesses may even want you to carry a certain limit on your insurance policy. The most any business should need would be a $1Million policy, but usually $500k would suffice.
You can find commercial liability insurance through your local agents as well as by going to http://ww.netquote.com. Just click on business insurance and get a quote right there. This can be costly depending on where you live, but the average is around $500/year. So, be sure to shop around to get the best coverage and quote.
If you are going to hire employees or you have a partner, it would be a good idea to get a bond. A bond will protect your business against employee theft. Bonds are not expensive and most of your clients will want you to have one as well. Your local agent should be able to help you get one or you can get one at http://www.janitorialbonds.com/. You can also shop around for a bond. Just do a search on the web for a janitorial bond. There are many companies.
Step 5: Rates:
The last step for setting up the backbone of your business before you start the operations part of the business is determining your rates. This doesn't have to be as difficult as people make it out to be. There doesn't have to be some magical formula. You can make up one if you want, but the best thing to do is determine what you need your hourly rate to be to make the kind of profit you want to make. Don't forget to factor in things like expenses (insurance, license, gas, maintenace, supplies, etc.). Once you determine your hourly rates, do you think your service area can pay that kind of money or is that even lower than the norm for your area? Don't know, just ask.
Once you figure out your hourly rate, you will have to figure out how many hours it will take for you to complete the cleaning job. Many factors will determine this. What kind of floor, how many rooms, how large is the building, how many employees, how many bathrooms.
This will be a learning curve for your to get your calculations correct, but don't worry. Even if it took you longer to clean than you thought, you will get better and faster as you get used to the building.
Once you know how many hours, multiply by your hourly rate. Then multiply that by how many times you will clean in a month and put the monthly rate on your bid sheet. Most businesses will pay by the month, so you need to give them a monthly rate. Don't tell them your hourly rate because they will start to nit-pick at certain areas or question why you need this much time to clean. Just give them your bottom line price, unless they ask for a breakdown.
That is all there is to the back end of your business. In steps 5-10, we will go over the operations of the business.
Go to Step 6: Advertising