How to Start a Cleaning Business – The Critical Importance of Systems
Take a close look inside any service business start up, and you’ll very often see the same picture. An owner/operator stuck balancing the drive for new business and getting existing business serviced, all the while trying to pay the bills and answer phones. One of the recurring themes that you’ll hear from us at the How to Start a Cleaning Business Blog is the importance of putting systems in place early on so that all parts of the business function smoothly whether you’re there or not.
Every aspect of the business needs to be systemized in the company’s infancy so that down the line you’re offering a consistent product at a reasonable price, growing your business steadily without pulling your hair out, and getting paid to do the work that you’ve just finished.
Here are three of the most vital areas of the cleaning business start up that need to be systemized when the doors open.
Develop a marketing strategy
Many cleaning business entrepreneurs immediately shy away when we begin discussing marketing. It’s one of the areas that they know they need to dial in and focus on, but don’t have a clear enough picture of what should be happening with marketing to take control of it. We’re not saying that you need to spend vast sums of money on marketing here. But before you spend $1 on ANY form of marketing or advertising, you need to understand your demographic and your market so that once that first marketing dollar leaves your wallet, you can effectively evaluate whether or not it was money well spent. You’re never going to get it right each and every time you employ a marketing strategy. That’s why you MUST be able to evaluate your efforts.
Develop an operational checklist
It’s an inevitable situation. You start the business cleaning properties yourself along with your two trusty employees. Then you get the call that your child is sick and needs to be picked up from school. You leave your two fantastic employees to finish the last three houses of the day and that evening, the calls start to come in. They missed the master bathroom at the Jones house. They completely forgot the kitchen counters at the Smith residence. And guess who gets to go back and literally “clean up the mess” tomorrow. Yes, you do. An operational checklist is absolutely critical in the cleaning industry. When you go to McDonald’s do you think they just guess at how long to cook your fries or what they’ll put on your hamburger for toppings? No, they don’t. They deliver the same product each and every time. And you must do that as well in order to manage and meet customer expectations.
Employ a communications strategy
Far too many cleaning business owners are coming close to the edge of sanity each and every day trying to balance operations and coordinating communication with prospective customers and existing clients. There is no excuse for this in the year 2010. With email, websites, and web based phone systems as easy to set up as they are now, there is no excuse for you taking each and every customer question, quote request, and follow up call while in the field. You need to put a communications strategy in place and then ensure that your customers and prospects know the appropriate channels to communicate with your business.
At the How to Start a Cleaning Business Blog, we’re confident that taking the time to think these strategies and systems out in advance will save you much frustration and time once you’re off the ground with your cleaning business. We’ve seen these simple principles in action and they are incredibly effective.