Many people who are looking to start a small business opt to form a cleaning firm, as start-up costs are relatively low (if you already own your own vehicle, all you really need to purchase are domestic and office cleaning supplies) and the work tends to be plentiful. That being said, in order to be successful in this venture, one needs to plan, train, and prepare thoroughly in order to appear professional and do a quality job.
Before You Begin
In general, it’s advisable to get some experience in the cleaning industry before you even consider forming your own business; commercial cleaning is vastly more challenging than housecleaning, and much of the equipment and supplies used require one to have specialised knowledge and training. If you have never cleaned commercially before, it’s best to start in the field by seeking employment with one of the cleaning businesses already in existence in your area.
Some new cleaners prefer to land a few accounts prior to purchasing supplies (rather than investing a sizable sum of money before having any assurance they will get work), but regardless of whether or not you choose to do this, you should have a prepared list of domestic and office cleaning supplies at the ready, and you should have researched available brands of cleaning solutions and equipment so you know which ones will best suit the needs of your business.
When you begin cleaning, select smaller jobs so that you can limit the amount of cleaning supplies you will need; this will allow you to fit all your supplies into a single caddy and into a small vehicle for easy transport. You can easily purchase more supplies later as you need them; most cleaners find that they generally don’t need to expand their repertoire of cleaning supplies until they have about four or five active accounts. (Note that once you land larger commercial jobs, you may be able to keep some office cleaning supplies on site, allowing you to keep using the same vehicle for a while longer.)
While the needs of cleaning businesses vary, in general, to get started cleaning (for smaller accounts) you will need:
A vacuum cleaner with a full set of attachments;
A dust pan and brush;
A toilet brush;
Toilet Bowl Cleaner;
A set of white (or light-coloured) cloth rags;
Mops (both wet and dry) and a bucket;
Wet floor signs;
Window cleaning supplies;
Bathroom cleaning supplies;
An extension cord;
A gentle scrubber for use on sinks and other delicate surfaces;
A feather duster;
A high duster;
A caddy (with a handle) which is large enough to store your supplies.
Finally, you should be aware that it’s important to also consider where you will purchase your cleaning supplies. While you can no doubt order many of them online, it’s preferable to instead find a local cleaning or janitorial supplier you can visit in person. If you do so, you can build a reliable relationship with your supplier, in addition to possibly picking up some tips on the cleaning industry which will help to guide your early efforts.