Launching a cleaning company should be well considered. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that there are already lots of cleaning firms in existence. On the other hand, the founder should have certain personal requirements. But that’s not all: You should also consider all the legal factors that are involved when founding a business. In our blog post, we explain which factors you need to consider when founding a cleaning company and how it will be easier for you to establish yourself in the industry.
1. Personal requirements you need to start a cleaning company.
First, you should definitely be able to lead a team and a company. Because as soon as you start a cleaning company, YOU are the boss. There is no one else you can rely on if something goes wrong. So try to put yourself in this position beforehand and find out if you feel up to this responsibility.
Secondly, you should have a confident demeanor and good communication skills. From the moment you start your own business, it will be your job to win over customers. Without being confident in yourself and your abilities, this will be a difficult process. If you don’t feel confident enough in this area, take a communication course or prepare specific sales pitches or emails that you can use again and again.
Are you physically fit as well? In the cleaning industry, you will always have to lend a hand yourself, especially in the beginning. It is rare for an entrepreneur to start out with 10 employees. So think carefully about whether you are physically up to the task.
2. Professional qualifications you should have if you want to start a cleaning company.
In Austria, there are two ways to start a cleaning company.
- You register the trade of Denkmal-, Fassaden- und Gebäudereiniger (monument, facade and building cleaners). For this you need the master examination in the trade Denkmal-, Fassaden- und Gebäudereinigung and the entrepreneur examination.
- The second option is to operate under the free trade of “selbstständiger Hausbetreuer” (self-employed house caretaker). You do not need any prerequisites for this option.
What is the difference between these two options? First, of course, that you do not need any education for the free trade. However, you are also allowed to do less work with this option. Your main activities will be the following:
More legal information can be found on the WKO website.
3. How to finance your cleaning company.
In addition to the personal requirements and professional qualifications, you should not forget that you also have to finance your cleaning company. You will be faced with start-up costs as well as ongoing business costs.
You should consider the following costs in the course of setting up your business:
- Costs of registering the business
- Acquisition costs of cleaning products and equipment, clothing, company car(s), rent or purchase of business premises, furnishing of business premises
- Costs of building a website and other promotional materials
Of course, there are several ways you can finance these costs. The first – and best – option: You saved the money over the past years and have it ready now. Otherwise, you can of course take out a loan. Your bank can help you with any questions. Alternatively, you can borrow the money from relatives or friends. But be sure to also look at whether you can qualify for a government grant. It’s worth investing a few hours of research here!
4. Develop a business idea for your cleaning company.
You are not the only person who has – or had – the idea to start a commercial cleaning company. There is a lot of competition – even in Austria. Therefore, it is even more important that you have a very clear idea of your cleaning business.
- Which target group do you want to serve? Private customers or commercial customers or are you even targeting public institutions?
- Is there a service you want to focus on, such as window cleaning?
- What makes you and your cleaning company special? Are you particularly reliable? Are you faster than the competition? Are you in a better location? Or perhaps you work with software that helps you deliver real added value to your future customers?
It’s worth thinking about these questions very carefully.
5. Where do you want to start your cleaning company?
Yes, it is true that the location of your cleaning company does not play a major role in the founding process. You could also specify your own home as the company headquarters at the beginning. However, you should consider whether you can reach your customers quickly and easily from there. And do you have enough space to store cleaning materials and machines?
When your company grows, it will make sense to rent an office or storage space adapted to your needs. This is where your employees can pick up their materials and where you can manage your business. Again, make sure that you and your team are stationed where your customers are.
6. Think about whether you want to be a one-person business or whether you want to employ cleaning professionals in the future.
Why should you deal with the issue of employees from the very beginning? Because this decision will also influence your business idea. Do you only want to offer a very specific service that you can handle on your own? Or do you want to offer a wide range of cleaning services? In this case, you will of course need the active support of an experienced team.
Speaking of “experience”: Think carefully about the qualifications your employees need to have. Of course, cleaning companies often work with inexperienced staff – and that works, too – but it may be necessary to have staff with more experience. For example, if you want to offer your cleaning service in hospitals or other critical areas, the ladies and gentlemen in cleaning should know what they are doing. Also, the same principle applies to your employees as it does to you: They should be physically fit. After all, the work in cleaning is not a walk in the sunshine.
Especially when it comes to employees, the topic of “hourly rates” inevitably comes up. We have already published a detailed blog post about this. It explains how to correctly calculate the hourly rates in your cleaning company in Austria.
7. Sell your cleaning services to your customers.
You’re ready: You’ve started your own cleaning company. You know what you want to offer. You have all the technical and physical skills to get the job done. You may even already have a team behind you. Now the last question is: How do you attract customers? Through efficient marketing. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an advertising expert to tackle this topic (of course, you could get help for this area, though).
The most important thing is, of course, word-of-mouth. It is one of the most effective advertising tools of all. Tell as many people as possible that you have started a cleaning company, what it is called and where they can reach you. Of course, the best thing is to have happy customers talking about you and your work. If you perform well and make your customers happy, are there for them and deal with complaints quickly and reasonably, you will constantly get more work. Word-of-mouth or recommendations have always been the best advertising for a company – and they always will be. According to the motto: Every happy customer is the best flyer!
Social media works in a similar way. Especially platforms like LinkedIn, which specialize in business contacts, can help spread your news. Build a network and make sure that your clients talk about it when they were satisfied with you – also on social media. If your customers are not online, ask them if you can interview them and share the conversation on your own channels.
As a next step, it makes sense to have your own website. Create a platform on the internet where people looking for commercial cleaning services can find you. Include all of your services there, communicate your location, and most importantly, include your contact information! It also helps to be very specific on your website about what makes you and your cleaning company different from the competition. Stand out!
And then, of course, traditional advertising media such as flyers, ads in local newspapers and posters always work. Make sure that you design your ads
- attractively (incl. logo, offer and contact) and
- place them where your target group can see them.
Otherwise, these communication measures are a wasted labor of love.
And one more thing: Especially in the beginning you will have to get help from professionals in various areas. Do be afraid to do so!
8. Get a cleaning software that takes the administrative work off your hands.
The key to growing and managing staff is transparency. You need to clearly document your jobs so that you can clearly delegate them to your employees. Anything that is only stored in your head and not documented will prevent your cleaning company from growing. It steals your time that you should have for your existing and new customers as well as for the management of your employees. This is the only way to ensure a steady increase in turnover. Unfortunately, this realization often comes too late and the topic of “suitable building cleaning software” does not interest you at all in the beginning. Only when business gets going and you have already hired a few people, you will notice: The administrative effort grows, you spend more time in the office and have no resources for new customer acquisition.
At this point, it makes sense to get help in the form of a professional building cleaning software. However, the topic would be interesting at the very beginning, because you and your team are not yet stuck in your structures.
By automating and digitizing the daily administrative tasks, you will then have more time for the really important things. The right software for your cleaning company offers you high-quality reports that you can pass on to your customers. This reflects well on you and may lead to referrals. Wowflow customers even manage to increase their turnover by up to 20 percent. They report happy customers, transparent and clear processes and more freedom for the entrepreneur – thanks to the cleaning software.