A cleaning business owner is facing a dilemma...
I have a difficult decision to make. Do I abandon my growing residential cleaning business to accept a job in my old profession (with all of the headaches that are involved) or, do I take on new headaches that will come with moving forward to fully grow my current business and hire an employee? I suppose these are simply growing pains but, I really don't know where to begin. I find that new clients are finding me and I can't possibly service them all by myself. I don't want to turn new clients away so...I'm stuck, not really knowing exactly where to begin. I am leaning toward using an employment agency or using my daughter to help me or, 1099ing someone. Any simple suggestions as to a first step...and maybe a second?
The following suggestions were offered...
1. Do you prefer working for yourself or for someone else? Which one gives you the most pleasure, makes you happy, gives you freedom and control? Anything we want bad enough is worth working for and working through the headaches. I would not use an agency. I would hire an employee.
2. I agree. You have to ask yourself several questions first. Then, the answer to those questions will drive your pursuits. If you want to be in business for yourself and don't want to return to your old job, then I recommend you stay in the business and look for ways to grow. There are incredible opportunities for growth in the cleaning industry. Hiring and training and growing and expanding your residential cleaning business can be rewarding and lucrative. But it can also be fraught with headaches and frustration as any business can be. Your vision and your dreams for this business need to be the driving factor. That said, taking the next step can be scary and risky. Here are a couple of suggestions that may help you in the short term:
First of all, when you get so busy that you are maxed out and turning away business, it's a good time to evaluate your rates. I have found most independent cleaners can't make the leap from cleaner to employer because their prices are too low. You have nothing to lose when you are full and turning away jobs. Now is the best time to test out a higher rate. It doesn't mean you have to raise prices on your existing clients (at least not right away or all at once). But you can quote new jobs at a considerably higher price and see what happens. Shop your competition, especially the franchises, and see what the highest priced services are charging. If you think you are worth that rate, quote your new business that high and see what happens. Higher prices will put you in a better position to hire additional staff as you'll have the margins to pay well.
When you are ready to hire, keep a few things in mind. Criminal background checks are not very expensive. Do them, even on relatives. Verify previous job references. Look for individuals who have been on their last job at least one year or more. Put the word out that you are hiring amongst people you trust like at church, or tell friends. College kids, moms of school age children, are good prospects. If you choose to make them 1099 workers you need to print off the list that the IRS provides and make sure you are in compliance; otherwise use a payroll service to make it easy to hire them as 941 employees.
If you use a staffing agency to furnish you with applicants you will need to treat them like every other applicant: do your own background checks and thorough screening process. Do not rely on their standards alone. This can be a viable option if you find the right service, but it can also be expensive.
If you are ready to really grow your business I strongly recommend you begin investing in industry specific training. It's worth the money and the time and can make the difference between years of mediocre to little success and a life time of fulfillment and financial success. I hope this helps.
Would you like to get great advice and encouragement for your questions? Join us as a member of The Janitorial Store and participate in our very active online discussion forum, where we offer advice, encourage new cleaning business owners, and share experiences.