Is a Home-Based Cleaning Business Right for You?

If you’re a neat freak, someone who likes to have every single item in its place, not a speck of dirt on the floor, and a toilet bowl clean enough to eat off of, then you may have given, or should give, some thought to the possibility of running your own cleaning business. While many of us are not in the financial position to be able to afford to hire a person to come into our home and clean for us, there are plenty of people out there, as well as businesses, who rely on outside help to get cleaning done.

How do you know if a home-based cleaning business is right for you? Well, to start off with, do you have what it takes to run your own business? In addition to jumping through the required legal hoops (registering your business, setting up an EIN with the IRS, getting a vendor's license, etc.), consider what all you’ll have to do just to get your business up and running:

  • Purchase supplies. Cleaning is a no-brainer regardless of the setting you'll be working in, but you'll still need a commercial vacuum that can be easily cleaned and disinfected between uses, dust mops and brooms, hard surface and glass cleaners, and plenty of towels and sponges. A steam cleaner may also be a necessary purchase, if you want to offer or think your clients will request upholstery cleaning. 
  • Promote yourself. You’ll need to invest in flyers, business cards, perhaps even billboard advertisements to get the word out about your cleaning services. And don’t forget the website and Facebook page, where potential clients can easily find you, contact you, and read what other clients have to say about your services. You can even try getting local and national press for you business, using services like HARO.
  • Stay organized and on schedule. Do you already have another job? Do you have a family to look after, a young child to raise? What happens if your child is ill or injured and you need to be at home with her? All of these things will need to be worked into your cleaning schedule, and you’ll need to be on time -- or better yet, early -- for your clients. 
 With all these considerations just for getting your business off the ground (we haven’t even delved into deeper topics, such as personal/property insurance, what to do if a client accuses you of skipping duties or theft, how to handle invoicing, how to make the most of tax deductions, etc.), you may want to stop, take a deep breath, and do some careful research before launching a home-based cleaning business. Entrepreneur has a great article on how to start a cleaning service, and it gives plenty of food for thought.

While in theory a home-based cleaning business may sound like the perfect solution for an easy-to-do job that can fit into your schedule, in reality it’s entirely possible that you’ll bite off more than you can chew.  Would you consider this type of work?


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