So you've decided you're ready to take the plunge and start your own janitorial cleaning business. You can succeed and have a profitable cleaning business if you take the time to plan out your business strategy before signing that first client.
The first step is to prepare a business plan. This does not have to be a long document, but should be fairly comprehensive and address the following points:
*The company name, address, phone number, owners/corporate officers and statement of purpose.
*Description of the business, products and services you intend to sell.
*The legal structure, business management, employees, support personnel, insurance and financial considerations.
*A look at your competition and your marketing plan.
*A three to five year financial plan with documentation including a cash flow worksheet, balance sheet, and income statement.
Put together a support team including an accountant, attorney and insurance agent. If you are not comfortable doing bookwork and administrative tasks you might want to also look for a part-time bookkeeper or virtual assistant who can help with these duties.
Other start up tasks include:
*After deciding on your business name do a trademark search and assumed name search to make sure the name is available. Most states have web sites that allow you to do an online search.
*Decide if you are going to work out of your home or lease office space.
*Apply for any necessary licenses, get your federal tax ID and file assumed name.
*Contact your local small business center and get a copy of your state's small business start up guide. Each state has their own individual requirements and will have fact sheets or guidebooks that will indicate if there are specific licenses, permits or forms you need to file before starting your business.
*Open bank accounts in the business name.
*Obtain the appropriate insurances.
*If necessary, secure financing.
*Set up a system for accounting and payroll.
*Obtain business tools, computer, fax machine, and office supplies.
*Purchase cleaning equipment and supplies.
*Obtain a logo.
*Order or create your business stationary - business cards, letterhead and brochures.
*Have signage created.
*Create an operations and employee manual.
*Set a start date.
*Send out press releases.
*Join trade associations, the local chamber of commerce and local networking groups.
*Check on domain names and develop a website.
Begin marketing your business. Your business plan includes a marketing plan so use this as your guide. Your initial marketing may include direct mail pieces, ads in the local paper or radio, and perhaps a banner ad on a complimentary website. Think about developing alliances with other local businesses. Make sure that everyone you know realizes that you have a new business. Send out postcards or letters announcing your new business to friends, family and business acquaintances.
Have realistic goals for the first year of your business. Do not expect that clients will come knocking at your door. You have to convince prospective clients that you provide the services they need at an acceptable price. Once you have a few clients on board, get testimonials from them that you can use to convince other prospective clients that they need your services.
Starting your own cleaning business is a path you must be patient with, but can be extremely rewarding and profitable. Taking the time to plan, organize and understand your competition will help you to become aware of how your cleaning business can best serve the needs of businesses in the area. Taking the time to do things right before getting the first client on board will help to make sure your business is successful.
Steve Hanson is co-founding member of The Janitorial Store (TM), an online community for owners and managers of cleaning companies who want to build a more profitable and successful cleaning business. Sign up for Trash Talk: Tip of the Week at http://www.TheJanitorialStore.com and receive a Free Gift! Read cleaning success stories from owners of cleaning companies at http://www.cleaning-success.com/.