Many cleaning business owners have intentions of running a commercial cleaning business but struggle with getting started. They find it easier to get residential cleaning clients, so in order to get some cash coming in quickly, they start out doing residential and slowly move into commercial cleaning.
If you have a cleaning business that does both commercial and residential cleaning, you've no doubt struggled with running both at the same time. After all, residential cleaning is done during the day and commercial cleaning is primarily done at night. Plus, residential cleaning is business-to-consumer, whereas commercial cleaning is business-to-business, which means your marketing efforts will not be the same, nor will your customer service issues. Not to mention you’ll have two different cleaning crews to train.
The way you receive your income is different too. One reason people like residential cleaning is because they are paid immediately, which means good cash flow for the business. Commercial cleaners must invoice their customers for a month’s worth of cleaning. The trend for invoicing has changed however, as more companies are invoicing at the beginning of the month rather than at the end. It helps the cash flow considerably, but they do not receive immediate payment the way residential cleaners do.
Residential cleaning can be somewhat more stressful in that you are dealing with homeowners, not business people, and you are cleaning where they live – their personal space. They can be much more critical of the cleaning that takes place in their home – perhaps letting you know that something is slightly out of place, or the pillows weren’t arranged properly on the couch.
The cleaning itself tends to be more detailed and your cleaning staff will be dealing with antiques and valuables that they won't typically find in commercial buildings. They can also have major obstacles like grease filled kitchens, rust stained bathroom fixtures, and pets. In addition, schedules change often without notice, lockouts occur, dogs left loose, etc.
Productivity is slower in a home than in an office, so if you cross-train employees for both jobs you may run into problems. That is because residential cleaners want to clean everything they see, whereas in commercial cleaning, some things are cleaned on a less-frequent basis.
Adding residential accounts to your commercial cleaning business (or visa-versa) can provide your company with another income stream, but it is challenging to run both at the same time. Begin by entering the market slowly and hire a separate cleaning crew for each segment. You’ll also need separate training programs and supervisors for each segment. It may not be easy, but it is possible. The key is to put good systems into place and hire the right people to help you succeed.
Do YOU do both residential and commercial cleaning? How does it work for you and what are your challenges. Post your comments by clicking on the Comments link below.