There are loads of business opportunities in Australia and any entrepreneur who desires to start a business in Australia successfully can start a cleaning business; because the commercial cleaning industry is a thriving industry in Australia. This type of business can be started by anybody as long as you have eyes for details and cleanliness.
If you have experience in this regard, it will be easier for you to start and effectively run a cleaning service. It is important to point out that no matter the type of business you choose to start, you should ensure that you carry out your due diligence as it relates to market research, economic and cost analysis and of course feasibility studies. If you get things right before launching your cleaning business, it will not take you long to secure enough clients before you breakeven and start smiling to the bank.
If indeed you want to start your own cleaning business, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well informed and equipped. You can start your cleaning business from a small town in Australia and if you are consistent and creative, it won’t be long before your brand becomes a nationally recognized brand especially if you go into franchising.
19 Steps to Starting a Cleaning Business in Australia
Table of Content
- 1. Understand the Industry
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
- 7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity
- 8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
- 9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
- 17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
- 18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
- 19. Creating a Suppliers/Distribution Network
1. Understand the Industry
The commercial cleaning services industry provides a range of commercial and domestic cleaning services. These services include specialized commercial and industrial cleaning services and the general cleaning of floors, windows and blinds within offices, factories, homes and other buildings. Please note that the services offered by the commercial cleaning industry exclude carpet cleaning, shampooing services, steam cleaning and the sandblasting of building exteriors.
A recent report published by IBISWORLD shows that the Commercial Cleaning Services industry has performed well over the past five years. The industry is projected to generate revenue of $9.0 billion in the current year, up 2.6 percent for the year.
The report further shows that the revenue is forecast to grow by an annualized 2.8 percent over the five years through 2017-18. Demand for cleaning services has been steady over this time, largely driven by outsourcing trends and the growing number of businesses across the economy.
Client organizations have increasingly outsourced cleaning activities to concentrate on core activities and seek out cost efficiencies. Rising demand for residential cleaning services from high- and dual-income households, especially ageing residents, has also aided the industry’s performance.
The Commercial Cleaning Services industry has benefited from steady demand growth over the past five years. However, cleaning companies have faced rising pricing pressures due to increased competition. Cleaning firms benefit from the growth in the number of new businesses operating across the economy, positive business confidence and the outsourcing of cleaning services by the government and private sectors.
Household demand for weekly or monthly cleaning services or spring cleaning also contributes to industry growth, as do higher number of hours worked by households.
The Commercial Cleaning Services industry is a thriving sector of the economy of Australia and the industry generates over $9 billion annually from more than 27,375 registered Commercial Cleaning Services scattered all around Australia.
The industry is responsible for the employment of over 106,656 people. Experts project the industry to grow at a 2.8 percent annual rate between 2012 and 2017. Spotless Group can boast of having a lion market share in the industry.
The Commercial Cleaning Services industry has minimal barriers to entry, with low startup capital and no specific licensing requirements. On the other hand, the high level of competition and market saturation in a declining industry can prove challenging to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start their own cleaning services business in Australia. Most players in this line of business are small to medium size establishments that cater to the local community.
Just like any other business, the demand for cleaning services usually declined during recession periods due to declining corporate spending and reduced demand from business clients. As the economy grows, and income increases, there will be a corresponding increase in the demand for cleaning related services.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own cleaning services companies could be that the business is profitable and it is a business that can be started with minimal capital and workforce. Over and above, the cleaning services business in Australia is still enjoying good patronage particularly if they are well positioned and if they know how to reach out to their target market.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who hire the services of cleaning companies cut across all households, businesses and corporate organizations that have the capacity to pay for their services hence the demographic composition for a commercial cleaning business is all encompassing.
Your target market can’t be restricted to just offices and businesses within your location, but to all the households, corporate organizations and businesses around the city where you have your business presence.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
The cleaning industry has two primary market groups: consumer and commercial. The consumer arena consists primarily of office cleaning services and 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 like carpet and window cleaners that target businesses rather than individual consumers.
Here are some of the niche areas that you can specialize on as a cleaning company operating in Australia;
- Bathroom and toilet cleaning
- Building interior and exterior cleaning (excluding sandblasting and steam cleaning)
- Chimney and duct cleaning
- Gutter cleaning
- Janitorial services
- House and residential building cleaning
- Office and commercial building cleaning
- Road and street cleaning
- Transport equipment cleaning
- Window cleaning
The Level of Competition in the Industry
Competition may come to cleaning services from larger catch-all companies who offer cleaning as part of a bundled program of many more services such as parking, snow removal, and pest control. In-house janitorial services operated by building management companies may also serve as competition.
The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your services or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure your workforce can carry out thorough cleaning services, you can deliver excellent customer care services and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
But over and above, there are several commercial cleaning services businesses scattered all around Australia. So, if you choose to start your own commercial cleaning business in the Australia, you will definitely meet stiff competition.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by the customers and general public than others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.
These are some of the leading commercial cleaning services companies in Australia and in the globe;
- Spotless Group
- AMC Commercial Cleaning
- I.P Australia home cleaning Services Company
- Keen to Clean Group®
- Jan – Pro Franchising International Inc.
- Vanguard Cleaning Systems
- Coverall Health – Based Cleaning System
- Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services
- The Cleaning Authority
If you are planning towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.
Commercial cleaning business is not a Green business in Australia, as a matter of fact; you will come across several commercial cleaning companies when you drive through town, search through directories and browse through the internet.
So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey of the required amount for renting a space where you are expected to open your cleaning business and the amount required to purchase vacuum cleaner with attachments, white cloth rags, paper towels, toilet brush, toilet bowl cleaner, brooms, dust pan & brush, dry mop, wet mop & bucket, latex gloves
wet floor signs, extension cord, window cleaner, disinfectant cleaner, bathroom cleaner, furniture polish, soft scrub product for sinks, SOS pads, feather duster, high duster, caddy with handle to keep your supplies in, cleaning chemical supplies, detergents and soaps, and also the cost to successfully run the business.
If you are considering starting a commercial cleaning services company in Australia, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of purchasing vacuum cleaner and other cleaning supplies, but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, then you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to buy the franchise of a successful cleaning company as against starting from the scratch. Even though it is relatively expensive to buy the franchise of an established corporate cleaning company, but it will definitely pay you in the long run.
But if you want to build your own brand after you must have proved your worth in the commercial cleaning services industry, then you might just want to start your own cleaning services business from the scratch. Starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies before choosing a location to launch your business.
Please note that most of the successful commercial cleaning services companies in Australia started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success and of course you can build your own cleaning services business to become successful from the scratch.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own cleaning services business in Australia, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established commercial cleaning companies. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn; if the economy is in a bad shape, businesses that offer cleaning services and related services usually struggle to maintain their old customers or even welcome new customers.
unfavorable government policies can also hamper the growth of your commercial cleaning business. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity
When considering starting a cleaning business, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow. You have the option of choosing a general partnership, limited liability company, or even a sole proprietorship for your commercial cleaning services business.
Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small scale cleaning business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate capital in a small neighborhood and with just one outlet.
But if your intention is to grow the business and have offices and corporate clients all across key cities in Australia, then choosing sole proprietorship is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company or even general partnership will cut it for you.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your commercial cleaning services business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
The rule of thumb is that when it comes to Choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. If you are considering starting your own cleaning services business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Sydney Harbor® Commercial Cleaning Services, LLC
- Angelic White® Cleaning Services, LLC
- Melbourne Roe© Commercial Cleaning Services, Inc.
- Queensland® Commercial Cleaning Company, Inc.
- Christian Tomball™ Corporate Cleaning Services, Inc.
- Rowland Justin™ Office Cleaning Services, Inc.
- Joseph Léonard & Sons© Corporate Cleaning Services, Inc.
- Brisbane Connect® Commercial Cleaning Services Company, LLC
- Daniella Jake© Commercial Cleaning Services, Inc.
- Green Life© Commercial Cleaning Services, Inc.
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In Australia and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your commercial cleaning services business.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own commercial cleaning services business in Australia;
- General insurance
- Health / Medical insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own commercial cleaning services business in Australia, usually you may not need to file for intellectual property protection because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Aside from the results you produce as it relates to providing professional cleaning services, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some commercial cleaning service providers stand out. If you want to make an impact in the commercial cleaning services industry, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization.
Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career, and up-to-date in the competitive market. These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own commercial cleaning services company;
- Institute of inspection cleaning and restoration certification – IICRC
- International janitorial cleaning services certification – IJVSC
- House cleaning technician certification – HCT
- Cleaning business owner certificate – CBO
Please note that you can successfully run a commercial cleaning services company in Australia and in most countries of the world without acquiring professional certifications as long as you have adequate experience in the commercial cleaning services industry.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in Australia or in any developed country cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in Australia without the proper documentations.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own commercial cleaning services business in Australia;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Tax Payer’s ID / Tax Identification Number
- Chemicals handler certificate
- Health inspection Certificate
- Business Plan
- Employee Handbook
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Building License
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a commercial cleaning services business can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale by running the business from your home or sharing office space.
Securing a standard office space in a business district and purchasing vacuum cleaner with attachments, white cloth rags, paper towels, toilet brush, toilet bowl cleaner, brooms, dust pan & brush, dry mop, wet mop & bucket, latex gloves, wet floor signs, extension cord, window cleaner, disinfectant cleaner, bathroom cleaner, furniture polish, soft scrub product for sinks, SOS pads, feather duster, high duster, caddy with handle to keep your supplies in, cleaning chemical supplies, detergents and soaps et al are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital.
If you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale commercial cleaning services business. When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan.
If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business. Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your commercial cleaning services business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for Loan from your Bank
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
When it comes to choosing a location for your commercial cleaning business, you can choose to locate the business in any location of your choice especially if you are offering basic home and office cleaning services, services that do not require your clients to come to you except for meetings.
But sometimes the location you choose to open your commercial cleaning services company is key to the success of the business; hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of businesses and people with the required purchasing power.
If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a facility in a not too visible or hidden location because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business.
It is important to note that a business facility in good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing / renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for your company, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor.
Most importantly, before choosing a location for your commercial cleaning business, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your commercial cleaning services business;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for cleaning services in the location
- The purchasing power of corporate organizations in the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of commercial cleaning services companies and other commercial cleaning services companies in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community
- Traffic, parking and security
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
On the average, there are no special technology or equipment needed to run an average commercial cleaning services company except for vacuum cleaner with attachments, white cloth rags, paper towels, toilet brush, toilet bowl cleaner, brooms, dust pan & brush, dry mop, wet mop & bucket, latex gloves, wet floor signs, extension cord, window cleaner, disinfectant cleaner, bathroom cleaner, furniture polish, soft scrub product for sinks,
SOS pads, feather duster, high duster, caddy with handle to keep your supplies in, cleaning chemical supplies, detergents and soaps, computers and receipt issuing machines, Sound System (For playing music), Point of Sale Machines (POS Machines), CCTV Cameras and Flat Screen TVs.
You will definitely need computers, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used. But if you choose to start a standard hi – tech commercial cleaning services company in Australia, then you would need 3 high pressure wand self-service bays; and 5 vacuum stations complete with fragrance and carpet shampoo dispensing machines,
Insulator washers with a pump pressure of about 1000 psi and a nozzle pressure between 500 and 750 psi, centrifugal water pump, stainless steel water storage tank, high-pressure water hose, high-pressure dead-man type water wash gun and Electrical grounds for the wash gun and washing system and cleaning chemical supplies.
As regards leasing or outright purchase of an office and store facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standings, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short – term rent / lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long – term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location / facility for such business.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard commercial cleaning services business with plans to have corporate clients all across major cities in Australia, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Supervisors, Sales and Marketing Officer, Accounting Clerk, and Cleaners. On the average, you will need a minimum of 10 to 20 key staff members to run a small – scale but standard commercial cleaning services company.
The Services Process Involved in the Business
The operation process as it relates to commercial cleaning services companies depends largely on their area of operation and their organizational structure. Usually, when a commercial cleaning services company gets a contract from a corporate organization to clean their office, they will first conduct cost analysis for them to know the manpower and resources needed to carry out the job.
Once they conclude their cost analysis, they will deploy the required manpower and machines to execute the job and then they will get paid after successfully carrying out the contract.
It is important to state that a commercial cleaning services company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated commercial cleaning services business process is not cast on stone.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
By and large, running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a commercial cleaning services business, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands that determine the market direction for the industry.
These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your commercial cleaning services business;
- Introduce your commercial cleaning services company by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to corporate organizations, businesses, households, schools, hospitals, hotels and other key stake holders throughout the city where your commercial cleaning services company is located.
- Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across
- Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
- Directly market your services
- Engage in road shows in targeted business communities from time to time to promote your commercial cleaning services business
- Join local commercial cleaning services business associations for industry trends and tips
- Join local chambers of commerce and industry with the aim of marketing your services
- Advertise our business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Encourage the use of Word of mouth marketing (referrals)
17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
One key factor that will help you offer your commercial cleaning services at rock bottom prices is to purchase your cleaning supplies directly from wholesalers in pretty large quantities.
Another strategy that will help you offer your cleaning services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name.
Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products. You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives.
18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand awareness.
If your intention of starting a commercial cleaning services business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by opening offices all across key cities in Australia and franchising, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your commercial cleaning services business;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events / programs
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your commercial cleaning services business
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted business districts to create awareness of your commercial cleaning services business
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- List your commercial cleaning services company in local directories / yellow pages
- Advertise your commercial cleaning services company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
- Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your commercial cleaning services company is located.
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your carts, vehicles, trucks and vans are well branded with your company logo
19. Creating a Suppliers/Distribution Network
In order to successfully run a commercial cleaning business, you must establish good business relationship with wholesalers of cleaning supplies within the city where your commercial cleaning services company is located, because you would need steady supply of cleaning supplies to remain in business.
You are also expected to create business networks with managers of facilities and human resource persons of companies. They are in a better position to give you corporate cleaning contracts.