Right in the middle of the hardest emotional week of my life, I took my oldest son Kenny on day trip to Jack Frost & Big Boulder Ski Resort in the Pocono Mountains. There are two monster lessons I learned this day and wanted to share them both.
Letra was working for a large national cleaning service when her boss recognized an entrepreneur's heart inside of her. Instead of offering a promotion, Letra was offered mentorship and the opportunity to go solo. This is unheard of. Businesses don't launch other businesses unless they are franchises or financially incentivized. That's why Letra thought she was being punked.
Check out this solo cleaning story and the plan she formed recently in her marketing with a little help from yours truly. Plus, be sure to listen for these quotes during the interview!
"If I wanted to get to the next level, I had to get out of my comfort zone."
"You can't grow without taking risks."
If you're in the Houston, TX Area, make sure to check out Letra's company, Ms. Moody's Cleaning Service!
I learned work ethic by working and humility by being humbled. Here's what I mean. I watched my mom and day each work very hard toward their goals, but I truly learned work ethic when I had to do house cleaning chores every week. Over time, I even learned to like it and appreciate it. I was paid for my work and always had money in my savings account. It felt good and I could buy things that I wanted. I also learned humility as cleaning toilets and taking out trash is not glamorous and can be quite nasty. I learned that excellence in my work at every level strengthened my character. I have my parents to thank for that!
I recently connected with Whitney Bonds of "Tried & True Mom Jobs" who helps moms venture out into the workforce to help their families. It's an awesome mission. Whitney or Max as she goes by, asked me to write up a concise blog for her on "How to Start Your Own Cleaning Business". She wanted to bring this content and example to her large blog audience of moms to show them the potential of cleaning as a mom job. Let's cover my answers to her questions in this podcast episode as I believe it's a great piece of content to cover early on. Make sure to go back to the Pros & Cons of Solo Cleaning as I covered some of these points already.
What are the steps to setting up your own cleaning business? It’s important to first understand the various models available to you. There are many “Aunt Sallie” cleaners out there. They take great risk as do the homeowners hiring them as they are uninsured and not paying taxes. Do not do this! The risk is too great and the income is low. A solo cleaning company is insured, registered in their state, and pays all necessary taxes. They work as owner-operators. I did this for the majority of my New York business. The final model are the team cleaning independant and franchise businesses. In all cases, the simplest way to set up your cleaning business is to do the following:
How do you decide how much you should charge? Do not charge by the hour! That is the most critical first decision. You need to choose a starting rate for houses (or offices) at a price reasonable to your experience. I suggest $100-$125 per house as a beginner. Then track your time to calculate your hourly rates. Strive to get to at least $30/hour to start. If you are not at $30, it means you are either undercharging or taking too long. Over time, increase prices to the $40-$50/hour range. In some cases, like in my business, you can optimize to $80-$120/hour. This requires specialized training in my ISO Model Signature Solution.
How much money do you need to start a cleaning business? This answer depends on the business model you select. If you follow my advice and start as a solo DBA, you can legally be cleaning houses for under $1,000 in startup. At the rates I mentioned in #3, you can pay this initial investment back with 8 houses.
Can this be done part-time and still lucrative? Oh, yes you can! I was able to build a flexible company earning $55k profit per year on 2 cleaning days per week and no employees or subcontractors. I worked around 20 hours per week for over $1,000 per week in profit. This gave me 5 days per week to enjoy my family and work on other projects. This is a PERFECT business for moms to start. How do I know? Because over 90% of house cleaning owners are moms! They love this business because it’s simple, profitable, flexible, and rewarding. Check out the podcast episode, “Moms Helping Moms Helping Moms”.
How do you find clients or what are the best ways to get clients and retain them? This age-old question isn’t so much about the tactics, rather the strategy. You have to understand the nature of being a “Go-Giver” and then apply it. But in general, here’s how you find clients.
Do you have to set up any business requirements before getting started? This is a simple business with low barrier to entry. I have already over complicated it with my list of getting started in #2! Go and clean, make some money! That’s the only requirement. Stop talking about doing this amazing business and go do it! If you need help, I have free & paid resources to help you.
What supplies do you recommend to start with? For a housecleaning business, you need a vacuum cleaner & attachments, microfiber cloths for cleaning & dusting, a tote bin, spray bottles, sponges & scouring pads, toilet brush, and the basic cleaning supplies (all purpose, glass, kitchen & disinfectant). You can start with what you already have in your house to bootstrap or invest in your own cleaning system I recommend studying the science of cleaning, so you understand why to use what you use! I have this training available in my Solo Cleaning School.
How can you scale this business? Let’s not overcomplicate. I personally advise that you become proficient as a solo cleaner first. When you are profitable and ready to hire, you can take a few approaches.
Group 1: Moms Know How to Clean
95% of current solo cleaners are women and 90% of them are moms. Moms are already the ones doing the solo cleaning. They will continue. Why? Moms are the perfect people to start a solo house cleaning business and the potential is so great!
Group 2: You Need a Mentor
If you're a mom at home, want to start a cleaning company, but you're fearful, you can learn and get mentored by current solo cleaning moms. Your mentors will reach down to help you as they reach side-to-side to help each other. Everyone can reach upward to Ken for instruction and accountability.
Group 3: Alicia & Emily
Alicia is a mom of 3, school teacher, husband in sales. kids in middle & high school, late 40's. No time and cleaning would take up their whole Sunday. Cleaning gave her time & peace of mind. Emily is a late 30's mom with three kids, husband working, she works from home for corporate america. Emily shared the three things that a cleaning service does to help moms.
These 3 Mom Groups all help each other forming a beautiful symbiotic symmetry, or in other words, a Win-Win-Win!
Ken introduces himself and the structure of the Solo Cleaning School. He shares his personal journey through solo cleaning and dives into the vision of moms helping moms helping moms through this amazing business vehicle called solo cleaning.
The Smart Cleaning School Podcast helps cleaning business owners from start-up to the struggling solo to the striving seven-figure get SMARTER in their businesses, reshape their mindset, increase productivity, clear the overwhelm, and get clarity through SMART goal-setting & personal accountability. Ken Carfagno is a lifetime learner and teacher. His mission is to help visionaries make the impact they were meant to make.