Are you starting a business or starting a job? An unequal business partnership is the kiss of death to a new cleaning company.
For the house cleaner who wants to grow a startup in the cleaning industry, is this a good idea?
What do you do if you don’t know how to get out of a bad arrangement with an underperforming business partner?
Listen: Are You Starting a Business or Starting a Job?
Watch: Are You Starting a Business or Starting a Job?
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.
Are You Starting a Business or a Job?
Are you starting a business or starting a job? We have a house cleaner that started a cleaning business and she wrote in to the show, and I would like to read to you her email. And the reason I would like to read it to you is that there are a lot of things in here that I don’t want to miss.
But I want to cover this because I get five or six of these a week. Emails and phone calls from house cleaners being taken advantage of by people who are coming out of the COVID pandemic. People who want to prey on their not being in business anymore and needing a job or wanting to start a cleaning business.
And so, they come to me and they go, “Is this a good deal?” We need to learn to recognize the signs.
One House Cleaners Dilemma
She says, “I have two people who have a cleaning marketing company startup who approached me to start and run a cleaning company. They made a website, started an LLC, and are supposed to get the insurance. They have a Google business account for my company. I’ve invested tons of my time, and I purchased an Adobe Cloud to create our business documents.
And they want me to run the company alone for free at first, to do the estimates, scheduling, hiring invoicing, data entry, accounting into QuickBooks, and do the cleaning for $15 an hour. The company would make 20% of what we charged before taxes, and I would only get a third of that. I’m not expected to take any money until we grow. I’ve only done one cleaning, and I feel like I’m not ready.
They don’t want to do any of the cleanings with me. Is this a bad idea? Should I back away from this deal before it goes any further? I want to get one client, clean and learn everything slowly. Then when I get everything organized and I have enough business to hire and create an official company. I feel like this is a bad deal for me.”
There are a Lot of Red Flags With This Situation
The very first thing that I am flagged by, and these are huge red flags. Here’s a startup marketing company that wants to work with a startup cleaning company.
So, if you are the startup cleaning company, you need to look at the track record of the marketing company. You said they were a startup marketing company. Now we know in the world of marketing, you cannot market something that doesn’t exist.
So if they’re trying to market your cleaning business and you only have one client, I’m suggested by your email, that there are no ratings, reviews and no satisfactory cleanings under your belt, what is it that they’re going to market?
Websites are a Dime a Dozen
Now in this email, it says they created you a website. Websites are a dime a dozen, and you can create them for free. So for somebody to come in and suggest that you start up an entire business and work for free until the money comes in is a huge red flag. This is because it sounds like you’re going to be doing all the work.
Now, once the website is up and running, then what? How much work are they going to be doing? Now, I’m not knocking the fact that it is possible that they are stellar marketers, but the words here are a startup marketing company.
We know in business, there’s advertising and there’s marketing. Advertising is the stuff you pay for that drives traffic. While marketing is the stuff that you do for free to set up the business so that when you pay for the advertising, there is someplace for them to go.
You Need to Set Up Your Advertising Somewhere
It is setting up a website. It’s creating your social media platforms. It is creating your blogs, your to-do lists and your free eBooks and all those things. That is all marketing. And those are things you can be doing as you’re setting up your business.
Now, I encourage you as the business owner to do your own marketing. Now, it would be so easy to go. “Well, I’m a cleaner and I don’t know the marketing. So, it makes a whole lot of sense to have a third-party marketer come in and they run my business.”
In the email, you mentioned that they don’t want to do the cleaning and they are not house cleaners. So, what do they know about cleaning? Now, maybe they’ve worked with a hundred other cleaning companies. But if they’ve never worked with other cleaning companies, I wouldn’t want that company marketing my business.
You Have to Market Your Own Business
Now, the reason to market your business is that if you are new and you are trying to come up with marketing materials, you have a lot of questions that you have to answer about your business.
And it will force you to sit there and say, “What is the image of my company? What does my company look like? Is my company fun? Is my company serious? Or is my company a high-end luxury? What does my company look like?” Because the pictures that you use in your marketing will dictate the type of customer that you have.
The words that you use in your marketing and the ads you create will dictate the type of customers you attract. So, the reason for marketing your own business is then you are in the driver’s seat.
You Can’t Run a Business for $15 an Hour
This is your business. You don’t want to be running a business and earning $15 an hour. And what’s confusing is it says they started an LLC and they’re going to buy insurance. If they’re going to buy the insurance and they run an LLC, that sounds like a job, not you starting a company.
It sounds like you are an employee. And so if you are an employee and you’re running the company, it sounds like you were doing all the work and they’re going to make 20% commission?
That’s a lot of money,. That sounds like a franchise opportunity. The difference is this, when you join a franchise, the franchise has an existing proven track record. And so, what you’re giving them, 20%, is yes, they will do the marketing, and they have a national marketing campaign.
Franchising is Different Than Owning a Business
In a franchise they have the websites and social media already set up. They already have company cars; they have a business plan. Everything that you need, that you are trying to create on your own is already created when you join a franchise.
And for that, they’ve earned their 20% commission.
What they’re earning from you is you are buying into their reputation. You’re saying, “I don’t have a reputation yet. So, I’m going to jump on someone else’s wagon, and I’m going to go along for the ride.” That is what you are paying 20% for.
But if you are creating it from scratch, why would you give them 20% of your business? Now I’m not knocking business partnerships because sometimes they work. Most of the time they don’t.
Stay Away From Partnerships When You’re Starting Out
And if you’re new and starting up in the house cleaning business, it’s highly recommended you stay away from business partnerships. Unless it is your spouse and your spouse is going to help you grow the business. Especially with people that you hardly know, because there are a whole bunch of unknowns that have to be factored in.
And right now, it sounds like there are more unknowns than there are knowns. Because if you are going into business and you’re going to give everything away to some people that are starting a company, especially people that don’t have a track record and don’t have the experience. It’s not them you’ll be letting down, but you’ll be letting yourself down
You’re Going to Wish You Were Doing it Your Way
Every single day that you show up to work, every single client that you go to, you’re going to wish in the back of your mind, “I wish I were doing it my way. I wish I had the latitude to call all the shots, that I didn’t have to run it through a board of directors who has to say that, yes, this matches their marketing campaign. These are not the kind of customers that I wanted. This is not the way that I wanted to run my business, but that’s the way they marketed me.”
So, I don’t want you to go into this thinking it’s the only way out. There are lots of other options. And if you look around, there are lots of people that have gone into the cleaning business and they’ve been successful.
And so don’t fall into the trap of having someone else come in and promise you the sun, the stars, and the moon, because what we find oftentimes, all that’s there is a whole bunch of wind.Resources
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