The Mailbag Volume 2: Answering some common questions about the cleaning business…

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by Tom Watson on May 31, 2015

Today we are going to go back to the reader mailbag and answer some common questions that come my way.

Not too long ago we did the first mailbag segment, it was back in March to be specific, and you can check that out by clicking here.

If you are new around here, I’ll make mention that I try to answer as many questions as possible via email. So if you have any, you can always reach out to me via my contact page. Anyway, let’s get started!

Question: How much money in equipment must I put out to start?

Answer: I started with literally $100.00 in equipment costs. This included some different style mops, a cheap vacuum, dusters, brooms, other miscellaneous items and a collection of cleaning solutions. You don’t need anything more than the basics to start. If you stumble across a job that requires more, either include the cost of equipment into the job or turn it down until your ready to handle that type of request.

Question: Can you please advise on some low cost marketing tips that I can use right away.

Answer: First off, I would go to every real estate office anywhere near you to raise awareness of your new company. Bring a dozen or two of donuts and a bunch of business cards. If you have a flyer that advertises your services bring a few of those as well. Winning people over through their stomachs is a time tested way to get yourself noticed. Odds are you will make a few contacts that will send business your way. I have had a lot of success with this tactic.

Then I would advertise my services on craigslist. This is absolutely free. I did a post on the subject that may interest you, and you may access it by clicking here. After that I would consider joining some networking groups. Do your homework by looking into several in your area.

From there pick one or two that has other small business owners in it and join. Networking will work wonders for you. Some clubs can be joined for $100.00. It’s well worth the investment, because you get to meet new people who may need you (or know someone who does).

Finally I would stop by commercial or residential construction sites and ask for the supervisor. Provide your card and ask for a chance to do the construction clean up. There is good money in that and if you do a good job for them, the supervisors tend to call you back the next time they need you.

Question: I have started a fan page on Facebook. Is spending my limited cash advertising my services via Facebook a good way to grow my business?

Answer: Having a business facebook page is nice, but having paying cleaning customers is MUCH BETTER. Though spending a few bucks here and there as you have it is not a bad idea, it shouldn’t be your focus. Don’t get too bogged down getting fans right now (it costs a small fortune). You would be better off getting tons of new customers THEN getting them to like your page.

Well, this wraps up our second edition of “The Mailbag”. I really hoped you enjoyed it and if anyone has any specific questions they would like addressed for the next edition, just hop on over to the contact page and shoot me a question. Look forward to hearing from you!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Binda Kebohula May 31, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Hi Tom,and thanks for the recent note.
My fear and problems are:
(1) How do I face the stiff competition from the well established cleaning businesses since I want to just start up a small cleaning firm?

(2) As a start up cleaning business, how do I get people to assist me in cleaning since at age 60+ I feel I should only do administration and management?

(3) How do I pay those workers when I first commence operations?

2 Leticia June 1, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge. It is been very helpful for my business.

3 Tom Watson June 7, 2015 at 9:40 am

I’m happy to help Leticia!

4 Tom Watson June 7, 2015 at 9:45 am

Hi Binda!

1 – You have to IGNORE the competition. They are not going anywhere by you worrying about them, so just focus on you. Besides… the customer DOES NOT CARE if you are new and probably doesn’t even realize it anyway.

2 – You just have to hire people and have a clear job description for them. If the job is for a CLEANER, then they will know they clean and you supervise (or whatever your role will be).

3 – You’ll need to have money to pay the staff while you wait to get paid. Sometimes you will get paid at time of service (depends on what type of work you will be doing), so the wait can be short.

5 Binda Kebohula June 7, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Hi Tom,

Please advise as to what are the most important things I should acquire for my start-up cleaning business.



6 Tom Watson June 7, 2015 at 1:30 pm

Hi Binda! I don’t know how far along you are, so it’s hard to say. You really don’t need all that much. In the beginning all you want to do is PROMOTE your company. So some business cards and flyers are more important that mops and buckets if you have no accounts yet). Perhaps calling me would be best, just go to the contact page and use that number. I’ll help you out!

7 Binda Kebohula June 8, 2015 at 7:43 am

Hi Tom,

Well your tips are highly appreciated. I am really far from you, that is, in Botswana, Southern Africa.


8 Tom Watson June 8, 2015 at 10:15 am

Hi Binda! I think that is great, as I LOVE meeting people so far away.

9 HP November 22, 2015 at 5:42 pm

Awesome info & advice as usual….Thank You!!!

10 Tom Watson November 23, 2015 at 12:29 pm

Thanks HP.

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