How to Start a Corporate or Home Cleaning Business

by Greg DePersio

4 min read

If you have a knack for keeping things spic and span, a corporate or home cleaning business might be your ticket to a lucrative career. Homeowners and business owners turn to cleaning professionals when their schedules prevent them from keeping their homes and offices as clean as they’d like. The income potential of a cleaning business is strong, and barriers to entry are low. You don’t need a lot of money to get started, and it doesn’t require a certain level of education or obtaining certifications. While there are licencing requirements in most provinces, they are minimal compared to other industries. Follow this checklist to learn how to start a cleaning business in Canada.

Create a Business Plan

Starting a business without a business plan is like piloting an airplane without a flight plan. It’s a bad idea and likely to end in disaster. A good business plan starts by defining your niche. The cleaning industry is broad, and if you don’t narrow your focus, you’ll find it challenging to establish a customer base. You probably first want to decide whether to focus on residential or commercial business. Corporate jobs can make you more money, but the sales cycle tends to be longer, and there is more red tape. Next, determine the types of services you wish to offer, such as office cleaning, housekeeping, carpet cleaning, tile and grout, and so forth. You’ll need a budget and a marketing plan. Your budget lays out your expenses and maps out a plan for meeting them until you start earning revenue. Your marketing plan helps you land customers so you can earn revenue as quickly as possible.

Acquire Funding

One great thing about a cleaning business is you can start small and scale up. Even if your budget is minimal, as long as you have the funds for basic cleaning supplies, a reliable vehicle, and marketing materials, you can be open for business without spending a fortune. Your equipment doesn’t even have to be new. Say you decide to focus on carpet cleaning. You can find great used extraction machines on eBay or Craigslist, and your customers won’t even know the difference. And rather than investing in an expensive truck-mounted extractor, you can start with a less-expensive portable machine until your business gets going. Depending on your current financial situation, you might choose to fund your business with savings, credit cards, or bank loans, or the Canada Small Business Financing (CSBF) program. Just be sure to do your research, and compare interest rates and financing terms before choosing a funding source.

Licencing and Registration

The regulations on cleaning businesses in Canada aren’t too onerous, but you probably want to be aware of some potential licencing requirements. Check with the Canada Business Network to find the licences required by your province. If you use certain chemicals in your cleaning business, you may have to secure a special permit for them. The government also has guidelines, which vary by province, on using products that are friendly to the environment and to those who suffer from allergies or asthma.

Buying Equipment

To run a cleaning business, you need good cleaning equipment. Good doesn’t necessarily mean expensive or top of the line. But you want to be able to rely on your equipment to do the jobs you’re hired to do and not have it break down in the middle. If you’re starting small and watching pennies, make a list of the equipment you think you need. Start with the most important items, and work your way down. For a housekeeping business, necessities include a quality vacuum cleaner, scrubbing tools, cleaning solutions, brooms, and mops. You can perform basic cleaning jobs with these items alone. As your business grows, you can add to your arsenal by purchasing niche supplies such as a wallpaper removal kit or grout cleaner.

Hiring Staff

Cleaning companies range from one-person shops to massive corporations employing thousands. You may not have a need for additional employees in the beginning, but as your business grows, there may come a point when the workload is too much to handle on your own. Hiring staff can be tricky, particularly if you’ve never worked in human resources or managed employees before. You want employees who not only perform their jobs well but also fit in with your company culture. If your employees will be cleaning customers’ homes and offices, spend time training them on your company’s processes so you can be confident they do things right the first time when they’re on their own. Cleaning services are always in demand. If making living and work spaces sparkle is your forte, and you have the right business plan, you could build a lucrative corporate or home cleaning company.

References & Resources

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