Have a talent or passion for cleaning that you want to put to good use? If so, you might want to start your own cleaning business. Starting a cleaning business from home is one of the more easier businesses to set up, as it tends to have lower costs to get started. You can set your work schedule and make great money along the way, but you have to follow the right steps to ensure your success.
To start a cleaning business from home in Australia you need:
- The right business structure (sole trader, partnership or company)
- A business name and ABN
- A business bank account (and probably an accountant)
- Permits and licences
- A good pricing structure
- Some marketing (to get some clients)
Starting a cleaning business has great potential to be a profitable and flexible home based business. But you need to make sure you’ve planned properly to enable you the best chance for success. This guide can help.
Start a cleaning business from home
Step 1 – Determine if a Cleaning Business Is Right for You
Before you actually start a cleaning business from home, ask yourself the following questions:
Am I physically fit? Cleaning work can actually be quite demanding. And if you’re doing multiple jobs a day you will find that it is quite strenuous.
What kind of cleaning do I want to do? You generally have the choice between starting a domestic cleaning business (carpet cleaning, window cleaning, housekeeping, etc.) or a commercial cleaning business (cleaning offices and factories). Unless you have specific skills in commercial cleaning, a domestic cleaning business is easier to get started. There are even niche markets now such as bond cleaning services
Is there a demand for cleaning services in my area? Do some market research. Make sure that there is enough work in your area to ensure you an income. What is the average household income in the area you wish to service – can they afford a cleaner? Are established cleaning services getting regular work in your target area or are they struggling? These sorts of questions can give you a good basis for which areas to target and avoid the heartbreak of no clients when you start.
How much money do I have to invest in a cleaning business? Although a cleaning business is one that can be gotten into relatively cheaply, starting any business costs money. Business registration fees, websites, equipment all cost something and if you’ve got a bit of money to invest in marketing it will make your life a lot easier too.
Professional grade carpet cleaning equipment can be expensive, to the tune of $10,000+ for a single machine. If you do not have that much money to invest at this time, you may want to start as a basic house cleaner and save for a bigger venture in the future. There’s more competition for this type of work (due to the low barriers to entry), but you can still find plenty of clients to help you pay your bills. Assess your goals, skills, and financial options to determine the best move for you.
Step 2 – Decide If You Want to Franchise
There are two ways to get into a cleaning business. One is to start your own business with your own brand name, and the other is to purchase a franchise of an already existing cleaning company.
Owning a franchise cleaning business means that you will work under an existing cleaning company while still maintaining the basic rights of being a business owner. You will have to pay the company to use their brand generally including a yearly fee and a % of sales. They may also require that you use their equipment, vehicles, and more, but you will have an instant sales advantage working under a brand people already know, like and trust.
Franchises cost more money to start, and can be anywhere between $2,000 and $100,000, but they are worth investing in if you don’t want to have to build your brand up from the bottom. If you go down this path, make sure you do your research about the company, and what you get for your franchise fee.
Step 3 – What training or licensing requirements will I need to meet before starting my business?
Mostly, starting a cleaning business in Australia doesn’t require you to have any formal training or licences. There are no minimum entry standards for most types of cleaning in Australia, however there are nationally recognised qualifications which help you ‘stand out from the crowd’ and will provide you with both the cleaning and business skills you need to operate a professional business. You may also find that completing a certification allows more trust in you from your clients and you can charge a little more for your services.
Step 4 – Get business ready
Make sure you speak to an accountant about what the best business structure is for you and your financial plan for the business. You need to do this regardless of whether you are going out on our own or purchasing a franchise. The main business structures are sole trader, partnership and company and each one has its pros and cons depending on your situation. It is also advisable to open a business bank account, even if you are a sole trader. Yourself and your accountant will thank you at tax time when you’re not trying to separate personal and business income and expenses.
Once you have a plan in place for your cleaning business, you will need to get an ABN and then decide on a business name and register that name with ASIC. These are mandatory requirements for your business no matter what the structure (the only exception being you don’t have to register a business name as a sole trader operating under your own name). You may also find that you need to have a licence from your state or council to run business from home as well. These regulations vary between states and councils but a quick Google search should reveal your council’s requirements.
You will need to invest in a public liability insurance policy for the business (usually a minimum of $5 million, however commercial / government contracts may require up to $20 million). You defiantly don’t want to get caught with no insurance if there is a problem or accident on one of your jobs. You will also need to look into Workers’ Compensation if you hire anyone to work with you.
Step 5 – The in’s and out’s of your cleaning business
Work out what equipment you are going to need for your business. The right equipment depends on the services you are providing but can include:
- Domestic Cleaning: Basic cleaning solutions such as an all-purpose spray, furniture polish and window cleaner, gloves, broom, dustpan, mop, bucket, microfiber cloths, vacuum cleaner, toilet brush, dusters, and paper towels.
- Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning: Carpet cleaning machine, carpet cleaning solution.
- Window Cleaning: Squeegee, scraper blade, bucket, window cleaning solution..
- Gutter Cleaning: Gutter cleaning machine, ladder.
- Oven and Barbecue Cleaning: Oven cleaner / degreaser, scraper blade, sponge, brush, bucket.
- Tile and Grout Cleaning: Tile scrubber, Multi-surface steam cleaner, heavy duty grout brush, professional floor cleaning detergent.
Try to choose environmentally friendly products that are commercial grade. Remember you will also need a vehicle that can hold all your supplies, so if you’re going to be a carpet cleaner, you’ll need a bigger car to hold the machinery than if you are a domestic cleaner with a few supplies.
Don’t forget about a uniform. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, even just a shirt with your logo or business name, but it can make you look far more professional than turning up in an old t-shirt and people can start to recognise who you are.
Step 6 – Work out Your Finances to Ensure Success
The most important part of a successful business is working out your pricing. Don’t price yourself too low. Remember that you need to cover your business costs and pay yourself a wage. Don’t just try to be the cheapest in your area to get clients. Stand yourself apart by offering something different or by offering the best service. People will pay more for a quality service and you’ll get repeat customers.
Educate yourself about the taxation laws for self-employment in your area so you can put away the right amount of money early on. Make sure you figure out when you need to register for GST (or if you want to do it straight away). Save any extra money you make to invest in growing your business in the future, and continue building your clientele as you go.
Step 7 – Market Your New Cleaning Business
Strong marketing is the key to early-on success in a business, no matter what that business might be. Establish a name for your business that people will easily connect with, unless you are operating under a franchise. You may even want to vinyl wrap your car with your business logo for additional promotion.
Use some of these techniques to market your cleaning business:
- Build a basic website for your business. Getting someone to do it for you can cost anywhere between $2000-$5000 but we have a cost effective course to do it yourself. Show off your services and personal story there so people on the web can connect with you.
- Tell your friends and family about your new business so they can spread the word in your community. If you do a good job with clients you will find you start to get recommendations as well.
- Advertise through free online classifieds or paid classifieds in the newspaper. You may also pay to advertise through Google Adwords to make your website show up for other people while they are browsing online.
- Pass out flyers and hang posters in your community. Companies like Moo offer cost effective solutions for print marketing to get you started.
- Talk to property management companies, real estate agents, and moving companies to see if they are willing to team up with you. You can benefit from their existing customer base, and they can offer your services to their clients to make their business even more desirable. Everyone wins!
With the right amount of planning and promotion, you are sure to be a success in started a cleaning business from home.
This article was last updated October 2019