Commercial Cleaning Overview

When wondering how to start a janitorial business, you first need to learn a bit about commercial cleaning.

Keeping a facility clean requires following the same cleaning routine every day, which means commercial cleaning provides job security. Every building in the world must be cleaned by someone.

If you're interested in starting a janitorial business, you have the option of starting part-time and working out of your own home. A large number of the cleaning companies in America are independently owned and operated. After you've secured regular cleaning contracts, you will have a steady income and potentially large profits. The Bureau of Labor Standards rates janitorial businesses as some of the fastest growing commercial companies.

Earning $5,000 by the end of their first year in operation is a common goal for new janitorial businesses. It's important to understand that you will likely not turn a profit the first six months your business is in operation, as this time period will be spent growing your company.  Many people choose to continue their current career until they are earning an income from their janitorial company.

A great deal of businesses choose to outsource janitorial services instead of having a janitor on staff. Effective janitorial services can help to defend a client's assets, including furnishings and floor coverings. Cleaning services can also extend a facility's lifespan.

Traits for a Successful Business Owners

Being self-employed requires a specific set of skills, including an entrepreneurial spirit and good management abilities. It takes a great deal of determination to be self-employed, particularly in the face of obstacles such as sales rejection. You must also possess salesmanship to be an effective business owner. You need to be able to close a deal and should be ready to sell yourself or your business wherever you go. 

Organization is a key characteristic of the self-employed. You need to be able to develop a business plan that you can then follow effectively to achieve your goals. You will also need to be able to maintain a consistent level of performance, both from yourself and your employees.

Finally, you must be a good decision maker who is able to effectively take pros and cons into account when making a choice related to your business.

Commercial Cleaning Startup Basics

Your janitorial company's smaller accounts may only request service once a week. If you service a larger building, you will normally clean nightly after the end of business hours. Most janitorial companies start with cleaning smaller offices until they have the ability and manpower to tackle larger jobs.

The three most effective steps for starting your business are:

  • Marketing your janitorial services.
  • Finding and securing accounts.
  • Hiring employees for your business.

The routine you will use to clean an office or building will be similar to the routine you use in your own home.

The typical routine for a janitorial service includes:

  • Emptying trashcans.
  • Wiping up any spills and dusting all surfaces.
  • Dry and wet mopping floors.
  • Vacuuming any carpeted surfaces.
  • Thoroughly cleaning bathrooms, including restocking supplies like paper towels and soap.
  • Cleaning entryways.

In addition to common cleaning supplies such as all-purpose cleaner, mops, and dusters, you will need to invest in a commercial vacuum, which can cost as much as $300. Spending $500 on your cleaning supplies may allow you to earn up to $3,000 a month from your clients. If you're not sure what products you'll need for your business, you should be able to get help from your local supply store.

To control your costs, you should consider shopping at a home improvement center or wholesale club. Although you usually will not need a large starting investment for your janitorial business, it most likely will take you six months of building and marketing your business until you earn a profit. If you're very careful about controlling your costs, and you keep your normal job for a little while longer, you should be able to guide your business successfully through its earliest months.

Commercial Cleaning Startup General Cost Projections

There are several costs you will need to cover to start your janitorial business. The basic equipment you will need should cost $500. Acquiring your business license and opening your checking account will cost between $70 and $150. You will need both a fidelity bond and a general liability insurance policy, which will range from $450 to $1,200. It's also a good idea to invest in office supplies such as a computer and printer, which can cost between $150 and $3,000.

If you want to start a janitorial business and need help, you can post your legal needs on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.