Succeeding in this industry can be very profitable if it is met with a strong attitude and good career objectives. It may be three to six months before you are able to make any profits. This industry is met with signs of growth due to an increase in demand for janitorial services; thousands of people have found employment in this field in the last decade. Because of downsizing, employees are reduced and work is contracted out, which leaves a considerable opportunity for private businesses to pick up clientele.
Although this service can start out of your home with very few and relatively low start-up costs, there are some factors you should consider:
- Start small and keep things as simple as possible.
- Know your limits (what services you want to offer), and how you will go about getting and keeping accounts.
- Understand the requirements and capital necessary to succeed in the industry, and be prepared to expand your business with more expensive equipment as the need arises.
- You must have working capital to give yourself a realistic chance at surviving in this industry.
In order to succeed in this industry you need to consider marketing:
- A quality product. Some customers will pay a slightly higher price for a job that is well done. You should ensure that you find your niche in the marketplace before establishing a business.
- Satisfied customers. Your customer base will increase, as will your profits if you continue to keep your clients happy with your service.
- An agreement to perform special services on occasion. special visitors, parties, and special events are part of any commercial office.
- Competitive prices. Keep in touch with what your competitors are charging and what services they are performing so that you can gain an edge in the marketplace.
Buying an Existing Service
This could be a simple shortcut to owning your own business, but usually requires more capital. Be aware that by buying an existing business you are paying largely for the customer base.
- Investigate why the business is for sale. Is the location suitable for your objectives? will it be too costly for you to start with?
- Examine the business’ financial records for the past three years and the year to date. Consider comparing tax records with the owner’s claims.
- Observe the cleaning operation of the work crew for a few days and observe their productivity.
- Speak with current customers. Are they satisfied with the service? Ask for customer input on ways the business could be improved.
- Speak with former customers to gain their perspective. Why aren’t they using the service any longer?
You will need to buy some cleaning supplies and general tools to help make your services more professional.
- Brooms, brushes and ladders can be purchased at many locations.
- Cleaning supplies such as glass cleaner, disinfectants and general all-purpose cleaners be bought in bulk from various wholesale suppliers. Compare the price and quality of the supplies with that of other suppliers.
You might consider being home based if you want to keep costs low until some accounts are established, especially if low prices are a part of your business strategy. Consider registering a business name, have an appropriate business mailing address and get a second business phone line to service your customers more professionally. Working at home will allow you to:
- Work flexible hours primarily on a part time basis until you are able to get a larger customer base.
- Save on expenses and increase the hours of operation.
- You should also investigate all related government and zoning regulations before starting your business. If operating from home is not an option, try leasing or renting office space at a separate location.
- Ensure you are in a location that suits your customers. A small space behind other businesses could be cost efficient and suit your needs effectively.
- Make sure that you have office space as well as enough space to efficiently and safely store your requirement and supplies.
Word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising when operating a janitorial service. Decide who your potential customers are and determine the types of services they offer. (i.e. restaurants, warehouses, etc.) Determine what sets you apart from your competitors, and try to attract the customers you want by marketing your business.
- Important advertising methods are through newspapers, brochures, and direct mail to your potential customers at relatively frequent periods of time.
- Watch firms that are downsizing and laying off cleaning staff. This may be a valuable source of information for your company’s growth.
- Get to know the management staff in various commercial buildings. Their information about current employment is also a very valuable tool.
Due to the general skills required to work in this field, there should be many potential employees in the area to find and hire. Keep in mind, however, that there is a very high turnover rate of employees in this field. If you plan on hiring employees, you need to know how to find, train, and keep staff. If you are looking for part-time employees that can work flexible hours, consider turning to university students, who are not able to work regular business hours. Educate yourself in all areas of human resources – how to recruit, interview, motivate, train and develop personnel policies. (wages, benefits, etc.) Refer to the Human Resources fact sheet for more information.
You should ensure that you are within the price range of your competitors and that the prices are consistent with your business strategy. You should try to determine how others in the industry determine their prices. Before setting prices with your clients, make sure you visit the site and inspect the day to day condition of the facility. After you have discussed the services you will need to perform, set out an estimate, either per task, or as an hourly rate. You should keep in mind things as:
- How many employees you will need for the task.
- The size of the area you will need to clean.
- The frequency that you will need to perform the duties required.
- The cleanliness level required by the client.
source: cbsc.org, photo from reedlink.com