Starting your own cleaning company? You need to have a plan, know your competition and use technology like janitorial software to stay competitive.
About eighty percent.
If you’re a movie fan, that’s the Rotten Tomatoes rating for the new, Oscar-nominated, frontiersman movie, The Revenant. But this number also reveals how many startup companies in the U.S. fail to survive after a few years, according to some sources.
It’s not the most encouraging statistic if you’re trying to start your own cleaning company. But, if you’re trying to decide on a movie to see this weekend, it might be helpful.
Let’s look at some more important numbers. According to a 2015 report from IBISWorld, the U.S. janitorial/sanitation industry made $51 billion in revenue, grew 1.4 percent and had over 850,000 businesses in its ranks.
That’s a lot of companies. So how can you build a successful cleaning company among the 850,000 plus?
Here are four tips to help get your business off the ground and stay afloat.
Have a plan
President John F. Kennedy once said, “Effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”
First, you need to map out a direction for your cleaning business to go. Answer questions such as:
- Will you work out of your home or use a rented office space?
- How far are you willing to travel to provide cleaning services?
- Will you use janitorial software?
- What kind of businesses will you target? Small restaurants, large corporate offices, etc.?
In an article from Entrepreneur magazine, “13 Secrets for Making Your Cleaning Business a Success,” it states that a big factor for success is to select a single market to cater to. If you try to offer services to more than one, it could stretch your resources too thin and hurt work quality for all of your clients.
Once you answer these important questions, refer back to them often and make decisions accordingly.
Know your competition
It makes no sense for a sports team to march onto the field without knowing the strengths and weaknesses of their opponent. They could choose to rely on just the raw talent and skills of the team, but that would only get them so far.
The same applies to entering the cleaning industry in your area. You should not only rely on your cleaning skills or current industry knowledge.
Find out things such as: who your competition already targets, their current strengths and weaknesses, how they satisfy their clients, where they go to gain new customers, or what janitorial software they use.
Also focus on how you can differentiate yourself from other cleaning businesses and attract potential customers differently, without simply lowering your prices to steal business.
Focus on customer service
Business giant Sam Walton said it best: “The goal as a company [should be] to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.”
Because of thorough competitive research, you will be able to know what customers generally want. But you should not stop at trying to satisfy your customers. Your company’s mission should be to continually exceed those expectations.
But how can you do that? Richard Lazazzera from Shopify, an ecommerce software company, answered this quite simply.
First, he said, pick a touch point to focus on. A touch point is a moment when a customer interacts with your brand, like when they call you on the phone or visit your website.
Then ask what the average customer expects during that situation and figure out ways to go beyond those expectations. Do this with other touch points you can think of.
Use digital tools
When you hear the name Blockbuster, what comes to mind? Rewinding VHS tapes, shelves of movies, membership cards. Outdated, right? Especially when you consider Netflix. And because Blockbuster failed to embrace the digital age, they slid out of existence. Don’t let that be your cleaning company’s story.
In today’s world, more and more businesses are having to turn to software and technology in order to manage their growing workloads and stay competitive.
Keep educating yourself in digital tools and use them to improve your cleaning company’s effectiveness. It could be anything from social media to janitorial software.
As you apply these tips, you can be more at peace about your cleaning company. And you might focus more on things like Rotten Tomatoes ratings instead of gloomy startup statistics.