Five Reasons To Start A Cleaning Business

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by Tom Watson on March 26, 2010

I may be a little biased but the cleaning business has been good to me and my family. As the owner of a cleaning business for some time I have enjoyed the perks that come with being in the industry.

But way back when (before I owned my business) I knew what I wanted, I just wasn’t sure what industry gave it to me. I looked at (and considered) just about every type of business you could think of. Both retail and service businesses alike were on the table.

I did have a favorite business that always peaked my interest. A laundromat or dry cleaning business was my dream because I used to work part time at one for years for extra money. I knew that business pretty well from putting in so much time. The down sides were the start up costs, bank financing, business plans and the time needed to pull it all together.

The scariest part was if I failed (which I never planned on but which I must account for) all my eggs were in one basket. If it did not work I was sunk for years with all the debt that came with it. So I passed on that idea.

This lead me to come up with some minimum requirements for my new venture (which incidentally are the five reasons to start a cleaning business). The following list may help you if your on the fence.

  1. I wanted a quick start up process.
  2. I wanted to have low overhead and operating costs.
  3. I wanted the ability to start small and grow at my pace.
  4. I wanted to keep my regular job until things gained steam.
  5. I wanted to control my own destiny without a franchise telling me what to do.

Then I decided to get the latest copy of Entrepreneur magazines (and every other similar magazine) from the bookstore to see what fit the bill. I scanned each page looking at every idea imaginable. Some of the options included:

  • Spray painting (with some special reflective paint) home addresses onto curbs so emergency personal could find them at night. Certainly a low start up cost. I just didn’t see a long term future.
  • Painting the ceilings in children’s rooms to look like a night sky. Low cost but boring.
  • Giant inflatables for children’s parties. Sounded OK but insurance must be sky high!
  • UPS Store. Not a bad option that would probably work but I would be risking a lot of my money and I would need to quit my job. Not to mention this was a franchise.
  • Landscaping business. It sounded great but had too much manual labor for me.

Then I saw the ads for the cleaning businesses. Not terribly exciting but it fit the bill at first glance. So I investigated further and the idea started to gain traction with me. I got excited as time went on. Before long my mind was made up, I was starting a cleaning business. I can still vividly remember the excitement I had once my mind was made up.

As I reflect on my ten years in business the same thought crosses my mind. How those five requirements really saved me from being in a dead end job that I dreaded. I’ll dive a little deeper into each requirement now with the wisdom of ten years behind me.

The start up process is about as quick as you can name the business and get to the local county clerk and register it. It does not really get all that involved on that end. The overhead costs are low because you can start from home without an office at first. I used my bedroom as my first office before moving into a small commercial space after about a year.

Then a year after that I was into a 2,500 square foot warehouse. Keeping the business small at first meant any mistakes I made were small as well. This lets you work the bugs out before expanding. Keeping my regular job until I became comfortable with being a business owner worked wonders for me.

It almost made my regular job more bearable because I knew at some point I would be able to walk away on my terms. Not having a franchise breathing down my back was also a blessing. I was able to run the business as I saw fit, making it an extension of my personality.

If you are looking to start your own business then I recommend you consider the cleaning business. It allows you the flexibility you need and doesn’t break the bank in the process. Like I said at the beginning, I may be a little biased but the cleaning business has been good to me and my family.

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