If you live in a neighborhood that supports it – work in your own neighborhood. There’s something powerful about living in a nice home and being able advertise that fact.
“Hi, I’m Angela Brown, I live in your neighborhood, and I know what we neighbors are looking for in a house cleaning service. I know how long it takes to clean these types of homes, and I treat all of the homes I clean with the same respect I show my own home.” = Powerful
My neighbors know where I live. They drive by, they see my yard and the way I care for my own home – it is a great advertisement.
What you didn’t say is: Since we are neighbors I can’t be a scam artist, because you know where to find me.
Lilly, another house cleaner in my area has an evening job as a tutor at a nearby school. She cleans a house in my neighborhood every day before her tutoring job. This way she makes one round trip, avoids rush hour traffic in the morning and evening. She works her cleaning business for four hours a day, drives one mile to her second job where she works another 4 hours as a tutor, and then goes home. One trip consolidated and streamlined. Her geographic hub is where all of her activity happens. Brilliant!
If you are a busy parent and you have to drop your kid off at school – pick a nearby neighborhood and clean your houses there. That will allow you to work during school, pick up your kid from school, and you’ve made one round trip out and back for the day. Booyah!
Choosing a school zone as a geographic hub is awesome. Schools are conveniently positioned between active neighborhoods with busy working parents, teachers, music instructors, sports coaches, doctors, dentists, bankers, realtors, and other independently owned business professionals, all of which are crunched for time and could use some house cleaning help.
School neighborhoods are also good because there are bus stops. At bus stops there are kids — and parents waiting for their kids. Every day, five days a week morning and afternoon, they chat and they gossip, and they brag. You will be talked about (good or bad) at the bus stop. Think of it as FREE marketing. Woohoo!
Other Really Profitable Geographic Hubs
One story pinwheel or ranch homes in designated “active adult communities” or retirement communities are a great place to work. These neighborhoods are often filled with wealthy retired people who want to enjoy their golden years entertaining (not cleaning), or elderly who are physically unable to do household chores. They also include affluent single adults who don’t have kids and don’t want to mess with day-to-day tasks like landscaping or house cleaning. You can work non-stop in a community like this and have all the business you will ever be able to handle as an independent house cleaner.
Some savvy house cleaners have partnered with home builders who toss them all of the final home clean up before the buyers close on the property. This can work to your advantage as builders usually build one community at a time, so all of your business will be in a single neighborhood until they build a new one.
Another profitable hub (although my least favorite,) is working with a team of realtors who have a constant stream of move in/move out clients for you. This is a much more random approach to cleaning since the realtors work with anyone who calls them. You have no control over where the move in and outs may come from and it could mean travel up to 30 miles in any direction. If you choose to do this, specify upfront where and how far you are willing to travel. And clarify who is paying you.
I personally don’t like working with realtors for the fact that the business (while it may be a steady stream of clients) is not the same client each week. It’s not consistent. You might work three days one week and seven the next. And the hours can be quite random as well. And you have to keep reinventing yourself as each move in/move out client has different expectations. There are often the questions of who is paying you? The buyer? The seller or the realtor?
A house cleaner in our network did an entire move out cleaning only to find that the realtor thought the seller was paying for cleaning, and the seller thought the buyer was paying for the move out cleaning. The buyer didn’t know about the cleaning at all – and everybody refused to pay. The house cleaner after trying for three months to chase the money, gave up and ate the cleaning as a loss.
As little as possible. If you have to commute to a neighborhood – make sure that your start and end times for your house cleaning don’t conflict with rush hour traffic. Nothing will waste your time and kill your profits faster than sitting in traffic for an hour each way. And if you are cleaning more than one house in a day, make sure it’s in the same neighborhood so you don’t waste time driving between jobs.
If for some reason, you feel you must to commute to a distant neighborhood to house clean, train yourself to listen to podcasts on your smart phone or in your car. There are literally hundreds of thousands of podcasts you can download free of charge on iTunes or Stitcher that cover all areas of interest. Motivate yourself, educate yourself, and entertain yourself during that time.
This is your life, and if you’re spending part of it in your car – make it count for something.
Want a list of the podcasts I listen to? Click Here.