Starting a cleaning business might prove very lucrative and a good source of income if you live in big cities like Durban, Johannesburg, Port Harcourt or any other highly developed city in South Africa.
South African cities are growing rapidly. And with the development of cities comes the need for all manner of services.
The first thing most people often lack in any developing city is time. People work longer hours and have little time for domestic activities. Some will prefer others to take care of their domestic jobs even with time on their hands.
This vacuum makes for a lucrative business if you can fish out clients pressed for time but with more in hands, ready to pay others to take on their domestic activities.
Of course, cleaning services doesn’t have to be restricted to residential areas. A lot of schools, hospitals, public offices, banks, and businesses employ the services of professional cleaners to take care of their space.
So, one may decide to offer one’s services to homeowners, businesses, or both.
This post is intended to walk you through the steps on how to start your own commercial cleaning services in South Africa.
In this guide, you’ll learn what it takes to start your own cleaning business in South Africa as well as the necessary capital for it. It also provides you with some tips on how to succeed in the business for a long time.
Starting a Cleaning Business in South Africa (Step By Step Guide)
Evaluate your skill: How good is your skill?
A cleaning business may seem easy, after all, you’ve been doing domestic chores longer than you can remember. This, however, is very far from the truth. People expect more when they are paying for a service and will want you to pay attention to every detail in the work they’ll be giving to you.
Things that may seem negligible in your daily domestic chore may become your downfall in a cleaning business. If you’re not so sure about your cleaning skill, you might want to work as an employee with an already established cleaning business and learn how they do it.
This will not only equip you with the necessary professional skill to render your services effectively, but it will also give you some heads up on what to expect when you eventually start your own business. You’ll learn the best cleaning rates to start from as well as working experience to fill in your resume.
Should you register your business?
If you’re an individual just starting out with little or no employee, you probably will want to forget about the issue of business registration for now. It is not illegal to operate a sole proprietorship business without registration in South Africa.
If, however, you plan to start big and intend to branch out to other neighborhoods with a handful of employees, you probably will want to register your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). This way, your business name will be secured and, most especially, recognized by the government.
Getting your equipment together
This is the beauty of a cleaning business. It doesn’t require much except your cleaning skills and a few pieces of cleaning equipment. Most residential clients will probably have some of these pieces of equipment already. However, you still might want to get yours as not all will have them.
Some general cleaning equipment to be on your list include:
- Vacuum cleaner
- Toilet brush
- Mop and bucket
- Latex gloves
- Bathroom cleaner
- White cloth rags
Setting your cleaning rates
The amount you’ll decide to charge a client per day, week or month will be your cleaning rate. If you’re in an area where cleaning service is very popular, you probably will have little control over the prices as it will ultimately be determined by the forces of demand and supply.
Most times in places with lots of competitors, it is often best to find out the rate others are offering their services and then follow suit. This way, you give your clients competitive prices.
But if you intend working in an area where cleaners are relatively few, it’s best you discuss with your clients and come to an agreement. You might want to check the cost of your cleaning equipment and transport cost so you can add them to your cost of production. Then ensure the amount you charge will be a lot bigger than the cost of both.
Many cleaners make the mistake of not getting a clear cut line on the limit of their services. As such, they become errand boys/girls, caretakers or whatever their clients demand.
To prevent this from ever happening, it’s best you give your client a clear view of the limit of your services. This, of course, will ultimately begin with you and what you want to offer.
If you’re only interested in maid services and no laundry, inform your clients. If you’re going to work in a school and will not be interested in cleaning up children, put this in a clear way for your clients to understand.
How to Land Your First Clients
Getting the first client in any business is often the hardest. No one knows you and most will be asking for previous experiences, which you probably will not have.
To break the ice, you might want to start rendering your services to friends and family members who are in need. This will help you to gain more experience to add to your resume. Cleaning business also thrives on word of the mouth advert and you’ll be surprised at the number of referral you’ll get from this approach.
If you don’t want to use the above approach, you may probably want to join a larger cleaning service business to network from there or better still, engage in aggressive advertising on social media, newspapers or even your local radio stations.
Most times, once you are able to get your first clients and they are happy with your services, it spreads like wildfire. Happy customers always tell stories.
Cleaning business requires experience just like every other business. Getting professional cleaning experience should probably be your first target and then aggressive advertising of your business.
Also, you might want to get an inventory of the items in your clients home while cleaning residential homes. It is not a pleasant experience for clients to accuse a cleaner of stealing their mobile phones or money hidden in their wardrobe. You may ask your clients to go out with their money on the days you’ll be going to clean their homes.