Professional cleaning services are becoming a thing in Nigeria as households, organization, and other institutions are constantly outsourcing their cleaning. It is not only easy to start with little capital but very lucrative too.
If you are ready to take on the opportunities that the professional cleaning services industry poses, then starting a cleaning business would be ideal for you but first, here are some things you should know.
1. Carry out a market research
For every business, this is a very important factor to help you understand what type of opportunities and challenges you will face in the future. It will also give you an idea of who your strongest competitors are, what their services cost, and whether they’re delivering real value for money or not.
2. Have a business model
Here you could choose to either start up a whole new business or to launch out as a franchise. Starting a new business involves building a reputable brand name which would invariably take a whole lot of time and money on the part of the entrepreneur. But if you choose to go with a franchise instead, you’d leverage the success of an existing brand and can start getting a lot of paying clients fast.
Based on your business goals, choosing the right model for your cleaning business will determine how far or not, you can go.
3. Choose a niche
The first thing you want to do is pick an area of specialization. Cleaning services are quite broad as a niche. You can decide to focus on commercial and industrial cleaning, regular house cleaning, drainage cleaning, specialized cleaning, real estate cleaning, and post-building/construction cleaning (cleaning newly built houses), there are quite many others. So pick one and stick with it.
You can also combine all the niches under one umbrella but as a beginner, this might not be the best. You need the focus and specialization before you can gather the ability and confidence to launch out into other areas.
4. Register your business
You will need to register your business and get your business structured. You can register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). Depending on the ownership structure, you can register as a business name, Partnership, or Limited Liability Company.
5. Get a good location
Having a physical office or a virtual office address is highly important for this kind of business. However, starting a residential cleaning service does not require an office, as you can start from home and store your equipment in your house. Moreso, your customers may not visit you as the job has to be done on-site.
On the other hand, commercial cleaning services or janitorial services require an office space. Since you are serving commercial clients, there may be a need for them to visit your office space.
In choosing an office space, choose a location that’s easily accessible to prospective clients, and ensure you have a nice reception area where visitors can be received. Also, your office space should have storage space for your equipment.
6. Raise capital
Depending on the type of cleaning business you’re venturing into, the funds required to execute your project would vary. House cleaning services would always be very affordable to start up, but commercial cleaning services and specialized cleaning services will constantly require special equipment that can run thousands of dollars to acquire.
As such, you’re required to raise adequate startup capital for whichever cleaning business you choose to venture into.
7. Purchase the required equipment
Get the equipment that fits the type of your business. If you are going really small, you might already have all you need at your own home (a vacuum, mop, buckets, feather duster, cleaning products, etc.). If you plan to venture into specialised cleaning services, you can also try renting equipment, as some of it might be too expensive to buy for a ‘newborn’ business owner.
8. Hire experienced workers
When hiring, ensure the candidates who get selected are well-experienced in the cleaning business or have at least gone through some form of training. That way, you will be able to make your business competitive.
9. Promote your business
Once you have set everything up, it is important to let your potential clients know about it. Advertise via your local channels, use social media, do promo campaigns, have perks for clients who recommend your business to their friends, create a website for your business, and so on. There are many ways to go about it, so choose the ones that fit you best.
It requires less capital than most other businesses
If you plan to start small (as you probably should), all you are going to need is a few brooms and mops, a bucket, a vacuum cleaner, and a trolley for your cleaning equipment. Most of this might already be in your possession, and if it is not, it does not cost all that much, compared to equipment required to start other businesses.
It is a great part-time option
If you (or some of your employees) have a day job, you can easily make your cleaning services available only on weekends or evenings. Besides, most people who order cleaning services prefer to be in control of the process, so it will be convenient for them too.
The cleaning business requires very little space
You do not need to have a large office space to run a cleaning company. All you need is a telephone and preferably an e-mail (or even a website, if you wish) so that the clients can get in contact with you.
The professional cleaning services industry is a highly competitive one, and as such, your business must have something special to set it apart from the competition.
There will always be clients you won’t pay up their balances. This is why it is always recommended that you collect a 70% upfront payment in this industry.