In Part One, you discovered ways to gain a solid year of professional cleaning experience. You have practiced your cleaning skills. You are confident you can clean most types of homes in your area. You took the steps to get licensed, bonded and insured. You are now ready to move to the next few squares…
Lead With Your Labor
If you don’t have money for equipment or supplies, begin your new business with just your labor. Use your new customers cleaning supplies and equipment. There are certain customers who actually prefer this type of service. They have cleaning supplies they love, plus vacuums and other equipment available in their homes. You can charge them a little less than other house cleaners who provide equipment and supplies. Since you don’t have the expense of buying and maintaining cleaning equipment and supplies, your service could be profitable from the start.
I’ve known self-employed house cleaners who worked like this their whole time in business. Some of them also offered extra home services including:
- laundry (wash, dry and fold)
- pet sitting
- houseplant care
Starting Without A Car
One way to start your cleaning business without a car is to work along a bus route. The bus route should be a short walking distance to your customer’s homes. This way, you can easily ride or walk from one customer’s house to another during your work day.
I’ve also known some house cleaners who started with a group of customers in one large apartment building or condo complex. They grew their businesses by word of mouth referrals from customers in the building. They made a habit of carrying a pocketful of business cards whenever they cleaned.
Build References and Referrals
Once you have five to seven customers, now is the time to ask your best customers to provide you with references. Also, some of the broker’s network customers you served may be willing to provide references that give you a running start for your own cleaning business.
Ask at least three customers for permission to use them as references. Respect those customers time and privacy. Be sure to find out how they want to be contacted: phone, email or text? Also ask them when they prefer to be contacted: morning, afternoons, evenings or weekends only?
Offer references only to people who request them. Many people you meet for walkthroughs of their homes don’t ask for references.
Want referrals? Simply ask. Your first customers can refer you to their friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers and church members. If you are working through a home service broker’s network, and have regular assignments to the same homes, ask for referrals to friends and neighbors outside of the broker’s network. Especially friends and neighbors who live in the same neighborhood near your regular bus routes.
Don’t hesitate to ask those first customers for testimonials, ratings and reviews. Any testimonials you get from those first customers (and later customers) are pure gold. Customer testimonials, ratings and reviews about your cleaning service can be put on your:
✯ Google My Business page
✯ Facebook business page
✯ Your cleaning business website
Starting a house cleaning business with no professional experience, no references, no money and no car can be a tough game in the beginning. It will take a few years of hard work and commitment to building your cleaning business – one square at a time. The good news is other people have done this and succeeded. Some self-employed house cleaners have built comfortable one or two person businesses starting with just their labor. Others have gone on to build million dollar businesses starting with no more than hard work and their determination to succeed.
Don’t let the thought of starting at square one scare you into doing nothing. Just take one square at a time, do the work, move to the next square and stay open to opportunities. You can do this!
Just Getting Started?
- Apply for a business name
- Get a business license
- Register to pay taxes
Just click on the map to find your state and get started.
Did you start your cleaning business at square one with more sweat than money? Share your beginning moves in the comments below ⬇︎.
Photo Credits: Folding Shirts by Vladans
City Bus by Mike Maguire