Cleaning business idea is one of the small business opportunities with a minimum capital requirement and good financial potentials. It is easy to setup and can even be started from home.
In this article, I will share with you the key steps to follow if you want to start a cleaning business in the Gambia and of course any other country.
Why is cleaning business an opportunity?
Cleaning of our environment, premises and furniture is an essential task for all families and organisations. This relates to the reasons such as individual health, regulatory requirement and positive brand image in the mind of customers. For some people, cleanliness is next to Godliness.
However, many modern organisations and executives like to focus on their core value adding tasks and outsource the rest to specialised firms. For example, a bank will prefer to focus on core operation of taking deposits and investing, where they make money and outsource cleaning of their branches to another company.
Nonetheless, they will prefer to deal with the professional cleaning firms for efficiency and cost savings.
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There are few key steps to follow if you are interested in the cleaning services and these are discussed below:
Is it right for you?
First of all, before you invest your funds in the business, you should assess that the business is right for you. You will need to have good customer relation, marketing and team management skills.
It does not mean that without these skills you cannot start the business, however acquiring them will help your ability to acquire and manage your clients.
You do not need a degree to start a cleaning business, however, on the job training is very essential. If you have no access to such training, then search on the internet and learn about cleaning tool, products, operational risk etc.
Understand the cleaning business industry
The cleaning industry has two major markets: Residential and commercial market. Residential cleaning consists of home maid services while commercial market involves janitorial cleaning of offices, industrial and commercial buildings.
While it can be better you decide on a particular niche to build your business, it’s also possibly to be able to serve multiple markets if you have the resources.
Choose your market niche
Though the two markets in the cleaning industry have potential, I do not think the cleaning business in Gambia is fully explored. If you have interested in the sector, you have to perform some research about the various niches within the cleaning industry. However, I have listed few established niches below:
- Residential – Top executives such as expatriates, CEO, busy family etc
- Commercial Premises – Schools, hotel, banks, offices, shops etc
- Industrial facilities – Factories, warehouses etc.
- Medical facilities – clinics, hospitals
Your plan and funding availability can help you decided on the right niche or niches to pursue.
You will need to purchase items like pans, brooms, vacuum cleaner, buckets, towels, stain removers, cleaning rags, aprons and coveralls, rubber gloves to etc. Make sure you buy quality products because the quality of products you use will affect the outcome of your job. It is also important to learn about these cleaning products and their effects on the materials you will be cleaning. You will definitely loose customers if your products give bad image to the walls, floors or furniture.
Generally, you should use natural products that are non-toxic. This is can even be an important value proposition, especially for people or offices with children and who have concerns for their well-being.
Low skill labours could do for a start but as the operations expand, a more professional staff will be needed. You should be careful and employ only the trustworthy staff. You do not want to be sued for employee negligence issues or be accused of something you didn’t do.
To add to this, you should always let the client know if something gets broken while you’re on the job. You have to either replace the item or reimburse the client. If you work with high-value items, you should consider insurance.
Pricing is meant to recover your cost and make some margin. Therefore, you need to factor your overhead, labour cost and materials before setting your service price. It is also important you and clients are clear who will provide materials for cleaning. Do not also over price as the client may be tempted to do itself by themselves. If your quote is high, he or she may think, “For that price, it is better I just do this myself.”
Register the business
If you are into commercial business, then registering the business is not an option. A cleaning contract with Alpha Jallow or Jarama Cleaning Services, which name do you think companies will accept as a service provider? Of course, Jamara Cleaning Services sound more like it. The brand matters for these customers.
Marketing your new company and its brand is essential to getting your services known and recognised by the customers. This can be done through adverts in the local papers, blogs, sales promotion, flyers, social medias etc. However, do not spend on adverts without setting the objective at first place.
The hardest part of starting your own cleaning service is obtaining those first clients.
Lastly, I will advise that you start from home. The opportunities to earn good money are there, you’ll just have to be committed, build a brand and customer-oriented cleaning business.