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Commercial Cleaning Service


									    Commercial Cleaning Service
          Start-up cost:   $700-$5,500
    Potential earnings:    $45,000-$75,000
           Typical fees:   $25-$50 per hour or a monthly fee of $500-$2,500
                           (depending on size of facility)
           Advertising: Local business publications and newspapers, Yellow Pages,
                        Web site
         Qualifi cations: License
    Equipment needed:         Janitorial cleaning equipment and supplies
         Staff required: Most likely
          Hidden costs: Liability insurance, licensing/bonding fees, high turnover if
                       you employ a staff

    What You Do
    There will always be a need for commercial cleaning services. Offices are only one
    piece of a prosperous pie: You can also count apartment buildings, retail shops,
    and even health clubs among your best customers. Starting small with a home-
    based cleaning business will keep your overhead low, allowing you to reach a break
    even point much more quickly. You can even branch out to several locations by
    offering some of your best employees their own territory. If you’re willing to put
    in the time and energy necessary to continually win new clients (while keeping the
    old ones clean and happy), you can enjoy a very healthy income doing something
    that is relatively easy. Best of all, you can set your own hours.

What You Need
        If you want to promote yourself as an environmentally friendly cleaning service,
        you will likely spend a little bit more for your cleaning solutions; however, you can
        easily recoup this in charging slightly higher fees for your services. Should you
        choose a more traditional route, you can get away with a cart of cleaning solutions,
        one industrial-size vacuum, and a supply of garbage bags (about $500 worth of
        supplies to start). Don’t forget rubber gloves to protect your skin. If you decide to
        invest in heavy-duty cleaning supplies that include professional-quality vacuums
        and power cleaners, expect your start-up costs to be as high as $5,500.
    Keys to Success
    The hardest part of running a successful cleaning business is keeping it running.
    While that may sound like a riddle, it’s no joke that the turnover in the clean-
    ing business is quite high. So look for innovative ways to keep your employees
    happy and motivated. Run contests for those who bring in the most business or
    award time off for those who put in a high number of hours. Also, you should
    constantly strive to set yourself apart from competitors, especially larger chains
    with bigger advertising budgets than yours. What you offer is personalized service
    and attention to detail. With your company, customers are not just numbers on
    a spreadsheet.

           What sets your business apart from others like it?
            Lillian Lincoln, President of Centennial One, Inc., in Landover, Maryland,
    says her company distinguishes itself from others by emphasis on quality. “We
    place a great deal of emphasis on giving our clients a comfort level that assures them
    that their building maintenance requirements will be adequately addressed.”

           Things you couldn’t do without
           Vacuums, buffers, scrubbing and shampooing machines. “No equipment is needed
    until some work has been secured. No lead time is needed unless the job requires
    specialized equipment, so purchase only the equipment needed for each job as they roll

           Marketing tips
            “Industry knowledge as well as business acumen are great assets. Too many
    people have the mistaken impression that this industry is a ‘mop and bucket’ busi-
    ness. Far from true! It requires knowledge of chemical and equipment usage, time
    management, human relations, and a number of other skills. For anyone going into
    this business for themselves, I advise them to work in the industry for a minimum
    of six months first.”
      If you had to do it all over again . . .
       “I would spend more time working in the field to learn more about on-site
operations. I made some mistakes early on because I was not as knowledgeable as I
should have been about the basics of the business.”

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