Are you wondering how to become a cleaning contractor? In order to become a cleaning contractor, you must create a business entity, register with appropriate federal and state government authorities, and obtain necessary insurance policies and bonds as required by your contract work.

Cleaning businesses can be broadly divided into three categories:

  • Home cleaning
  • Commercial cleaning
  • Government contractors

You can become a cleaning contractor with an upfront investment of as little as $100.

1. Determine the Number of Employees

Determine how many employees you'll need for your business. This figure should be arrived at after considering how many and what size buildings you expect to service.

2. Determine the Type of Buildings

Are you looking to clean large skyscrapers or small convenience stores? Determine the size and type of buildings you are planning to service. You may want to start with a few employees initially and focus on small buildings like gyms and daycares. Later on down the line, you can scale up the operations and start servicing larger buildings.

3. Choose a Name for Your Business

Select a professional name for your business. It should reflect your strength and integrity as a janitorial or cleaning services provider.

4. Create a Business Entity

You must create a business entity to work as a contractor. You can form a sole proprietorship, set up a limited liability company, or create a corporation. After registering your business, obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

5. Establish Your Rates

Find out the rates prevailing in the market. You can either charge a discounted price or choose to offer a premium service. Whichever way you choose your pricing, make sure you consider the man hour, material, and travel costs.

You can quote your pricing on an hourly basis or as a flat price for the entire home or building. Quoting hourly rates is more useful for smaller homes, while a flat project bid would be more helpful in case of larger homes.

6. Obtain a Business License

Obtain all the necessary business licenses required in your state. Open a separate bank account for the business.

7. File a Surety Bond

  • You may be required to file a surety bond to ensure that your business will comply with the bonding and insurance requirements of state and federal governments.
  • The state or city authority may ask for a bond as a precondition to issuing a business license.
  • This surety bond is often referred to as a cleaning surety bond or a janitorial surety bond.
  • A surety bond protects your clients from dishonest employees, misconduct, theft, fraud, and several other risks.
  • Bonding insurance protects the client against financial and legal risks while performing a service.
  • Surety bonds reassure your clients regarding your ability to reimburse the losses in the event of any damages or other issues.
  • The bonds also make your clients more confident about receiving the promised quality of service.
  • Licensed and bonded businesses are likely to attract more clients.
  • A surety bond is valid only for a specific period of time.
  • In order to legally operate the business, you must renew the surety bond before it expires.

8. Bid on Projects

Advertise and market your services to your targeted types of buildings. You need not pay to advertise your business. For example, you can offer to provide a free cleaning service to a church in return for a mention in the church bulletin.

Consider promoting your business through word-of-mouth advertising. For instance, you can offer a discount of $5 to your customers if someone they refer your name to hire your services. While advertising through traditional mediums like newspapers, radio, and television, try to make it more appealing by offering a first-use discount to new customers.

If you are targeting individual businesses, meet their owners and managers directly. For government contracts, visit the government websites and search for proposal requests. Understand the specific requirements of the bidding process, and submit your quotes accordingly.

9. Establish Online Presence

  • You can choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other free social media platforms to promote your business.
  • You can advertise through monthly specials and before and after pictures of some completed projects.
  • List your services and contact information on your website. You can share your experience, interest, and dedication in the cleaning industry through the "About Us" page.
  • Consider adding pictures of your staff on your website.

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