Is Office Cleaning Recession Proof?

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by Tom Watson on March 28, 2010

For those of you looking to start a office cleaning service you are probably asking that very question. It’s a great question to ask before getting too far into the process. The simple answer to the question is no.

But that’s not the whole answer.

The cleaning business is affected by the economy, no doubt about it. It would be foolish to argue that a recession of any kind is good for business in general, though certain segments of businesses might benefit (divorce lawyers, bankruptcy firms and liquidation companies).

My experience (concerning my cleaning business) in this economic downturn was felt much later than I expected. Aside from the absence of any business being generated from Realtors (which was not a large portion of my business), I felt no pain at first.

The actual decline of the economy began in December 2007 according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. However I continued to have strong earning (even acquiring many accounts) until late last year (2009). It was at this time that several accounts were lost due to various reasons associated with the downturn in the economy.

Being in the cleaning business gives you access to the companies you are providing services to. You do not need to be all that perceptive to see what a poor economy can do to a business. Upon reflection I see that the thriving offices we cleaned for were slowly doing less and less business during this time.

It’s starts out unassuming enough, the friendly worker in the corner office is no longer there. The supervisor who hired us suddenly never gets seen again. The trash you take to the curb gets less and less. The new office equipment that used to get delivered weekly never comes in anymore. It happens as slowly as the grass grows during a dry summer. It’s hard to notice while it’s happening but easy to spot after the doors have been shuttered.

With all that said, do I think it’s a bad time to start a office cleaning business? No, not at all. Cleaning services for businesses are not elective, their a priority. Though what they may ask the cleaning company to do may may be limited (not as much carpet cleaning and floor care) they still need the basic services performed no matter what.

The staff would riot if they had to take out their own trash (trust me on that one). In addition you can mitigate your losses (on the customer side) by thinking through who you want as customers to begin with. Pick industries that are more recession proof than others. A little homework on your part would give you a short list of who to market to.

To summarize I would argue that any time is good to start a office cleaning business. The start-up costs are low enough that your not risking your entire future on a risky proposition. You need not quit your current job in the process, giving you security for the time being. You can bank your earnings in the start-up phase (first year) providing you with a cushion that protects you against losing your current job.

If you play your cards right, you may even benefit by getting into the business now. When times are tough many businesses look much more closely at each dollar they spend. This includes the cleaning budget. I know first hand that not all complaints are service related, some are cost related.

Businesses tend to hold you more accountable during hard times as the stress of financial burdens take their toll. This leads to business owners and managers who are more likely to consider alternate bids (and suppliers) for their company. This gives the newcomer a fighting chance to at least have the opportunity to submit some  cleaning bids.

Once you get to the point of submitting bids it is only a matter of time before you land an account. Preparing bids is nothing more than a numbers game, the more you get out there you better your chances for success.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Matilda Mitchell April 28, 2010 at 11:25 am

Our home business was really affected by the Economic recession, we have to cut jobs just to cover up our losses. fortunately, we have already recovered. ~

2 TCW April 28, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Good to hear that you have recovered. Thanks for stopping by!

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