Cleaning Business Success – You Can Do It!

Cleaning Business Success – You Can Do It!

Cleaning business success – you can do it even though it isn’t something you can guarantee, you can do a lot to reduce the factors against making it.

We want you to be well prepared for the journey ahead as a small cleaning business owner operator, we’ll lay before you here 7 factors which had we not solved them our cleaning business success would’ve been in doubt.

Not only that we’ll help you with good information about how we managed to overcome those things.

And it’s been our business as small business owners to find answers to problems which could prevent our cleaning business success.

You see, when we started our business 30 years ago gaining good advice was not as easy as it is today, we didn’t have Intenet resources such as they are now.

You’re in a great position to make a cleaning business succeed.


Bullets To Dodge

via GIPHY

  • Be sure to price your work well and don’t forget to factor in enough to pay yourself.
    • Price your work as though you’re not going to do the work yourself, work out what it would take to put an employee into the job and factor that into the price you charge.
    • Someday your cleaning business will expand, you’ll need to place employees into existing work. If you’ve underpriced your work it’ll threaten your viability.

We found this out the hard way, and it took some months to correct it.

It’s a challenge for any small business, a cleaning business success is tied to expansion.

It’s always a thrill to get a new client…but not at the cost of your business.

Any new work has to be viable. Don’t get caught in a price war thinking the only way to get that work is on price!

The more money you invest sensibly into your business, the more likely it is that your company will grow.
  1. Add yourself to the payroll and pay yourself regularly. …
  2. Take out ‘reasonable compensation’ …
  3. Consider the legal structure of your business. …
  4. Be tax efficient: Five pointers. …
  5. Don’t forget deductions, expenses and benefits.

Next Bullet – Don’t spend $3000 on a Fax Machine

Yes that’s right…waaay back in the late 1980s we were told we needed a fax machine to send reports to our franchisor. It wasn’t needed. That was a lot of money to spend…we still purchased it. Duh!!

The point being…don’t spend $$$ on stuff that doesn’t help you produce an income. Especially in the early stages of your business.

  • You don’t need a new Van
  • You don’t need the latest piece of equipment etc

Build up your cash reserves that will serve you better than a $3000 Fax or a new whatever…

If you’re not convinced here’s 40 Ways Small Business Owners Waste Money.

We were curious to see where business owners waste the most money in the early days. So we reached out and asked what small business owners thought was the #1 biggest money waster for small business owners.


Next Bullet – Income Greater Than Outgoings

In a nutshell…don’t spend more than you earn plus whatever amount you’d like to salt away in a cash reserves account.

The trick to this is keeping your costs low.

Hiring people in the cleaning industry is the  biggest cost of all. It’s not the only cost you’ll need to control. However, it’s one that can get away on you, and fast.

Up to 65% of revenue goes out in wages and associated costs such as:

  • Holiday pay
  • Long service leave
  • Sick pay
  • Carers leave
  • Superannuation etc

HIRE WHEN IT HURTS…from a book (Rework) written a few years back.

Don’t hire for pleasure; hire to kill pain. Always ask your self: What if we don’t hire anyone? Is that extra work that’s burdening us really necessary? Can we solve the problem with a slice of software or a change of practice instead? What if we just don’t do it?

From page 204…Rework.

It’s a great little book I thoroughly recommend it…check out this PDF of excerpts from the book.


Next Bullet – Get Your Clients to Love Your Employees

In the early stages of your business you’ll do most of the work you’ll do a great job and clients love you for it.

Eventually you’ll need to replace yourself in some of that work. This is a nervous time for you because you’re now handing your baby over to a largely unknown quantity…your employee.

It’s very rare to find an employee who’ll work with the same care as you do. If you do…treasure them.

To prepare for this transition I suggest the following:

  • Write down and systemize everything you do in the job you plan to place an employee into.
  • Make this into a schedule of duties for your new employee
  • Let your client know you intend to place an employee into the job
  • Reassure them you’ll monitor the site and the employee for a seemless transition
  • Introduce the employee in such a way that the cleaner is ‘real’ to your client. They’re not just a cleaner. “Tom is your new cleaner, he’s a dad with three kids etc.” Something to make your new cleaner more than ‘the cleaner’
  • Stay in touch…don’t disconnect from the client or the site
    • I’ll admit I’m not brilliant at this, sometime I let it go too long between visits
    • Stay in touch

Next Bullet – Replace Yourself

It’ll make sense to do this as your business expands, sooner or later this bridge is to be crossed. In a physically demanding industry such as cleaning your health and wellbeing is something to consider and there’s a limit to how much cleaning you can do in one day.

A few years ago I hurts my back moving something ( a piano)!! My wife said I was stupid…and she was right. It meant I needed to find employees and fast. On the otherhand it was the best thing too. It forced us to restructure things.

To succeed in this you’ll need to systemize the things you are doing. This makes it possible to hand the hat over to someone else.

Once the new fellow or girl knows the system without having to think about it you’ll have a great employee.

A system makes it easy to identify what could be going wrong if you start to get complaints, when that happens, check if the employee is following our systems. The answer is generally ‘no’, I thought it was easier to do it this way…’

 


Next Bullet – Under Promise Over Deliver

Resist the urge to promise more than you’re capable of delivering. An easy trap to fall into especially when you do a walk through with a new prospect.

It can be as innocent as saying “we would never allow dust to settle on that surface”… you mean it when you say it and in an ideal world your word would hold true…right.

But that promise will stick in your clients mind to come back bite you the first or second time your cleaner misses it.

I find it much better to be upfront with prospects and say we expect our cleaners to clean to a high standard but we’re also real enough to know sometimes points get overlooked.

Seek a point of agreement on this.

And then I go on to assure them we’ll respond to issues in a timely manner and not let things persist, ask them if they’re okay with that?

Most people are, honestly if they’re not, you don’t want that client.

With that out of the way…make sure you deliver to a high standard, find opportunities to go above and beyond their expectations. It doesn’t have to be huge. And let them know about it.

Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded.

cleaning business success
Photo by Martin Adams

For example:

  • We’ll clear some rubbish out of the way even though it’s not part of what was expected
  • We’ll notice damage and report it

Clients appreciate that you care for their property and interests.


Next Bullet – Don’t Build A Job – Build A Business

Cleaning business success is a process of growing from one person doing it all to you finding a way to add people as it makes sense to do so. It’ll depend what you envision for yourself.

Wouldn’t it be nice to grow your business to a size where you work on it rather than in it all the time.

If that’s your goal, you’ll need to commit to it. Seek good information to help you overcome hurdles as they appear.  Make use of online learning and educate yourself. Link up with like minded people for support and community.

click me


MyHouseCleaningBiz is one place where you’ll find resources in volume to help you start your own cleaning business. Check it out…

I’m willing to help where I feel I can make a difference & if I am not able to assist you personally I’ll find an answer for you.

Fell free to post a comment below we love to hear from our readers, and I promise to respond.

Cheer James

 

 

 

Residential Window Cleaning

Residential Window Cleaning

Residential window cleaning is all about delivering bright, shiny and sparkling windows which improve the look and feel of any home. Adding this service to your cleaning business is a great way to expand your income without adding too much cost to your operation.

It’s also a great starting point for your own cleaning business.


Are You Kidding!

I assume you already have a business structure of some kind set-up, if you’re serious about being in your own cleaning business, and you’ll have completed a number of preliminary steps to  start your own cleaning business.

Time For Change

Times have changed, gone are the days when you could start a business without properly setting things up. So don’t kid yourself that you can buy some window gear and start a window cleaning business.

Most home owners will want to know about your liability and other insurances.


Get Residential Window Cleaning Customers

Because we’ve been in our cleaning business for many years we get regular enquiry for residential window cleaning services. And so it’s been natural to add this to our service range. To expand on it all we need to do is contact existing clients and people we know and offer it.

You or someone else starting out in the industry should follow these few simple steps.

  1. Make a list of all the people you know
  2. Make contact with them and introduce yourself
  3. Make them aware of your service
  4. Make an attractive offer to them
  5. Make it easy for them to accept your offer
  6. Make sure you deliver good service
  7. Make sure you get paid
  8. Make a habit of collecting referrals from people you’ve done good work for to others you can now contact.
  9. Make these steps habitual

Your business will grow.


Pro-Tips

Follow these few tips to make residential window cleaning go easier for you.

Plan your rsidential window cleaning work well in advance of the day, if new to the game revisit training resources if unsure of anything, practice your technique for both outside and inside work.

  1. Clean the outside first
  2. Cleaning inside after allows you to see where you might have missed something on the outside
  3. Cleaning inside, place a plastic drop sheet on flooring (especailly carpet), you don’t want to spoil fabric with dirty water
  4. Cleaning inside, be aware of water run-off to sills and walls. Again, you don’t want to spoil wall fabric or paint etc
  5. Clean and wipe dry all sills, frames and channels as you go. This is to prevent water damage and finish your job in a professional manner
  6. Cleaning inside, you must be aware of your surroundings and be careful to not damge fittings, fixtures and ornaments. Ornaments should be removed from sills and ledges by the home owner before you start. Gently advise them you won’t clean areas not cleared.
Window Sill Ornament
Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

That last point might seem strange to some, but by controlling inside the home environment this much prevents breakages and upset later.

Warning: Clean windows can be hazardous…don’t walk into them..


Resources To Help You

There are hundreds if not thousand of window cleaning tips on the Internet, I’ve linked to a few here including a good article from Forbes Magazine.

Here’s another on window cleaning.


Finishing Up

Residential window cleaning is rewarding work, you get to meet some wondeful people and hopefully you’ll build a customer base with repeat work year in year out.

Your service range is going to expand because other services such as fly/insect screen repairs, gutter cleaning and pressure washing go hand in hand with window cleaning.

If you have suggestions to add to this post, please feel free to post a coment below.

Cheers James

How To Setup Google My Business (GMB)

How to setup Google My Business (GMB) on Google and build a FREE WEBSITE too! For a local cleaning business I recommend doing this as soon as you can. With it setup you can update your listing anytime and engage with your customers from your mobile phone. If you need to adjust thigs one your website you can do on the run. If you have a physical location where your customers come to you GMB will update across Search and Maps. Making it easy for people to find you. Let’s get started.

Two Kinds Of Website.

There’s free. And there’s paid. This last might be anywhere from a few dollars on upward of many thousands. Depending on how deep your pockets are. As small cleaning business owners, it’s likely we would go for big effects for small costs, right?

Let’s talk FREE. (It’s an option).

Photo by William White on Unsplash
Did you know, Google offers a free website for Google My Business customers? No! Well, they do. It’s now free for any business VERIFIED within Google My Business (GMB). You’ll need to set up your business listing within Google My Business. And there’s a few hoops to go through when you do that. But we go into that further down page…meanwhile. Once, you’ve got your business listed in GMB, creating the website is smooth as silk. Google builds your website from information supplied in setting up your business profile.
With Google My Business, you can create a simple website that looks great in under ten minutes. It’s completely free, and easy to create and edit from your computer and phone. https://www.google.com/intl/en_au/business/how-it-works/website/

If You get this far hit “GET STARTED”.

And it will create your site from the info you supplied when you set up GMB.

Now You Customize It.

You’ll be able to choose different colours, text etc., click “Pick a theme for your site”. It’ll start to take shape now. Won’t be long before you’re ready to post some content to it. From there continue to populate your FREE WEBSITE!

Google My Business (Set Up).

It’s quite easy to set up Google My Business (GMB). Here’s what you’ll need.
  • A Google Account; more than likely you have one of those, got Gmail? You’ve got one! Otherwise, head over here and set one up.
  • A business. It may be a very new one or one long established…it doesn’t matter.
  • Google Account you’re good to go

IMPORTANT TIP:

Check “YES” in the last box of the set up form if you run your business from home and don’t want visitors. Even though you have to list your business street address. If you check “Yes” in the last box on the form your address remains hidden from public view, only you can see it. You can’t finish set up without advising of a physical street address. Want more info about it hit their “important information” link in the same box.

VERIFICATION.

Photo by Marten Newhall on Unsplash
Google will send a POSTCARD to your physical address. And (that’s why you add it) it’ll contain a PIN, It’s required for confirmation your business exists.

Now, You’re Ready To Complete Your Free Website.

That’s it…you’re set to go. The rest of the process is Step-By-Step and pretty easy. You can customize your site as you see fit. Here’s an example snip of a GMB Website Page.
Please feel free to drop comments or questions below, I promise to respond. Cheers James

Knowing Exactly Who Your Ideal Client Is!

Knowing Exactly Who Your Ideal Client Is!

One of the most important factors in marketing your cleaning business is knowing exactly who your ideal client is. If you don’t, there’s no way your marketing is going to be compelling or captivating to your audience. The people you want to serve.
Knowing exactly who your ideal client is
Because you’re not talking to any potential customer in particular. You’re talking to everyone, and everyone don’t want your services. Specific people do. It’s your job to define them then, find and offer your services to them. It’s all homework!

Understand who makes an ideal customer.

By understanding who makes an ideal customer for you, you’ll.
  • Build your enitre business.
  • Build your message.
  • Build your product, sales and support attracting and serving this narrow well defined customer group.
In other words, you’re marketing to the exact people you want to be working with!

When we first started our cleaning business.

  • It started in a well defined narrow section of the cleaning industry
  • We decided on cleaning Supermarkets & our attention was in this direction only
  • Read more about that in an earlier post here
(I can hear you thinking…. “yes, but doesn’t everyone want cleaning, why’s he talking like this?” …. Sorry to burst your bubble there, but no they don’t). They may need a cleaner’s help, and fail to recognize it. It’s not something they go out and look for…unless prompted. Buying a cleaning service has no sex appeal, who wakes up in the morning and say’s “hell, I want to go shopping for a cleaner”? No one!

Become compelling!

When every other cleaning business, is talking to everyone…(which is not compelling)… You’ll be talking to a well defined group. See the difference? That’s powerful stuff for a cleaning business, it’s also powerful stuff for you as the owner. You’ll experience less overwhelm, when thinking about your business.
  • It’ll be easier to focus and make it grow.

Think about it.

When you know more about your clients.
  • Their average age.
  • Whether they’re residential or commercial.
  • Where they live.
  • What their concerns, needs and wants are.
  • When you know what makes them tick, you’ll offer them services in a way that compels them to buy.
You’ll also avoid the high-maintenance clients who actually cost you time and money. It’s almost an unfair advantage – and your competitors aren’t doing this!

Here’s the crazy thing – all it takes is a little homework.

To develop your client profile, there are a few steps to follow to be successful with it. Whether you’re starting out or you’re an established business these steps apply. Point to note: Any new activity isn’t yet known, it doesn’t exist to those it needs to be in touch with. There’s no familiarity, no basis of trust yet. If that makes sense?
  1. Start in the Narrowest Market Possible- This may seem stupid to many starting a business. In our case at we started with supermarket cleaning. The market was open to receive changes and new ways of cleaning & we had something new to offer.
  • It was easy to see what problems existed.
  • We could walk into a supermarket and check the state of cleaning.
  • As we walked around a supermarket we built some familiarity with what could be a point of entry to the market.
  • There are other places open to you to go and look and research, it’s all part of the homework. I refer here to supermarkets as handy example only.
  • It’s also easy to find the mangers name and contact details.
  • With this information we could formulate an offer make contact to at least make a time to meet.
  • From there we find out what needs and wants they have person to person.
  • And, allowed us to see whether we wanted to work with this person.
  • If you get the chance to deliver your service and do a good job at it you’ll create a fan or two. We call this “Traction”.
  • You can always expand your reach after you gain traction. You’re now in a position of being known. Sweet hey?

Identify what you need and want in an ideal client.

Describe the sort of person/client you’d like to work with. In the step above I mentioned the idea of “whether we wanted to work with this person”. If you take time to clarify your ideal client it’ll make it easier to decide whether a prospect is going to be a good fit for you or not. Remember. They’ll be looking at you too and deciding whether you’re a good fit for their business. For example we like to work
  • For fair minded people, who understand at times things can go wrong
  • For clients who are willing to work with us to resolve a situation when it does
  • For those who pay their invoices on time
  • For people who appreciate a good job
  • For community minded groups or businesses
  • For those who’ll enter into our service agreement (this is vital for commercial cleaning)

Identify your clients’ needs and wants

I mentioned above find out what’s needed and wanted.
  • In doing your homework you’ll get a fair idea of what could be their needs and wants.
  • But you may miss the mark too.
  • The best way to really find out is on a one-on-one basis.
  • The only reason clients do business with you is to fulfil some want or need that they have.
  • They want you to solve some problem in their lives.
  • Find out what those needs are and fill them.
  • You’ll dominate your entire market.
And once you do that, it all gets easier. You’ll be well positioned to make more money from clients who love your service, and are eager to refer you to their friends and colleagues – so you add more clients and build your business faster! Please feel free to comment below, I am always available to answer questions or to help if it’s within my power to do so. Cheers James

Improve Your Cleaning Business – Use Swept!

 Improve Your Cleaning Business – Use Swept!

Swept is simple software designed for the Janitorial & Cleaning Industry.

Commercial Cleaning Companies and Janitorial Services that want to better serve their employees & keep their clients want to use Swept because it’s a great way to keep employee and client relations running smooth. In this blog post you’ll learn how to improve your cleaning business with better communication using Swept Software.

We’ve wanted a cost effective simple tool to better manage our cleaners and client relations for long time, but none we looked into were specific to the Janitorial and Cleaning Industry, then we discovered Swept and decided it could be a good fit for our business. This is our experience so far…hope it helps you!


Our Experience is Your Win!

I decided to blog post about this software and my/our personal experience in configuring it for use in our cleaning business with the idea it will help you to decide whether to give Swept a trial or not.

At this writing we’re focusing on “Basic Capabilities Configuration” as they call it.

  • Cleaners can sign in.
  • Managers and staff receive alerts.
  • All users can communicate through the app.

There are a few to do items to complete Basic Configuration, all easy to do.

Then we move to Intermediate and Advanced Configuration.

Each of the configuration steps are laid out in easy done “To Do” tasks which come with supporting articles should you need them.

I think they’ve made it easy enough to configure.


Price Points: NO CREDIT CARD REQUIRED

Free Plan forever for up to 3 locations:

This is a great way to get started you’ll get a feel for how it works. No obligation for as long as you want to see if it’s for you.

We started this way and upgraded within 7 days to a paid plan.

In hindsight it would have benefited us staying with the free plan for a little longer and focus on just one location and cleaner until I had it nailed but I wanted to access their offer of incentives to upgrade within 7 days. So we’re on the Start Plan now.

Start Plan:

$5 per location (with a minimum purchase of 10 locations) billed monthly. $50 per month.

Grow Plan:

$7 per location (min purchase of 10 locations). $70 per month.

Improve your cleaning business - use swept


Summary & Welcome to Swept

Swept:

www.sweptworks.com

Founded:

2013

Where:

Canada

Features:

Dashboard

Geo Fence site location tool

Schedules

Reports

Inspection Plans

Supplies management

Cleaners communication

Manager communication

Client communication

Support

Advice and answers


Platform distribution

SaaS (Software as a Service)

Android App

iOS App


Dashboard:

The dashboard is easy to use in both the mobile app and desktop. It’s big, clean uncluttered and the text is easy on my eyes.


Geo Fence:

 

Geo Fence is a way of using GPS or radio frequency identification (RFID) to put a boundary around a location. For practical purposes this means I can put a virtual boundary around one or all of our client locations.

This way when a mobile device enter this boundary it triggers a pre-programmed action. In our case “cleaner is on site or not” type of thing.

It’s super easy to set up. Just follow the instructions provided within Swept.

Benefits:

There’s a number of benefits to having Geo Fence for both my cleaners and myself as their manager.

Cleaner safety is one, I now have peace of mind knowing the cleaner is in the location boundary and made it to work without incident.

And for work health & safety reasons it’s good to know whether our cleaner’s finished their clean safely and has left the site. With Swept we get a notification they haven’t signed out within an expected time period this prompts us to contact them to see if they’re OK. For all we know they may not have been able to sign out due to an incident or injury.

One of the pain points in the cleaning industry is ensuring cleaners work their full shift and do not skip out before time.

In other words time theft…it doesn’t seem much but 10 or 15 mins taken from a shift each day adds up. And shows in the standard of work being delivered to say little of breaking trust with our clients.


Schedules (Rostering):

Cleaner schedules are easy to set up in Swept.

Over the years I’ve tried a number of rostering tools that were a waste of time. None fully addressed the cleaning industry user, finally we went back to using an Excel spreadsheet even though it’s not perfect it was at least functional & simple.

Swept scheduling tool is designed by guys who’ve been in the industry and it shows. Its simple, intuitive and has everything  I find I need in scheduling staff.

I still have an excel spreadsheet in partial use for now, really out of habit…gradually I’m phasing over to schedules within Swept.


Reports:

You’ll be able to generate reports with ease; e.g. an at a glance Schedule Variation Report, you’ll know exactly when your cleaner was either under their scheduled time or over it. This will allow you to drill down and find what’s happening.

Other reports included are; cleanings, supply requests – location, supply requests – supplier ( yes you can add all your suppliers onto the platform), inspections & payroll.

Everything’s in one Dashboard and across your devices.


Cleaners Communication:

I find texting messages to cleaners a little clunky in Swept, only because the message line is one continuous line of text not like what you’d be used to. You know like when messaging from your mobile device.

It’s not familiar to me and may not be for you too, but it works.

You can add photos too and create an alert for urgent stuff.


Client Communications:

At this writing I haven’t added client managers to my Dashboard so I can’t comment on this feature yet.

They say this feature allows your clients to; “chat with you and your managers using the Swept App, get updates and inspections you approve and streamline communication to catch issues they run into”.

“One tool that helps you grow your business”.

As and when I get this implemented I’ll update this part of this post.


Support:

So far support and communication has been fantastic, I’m based in Australia so there’s a time difference, I have to allow for that, it’s not been a problem. I ask a question the answer is back within 24hrs or earlier.

  • I feel there’s a personal line of communication between myself and the guys at Swept (Tristan, Shawn and Sarah).
  • For example, I lost track of a subscription invoice needed for tax purposes…Shawn and Tristan had it sorted within 24hrs.

I found out about Swept Software when researching for an earlier blog post…“Start Your Own Cleaning Business”.

It was my good luck that it was featured in a blog post written by Lisa Macqueen – Cleaning Marketer “The 10 Best Podcasts & Resources for Cleaning Business Owners”. Swept was one of 10 resources which got her endorsement. Which I doubt she’d give lightly.

Also I think you’ll find Cleaning Marketer a useful resource rich site too, check it out.

 


Swept Free Resourses:

Swept provide a range of free resources for Janitorial and Cleaning Business’.

Free Resources:


Summary:

I’ve attempted to give you an honest account of my experience with Swept, it’s early days for us yet, but I’m excited about future prospects for our small cleaning business and our plans to expand it beyond it’s current service level through making good use of Swept.

It may be that you’ve read this far into this post because you have the same or a similar goal for your business. I hope we’ve helped you. If so, please let me know or say hi in the comments section below this post.

I love to hear from our readers.

Cheers James

How To Work Less & Get More Done!

 

Work Less & Get More Done.

 

Are you exhausted & drowning by the amount of stuff you have to do, either at work or in other areas of life? This post is about how you can work less and get more done.

What we don’t get done one day is left to pile around us for the next and the next…well you get it. This creates additional work and prevents us from getting on top of things. We double and somethimes triple the amount of work we do by not dealing with things now.


Solved – Do it Now!

When something needs to be done and it’s within your capacity to do it, do it now, get it done now, don’t defer it, don’t put it down and come back to it later. Instead, act on it right there and then & finish with it.

Do this one thing and you’ll cut your workload in half, you’ll have more time to either do more or loaf, if you chose to.


That’s it!

I’m not suggesting this is perfect, nor is it easy to keep in as a strategy, you’ll let your guard down from time to time, the piles of stuff will appear again.

OK, no problem, just re-implement doing things now and you’re back on track, you’ll master it.


Double Handling Stuff.

Is any of this familiar to you?

You’re at work; a piece of paper, perhaps a file, an email or someone comes to you. You engage with it or them taking a moment to examine the situation.

You then put it down or defer it until later; maybe make yourself a note about it and place it somewhere on your desk along with other requests. Sound somewhat familiar?

The moment we put it down or defer something means we have to keep things in memory for later! We even have to remember where we wrote the reminders.

And, we’ll want to refresh our memory about it later to then handle it, or not.

The result being; you’ll look busy but accomplish less and lower your morale. Incomplete actions pile up around you which you feel you can’t get out from under.


The Rule.

If you touch something or find yourself reading a file, an email or listening to a request you’ve just committed yourself to handling it now. So, act on it now.

Complete it now. If you do anything more than just note something has arrived for action you must do it now. Big or small you must do it now, this is the rule.

Craig Jarrow of Time Management Ninja has written a piece on “Do It Now”

It’s good but does not give you a plan for controlling things as they come at you, if you apply “Do It Now” to everything that comes your way you could find yourself being pulled in all sorts of direction. You owe it to yourslef to excercise control over your work.

We apply this rule is all aspects of our cleaning business we expect our cleaners to do things now and complete the action. They actually work less & get more done. We systemize cleaning task with this in mind…learn more about running a cleaning business here.


 

Control What Happens.

The above works in its raw form, and you can bludgeon it in if you like; or with a little organization make it an easy transition from feeling overwhelm to control.

Over the years (28 of them) working with this “Rule” I found it necessary to put some control in on my work environment, and that includes control of people too.

People are more likely to pull you away from getting things done than almost any other factor I can think of!

The truth of this can be found in any work place you care to name…take a moment and look at your place of work, you’ll see what I mean.

Very few things in life are actual emergencies, consider that for a moment, however, nearly everything that comes our way is made to look like one, whether intentionally or by default.

In today’s workplace there’s a sense of urgency about almost everything. Either implied or directly expressed. Working with this sort of thing can be exhausting.


Media’s at Fault. Or is it?

Frankly, I think it has to do with how we get our information, email, mobile phones, teleconferences, multi media, television. To name just a few.

These, I believe, come across as demanding our immediate attention. Or else! It’s a fast paced world isn’t it?

We kinda get tricked into engaging with something because it’s presented as though it; “requires immediate attention and remedial action”. An emergency.

We’ll want to recognize this point, because, it’ll make such a big difference to how we handle things and people who present things as though it’s an emergency!!


Emergency defined:

[Sudden, unexpected, or impending situation that may cause injury, loss of life, damage to the property, and/or interference with the normal activities of a person or firm and which, therefore, requires immediate attention and remedial action.] www.businessdictionary.com

In real emergency situations, one does have to act, to give immediate attention to…whatever it is. It’s right to leave off what you’re doing and attend to any real emergency.

However there are actually very few real emergencies in life.


When’s it Not an Emergency?

When, Bill rushes in to say “I left my office key at home and I..?” His moment of irresponsibility – not your emergency. This might seem tough, but Bill’s about to dump at least 2hrs of unscheduled added work to your day…and it’s probably not the first time it’s happened.

So, you’ll want a system to keep this sort of thing down to a minimum, a very effective little system which requires minimal organization.

Real emergencies aside, the need to handle something right now ought to be clearly marked as  “Urgent” by the person who’s making the request.

It’s placed on your desk or in plain view until it’s done with. It never goes out of sight until it’s been dealt with.


Routine Stuff.

Everything else is routine and goes into its own folder “Routine” with the most recent on the bottom of the pile.

You do not read them or do anything other than place them in the folder. If you have an assistant it’s  their job is to place stuff in the folder.

They don’t do more than that with it.

Everytime you found yourself glancing at the contents of the items being placed into the folder you must act on it now and complete it.

Don’t double handle something.

Catching yourself like this will impose some discipline on your actions, the penalty if you like.

Engage with something and you must see to it’s completion.

When it comes time to tackle the “Routine” stuff don’t fondle with the first item and put it down, no.

You must complete it, do not put it down and come back to it later, stay on point until its finished.

Then take the next and act on it. In this way you’ll work through the folder one item after the other.

Eventually you get on top of things. You be surprised at how much you get through in one day if you approach things in this way.


I Don’t Work in an Office!

I dig Ditches!

How do I apply this in that situation?

Like this:

Do not accept someone’s attempts to pull you off task (digging your ditch) to go and sweep a path just because it’s been presented as though it’s an emergency, when it clearly isn’t.

Do demand you be allowed to complete your task before starting another.

Be ruthless with yourself and others in this.

Do Your Routine Jobs Like This:

Oldest job first, then the next and so on, working on each until done.

When you’ve caught up on backlogged work and new work comes in “Do it Now” do not put things off.

Do and complete each task in and of itself, don’t do part of a task and start on something else, in other words, don’t bit and piece actions.

You find yourself having to dig a channel, then keep at it until its finished. And then start the next task, staying with that until its finished.


Summary.

The “Do It Now” approach to your activities and work will require self-discipline, however, if you do, time will be under your control, you will do more, accomplish more than you thought possible, and you won’t be exhausted.

Allow yourself a minimum of 4 weeks to see changes. By weeks 6 to 8 you’ll have it as routine.

This works, it’s not perfect but it works.

Just be sure to keep in mind the guiding rule of “Do It Now’.

I hope you find this useful.

Have your own tips for getting more done each day? Please feel free to post them in a comment below.

Cheers James

Vacuum Cleaners – Best Backpack Vacuum

Vacuum Cleaners – Backpack Style User Guide

Vacuum cleaners backpack style are one of those go to tools for cleaning businesses. If you are thinking of getting one either for home use or for your business. This guide will definitely help you get the best out it.

I’m a  30 year commercial cleaning business owner I know backpack vacuum cleaners. They’re vital to our business.


This is a real life guide to help you get the best out of your backpack vacuum cleaner, these tips are useful for other types of vacuum cleaners too.

What To Look For

It’s got to be tough enough to last beyond a warranty, you won’t really know this until it’s been put to the test. However you can tell a lot from how it feels. If it feels flimsy then don’t purchase it.

You’ll know just by picking it up whether it’s going to be a lemon or not, you’ll get that feeling or gut instinct, so follow it.

We now make use of the  Pacvac SUPERPRO 700 Backpack vacuum because it ticks all the boxes.

  • Spare parts need to be available locally at reasonable prices
  • Servicing needed to be local
  • It’s comfortable and light enough for anyone to use for extended periods of time
  • It’s tough
  • Also, the manufacturer supplies vacuum bags that insert inside the main bag, these collect dirt and finer particles keeping the main bag clear and free from dust. Which also save the motor and should be emptied or changed according to manufacturers instructions, or before depending on use
  • The electric lead needs to be long enough (18 mtrs is good). Don’t add an extension lead beyond that because its actually dangerous to the operator

 

 

Even great vacuums have weak points, which will show sooner or later. Those that stop you or your cleaner from getting their work done are discussed below. Read on.

  • This elbow, the one at the hose end connecting the long poles to the floor tool.

    Black vacuum cleaner tool on white background with text.
    Fatigue showing in handle

    This will fatigue over time and snap. It pays to have one or two spare. They’re easy to replace. Often these break when you’re in the middle of a job.

  • If you don’t have a spare to get out of trouble, use Duct tape! Failing that grab some other kind of tape and seal the hole, a finger over the one shown would work.
  • Floor tools wear faster than any other part because they are always in contact with the floor/carpets etc., often they’ll come apart where the poles connect, that little elbow area gets worn due to sand and grit.  It can come apart making vacuuming impossible. Carry a spare or some Duct tape until you can get one.
  • The elbow section of this tool can also block if you suck up something a bit to big. It’s handy to have a piece of wire flexible enough to bend to dislodge anything caught. It’s amazing how the little things such as a blockage can hold up production.

Black vacuum cleaner floor tool on white background
Vacuum cleaner floor tool

The floor tool shown is beyond repair, it’s meant to swivel but sand and grit can get into the point it swivels at and gradually it wears away the plastic and the part seperates or binds, making it useless.

The tape worked to bind the parts together, useful only if you don’t have a spare on hand.

When they get to this point you’ll need to replace them.

In Australia they cost somewhere around $40 AU. We probably go through one or two per machine each year.

Especially cleaning areas where sand and grit levels are high (children services cleaning).

See our other blog post on Childcare Cleaning & How To Do It here.


What else is likely to fail?

  • The floor tools can become impossible to seperate from the poles which feed into them. This happens over time.
    • Through use the tool get pushed up against furniture and other things, this forces the tool onto the poles so tight they refuse to come apart.
    • Big deal you say…well yes it is when the moment comes in the middle of job you need to replace the floor tool.
  • They can be seperated…eventually.
    • Run the elbow under very hot water and twist the pole, this usually works. But I’ve had times when it doesn’t. In that case find another set of poles, if you can. Or, call your wife/husband and get them to bring you ones from the home vacuum cleaner, they’ll do for now. I mean it, I’ve had to do it!

Handle for vacuum cleaner
Metal vacuum pole attached to floor tool


The flexible hose – that can fail on you too!

  • It can and will split; usually next to the handle or up near where it runs into the canister. Duct or other tape is good for those moments and will help until you can replace it.
  • If the hose slits near the handle or canister, you can repair it on the spot. Remove the hose, locate where the part connects and release it. You’ll need something to depress two pastic clips allowing you to seperate the parts. Take note of the way everything seperates as you’ll need to follow the reverse proceedure when connecting parts after repair.

Electric Leads & what can happen to them

The electric leads break or wear often, think about it, they get dragged around and over things, they’re stretched and twisted and pulled almost to breaking point by an inattentive cleaner.

  • You’ll find the lead can catch under a door or on a sharp corner.
  • Also the protective outer sheath cuts on sharp objects, they can get breaks in them too watch out for this.

These are things that needs to be check for each time a vacuum is used.

Easy to do…unplug the lead from it’s power source and pull the lead through your fingers feeling for breaks or cuts in the sheathing as you do, if you find one check it and look for exposed inner sheathing, if you find some, then that cord should be pulled out of use immediately, repaired or replaced.


How to roll up Electric Leads

Have you ever had the misfortune to use a vacuum cleaner whose lead is all twisted and knotted?

I have, sometimes this can be so bad making it impossible to use. They get this way because of the way a lead is rolled up at end of use.

Many people tend to unplug the lead from it’s power source and roll the lead from the plug end back to the machine. The machine is now stopping the lead from freely unraveling as you roll it.

The result is a twisted and bound tight lead.

  • To stop this from happening roll the lead from the machine end instead allowing the lead and plug to playout freely. It will and it won’t ever tangle.
  • You’ll have a nicely looped electrical lead ready for next time you use it.
  • And, If you do it this way you can also check for faulty leads as you roll them in.

Useful tools – Some Tools To Make A Difference

Backpack vacuums and Siderwinder tool make a difference.

We make great use of longer poles with wider floors tools, this allows vacuuming across a wider areas of flooring each sweep, which reduces time and fatigue.

  • The floor tools are designed to run side to side not push pull, they can run into corners and narrow spaces easily. Plus you’ll be able to reach into and under desk areas without having to bend over excessively
  • The poles are light but durable and attach to all standard 32mm hose fittings, making interchange of tools easy and seemless
  • The floor tools available with these poles are purpose built for them, they’re stronger than any other floor tool I’ve used
  • There’s also an attachment to fit to the end of the pole which is almost a 180 degree hoop to which a dust brush can be attached for vacuuming tops of cupboards and ledges from the ground

Curved metal pole
Useful curved attachment

  • I’ve used it to vacuum dry leaves, dust and dirt from guttering and other hard to reach places

How to Protect Vacuum Motors & Extend their Life

Use either paper or cloth vacuum bag inserts. Many manufacturers provide some of these with your intial purchase. They’re also available as a seperate purchase from any good cleaning supplier. We supply these to all our cleaners for use because we know we’ll cut the cost of repair and replacement be doing so.


How to Revive Backpack Vacuum Cleaners

No matter how good a vacuum cleaner manufacturer makes their machine it eventually fails.

They know this but they allow for it by supplying parts as you need them

Leads break, canister lids crack, hoses perish etc. And motors can fail too. Sometimes backpack frames and straps wear out. Any good local cleaning supplier will hold replacement parts for these things. If I recall correctly a replacement vacuum motor for our machines is gonna cost us plus or minus $120 fitted. Less than half the cost a new vacuum.
Plus, we always have one or two new vacuums on hand should we need to replace one at short notice.


Standardize your vacuum cleaners

Years ago we found we had different models of backpack in use across site we clean. It was a pain in the bum remembering what was what when it came to ordering parts and bags. So, as we needed to replace a vacuum we selected one model across all sites. This made things easy.


In summary

Good quality vacuum cleaners tend to cost somewhere between $300 and $400. Going above this price isn’t necessary. All have their weak points, we’ve discussed most of them in this blog post. I doubt I’ve missed much. If you’d like to add anything to the discussion please feel free to post your comment below.

Thanks for reading…happy vacuuming.

James

 

Childcare Cleaning & How To Do It

Childcare Cleaning How To Do It.

If you do a great job cleaning these facilities you’ll have work for a long time. The directors and owners of child care centers appreciate great cleaners and place high value on their work.

From that you’ll build a long term business. We’ve been cleaning some for 20 years.

Here you’ll find a blow by blow description on how to work out what to charge for your service and how to get the job done in an efficient manner, we’ll discuss the difficulties and how to overcome them. Included below is our step by step system for cleaning in these centers.

Aprons hangiing against yellow wall
Mike Fox unsplash


What are some of the difficulties?

Childcare cleaning can be a challenge, each day you’ll be faced with much the same sort of messes to clean up as the day before, they’re a high maintenance type of clean.

  • You’ll have sand and grit daily to deal with.
  • The children drop food and spill drinks.
  • Then there’s the paint and play dough you’ll have to contend with daily.
  • Finger print marks appear on glass and mirrors daily.
  • Little boys don’t always hit the mark when they go to the toilet except when they’re aiming for the floor so be prepared for this sort of thing too.

Your attitude to these things

Be prepared for the messes and don’t be surprised or upset over any of it, accept it’s the job and you’ll be fine. And work to a system, we do.

I describe that further down page.

Anyone you employ to help should understand your system and work the system until it becomes second nature.


How to price cleaning a childcare

There’s a couple of ways to price/quote cleaning a childcare facility.

  • Find out how many children is the center licensed for…all directors know this…then calculate an amount per child per week. Roughly you’d look for between $5.50 and $6.50/child. 100 kids per week $600 approx.
  • Walk the center with the director and get a feel for it, ask yourself how long would it take an employee (NOT YOU) to clean each part of it.
  • Look hard for difficulties, things like outside sand areas and garden beds close to the building are a signal to expect sand & dirt in the center .
  • If you calculate time to clean a facility based on your speed and efficiency and not that of an employee you’ll misjudge pricing.
  • Honestly, I’ve met only a handful of employees that work at my pace with the same degree of intention to get a job done.
  • So, allow for this in your calculations if you don’t it will impact on you, your business and the employee. They will feel you’ve given them an impossible task if you’re expecting a job done in less time than they’re able to attain.
  • Even if you are planning to do the clean yourself you must price your quote as if you’re going to put an employee into the job.
  • Sooner or later you’ll need to replace yourself. That’s going to be harder if you haven’t priced it with this in mind.
  • Once you have time figured out then the rest is relatively easy.
  • Allow an amount for any statutory obligations you must meet when employing people.
  • Such as workers compensation, wages, allowances including superannuation, holiday pays, long service leave loading and so on. Read more about this sort of thing here.
  • Establish with the center whether they’ll supply toilet paper, hand paper or anything else at their cost.
  • Be clear on who’s going to supply and pay for sanitary pad bins in women’s toilet areas and washrooms.
  • Calculate an amount for chemicals and other items such as mops , buckets, sweepers, vacuum cleaners, cleaning cloths and rubbish bags etc.
  • We know our materials etc. are around 6% of the contract price sometimes lower. So once you know time costs the hourly rate plus all obligations for employing people you can get some idea of materials.
  • Don’t forget to add an amount for profit, how much money do you want as profit? 10,20 30%?
  • There’s one other thing to keep in mind. What pricing will your market bear, try and get some idea of what child care centers will pay for this sort of service.
  • You may have to work it through a few time to get close to the industry standard in terms of pricing particularly early on.
  • Once you establish yourself in the industry you’ll find your prices shift upward because you’ll begin to attract clients that want you to service their facility.
  • Always understand there’s a point below which you can’t go. You can go broke if you do.


How to work with Directors/Owners

I work with directors on a personal basis, be willing to help, and understand the stresses they’re under daily.

They have the care of many children, staff and parents.

To say very little about complying with an ever growing body of legislation in relation duty of care of children.

  •  On top of that they’re responsible for the viability of their facility.
  • Cleanliness is vital to them, and you’ll do well to solve as much of this headache as you possibly can.

Our system for Childcare Cleaning

Our system is almost too easy you might dismiss it. But these following steps work to bring about a clean facility.

Once our cleaner enters a site these things get done in this order.

  • Use a dry static catch mop (30cm) sweep all DRY hard floor surfaces TOILET AREAS get swept with a broom as there’s often water on the floors and the dry static mop must remain dry. Note: In this step the cleaner gets a chance to order the center (stack chairs out of the way and anything else that could get in the way of their clean). They must think they’re way through the clean observe for anything that could hold them up in the next step.
  • Any rubbish, sweepings etc., get placed in a rubbish bag ready for the next step.
  • Gather all rubbish bin bags and replace liners as they go. This also applies to any recycling bins wherever present.
  • They’re expected to wipe bin lids and surrounding walls clean of any spills and food stuff. And note if a bin interior needs a wash. They should clean them as they find them to be dirty.
  • Anyway this continues throughout the center and finally ends when they dispose of the bags to either rubbish or recycling hoppers.
  • Clean washroom/toilet areas, gather all equipment/chemicals and appropriate cloths needed for this task, these areas need thorough cleaning. There must be no risk of cross contamination. Red cloths for toilets and blue for hand basins, cloths used for toilets never go near hand basins or bench areas. This applies to mops and buckets too, use a red mop/bucket for these areas. Mop the floors in this area.
  • Next, wash all hard flooring (except toilet areas), blue mop/bucket. Carry a scraper with you to remove stick bit from the floors. All our cleaners are asked to carry a damp cloth with them in each task. As they spot marks or dirt on walls and doors they should wipe them off.
  • Vacuum all carpets and rugs. Vacuuming as a task done last allows you to vacuum any missed bits from earlier tasks, sweeping and mopping. Also while vacuuming note anything you need to come back and fix before you leave the center.
  • Clean entry glass.
  • As you complete each room turn off lights and close doors as appropriate.
  • Secure all your equipment and chemicals. See that the storage room is clean and tidy. Note any needed supplies for ordering.
  • Lights out set the alarm and lock the building and leave knowing you’ve done a good job.

Summary:

Cleaning in a childcare facility asks more of you than almost any other sort of cleaning, done well you’ll secure a good name for yourself and your business plus word of mouth promotion will guarantee you with a regular increase in work over a long period.

I have tried to give you a thorough breakdown of daily tasks you’ll need done to deliver a clean childcare to your clients. If you’d like to know more about starting and running your own cleaning business check this out.

If you have questions or would like help feel free to make contact with me. Or post a question below.

Cheers James

Cleaning Business Startup Checklist

A checklist is a list of things to keep in mind reminders about things relevant to your interests, cleaning in this case but it could be anything. This our cleaning business startup checklist it’s about YOU, YOUR mindset, personal stuff. 

cleaning business startup checklist
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Finding business startup checklists is easy and they mostly cover the bits and pieces you’ve heard about, you know things like business plans, 5 year planning, financial plans, legal and tax. If you want something like that there’s a downloadable business starter checklist below this post.

Our Experience

In our experience your attitude and mindset are what makes the difference to your success or not. These thing are what happens between the lines. They’re not readily seen instead they’re felt by us all. I know because I feel my business, my employees and my clients. It’s a gut feeling and I’m mindful of it.

We’ve run and continue to run a successful commercial cleaning business. It’s small (we employ 25 people) it pretty easy to run, just my wife and I take care of business.

For nearly 30 years we’ve been tested on nearly all fronts imaginable, it’s been our attitude to what we do that’s made a difference, not whether we have a 5 year business plan or not.

So, here’s our business checklist to help with moments when you feel like it’s all too hard, we hope it helps. We know these tips have helped us.

If you’d like more information on starting a cleaning business check out our other post here.


Pre-Start & Ongoing

A lot of these items are repeating actions & things you’ll do over and again for years.

  • Ignore those who try to convince you your ideas won’t succeed
  • Figure out what’s ideal for you and your business
  • Listen to your gut feelings and act on them ALWAYS
  • Ask yourself how big or small do I want my business to be?
  • It could be you and your equipment or much more if you want
  • Decide on your service, what are you going to deliver? ( cleaning as a service industry is huge and trying to be everything to all will dilute your efforts)
  • Narrow down this industry to a service you feel you could do well at and get started
  • DON’T GET OVERWHELMED

Plans

  • You don’t need to stress about a business plan, you could instead
  • Guess what barriers might come up sometime into the future and give a little thought to how you’d handle them if they do
  • Make decisions just before you do something 
  • Don’t  plan too far in advance
  • Decide what you want to do this week
  • Figure out the most important thing
  • Do it
  • And repeat those last three steps EACH AND EVERY WEEK
  • Review your week, how did you go?

Slaves

  • Don’t become a slave to your business
  • If you find you’re throwing more hours at something as a solution STOP
  • Find an intelligent solution to it
  • Is there a better way to do this?

Failures

  • Don’t get hung up on failures
  • Look to your successes and repeat them

The Other Type of Checklist I Promised

Business Starter Checklist

Start Your Own Cleaning Business

One reason to start your own cleaning business is the low cost of entry.

We’ve created this post to help you start your own cleaning business.
 
They’re from lessons learned over a 30 year period.
Things we’ve experienced building and running a successful commercial cleaning business.
 
Including other links to information related to getting your business up and running.
 
Some link out to cleaning business owners who share they’re insights and resouces to help.
 
And some to various goverment resources.
 
We know running a cleaning business can be a lonely activity.
 

You’ll feel it from time to time, but with this guide. And links to resources and support you’ll always have somewhere to turn.


Start your own cleaning business
Man cleaning a floor

Prepare to start your own cleaning business

 Have you evaluated your readiness for a cleaning business?
 
This is what I like to call the pre-start phase.
 
Any business has hurdles to overcome. Some self-evalutaion before starting your business can help you over come them.
 
Owning and running a business involves significant lifestyle changes. There are also significant financial commitments involved.
 
So, it’s important to think about being in business and whether you’re suited to it, and self employment. 

Test yourself

Photo looking down at feet on path

Ask yourself these few questions, use pen/paper to record your answers
  • Why do I want a business?
  • What are my personal goals, what business goals do I have?
  • Do I have skills to bring to a business?
  • List them out and take note of any you’ll need to strengthen.
  • Do I have the financial capacity to fund a business?
  • How much income do I need to generate?
  • Am I commited to this or is it simply a nice idea? (This last one is of great importance, with commitment the other points can be overcome)

Commitment

This one thing will carry you through the tough moments and everything else from here on out. 
Commit yourself to work hard, to your project and never give up.
 
If you carry that commitment into all you do you’ll succeed.
We commited ourselves to creating our business almost 30 years ago. And, continue that commitment to this day.
 

Are you fit enough? If not don’t do it.

3 men cleaning the side of a building

Cleaning requires a level of physical fitness beyond that required of most businesses.
 
A cleaners life is active.
One moment you’ll lift heavy bags of rubbish.
Then the next you could be mopping a floor, climbing a ladder or moving stuff to clean.
 
After that you might have a vacuum cleaner on your back for an hour or two cleaning carpets.
 
It’s constant physical activity. If, you’re not in good physical condition; a cleaning business isn’t for you.
 
I’m not kidding and I don’t want to appear rude, it’s something you’ll want to take into account. 
 
If you think I’m overstating it or you’re not sure!

Test it out.

If you’re not sure, I recommend you get some part-time work cleaning and prove it to yourself one way or the other. 
 
Get a job cleaning for a contractor.
 
Tough it out cleaning something high demand.
 
Like childcare centers, supermarkets, function rooms and niteclubs or similar high traffic facilities.
 

This can help sharpen your ability to clean, and it’ll help you decide whether you’re fit enough. 


 

Be prepared. Get your hands dirty.

Learn what it’s like to work under pressure and at odd hours or continue to work hours on end without rest. This can happen in cleaning sometimes where a job must be finished by a certain time. It could be that you have to work through the night to get it done.

Machines used to clean a floor

Get your hands dirty.

  • And, learn everything you can about cleaning in general.
  • Also, at least one thing (which could turn out to be a niche business) in particular.
  • You’ll gain valuable knowledge about the industry, about yourself, & much more.

There’s nothing like hands on learning.

Bonus, you’ll earn while you learn, you don’t have to do it for long, a few months should be enough to get you there.
 
You could be cleaning in any area at all (these are all niches by the way).
 
  • Offices 
  • Schools
  • Home or domestic settings 
  • Pre-schools/childcare facilities 
  • Fitness clubs/gyms 
  • Etc.
 
Find a contractor who’s business allows you to learn, there are many out there willing to teach you.
I got a job working for a contractor cleaning supermarkets and learned
 
  • how to remove old polish and sealer from vinyl and other types of hard floor sufaces
  • how to apply polish and get it done within a limited time frame
  • how to be efficient with time and materials
  • how to estimate the time it takes to clean a variety of places
  • how to control workers to the end of delivering a great product
  • how to supervise cleaners/workers
  • how to use machines specific to the cleaning industry
  • how to cope with the constant physical activity
  • how to fix something when it’s gone wrong

7 white mops against a bright red wall

Photo by Pan Xiaozhen – unsplash

 
Somewhere along the way a niche appears. As it did for us.
But is it going to be a business?
 
You’ll start to get an idea out of which a business could grow.
 
Your confidence in an area starts to show up; this could become a business.
 
Pay attention to this when it happens, it’s important.
Why a niche?
Because you can’t be everything to everyone. Focus on one thing and do it well, become known for that.
By spreading yourself across too many areas you dilute your efforts and end up competing with everyone else out there in the industry. This results in competing on the basis of price.
Anyone can do that, instead you’ll want to
  • Be noticed and stand out for that one thing, you’ll be able to branch out from there later on.
  • Create a niche business.
  • Be recognized for delivering a fantastic service/product. Where price doesn’t come into the discussion.

Confidence and courage.

“You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” – Rosalynn Carter
 
You also could “part-time” a cleaning business. Without giving up your other income producing work.
click me
You don’t have to quit your job to start a cleaning business. 
 
White writing on black concrete

Photo by sydney rae-unsplash

Know your product or service knowledge

Product or service knowledge is vital to any business.
 
You’re here reading this. So, I’ll assume you’ve decided a cleaning services business is something you want to commit to.
 
And, if you followed my advice above and did some work in the industry gaining some insight into it as you worked. You’ll have a degree of confidence you’d not otherwise have.
 
We had confidence in our ability to clean supermarkets and all that went with it. It was a natural choice for a business. 
 
The take-away point here is, narrow this or any industry down to a niche. And, learn as much as you about it while you earn some money.
 
Another example: Restroom cleaning.
 
Many places. Businesses and facilities want their restrooms and amenity areas super-clean.
 
They’ll love you for this sort of service.
 
A fresh clean toilet area with all supplies in place and in good order is gold to both large and small facilities.
 
Businesses specializing in this niche never run out of profitable work.  Click here for more niche ideas.
 

This knowledge and niche research will influence your business structure.


Business Structure and Legal Framework

Get good legal advice relative to your country about which is the best structure to use for a business.
  • We formed a Proprietary Ltd Company (Pty Ltd). Companies in Australia have to follow strict guidlines and laws.
  • There’s stuff you could do, want to do, and have to do. A business structure and legal framework is one of the things you have to do. 
Ask yourself the following questions:
 
  • Am I going to do all the work? 
  • Am I going to sub-contract the work?
  • Am I going to hire people to work for me? Employees.
 
Whether you do the work, sub-contract it out, or hire people as employees. Legal obligations come into play. It also determines your business structure.
Open pages in a book showing writing
Here are some useful links to help you find out which is the best thing to do in your situation. There are five business structures used in the USA
  • Sole Proprietorship.
  • Partnership.
  • Corporations.
  • S Corporations.
  • Limited Liability Companies. 

IRS small business help and resource links, there are some fantastic tutorials available to you as a small business owner. I located some of the main ones, see below.

As a small business operator you’ll most likely deal with only 3 of them
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Companies
 
Shopify. An online ecommerce platform has created a great guide to Business Structures in the USA. With links to government authorities for more information, check their guide out here. 
 
  • Sole trader.
  • Partnership.
  • Company.
  • Trust.
Before you do much more work out your Australian business structure.
For our Australian readers, the Australian Government provides a number of resources small business operators, here’s an introduction video to their services.
Actually this resource is full of great information for anyone starting their own cleaning business or any business in any country. I’ve no doubt you’ll be able to make great use of it.

Let’s talk money!

Cashflow is money moving into and out of you’re business.
  • When you start a business it seems money is flowing out from your business more than it’s flowing into it.
  • This can be tough if you don’t have a pool of money (reserves) to fall back on.
  • Many small businesses start without a reserve of money.
  • Not enough to meet running costs until the business gets going.
  • And, this can bring a business to it’s knee, crippling it.
Being undercapitalized is a problem but not an impossibile situation at all.
 
The solutions.
  • Organize a line of credit
  • Get paid after each job
  • Track your income and expenditure daily in the early stages or at do it least weekly.
  • You need to know you’re not spending more than you’re making
  • Take cash payment for work done if you have to; this presents a problem as pointed out in the balance
  • MAKE SURE YOU BANK IT
  • Accept payment by card. Many providers offer a Point Of Sale system (POS) making this easy for you. With the added advantage that many systems. Such as QuickBooks are a complete POS and bookkeeping system.

Gold credit card and padlock

Photo by Ryan Born – unsplash

Expert Tips for Choosing a POS System “Before deciding on a POS system. It’s important to determine your small business needs. And make sure that your POS has what you need to succeed.” said John Shapiro, director of product management for Payments at Intuit. Shapiro says there are three things to look for in a POS system:
 
  1. [“Determine the needs of your business: It’s important. That the POS has the capabilities and features that matter to you. You also want to ensure that your POS system provides an integrated solution. By syncing with the other sources of data in your business. Your accounting software, to give you a consolidated view of your sales. Including payments, inventory, CRM and payroll.
  2. Anytime, anywhere access. Pick a solution that allows you to connect from wherever you are, whenever you want. You may want to view your sales, inventory or even staffing data from the office, at home or on the road.
  3. Know who you’re working with: Your POS is going to be a business-critical part of your life. Make sure you select a trustworthy vendor. Confirm how your vendor POS processes credit card transactions. Since that’s often done by a third party”]

 

How to survive a line of credit. 

Caution; if you do manage to get a line of credit; use it ONLY if it you have no other option.
 
  • A line of credit is a tool for use, it’s not a way of life.
  • Don’t become addicted to it, build a reserve nest of cash equal to the amount allow in the line of credit . If it’s $10,000 then try and build a cash reserve of $10,000 too.
  • And do everything you can to avoid using either of them.
With good financial control you’ll make that happen, you’ll see ways of achieving it.
 

Other Money Tips.

  • Make your credit go as far as you can. Sooner or later you’ll want to set up accounts with suppliers. Most offer payment terms of 30 days from date of the invoice.
  • So, plan ahead figure out what supplies you need from them for the month and order them the first of every month. This means you’ll have use of those items for up to 60 days before payment is due. Be sure to pay your bills no later than the due date.
  • Get your money fast, don’t allow people to owe you money for work done beyond your terms and conditions.
  • We expect payment within14 days from date of invoice.
  • Monthly invoices only; all others pay when we complete the work. 
It was fortunate for us, the supermarkets we started cleaning paid us in cash at the end of every week. We took our invoice to the cashiers window handed it over and they gave us cash.
 
  • We did our best to keep costs down in the early stages. And we did most of the work ourselves employing people only if was necessary and for as little time as possible.
  • This allowed us to pay all our bills as and when they fell due and we lived on the rest.
  • So, get paid for your work immediately. This is important to your personal survival and that of your business.
 Do this & you can kind of jockey your way forward.

 You also have to do something about collecting money for work done.

Coffee cup and saucer on timber

  • Give receipts
  • Bank the money
  • Don’t lose sight of the fact that most of the money the business gets for work done, does not belong to you or the business.

Drum this into your skull; of the money you get;

  • Some belongs to the tax man
  • Some belongs to suppliers of , chemical, equipment and so on.
  • Some belongs to employees…this is a big cost in the cleaning industry.

Seek proper legal and taxation advice when it comes to your obligations to employees.

Let’s discuss being a Franchisee 

If you’re resourceful there’s no reason to go into a franchise.
 
You can build your own cleaning business without the need to pay a franchisor for their systems.
 

Useful Resources

In an Internet age there’s no lack of online resouces where you’ll be able to get help and advice… See below.

CLICK ME
150 Marketing Ideas for Residential Cleaning Companies

 

 
Lisa Macqueen CEO and founder CLEANINGMARKETER in December 2016 created a list of
 

The 10 Best Podcasts & Resources for Cleaning Business Owners 

As a side note Lisa and her husband Hamish are owners of cleancorp. An international cleaning company. They have built a cleaning empire across New Zealand & Australia.
 
They’ve made their systems and knowledge available to anyone wanting to succeed with a cleaning business.
 
You can join CLEANINGMARKETER anytime.
It’s resource full for not only established businesses but also for those beginning.

 

 


Tough Enough

Next year it’ll be 30 years since we started that journey.

The franchise (yes we started out as pilot a franchisee) business stayed with us.
 
That is, until we completed our 10 year commitment to the deal.
 
We changed direction away from cleaning supermarkets to general contract cleaning.
Which we continue to this day.
 

We knew enough by this time to expand on that experience.


 

Business Plans 

Open pages of book with writing and pen

Why did I not put this at the top of this page?
 
Well, I am not convinced a business plan is all that necessary, not in the usual way they’re done and used.
 
Business plans:
  • Please lenders and banks. And do little for you or your business beyond achieving a lending outcome.
  • Most end up in a drawer somewhere and don’t see the light of day once written.
  • Long term planning is long term guessing; is an estimate about what might or might not happen.
 If you want funding from your bank, I’m sure you’ll need to give them something. Other lending sources are likely to ask for one too.  That’s easy to solve at that time. 
 
To balance my assertion regards a business plan; check this article out.
 
 
[“Oct 29, 2017 – Do you need a business plan? Learn why business plans are vital. Read this list of reasons every small business owner should have a plan.”]
 
And in support of my assertion…to some degree at least…
 

Why Business Plans Are A Waste Of Time – Forbes 

[“Aug 14, 2013 – Everyone tells potential entrepreneurs they need to create a business plan. Everyone is wrong.”] 

Confidence and a desire to succeed. Two essential elements. 

We had confidence we could do the work of cleaning; our hands-on experience was proof we could do it.
 
  • And, we wanted to succeed at our business regardless of the obstacles that might come our way.
  • We never gave in to anything.
  • Unless you’re prepared to do the same don’t bother to start down the path of being a business owner.

Insurances 

Womans hand holding pen over paper

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

There are compulsory insurances here in Australia for business, some such as:
 
Seek good advice about what you should insure for, you need to consider these at least:
  • Insure for public liability
  • Insure for employee compensation if you have workers
  • Third party personal injury insurance, applies if you own a motorvehicle.
 
Other insurances are not compulsory but are worth considering.
 
  • Insure for Directors and officers liability insurance
  • Income protection or disability insurance
  • Life insurance
  • There are more; check this link out for further information.

Thank you for staying with me and reading this far, I have tried to give you a comprehensive guide to the sort of things you’ll want to do to start your own cleaning business. I’m always willing to help where I can and would like you to contact me if you need help.

My direct email is james@cleanersbiz.com, I’ll get back to you usually within 24 hours.

If you have a comment to add please scroll down and have at it.

James