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Entrepreneur Magazine’s

Cleaning Service

Chapter 1

An Introduction To Cleaning Services
If it can get dirty, chances are someone will be willing to pay you to clean it. And that’s why few industries can claim the variety and depth of opportunities that professional cleaning can.
The cleaning industry has two primary market groups: consumer and commercial. The consumer arena consistsprimarily of residential maid services, along with carpet cleaners, window cleaners and a variety of other cleaning services required on a less-frequent basis. The commercial arena is dominated by janitorial services, which typically provide a wider range of services than maid services, along with other cleaning companies, such as carpet and window cleaners, that target businesses rather thanindividual consumers. While it’s recommended that you decide on a niche and concentrate on building a business that will serve your chosen market, it is entirely realistic to expect to be able to serve multiple markets successfully. With all this opportunity, what does the competition look like? Glance through your telephone directory—the number of cleaning services may make you think the market isalready flooded and there’s no room for you. That’s not true. First, anyone can get a listing in the Yellow Pages just by having a business telephone line. A mere listing doesn’t mean the company is offering quality service to the market you’re targeting.

Second, the demand for cleaning services is tremendous. Plenty of maid service companies have waiting lists for clients because they simply can’tserve the entire market. Many carpet cleaners and other types of specialized cleaning services are not fulltime operations and therefore don’t offer serious competition. And a significant number of janitorial services are mom-and-pop operations run by people who want just enough work to earn a living.


Chapter 1

An Introduction To Cleaning Services
Third, cleaning service customerswant quality, and many operators are unable to deliver that. Ask anyone who has ever hired a company to clean something in their home or office if they’ve had any bad experiences, and chances are you’ll hear some nightmarish stories of poor-quality work, damage to property and even theft. If you offer quality service, operate with integrity and charge reasonable prices, you will be a success in acleaning service business.

Stat Fact There are an estimated 4 million building cleaning workers in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and more than 6 percent of them are self-employed.

The Driving Forces
Shifting demographics and changing lifestyles are driving the surge in residential maid service businesses. Busy consumers don’t have the time or inclination toclean for themselves; they want to spend their limited leisure hours doing things they enjoy, so they’re looking for personal support in the form of housecleaning services, lawn maintenance, errand-running services, and more. They want someone else to handle these tasks, and they want them done well. “Since 9/11, there has been a shift in our country’s values to concentrate more on home, family andmaking the most of our free time,” says Harry Young, president of Molly Maid Inc. “The trend in the residential cleaning industry is tremendous growth. As leisure time continues to shrink, more and more people are searching for solutions to help balance work and their personal lives. The service and convenience we bring to our customers al-

Stat Fact Independent maid service operators caneasily net $10 to $20—or more—per hour cleaning homes on a part- or full-time basis.

lows them the freedom to enjoy life, enabling them to spend their time with the people who matter the most.” The companies that truly thrive will be the ones with a heavy emphasis on quality and personal services. “Every one of my customers is different and special, and I treat them that way,” says Wanda Guzman, a...
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