Hot Home Business: Cleaning Services

Want to work from home but not sure what you can do? The Hot Home Business Directory helps you find a business to run out of your home, lists the skills you need to do it and tells how to get started and where to get more information. Read on to find out if this Hot Home Biz is for you!

What You'll Do: Clean private homes, apartments, offices or small businesses on a regular schedule (weekly, semi-monthly or monthly) or per-project basis.

Skills You'll Need: Physical ability to do the bending, stooping and moving needed in cleaning. Good organizational skills, ability to work quickly and efficiently, personalized customer relations, perseverance and pride in your work, basic bookkeeping.

Equipment You'll Need: Basic cleaning supplies (most clients will have a vacuum cleaner and some prefer you use their supplies; others prefer you bring your own), comfortable yet sturdy clothes, well-cushioned supportive shoes, transportation to your jobs, computer to create flyers and business cards.

Start-Up Costs:

  • $100 to $200 for cleaning supplies (purchased in quantity from a wholesale club or discount store), $100 to $200 for marketing materials (flyers, cards, ads, invoices and so on)
  • Child care -- if your children are not yet in school, it's advisable to arrange for alternative care during your cleaning hours, and factor in these expenses. It's risky for young children to be around potentially toxic cleaning supplies, especially in other people's homes.
  • Liability insurance to protect yourself in case of accident or breakage of expensive items. You can obtain it from a regular insurance carrier. To compare rates and get the lowest price, check out

How Much You Can Make: $10 to $30 per hour or $100 and up for a thorough, top-to-bottom one-shot deal. Most three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes take 4 to 6 hours to clean, while apartments and small offices can take as little as two hours.

How To Break In:

  • Some areas require housecleaners to be licensed and bonded. Check out the regulations in your county and state.
  • Consider signing up with a domestic services agency (like Molly Maid or Maid Brigade) to get the lay of the land and see what the job entails. This will help you set your fees and learn techniques on the job.
  • Print flyers and go door-to-door in your own town and adjoining communities promoting your services, and advertise in the local newspaper or Pennysaver to attract your first clients. Once you get a few paying customers, encourage them to spread the news of your business by word-of-mouth. Get testimonials from satisfied customers and add them to your ad or flyer.
  • Target working parents, singles and the elderly -- all markets that will benefit from your services. Insert your flyers into "Welcome Wagon" gift packs offered to neighborhood newcomers and "New Mother" goodie bags given out in maternity wards. Another great target market is real estate agents -- they often suggest that home buyers get a thorough housecleaning before moving in.
  • Outline on paper or discuss in person all your job responsibilities with your customers so there are no surprises once you get underway. It may be a good idea to print up a checklist of all the tasks you perform (ovens, windows, bathtubs and so on) as well as any you do not do (cleaning underneath large appliances, ironing, etc.).
  • Consider dipping a toe in by cleaning during certain parts of the year for friends, acquaintances and neighbors. One-shot specials may include "Spring Cleaning," "Back to School Scrub Down," "Clean Sweep for the New Year" and "Freshen Up for the Holidays."
  • Team up with another worker to get jobs done in half the time. Most customers have no qualms about hiring a "cleaning team," and this will offer you more flexibility in your schedule on smaller jobs requiring only one person.


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