You’ve set up your business, worked hard on getting your first contracts. What’s next? Before we dive into management related topics, let’s talk a little bit about expanding your business by getting more clients and adding services to your portfolio. To do that, you must improve your sales and marketing skills and familiarize yourself with the latest trends in the industry.
Obviously, you’ll need to keep improving your cleaning skills, even if you decide not to do the cleaning yourself down the road. This is vital because it allows you to track your employees performance.
Improve your sales skills
There’s only one way enabling you to grow your cleaning business. Making more contracts. To be efficient at selling and make sure you don’t leave money on the table, you should try improving your marketing and sales skills. There’s a great deal of courses online that can help you master the art of selling. We suggest that you invest some money on your training. You will see immediate results in your conversions.
Learning how to attract more customers, how to present yourself and your business as an authority, how to keep your contracts going in the long term, how to brand your business, are all mandatory skills to getting your cleaning firm to a six figure income.
Even the invoices that you print must come with a certain professional look. Not to mention sales letters and offers for applying to jobs, contract templates and so on. You need to brand everything that your business gets involved in using your name and logo.
Growing your Cleaning Business
Like in every other industry, you must keep evolving and perfecting your services to stay competitive and keep your competition from messing with your income status.
If you haven’t done already, have a logo professionally designed for your business. A good logo may cost up to 400-1000$ but it’s for life and it will follow your business everywhere. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, in fact, simple – straight forward logos are easier to remember most of the time. This is critical in many ways. Don’t neglect your business branding, you WILL feel sorry for that one day.
Assuming you begin your business from home to minimize start-up costs, the first thing you’ll need to do after you’ve established some contracts is to rent an office and buy some furniture. Make sure your office is always kept clean, I believe you see the tragedy in the opposite. You may have to rent a place with plenty of storage. Unless you can’t help it, keep the storage room separated from the rest of your office. You may have to welcome customers in your office some times, you wouldn’t want all that mess in their face. Keep your supplies organized and track your quantities.
Then, as your business grows and attracts clients in larger distances that walking to is impossible, you may want to buy a van (one will do for start). Imprint your logo on it as well as your communication information. It’s a moving ad. You’ll be surprised with how many clients you can book from this alone.
Expand your Portfolio of Services
At this point, it would be a good idea to implement more services in your business portfolio. If you’ve only been doing house cleaning, try expanding into office cleaning, commercial cleaning. Or maybe do some carpet cleaning. Scout the market for what’s needed most at the time and start implementing that, then move on to the next and so on and so fourth. Every time you expand into a new market, let’s say carpet cleaning, make sure you know exactly how to do the job you’re tasked to. Learn everything about it, get the supplies and train yourself and your employees (if any) to cleaning carpets. Only after you’ve familiarized your business with that new task, you hit the market. Print flyers again, call your existing clients, upload the news to your website, update your business cards, run commercials in the local radio and newspapers.
Cleaning Business Management
Obviously, there will come the time you won’t be able to handle all the work that comes in yourself and you’ll need to hire employees to work under your payroll. This will most likely happen sooner than you think it will. Hiring is no simple task. In time, you will learn a lot but to avoid beginner mistakes, it is highly recommended that you apply three basic rules when hiring:
1. Do not hire family members. You want your employees to think of you as their boss, not their funny uncle! Family members tend to work less, get lazy, they’re very prone to mistakes or questioning your authority in front of your clients or other employees. This is mainly happening because they know it’s not easy for you to yell at them, correct them and generally treat them as employees and employees alone.
2. Only hire people that have worked before. That’s right. You do NOT want to risk hiring someone that hasn’t worked before in your early steps. Chances are there’s a very good reason he hasn’t been working. To avoid misjudging people and paying for it dearly, go with proven solutions.
3. Do not snob part-time employment. In fact, it’s probably the best route to take when hiring your very first employees. That is because people that already work know how to work. Simple as that. You may start with part-time employment and upgrade to full-time later on, when you find a good fit.
Keep in mind that hiring employees is a huge investment on your part. Not only will you have to pay them monthly but you will have to train them too. Employees is an asset for your business and requires the proper care and management.
In order to understand the importance of hiring good employees, here’s a thought:
Your relationships with your clients are a key point for your success but as you’ll find out, the more your business grows the harder it gets to maintain all these relationships yourself. It will be your employees that get in touch with your clients daily and it is them that will carry on the business name in every step they make. This makes it critical for you to train them properly as they become the front end of your business.
You need your employees to be polite, social with as good communication skills as possible on top of being good at cleaning.
If your services exceed your client’s expectations you’ll be receiving a lot of enthusiastic calls from your customers as a thank you note. Share that with your employees, hit them gently in the back so to speak. People work better when they are motivated and rewarded. Do not hesitate offering your employees a raise if they seem to deserve it. Maintain a healthy competition between them if you have more than one working for you. If one stands out from the crowd, offer him a raise or promote him if your wallet allows it. This will keep the rest motivated. But don’t offer anyone more than he deserves. All people, deep inside, know exactly what they deserve. Your job is to acknowledge that and translate it into appropriate salaries.
Less money than one’s worth and you’ll have an unhappy employee. More money than one’s worth and you’ll have a slacking, snob employee causing more problems than he solves.
While this isn’t often a topic of the first line, keeping records may save your from all kinds of awkward situations. Never ever throw away anything, not even your phone bills. Archive everything and organize your files in a way you can have easy access to you records at any time. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use these but do it just in case.
Generally, always be lawful, apply all state and federal regulations to their fullest. And of course, never, ever stop looking for opportunities. If you can make 100$ you can make 1000$ and then 10.000$. Where would you stop?
PART V: Resources for YOU and your Cleaning Business
or, go back to
PART III: Starting Up. Procedures, Promotion and Getting Clients
PART II: Start-up costs of a Cleaning Business & Financing
PART I: Learning about the Industry. Profitability. Qualifications.