If you want to start a cleaning company, proper preparation and planning are essential. Not only do you need a tax number and business registration, but you also need financing, a marketing plan, suitable cleaners, customers, premises, vehicles and materials to get off to a successful start.
Founding a cleaning company: the essential prerequisites
A certain qualification or a master’s degree is not required for the establishment of a cleaning company. Nevertheless, training as a cleaner and relevant professional experience as a building cleaner* should be very advantageous. Many employees* of cleaning companies have the idea of becoming self-employed. The most successful founders in the sector come from the sector.
With their professional and personal experience, they have decisive advantages over their competitors. Perhaps you were home fresh employed in such a company and therefore know what you could do as well as your previous employer and what you could do better.
The direction of your new cleaning company
Actually, the field of business of a cleaning company is clear, but in practice there are many unique possibilities. You can specialize in different fields of activity. It’s not just a matter of serving private and business customers, we’ll address this point in the next headline. But if you decide to clean commercial, industrial and public buildings and rooms, it makes a difference whether you clean huge commercial halls and windows at dizzying heights or rather small objects.
Depending on your orientation, you may need a different technique, possibly specially trained personnel (e.g. climbers), a different time calculation and last but not least a different insurance. In addition, in some areas, such as clinics, there are special requirements regarding hygiene standards.
Unique selling proposition
In addition, there is your so-called USP (unique selling proposition). There are always areas and services that nobody offers yet. If you manage to stand out from the competition, you can be very successful. So you don’t have to reinvent the wheel if you want to start a cleaning company. It is enough for your customers to find your offer unique. You could achieve this by combining very different services, an innovative cleaning process or an unbeatable price. The latter can include discounts.
Start a cleaning company for private households or companies?
This hint has already been given in the previous section: stake out your clientele. At first it was about the purely technical way of cleaning. However, the subject can also be viewed from a wider perspective: Private customers commission and pay differently than commercial customers, industrial companies and public clients. Perhaps this distinction into three customer groups makes sense:
Industrial and commercial customers
Found a cleaning company with credit?
Nearly all founders have a stomachache with financing, but you can start a cleaning company with comparatively little money. You don’t need very expensive machines, such as those required by the manufacturing industry.
If you start small (which is almost only possible with private customers), two vehicles, two freelancers, a smaller storage room, some material and a tiny office might suffice. You may be able to do that with some reserves or the credit of a P2P platform. Then you don’t have to negotiate with the bank. But there are also KfW subsidised loans for founders.
To start a business as a building cleaner*you only need a business registration and a tax number. The relevant trade office will then issue your trade licence and inform all other relevant bodies about your establishment. There are no other requirements. The building cleaning trade has been free of permits since 2004.
You should take out a business liability insurance in any case. Some insurers offer a significant discount for founders. Make sure that all your activities are insured. There are insurance packages that insure cleaning, but not the cleaning of glass and windows. So you should research and compare which insurance is right for you and your cleaning company.
You can, of course, place online and offline ads, but it may be worthwhile initially addressing good customers personally. Maybe you already know some tradespeople personally. Tell them that you will start a cleaning company. Long-term contracts are tempting if you offer good conditions. Especially in the start-up phase, commercial cleaning relies a lot on recommendation marketing.
A popular method is cooperation with property managers. Most buildings with more than one office have a central property management department that takes care of the maintenance and servicing of the building. If this management recommends you, your chances of getting orders within the building are high. New companies that move into offices in the building usually ask the property manager or neighboring companies if they are looking for a cleaning company. By providing excellent service, you ensure that both parties recommend your cleaning company.
The challenge is clearly the famous foot in the door. So you’ll have to prove your patience and a thick head, especially in the early stages. However, if you have your first customers in your pocket and do a good job, your chances of being recommended are good.