how do i get started in the office and commercial cleaning business?

Asked by Thomas Mcintyre, Greenville County, SC Mon Feb 8, 2010

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Casey Jones, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Thu Jan 15, 2015
I would recommend going to houses and getting experience in residential cleaning first. Once you have some established contracts in residential, it will be easier to move into commercial. It is also possible that you can make connections through residential cleaning to get into commercial cleaning.
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I agree that residential cleaning would be a great start. Commercial cleaning, in my opinion, is a little more advanced than residential cleaning. Getting this experience first will only help you in your business. I would highly suggest looking into it!
Flag Wed Feb 25, 2015
Gary Birtles, , Scottsdale, AZ
Thu Dec 11, 2014
I recommend doing some research on what services established cleaning companies offer. Make sure you offer those same services at a competitive rate. Then go through the motions of putting yourself out there. Make sure to advertise, get on social media, and talk to businesses that might need your service. I hope this helps.
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Mike Lintro, Home Buyer, Provo, UT
Wed Oct 1, 2014
call around to existing businesses and let them know your rates. Especially newer companies that might not have a good cleaning service yet. Also some companies may want to switch. But you do need to sell your self a little bit.
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I would call a company that you admire and ask how they got started. If they're a good company, they should give you a couple steps to get you started. This will be the best way to figure out what where you should start! Good luck and I wish you the very best in your field!
Flag Thu Dec 11, 2014
Mike, I think this is a great idea. There is no better way to start a business than to learn from someone who has mastered the trade. When it comes to janitorial cleaning services, there are many different ways to go about promoting your business.
Flag Tue Oct 28, 2014
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Thu Apr 10, 2014
You can not......
without doing the homework every business owner must do.

Define your business.
- What type of cleaning
- What size facility
- Access requirements (background checks)
- Training (chemical handling, protection, disposal, bio-hazards)

What do you offer? (why would someone use you instead of who they currently use?)

What is the break even fee for your business?

Where are you business customers located?

How can you contact them?

What will be your initial 'Value Proposition' ?

You will most likely discover the easiest portal to this business is through business owners or managers that exist in your social circles. Start there and recreate the references you will certainly need.

Best of success,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL
0 votes
It's not a popular answer, but networking really is important. As soon as you start building up a client list, they'll refer you to others. Getting to know realtors isn't a bad idea either, since they talk to moving commercial offices. That can be a hard industry to get into otherwise.
Flag Fri Apr 17, 2015
Kara Blader, Home Owner, Salt Lake City, UT
Thu Apr 10, 2014
I worked for a woman who had some clients for commercial cleaning. I would go to a few different businesses a week to make a few extra bucks. It was a perfect job for me and very relaxing. If you do start your own business, high school kids are the perfect employees to help out!
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Cassandra Bl…, , Atlanta, GA
Thu Oct 14, 2010
Thomas, also consider adding a foreclosure cleanup aspect to your cleaning business.

Cassandra Black, Consultant & CEO, Foreclosure Cleanup, LLC
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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Mon Feb 8, 2010
First, join the Building Service Contractors Association International--BSCAI ( That's the association representing janitorial and custodial companies. Disclosure: I worked for BSCAI for 8 years--writing many of its books, editing its monthly magazine, editing other books, developing certification tests, etc.

Second, get some hands-on experience. There are plenty of building service contractors across the country. Get a job with one of them. That shouldn't be difficult. Labor turnover is a huge problem. For full-time employees, it averages around 40% a year. For part-time employees, it's over 100%. So most BSCs, at most times, will have vacancies. Find out what the job is really like. Find out how to market for business. Find out how to deal with unhappy customers.

Find out about bidding and estimating. That's a weak point with many BSCs, especially start-up ones. And just because someone else is charging $x to clean an office doesn't mean that you should. Your cost structure--guaranteed--will be different than theirs. Learn about marketing. Learn about niche markets. There's a lot more money to be made in niche markets--whether it's medical offices or flood cleanup or restaurant cleaning--than in the generic office cleaning. Learn about financing--how to pay for the equipment--the vacuums and floor scrubbers. (However, lean about cost structures. You'll find that about 70% of your expenses are labor expenses.)

Spend 6-12 months (minimum) doing that. You'll have a good sense of what you're learning and what you still need to learn. Then you'll be prepared to take the next step.

Hope that helps.
Web Reference:  http://www.bscai,org
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