janitorial job lacks glamour and may seem "mundane," but it has
proven to be lucrative, for those who start out with the will
to work hard.
There is a good market for cleaning services,
in both residential and commercial sectors. As the owner, you'll be cleaning offices, stores, schools,
hospitals, stores, and more.
More and more companies
outsource these services, so the potential client base is quite large.
As you grow, you can always add more employees and specialize in
certain areas, like carpet, tile, window cleaning, or pest control.
A janitorial service is a well paying,
and steady, that involves mostly night work on a contract basis.
You agree (contract) to perform certain scheduled tasks and the client
pays you on a monthly basis.
Normal services include sweeping, dusting, emptying
receptacles like ashtrays and wastebaskets, refilling soap and paper
dispensers and buffing or vacuuming floors. Waxing might be done every
third night; stripping once a month.
A beginner can start with
ordinary household tools (and buy more as they are needed), plus some
cleaning supplies. To start, find a small store or office building that needs
cleaning at night and offer your services. Do all the work yourself for
a while. Learn firsthand how long it takes to do each job, which
techniques work best, and the type and amount of supplies that are
If you love cleaning and keeping things spic and span,
this is an excellent service you can start from home.
- Commercial/office cleaning
- Carpet cleaning
- Drapery, window, shade cleaning
- Calculate estimates
- Ecological knowledge, reducing waste
- How to use the proper products to match the chores
- Ability to work equipment like floor waxing machines if necessary
- Dispose of garbage and other waste lawfully
- You must be able to lift heavy items
- Click Here For A List Of Common Skills
Employee & Job Consideration During The Start-Up Phase Or In The Future:
Approximate Daily Hours Needed:
These services are normally performed at night when the everything is
closed, which gives the janitorial crew a time span of 12 to 14 hours.
If the jobs are relatively small, one crew might do several locations night.
Equipment, Supplies, & Services During Start-up OR In The Future
Monthly Expenses To Consider:
Approximate Minimum Startup Cost:
- You can get started for a few hundred dollars, if you already have a
vehicle. To get started with heavy-duty equipment may mean that you have to
spend upwards of $40,000. If you are on the lower starting end, you can
always build as you go.
Tips & Considerations:
- Consider getting both insured and bonded. Being bonded is one of
the measures that will help clients feel more at ease. It guarantees
payment for or replacement of items that you or your workers
accidentally or intentionally damage. A bonding service also helps protect you: if there is a question, the bonding agent arbitrates.
hiring help, you will probably need to bond them (as well as yourself.
Many clients will not deal with janitorial companies unless they are
bonded, because they have access (often, a set of keys) to their
buildings and offices when no one else is there.
- Since most of
the work is done after normal working hours, it is not difficult to
find helpers. Many students and day workers are happy to "moonlight" to
make a few extra dollars.
- You may decide to obtain additional certification in proper disposal of garbage and use of chemicals.
in touch with your clients. Give them many opportunities to rate and
comment on your services. This will help you learn which services your
clients value most, and you can adjust your service packages
accordingly. Flexibility and adaptability are key when starting.
- On your first few jobs, take note of
the workload and time it takes for each operation, so you will know
what to consider when bidding on future jobs, and how long it should
take your helpers.
- Most cleaning contractors have
checklists that they use when walking through the job with the
prospective client, so they can find out and record exactly what is
wanted, and bid accordingly. The objective is to bid the amount that
will satisfy both you, and the client.
making your final bid, check the outside of the building to see if
there are additional tasks that could or should be included, such as
sweeping a parking lot, straightening the trash bin or washing the
outside windows. Also check the general appearance (which will tell you
the quality of work they expect), and be aware if they may be hard to
- You'll need to be in good shape because
cleaning is physical work. Keep in mind that working indoors and
outdoors, you're exposed to dust, noise, pests, and weather.
you are just starting, it is a good idea to tell the client that you
are learning, that you want to do a professional job, and that you
might have to adjust your rates when you learn how much work and
supplies are required. Be sure to ask them to advise you of anything
they think you can do better, and thank them when they do.
beginner can start with ordinary household tools (and buy more as they
are needed), plus some cleaning supplies. To start, find a small store
that needs cleaning at night and offer your services. Do
all the work yourself for a while. Learn firsthand how long it takes to
do each job, which techniques work best, and the type and amount of
supplies that are needed.
Pros and Cons:
- Good market for services
- A wide range of facilities that need cleaning services
- Good pay
- Not dominated by one big company, small janitorial services have every chance to succeed
- You can work in solitude
- You set your daily, weekly, and monthly work schedule
- You can offer additional services such as before- and after-party clean-up
- Low start-up cost
- Completely Expandable
- Long hours
- May have to work weekends, night hours
- Work may be monotonous
- Physical exertion
- High turnover rate for employees
- Clients can hover over you as you work
- You can be held liable for stolen or broken items (hence being bonded and insured)
cleaning jobs are unpleasant to deal with
Type of Customers:
and schools are great customers. An abundance of customers exist in
this industry: apartment buildings, restaurants, corporate buildings,
The cleaning industry consists of approximately
17,000 commercial cleaning franchises but there is plenty of room for
your company. Before starting,
survey your market.
- How many cleaning services are there and what size are they?
- How many potential customers are in your target area?
- What type of clients are being undeserved?
See Valuation Resources for current statistics, trends and outlooks.
industry has shown remarkable growth in the last few years. It has
benefited from corporate downsizing and increased reliance of
outsourcing cleaning services. Contracting private firms to
perform this service has also become the best option for many
According to the Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI), cleaning and maintaining America's office buildings,
retail, commercial, industrial, educational, and healthcare facilities
is huge, estimated at $94.5 billion in 2003.
BSCAI provides below other characteristics of this growing industry:
companies truly dominate the industry. Rather, it is populated by more
than 56,000 cleaning contractors, mostly small "mom and pop"
operations. This figure includes roughly 16,800 commercial cleaning
franchises and 2,100 residential cleaning franchises.
- According the US Census Bureau and the IRS In
2002, non-employer establishments, small sole proprietorships without
payroll or employees,
numbered 427,553 and represented receipts of over $5.9 billion.
to the book "101 Best Businesses to Start", first year potential
earnings for can be $40,000. Break even time in can be rapid, and you may be able to achieve profitability
within three to six months of operations.
Valuation Services: Janitorial and Cleaning Service Websites
Equipment and Supplies:
Clean FreakMonster Janitorial
Global Cleaning Association
Gutter Cleaning Business
Window Cleaning Business
Office Cleaning Business
Pressure Washing Business
Home Cleaning Business