There are many pros and cons of owning a cleaning business. As I mentioned earlier, setting your own hours is a definite plus. Because you can work the days and hours that work for you, you can work around daycare hours, school schedules, bus stop times, appointments, etc. without getting in trouble or losing your job. For me, I could not work evenings or even late afternoons.
My children weren’t good at being latchkey children and needed supervision after school. But with three kids, that could be quite expensive. I scheduled all of my cleaning times between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm that way I was home to see them off in the morning and home when they got home at night. Vacations were obviously harder to work around, but my older children would often watch the younger child on those days.
Another great reason to start your own cleaning business is lower start up costs. When I started I used my own cleaning supplies and vacuum cleaner. I waited to purchase cleaning supplies as I needed them or ran out. This allowed me to use the money that I already made to purchase supplies. We already owned a wonderful vacuum cleaner that I used for many of the jobs, but for some homes I used their vacuum cleaner. It is almost always an option to use the clients’ cleaning supplies and equipment; however, you need to lower your rates accordingly.
I found that even in a down economy, many people still pay for cleaning service. It is one of the first luxury services that people will pay for to make their lives easier and one of the last services that they will give up. Most of my clients were either working full-time and too busy to clean their own homes or were elderly or disabled and needed the cleaning help.
Besides having low startup costs, a cleaning business does not require any special education or licensing. It is usually very easy to get the licensing that you need. As long as you are honest, trustworthy, hardworking and have some basic business savvy; owning and operating a cleaning business is comparatively easy.
Supplies, equipment, mileage and other expenses can be claimed on your taxes. Advertising is usually inexpensive due to referrals. You will make more working for yourself than working for another cleaning service.
Finally and maybe the best reason for cleaning for a living is how fit and trim it makes you. I lost several pounds and toned my arms, legs, gluts, and abs without doing any exercise other than stretching. The stretching was to help keep me from injuring myself more than it was for the need for more exercise.
There are some cons in operating a cleaning business. The flip-side of being in better shape is that it is easy to become physically worn out or injured. Cleaning is hard work and it can be tiring. It is also difficult to stay motivated to clean every day and almost impossible to clean your own house. Eating right, sleeping well, and relaxing can relieve some of the physical effects.
I discovered that some cleaning products triggered my allergies when using them often, natural or green products usually helps with any allergies. Cleaning can also be hard on your hands even when wearing gloves due to the constant gripping, wiping and scrubbing.
Insurance and bonding costs can be prohibitive especially at the beginning since you need to have these before starting.
Unfortunately some clients’ homes are dirtier than others due to children, pets or for other reasons. It can be hard to clean for people who don’t bother to pick up first or leave caked food on the stove or have tons of pet hair. Although, I did learn to watch out for these things when giving estimates and charge accordingly.
Working alone can also be isolating. However, there are many ways to lessen the isolation. You can clean while listening to an iPod. I often listened to books on tape. Since I am inherently frugal, I tended to only listen to free classics. However, you can purchase many books on tape or get them for free by checking them out through your local library if they have that option available. I also listened to all kinds of music usually choosing upbeat rock or pop to help with motivation.
Another way to lessen isolation is to work with a partner either by having a partnership, hiring someone or working with another cleaning business. Occasionally my teenage daughter or my husband worked with me, but I never expanded to hiring anyone.
Overall a small cleaning business can be flexible, easy to start and market and work well for people with small children, or other time commitments.