How To Start Your Own House And Apartment Cleaning Service
Houses and apartment cleaning services are gaining in popularity.
These are business services that are growing in demand as a
result of more and more women seeking jobs outside the home.
Their need to supplement the family income creates the
opportunity for you to set up a lucrative business.
Ten years ago, businesses of this kind were serving only
affluent---homes of the wealthy people where women didn't want to
be bothered with the drudgery of household cleaning, and had the
money to pay someone to do it for them. But times have changed,
and today the market includes many middle income families in
every residential area across the entire country. The potential
market among apartment dwellers is great also. All in all this is
a business that has grown fast, and has as much real wealth
building potential as any we can think of.
This is a cleaning service generally associated with women;
however, men are finding that they can organize, start, and
operate very profitable home and apartment cleaning businesses
just as well as women. It's an ideal business for any truly
ambitious person wanting a business of his or her own, especially
for those who must begin with limited funds. Actually, you can
start this business right in your own neighborhood, using your
own equipment, and begin making a profit from the first day.
Many enterprising homemakers are already doing this kind of work
on a small scale as an extra income producing endeavor. There's a
growing need for this service. Organizing your efforts in to a
business producing $50,000 to $100,000 a year is quite possible,
and you can get started for $100 or so, always using your profits
to expand and increase your business.
Absolutely no experience is required. Everyone knows how to dust
the furniture, vacuum the carpets, make the beds and carry out
the trash. But your must ask yourself if making a house clean and
bright is important and uplifting work. If you look on it as
degrading or as drudgery don't involve yourself in this business.
Starting from scratch, you'll need a telephone and an appointment
book. You also need an advertising flyer, such as the following:
HOME OR APARTMENT CLEANING
We do the work---You relax and take it easy.
You get the best job in town, at rates you can
afford. Your satisfaction is always guaranteed!
Call Sue: 123-4567---ABC Cleaning Services!
You can either type this notice out or write it in long hand with
a pen. Either way, it's going to be your first advertising
endeavor, and bring in that first customer for you.
It would be a good idea to visit your stationary store to pick up
a pad of "fade out" graph paper, a couple of sets of transfers
(rub-on) letters, a gluestick, and if they have one, a Klip Art
Take these materials home and clear off your kitchen table. Take
a sheet of graph paper, and temporarily tape the corners down on
the table. Then take a pencil and a ruler, and mark a rectangle
five inches wide and six inches long along the lines of the graph
paper. This will be the overall size of your flyer when it's
Look for a Klip Art piece depicting a hurried housewife engrosses
with either cleaning tools or in the act of running the vacuum
cleaner, or some other household chore. Cut this piece out, and
with your gluestick paste it in the upper left corner of your
rectangle. Then take your transfer letters and make the headline:
HOME OR APARTMENT CLEANING. Next, type out the body of the
message on ordinary white typing paper. Be sure to use a
relatively new ribbon, preferably a black carbon ribbon, and
upper case letters. Cut this strip out, and paste it on the graph
paper, centered just below the headline. Then use some transfer
letters that are about twice as large as your typewriter type,
and paste up the action part of the message: For DETAILS, CALL
SUE:123-4567. Cut out a couple of border flourishes from your
Klip Art book, paste then under your action line, and you're
ready to take it to the printer.
In essence, you have a professional advertising "billboard." You
can check around in your area, especially with the advertising
classes at your local colleges, but generally they'll do no
better than you can do on your own using instructions we've just
given you, and they'll charge you $50 to $100.
Once you have this advertising flyer completed, take it to a
nearby quick print shop and have about 200 copies printed. You
should be able to get two copies on a standard 81/2x11 sheet, and
running 100 sheets of paper through the press is going to cost
well over $10. For just a few cents more, have the printer cut
them in half with the machine cutter, so you will have 200 copies
of your advertising flyer.
Now take these flyers, along with a box of thumbtacks, and put
them up on all free bulletin boards you can find--grocery stores,
laundromats, beauty salons, office building lounges, cafeterias,
post offices, and where ever else such announcements are allowed.
When a prospective customer calls, have your appointment book and
pencil handy. Be friendly and enthusiastic. Explain what you
do--everything from changing the beds to vacuuming, dusting and
polishing the furniture and cleaning the bathroom to dishes and
the laundry. Or, everything except the dishes and
laundry--whatever you have decided on as your policy. When they
ask how much you charge, simply tell them six to ten dollars an
hour, but for a firm cost quote, you'll need to see the home and
make a detailed estimate for them. Then without much of a pause,
ask if 4:30 this afternoon would be convenient for them, or if
5:30 would be better. You must pointedly ask if you can come to
make your cost proposal at a certain time, ot the decision may be
put off, and you may come up with a "no sale."
Just as soon as you have an agreement on the time to make your
cost proposal and marked it in your appointment book, ask for
name, address, telephone number.
Jot this information down on a 3x5 card, along with the date and
the notation: Prospective Customer. Then you file this card in a
permanent card file. Save these cards, because there are
literally hundreds of ways to turn this prospect file into real
cash, once you've accumulated a sizeable number of names,
addresses and phone numbers.
When you go to see your prospect in person, always be on time. A
couple of minutes won't hurt you, but a few minutes late will
definitely be detrimental to your closing the sale. always be
well groomed. Dress as a successful business owner. Be confident
and sure of yourself; be knowledgeable about what you can do as
well as understanding of the prospect's needs and wants. Do not
smoke, even if invited by the prospect, and never accept a
drink--even coffee--until after you have signed contract in your
Actually, once you've made the sale, the best thing is to shake
hands with your new customer, thank him, and leave. A little
small talk after the sale is appropriate, but becoming friendly
is not. You create an impression, and preserve it, by maintaining
a business-like relationship.*
When you go to make your cost estimate, take along a ruled tablet
such as those used by elementary school students, carbon paper, a
calculator and your appointment book. Some people find it easier
to work with a clipboard and ordinary blank paper with carbon.
Later on, you may want to have general checklists printed up for
each room in the house, with blank lines and spaces for special
Whatever you use, it's important to appear methodical, thorough
and professional, while leading the prospect through the
specifics he or she wants you to take care of: "Now, you want the
carpet vacuumed and all the furniture dusted and those two end
tables, the coffee table and piano polished as well, I assume?"
Simply identify the specific room at the top of the sheet of
paper, the lead your prospect through the cleaning steps of each
room, covering everything in it. Your implications of putting
everything in "ready for company" shape will cause the customer
to forget about the cost, and hire you to do a complete job.
Always have a carbon under each piece of paper you're writing on,
and always look around each room one more time before leaving it;
then ask the prospect if he or she can think of any special
instructions you should note for that room.
Finally, when you've gone through each room in the house with the
prospect, come back to the kitchen and sit down at the table.
Take out your calculator and add up the time you estimate each
job in each room will take to complete. Total the time for each
room. Be liberal, thinking that if you can do the carpet job in
15 minutes, it will usually take the ordinary person 30 minutes.
Convert the total minutes for each room into hours and tenths of
a hours per room. Add the totals for each room to arrive at your
total hours to clean the entire house.
Talk with the customer briefly, wondering how she can ever find
the time to get everything done at home, especially when holding
down a fulltime job. A little bit of small talk, a quick mental
evaluation of the customer's ability to pay, plus your knowledge
that you can get everything done in four hours, instead of six it
would take most people, and you summarize by saying:
"Well, Mrs. Johnson, you've certainly got enough routine cleaning
work to keep you busy all day and every day of the week! I
certainly don't know how you do it, but anyway, we'll take this
whole problem off your shoulders, save you time, and actually
give you time to relax. We can do it on a regular basis, every
other week for $120 per month or the one single time for $75.
"I can imagine how tired you are when you get home form work. If
you're at all like me, there are times when, faced with all this
housework, you want to run away someplace and hide. Now, we'll
take care of everything for you--keep the house spic and span,
ready for company, allow you to forget about housecleaning
chores, and for a lot less than it's costing you now in time,
work, and worry. And we guarantee that our work will more than
satisfy you. So, would you like to try our cleaning service one
time for $75 or do you want to save $15 a call and let us take
over these chores for you on a regular basis?"
Here you begin finding a place in your appointment book, and tell
her: "Actually I have an opening at 8:30 on Tuesday morning. We
could come in every other Tuesday at 8:30, clean the whole house
and have it done before you get home from work."
The customer agrees that 8:30 Tuesdays will be fine. Then you ask
her if she prefers to be billed with the completion of each house
cleaning session or on a regular monthly basis. Point out to her
that by engaging you on a monthly basis, she picks up a free
house cleaning every three months.
Now that you have your first customer, you want to fill every day
of the week, each week of every month with regular jobs. Once you
have one week of each month filled with regular jobs, it will be
time for you to expand.
Expansion means growth, involving people working for you, more
jobs to sell, and greater profits. Don't let it frighten you, for
you have gained experience by starting gradually. After all--your
aim in starting a business of your own was to make money, wasn't
it? And expanding means more helpers so you don't have to work
yourself to death!
You can operate this business quite successfully from the comfort
of your home, permanently, if you choose to. All you'll need is a
telephone, a desk, and a file cabinet.
So, just as soon as you possibly can, recruit and hire other
people to do the work for you. The first people you hire should
be people to handle the cleaning work. The best plan is to hire
people to work in teams of two or three--two for jobs not
including dishwashing and laundry--three for those that do.
You can start these people at minimum wage or a bit above, and
train them to complete every job assignment in two hours or less.
Just as soon as you've hired and trained a couple of people as a
cleaning team, you should outfit them in a kind of uniform with
your company name on the back of their blouses or shirts. A good
idea also would be to have magnetic signs made for your company
and services. Place these signs on the sides of the cars your
people use for transportation to each job, and later on, the
sides of your company van or pick-up trucks.
Each team should have an appointed leader responsible for the
quality and overall completeness of each job assigned to that
team. The team might operate thus; One person cleans the
bathroom, makes beds and carries out the laundry, while the other
person dusts and polishes the furniture and does the vacuuming.
On jobs where they do the laundry and the dishes, the third
person can pick up the laundry and get that started, and then do
the dishes and clean the kitchen. By operating in this manner,
your work will be more efficient and the complete job will take a
lot less time. However, it is important that each person you hire
understand that the success of the business depends on the "crew'
doing as many complete jobs as they can handle each day--- not on
how much they get paid per hourly working for you.
Your team leaders will check with you each afternoon for the next
day's work assignments and gather the team together, complete
with cleaning supplies and material, on the next day. Your team
leader should be supplied with a stack of "hand-out" advertising
flyers to pass around the neighborhood or within the apartment
building before leaving each job site. A good supply of business
cards wouldn't be a bad idea for them either, in order to
advertise your services to others they come in contact with. The
only other form of advertising you should go with would be a
display ad in the yellow pages of your telephone directory.
Design on paper a system of clean-up operation that you can
generally be applied to any situation, then drill your teams on
speeding up their activities to make the system work even better.
Just as fireman practice and practice, you should drill your
people as a team in their cleaning activities.
Probably the biggest time-waster in this business will be in
travel from job to job. For this reason, it's important to spread
advertising circulars to the neighboring homes when you're doing
a job, or to the apartments on the same floor when you're in an
apartment building. As the organizer and person assigning teams
to jobs, it will behoove you to locate, line up, and assign jobs
close together as possible. Keep up your efforts to cut time it
takes for your crews to travel from one job to the next. Work at
lining up jobs all in one block, or in one apartment building.
Your equipment needs will be minimal: Cleaning and polishing
rags, mops, a couple of plastic buckets, and furniture polishes.
Most people will have the necessary cleaning materials, including
vacuum cleaner, soaps and cleaners. But it wouldn't hurt to have
these items available just in case you get a job in a home or an
apartment without these tools. As your business grows, you'll be
able to purchase all your needs at huge discounts, and these are
the sources of supply to cultivate as you grow.
One of the most important aspects of this business is asking for,
and allowing your customers to refer other prospects to you. All
this happens, of course, as a result of your giving fast,
dependable service. You might even set up a promotional notice on
the back of your business card (to be left as each job is
completed) offering five dollars off their next cleaning bill
when they refer you to a new prospect.
This is definitely a high profit business, requiring only an
investment of time and organization on your part to get started.
With a low investment, little or no overhead requirement, and no
experience needed, this is an ideal business opportunity with a
grown curve that accelerates at an unprecedented rate. Think of
it. If it appeals to you, set up your own plan of operations and
go for it! The profit potential for an owner of this type of
business is outstanding!
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