“How to end startup struggles in house cleaning? I’m trying to start a cleaning business but the startup struggles are killing me.
And I want to grow my cleaning company but don’t know where to find customers. What small business pro cleaning tips can you give me?”
Angela Brown, The House Cleaning Guru on Today’s Ask a House Cleaner digs into startup struggles. “Come clean with me the easy way. Let’s work smart not hard.” Market your cleaning business in a small niche.
Today’s sponsors are Savvy Cleaner (house cleaning training.) HouseCleaning360 (A hub connecting homeowners with a maid service.) Savvy Perks (Employee benefits for your small cleaning business.) And My Cleaning Connection (a resource site for cleaning.)
Listen: How to End House Cleaning Startup Struggles
Watch: How to End House Cleaning Startup Struggles
Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer.
Question: How to End House Cleaning Startup Struggles
Why is it so hard to get started in the house cleaning business and how do you find customers? We’re going to talk about that today. Hi, there. I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question and I get to help you find an answer.
“Hello, Angela. My name’s Patrice. I was wondering why it’s so hard to start a cleaning business. I have worked a couple homes, but I’m trying to start my own business and it’s very hard to get any customers.”
All right, Patrice, that’s an excellent question. Why is it so hard to get started in the house cleaning business? Well, it’s hard because you’re starting something new.
Startup Struggles Include the Same 24 Hours in a Day
Now, the truth of the matter is, you only have 24 hours in a day. So, whatever you were doing up until now you’re probably still doing.
All the requirements of your day, getting people up, getting them dressed, sending them off to school. Packing people’s lunches, doing laundry, housekeeping, and dishes. Getting your vitamins ready, going to doctor’s appointments, none of that stuff went away. You still have all the same stuff that you were doing anyway, but now you’re just adding a business onto it, so it is hard.
One of the tricks about house cleaning is a lot of house people just think that they’re going to jump in and clean a house. They don’t realize there is an entire business behind it.
Startup Struggles Include Admitting You Have a Business
There is far more to running a business than cleaning a house. You need an education. And so, you’re going to spend some significant time going on the internet and watching videos. Going through training and reading books.
You will learn about accounting and taxes and what to do if you don’t have money coming in.
And if you expand you’ll have to learn about employees. Hiring and firing, management and motivation. And don’t forget about customer service.
If you think you’re going to wake up one day and just go clean a house and bam you’re done – think again.
Startup Struggles Include the Side Hustle
Some startup cleaning companies start out as a side hustle while working a full-time job. Then when you’re able you make the switch.
Transitioning from a full-time job to a cleaning business requires a big chunk of time. And you’re going to have to sacrifice some things to make it happen.
Now, that might mean you don’t watch TV anymore. Because in the evenings then you will focus on learning about your business.
It might be that during the day you don’t get to go to the neighborhood socials. Mother’s Morning Out, or whatever, are a thing of the past. You’ll be out running flyers. You’ll be bidding jobs and giving free in-home estimates to get your business up and off the ground.
Startup Struggles Include Finding Customers
Now, you asked the question, where do you get customers? Well, you get customers wherever you are.
There’s a big misnomer in the business that you’ve got to run all these advertisements. But chances are you live in a house near other houses. That means people that live near that need house cleaning. My suggestion is don’t go far. Stay as close to home as possible, and your question to everyone is, “Who do you know?”
Who Do You Know, Who …?
And you can target your market by asking everyone this question.
Let’s say that you’re youthful and you have a lot of energy. And you know that menopausal women do not. Or that they care less about cleaning their house or it’s not as important to them. Maybe they’re busy and they have businesses of their own and it’s not a priority.
You might say, “Hey, I specialize in cleaning house for menopausal women. “ Then you can ask all your friends, “Who do you know that’s going through the change in life who has less time to spend on their house?” They’re going to be like, “Oh, that’s like five of my neighbors.”
Paint a Picture of Your Perfect Customer
Okay, you’re not asking, “Which of your five neighbors needs a house cleaner?”
You’re asking, “Which of your five neighbors needs more help?”
When the picture is clear, your neighbors will start recognizing your perfect customer and send them your way.
That’s weird enough niche that at the next neighborhood breakfast your neighbors will talk. “Did you know that there’s a house cleaner in the neighborhood that specializes in women of a certain age?” They’re going to go, “No way. I need her help,” and they’re going to need your help because it is specific. And then you turn the one-offs into regular customers.
Startup Struggles Happen When You Lack a Clear Target
I know a house cleaner she specializes in garage cleaning. That’s all she does. Now, she also cleans houses, but she goes in through the garage door. She explains to everybody, “I clean garages,” and so she gets lots of people who hire her to clean the garage.
Then, “By the way, I do have a house cleaning business. Who do you know who…” and they’re like, “Well, I do. I have a house cleaner right now, but you did an amazing job on my garage. How about if you come give my house a try?” She picks up a lot of business that way.
Startup Struggles Happen When You Cast a Wide Net
Don’t try to be all things to all people.
Focus on one target and one territory at a time.
There are also cleaning technicians that specialize in their church only. There may be a church that’s geographically contained to a small area.
People don’t travel 45 or 50 miles to go to this church. All the church members are locals.
Just specialize in the church members. All the church members get a discount.
“Who do you know that’s here in the church that is looking to upgrade their life or they’re looking for some extra free time?”
Then they’re like, “Oh, well, Sister So-and-so,” and they recommend you to somebody there in the church.
Startup Struggles End When You Work a Niche Market
There are a lot of different pockets of people. I know that we had for years a great, big network of school teachers, and so that was our market.
“What other school teachers do you know that grade papers in the evening that need a few extra hands to come in and clean their house?”
They’re like, “We all do.”
And before we knew it, we had the whole entire network of school teachers. And we offered a school discount to that particular school. Then when one teacher moved to another school she took us with her to that new network of teachers.
Just be as specific as possible.
Startup Struggles Occur When You Advertise Everywhere
Don’t try to run all the ads, and do all these mailers, and Facebook ads. Because if you’re just starting a business you don’t need gobs of clients.
You can only clean two or three houses in a day, and so you’re looking for 10 or 20 houses. It’s not gobs of houses. You don’t need to go out and spend thousands of dollars on advertising. That is a waste of money.
It’s sad for me because I know solo house cleaners, they’re one person, and they’ll spend upwards of $2,000 a month on advertising.
All that tells me either your scattering your net really wide. Or you’re no good at house cleaning because you’re not working off of referrals.
Once you start cleaning houses and you have happy customers, you should be working your referrals.
Ask your clients: “Who do you know who…” and then change your sales pitch a little bit.
Once You’ve Mastered a Market Expand
Maybe you were working for menopausal women and now you’re working for new moms.
“What new moms do you now that are so tired with the new baby that they need an extra set of hands?” They’re like, “Oh, that’s four of my neighbors.” Great. Then they call their neighbors and say, “I know that you just got a new baby in the house. My house cleaner specializes in new babies and new moms.”
Suddenly, you have a whole new pocket of leads that you can work and you haven’t done any advertising at all.
End the Startup Struggles with Happy Customers
The best advertising you’re going to find is your happy customer telling their neighbors and friends about you. You don’t want their friends to hire you, unless their friends live in the neighborhood.
I don’t want you to go clean anybody’s friend’s house who lives 20 miles away. You’ll want to clean for the friend who lives next door. I want you to work in your own neighborhood. I want you to work one street over.
You might go two streets over. and you might go to the neighborhood next to you, but you don’t want your commute time to be 40 and 50 minutes because you don’t get paid for travel time. That’s a lot of wasted time and energy.
Keep it Simple to Reduce Startup Struggles
Keep it simple. It’s not hard to start a business. You are changing your whole life because you’re adding a business to it. But the reality is if you carve out that time and you focus on your niche market, then you’re working smart, not hard.
The hard part is getting started with scattered energy and no focus. And trying to do all things to all people.
Just focus on a small niche and then grow as your business grows. And as you expand, add a niche and hire more people.
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Resources For This Episode
How to Start Your Own House Cleaning Company: Go from startup to payday in one week – https://amzn.to/2K7ecUa
Your House Cleaning Business, A Blueprint For Success – https://amzn.to/2qVYgv1
How to Start a Cleaning Business: Your Guide to Generating $2,000+ Income in 30 Days or Less – https://amzn.to/2KabUDB
How to Start, Run and Grow a Successful Residential & Commercial Cleaning Business – https://amzn.to/2HmlRMy
Clean and Grow Rich: How To Start and Operate Your Own Profitable Cleaning Business – https://amzn.to/2Far08A
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Permissions To Share
Savvy Cleaner Training – House Cleaner Training and Certification
HouseCleaning360 – Referral database of the world’s most prominent home service providers and the homeowners they serve.
My Cleaning Connection – Your hub for all things cleaning.