Opening an
Office Cleaning Service

Opening an office cleaning service

Providing an office cleaning service is an excellent business for an ambitious entrepreneurial type.

Office cleaning is one of the simplest and least expensive independent businesses to start. Generations of hard-working immigrants have built million-dollar fortunes in service trade businesses such as commercial cleaning, janitorial, and office cleaning. Anyone with a desire to get ahead and create an independent income stream can succeed, with very little startup capital.

Unlike other ventures, such as setting up a dry cleaning service, or opening a restaurant, getting started in the cleaning business on a small scale requires very little money.

Work evenings & weekends

One big advantage of cleaning offices for a living is the schedule. Working evenings and weekends leaves your weekdays free for school or family. This makes cleaning a popular option for college students, stay-at-home moms, or anyone who wants to work two jobs, one during the day, and cleaning offices at night. Typical hours are between 6 pm and midnight.

As an office cleaner, I have even cleaned offices far into the night, sometimes as late as 2 am! Depending on the business, cleanings can usually be scheduled at any time during the weekend. Business offices are typically available to clean on the weekends, but not production facilities. Your working hours can be flexible too. I used to go into one job at any time between 5:50 pm and 2 am. Many entrepreneurs appreciate having this sort of flexibility built in to the job. It appeals to our sense of independence.

Start part-time, grow into full-time

This business can easily start part-time in the evenings and on the weekends. If you choose, it can eventually be phased into a full-time career. Your experience will build during the first year of part-time work. Then you may decide to go for bigger and better paying jobs. In this way, you create your own ladder of business success.

This type of cleaning business lends itself to scaling up over time. Once you have landed, secured and performed a certain level of job, you can scale up slightly for the next one and if you keep doing this, your business will grow consistently. This can be a very powerful way to build you office cleaning business. $100K+ earnings per year is not uncommon. Many million dollar commercial cleaning businesses have started this way.

Start out solo and gain experience

If you like to work alone in a quiet environment, this business can be pure bliss. No exaggeration! There is something mighty peaceful about an abandoned office building late at night. Even when you scale up and begin running crews, the environment still feels this way. On the other hand, it could a depressing job for someone who needs continuous human interaction. For this sort of person, the loneliness can be too much. So really think about who you are, and what sort of environment you prefer to work in, before starting this type of business.

Very cheap to start

This is a perfect business to start out solo with very little out-of-pocket cash. You can scale it up as you go by reinvesting a percentage of the money back into the business. Doing the work yourself for a year or two gives you the experience needed to navigate the working landscape both culturally and systemically. You will learn the intricacies of the commercial building culture and how to best serve it while also learning about the systems that you are using, such as:

  • Cleaning equipment needed
  • Security systems, access and lockup
  • Logistics both to and on the job
  • Best cleaning processes for specific jobs

Unlimited income potential

One of the drawbacks of residential cleaning is that home cleaners occupy a payscale continuum between $75 - $250 per cleaning. That is the entire range. The average home cleaning rate per job is $120.

Even the most lucrative, elite home cleaning gigs are not going to pay more than $500 per session, and certainly not every week or every night. An ambitious entrepreneur with a home cleaning service must focus on scaling out instead of up. You have to increase the amount of jobs, and have multiple crews to make a good living.

Conversely, the typical commercial or office cleaning account can bring in between $3,000 - $10,000 gross per month. And that is just for one client!

This means that you can have only a dozen or fewer clients and be making bank. You do not need to have over 100 home cleaning clients which introduces a lot of chaos and complexity into the daily goings-on.

There is always a larger job to aim for, such as Trump Palace or a high-rise office building. When the focus is on scaling up instead out (and why not do both?) it is feasible to create a multi-million dollar commercial-cleaning service.

What is the rub with office cleaning?

An office cleaning service is slower to start and it can be trickier to land the early jobs. The startup days are more stress filled, but down the road your efforts can pay off, and this can blossom into a much more lucrative business, while retaining its simplicity.

A home cleaning business, on the other hand, is easier to get going and it takes less effort to land the early jobs. But soon profits tend to hit that $120 average per job. Then when the housecleaning service is scaled up, it becomes very complex and that complexity can turn into chaos.

Opening an office cleaning service may be right for you, on the condition that you are a disciplined self-starter who enjoys working alone or in a peaceful, quiet environment. Building a successful business also requires that you are good with systems and like the process of building something, such as your own office cleaning service business!

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