How do you go from restaurant to cleaning? A GM wants to start a cleaning business the right way. Here are start-up ideas to think about. Should you have a business partner? Where do you find employees? Where do you get supplies and do you need a business plan?
Listen: From Restaurant to Cleaning
Watch: From Restaurant to Cleaning
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. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.
From the Restaurant to House Cleaning
From restaurant to house cleaning, how do you go from one industry to the other? Today, we have a caller that called in and asked this question.
“I’m reaching out to you because I am a general manager at a restaurant, and I have already made a business model for the company that I want to make for the cleaning business. Everything from the name, the chemicals I want to use, the materials I want to use, which kind of vacuum I want to use. I know where to go, to get my uniforms.
I’ve studied the market to see what kind of prices people offer based on your experience and a whole bunch of things. I’ve spent a lot of, a lot of time just researching everything about the cleaning business before I even wanted to sit down on my laptop and start creating things.
My question is, I wanted to have a partner with me in this, and I want it to be a very professional business. But my question for you is, do you think that that’s possible, or do you think that I have to quit everything else going on in my life and solely focus on that?
Which in the beginning, I know I will have, to start up the business. But after that, you think that someone else can help me run that business while I have to pay attention to my restaurant as well?”
There are a Couple of Things I Would Recommend
Now, if you’re going to switch gears and you’re going to start a house cleaning business, there are a couple of things that I would recommend. I typically do not recommend going into business with a business partner starting out.
But this I do know about being a general manager at a restaurant, you’re probably already working between 10 to 16 hours a day, so that would be a full-time, full-time job. To take on another company on the side is going to be monumental. There is a saying that says, if you chase two rabbits, both will get away.
This applies to this particular situation. If you spend 16 to 20 hours a day on one business, you do not have 16 to 20 hours a day to spend on the other. If you split your time evenly, maybe you can do it, but it is possible they will both elude you.
I Do Recommend a Business Partner
Okay, so do I recommend a business partner? Yes, I do, in this particular situation, and a very specific business partner. The specific business partner I would recommend would be the owner of the restaurant in which you work. You say, “Well, wait a minute. I was trying to get away from the restaurant.” Don’t yet. Here’s the reason why.
If you are the general manager of a restaurant, the owner of the restaurant, the person that hired you, hired you because they know, like, and trust you. They like your business-savvy.
They like your ideas, and the way that you treat people, and the way that you interact with people, and the way that you handle customers. We already know a few things about you, that you have a certain set of skills that is in fact transferable.
Being the Business Owner is Different Than Managing
Now, being a gentleman manager of a restaurant is not the same as running the restaurant and being the owner of the restaurant. Being a business owner has a little bit of a different set of tasks. Now, the business owner already knows those set of tasks, and they’ve already outsourced some of that to people like you.
What I recommend is to go back to the business person, the business owner, the person that’s in charge of the restaurant, and say, “I’m looking to expand my business for the future later on. What I would love to do is keep the job that I have right now, but I would love to expand and start a house cleaning business.”
If you can partner with them, they already have an accountant in place, they already have an attorney in place, they already have marketing in place, they’re already running ads, they already have a built-in clientele, and a lot of those probably need house cleaning. If you need house cleaners, there is a lot of wait staff that works in the evening that would probably love to work in the cleaning business during the day.
Your Business Owner Can be Your Business Partner for Cleaning
If you can partner with the owner of your restaurant, it is possible they will come on board with you. They will buy into your dream. They will help you build your dream. That can be your business partner.
They already know the business end of it. You’re great with people. You could do the hiring, you could outsource some of the tasks, and you might be able to share some of the employees that you have at the restaurant and the cleaning business.
If Not, Then Go Far Away From the Business Owner
If that is not the case, if that is not the case, my recommendation would be to go as far away from the restaurant business as you can, to find the help that you’re going to need for your cleaning business. Don’t poach people from the restaurant if your business partner is not the restaurant owner.
That’s kind of like stealing from one company to give to another. If it’s the same company and it’s the same owners, you’re sharing in that. But if he does not come in with you or she does not come in with you on this deal, stay away from those employees and go find your own.
Does that make sense? It’s an ethical thing and it will keep you out of trouble for the longterm.
Put Together a Solid Business Plan First
What I recommend doing first, and it sounds like you’ve already done a whole bunch of homework, which I love. I’m super excited that you’ve already figured out what you’re going to need. Your vacuums, and uniforms, and all that stuff.
What I recommend is that you put together a solid business plan on how you’re going to segue out or how you’re going to transition, or how you’re going to spend half your time at one place and half the time at the other, because both businesses require a lot of attention. They’re both customer service-based businesses. If you have someone that can manage that end of it, you can focus on this.
What you may have to do is you may have to take a sabbatical or a hiatus from the general manager restaurant position, while you segue into this other arena. If you partner with the restaurant owner, they might be able to help you with the capital, with the marketing, with any of the ins and outs of the business stuff that you’re excited about right now.
You Need a Plan Because They’re Both Full-Time Jobs
I would recommend that you have a good business plan in place because both are full-time jobs. When you take on something of this magnitude and you’re inside people’s homes, you want to make sure you’ve got excellent employees that you can screen, that you can train, that you can manage, and then also manage their lifestyles as they come to you with issues, or problems, or call-outs, or family emergencies, or whatever.
Businesses require a lot. I love the fact that you’re willing to take it on. I do want to caution you on doing too much, too fast, and multitasking, and taking on too much at one time. Like I said, if you chase two rabbits, both will get away.
But if you take a step back and you work with the restaurant owner. Then they’re going to be able to fill in some of those gaps that you won’t have time for if you’re still working your job.
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