You may have started your cleaning business to be your own boss, get out of the 9 to 5 rat race, or just because you enjoy cleaning and doing a good job for your customers. But your business will only succeed for a few months or possibly a few years if you are not making a profit. The cleaning industry can be highly competitive and most likely, your profit margins on any particular job, are not more than 10 to 20 percent. When prices of your supplies climb or when gas prices skyrocket, your profit and the success of your cleaning business can be in jeopardy.
So how do you get your profits back up? Following are several ways you can increase the money coming into your cleaning business.
1. Don't just sell your day-to-day cleaning services. When bidding a new job include routine carpet spotting, carpet cleaning, hard floor care, and window washing. Encourage your cleaning customer to have these services done on regular intervals, such as every 3 or 6 months. This will help their building stay cleaner as well as bringing in more profits to your business. Just keep in mind that these are specialty services so you'll need to educate yourself on the proper procedures.
2. Don't just provide cleaning services. Also sell the items that your customers need regularly. Every building needs trash can liners, toilet paper, hand towels, and soap. Depending on the building they may also need facial tissue, urinal mats, and air fresheners. Offer to manage their supplies and then bill back the cost of the products to the customer, adding in a small profit of up to 15% for your company.
3. Bundle your services together in a package. You don't even have to provide a discount on services - if your customer knows they can have one company do everything (carpet cleaning, window washing, floor stripping), they will save time and money by not having to go elsewhere.
4. Don't compete on price. Make sure that your customers know you are providing a quality and dependable service.
5. Develop strategic alliances with non-competing businesses who also sell to your niche clients. Partner up with ultrasonic blind cleaning companies, carpet cleaning companies, duct cleaning companies and fire restoration companies.
6. If you have a website trade links with other non-competing businesses. If you are selling products on your site you can develop an affiliate sales program where other businesses receive a commission when they refer paying customers to your site.
7. Consider hiring an independent salesperson to sell your services. Pay a commission on the services and products they sell. There might be a slight drop in the profit you realize on each sale, but overall your profits will grow.
8. Encourage repeat business and add-on services with your current customers. When sending out invoices include a flyer on the extra services that you offer.
9. Add more cleaning services. You can make a tidy profit off cleaning microwaves and refrigerators. You can also put these on a regular schedule, such as the first Friday of every month.
10. Do you have equipment and vehicles that you no longer use? Sell them or consider renting them out instead of having the items sit around collecting dust.
Copyright (c) 2007 The Janitorial Store
Steve Hanson is co-founding member of The Janitorial Store (TM), an online community that offers weekly tips, articles, downloads, discussion forums, and more for anyone who would like to learn how to start a cleaning business . Visit The Janitorial Store's blog and get inspired by reading cleaning success stories from owners of cleaning companies.