The inflation of 2022 may have you rethinking your finances, living situation, and job security. If this is you, and you realize that you need more money, you may want to start a side hustle to go along with your current job. I’m talking about a side hustle that you can start with little experience or capital in 2023. I’m referring to starting up a cleaning business side hustle.
Everyone who has a residence, whether an apartment, a townhouse, a condo, or a house, needs it cleaned. Either they can clean it or hire someone to clean it. Just think about all the residences in your area; that should give you an idea of the size of the market for cleaners in your area. So if you’re interested in starting up a cleaning business side hustle, I have five things you should know before you start in 2023.
Starting Up a Cleaning Business in 2023
1. Pricing Your Cleaning Services
When starting up a cleaning business side hustle, more than likely, the biggest question you will have is how to price your cleaning services. Since the pandemic started and due to inflation, the cost of cleaning supplies and gas has gone up in price. In turn, this has caused the cost cleaners charge for cleaning services to go up as well.
So how do you set your cleaning service prices? Since I started a cleaning service, I have heard various ways to charge your clients for cleaning. You can charge by the hour, the house (flat rate based on an estimation of time to clean), or the square footage. When starting up a cleaning business side hustle, I recommend charging by the hour. Not only is this the easiest way for you, but it’s also easy for the client to understand and remember.
Calculating Your Prices
According to Thumbtack, the national average house cleaners charge is $45-$50 per hour. But this depends on where you live. To get a better idea of what house cleaners charge in your area, you can:
- Ask around, including your neighbors, friends, or anyone you know who has a house cleaner.
- Call local cleaning companies to find out what they charge to clean your house. Remember though, when talking to large cleaning companies, they usually charge higher rates because of the extensive overhead it takes to run their business.
- Research social media and online
Tip: Once you establish an overall price based on your hourly rate and the time it takes to clean your client’s home, charge the same price every time you clean their home.
In 2023, there’s really no set universal price to charge when you first start cleaning houses. You also won’t know how much, in the beginning, your fixed and variable costs will be but with more experience, you will learn and get better at how much to charge.
2. Time of the Year
The time of the year you choose to start a cleaning business side hustle can make a difference in the number of clients you get.
January/ Beginning of the Year
The residential cleaning industry tends to have a hangover from the holidays and the end of the previous year. Christmas time is a time of the year when most people will spend their money and use credit cards the most. By the beginning of the new year, they don’t have much discretionary income money to spend on cleaning, and by the end of January, their credit card bills will start showing up.
So if you plan on starting up a cleaning business side hustle at the beginning of the year, be aware that you may not have as many interested clients at that time. This doesn’t mean you won’t get any clients, but you may not get as many as you would at other times of the year, especially after going through the inflation we experienced in 2022.
As spring approaches, many people have paid down their Christmas debt and are thinking about spring cleaning. This is a great time to get out and tell people you are starting up a cleaning business side hustle.
Tip: When you first start, you may want to mention that you will clean anything (houses, apartments, garages, barns, etc.) to gain experience and get your name out there in your area.
Springtime through summer should give you a steady amount of clients needing cleanings. The only issue you may encounter is that people may take vacations, and depending on if they want you to come while they are gone may cause a dip in your income.
Fall/ End of the Year
If you haven’t started up a cleaning business by now, late fall is the time to do it. The residential cleaning industry tends to get very busy towards the end of the year around holidays. This is due to homeowners having family and friends over, and they want their homes to be clean and look nice. Of course, with everything going on during this time, they aren’t going to have time to clean themselves, so they hire someone.
So, on top of your regular cleanings, clients may book additional cleanings for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even New Year’s Eve. They could even have their home cleaned before and after each of these holidays. So there are multiple opportunities for you as a cleaner.
3. Cleaning Skills
Cleaning isn’t that hard of a skill to learn and do, but the more experience you have, the quicker and more efficient you will get at it. At the beginning of starting up your cleaning business, to get the experience you need, you should clean your house weekly like you are cleaning a client’s.
Along with cleaning skills, cleaning the same areas and things routinely in a house is very important. This can be done by creating a cleaning worksheet for basic or maintenance cleanings that contain all the rooms in a house and what you will clean in each room. Make sure to show it to your client. Then every time you are at the client’s home, clean what is on the worksheet.
Note: A new client recently contacted me to clean for her. She wanted a new house cleaner because the house cleaner she had wasn’t doing a good job of cleaning. When I cleaned her house using my cleaning worksheets she was very impressed and I gained a new client.
4. Reviews and Referrals
In the cleaning industry, referrals are pretty common and very effective. Some cleaning business owners have built large cleaning companies just from referrals. When starting up a cleaning business side hustle, referrals can get you the clients you need at almost no cost.
In my opinion, referrals are the most powerful marketing there is. You can post all you want on social media about yourself, but most people aren’t going to notice. It’s when someone else talks about and refers to you that people take notice.
I’m sure you have been contacted either by email or text for a review of a product or service after you have used it. It’s very common, and there are many platforms (aka citations) for leaving a review.
Google, Facebook, Yelp, and NextDoor.com are just a few. When starting up your cleaning business, set up profiles for yourself on these citations.
There is no better marketing for your business in 2023 than getting a five-star review or a referral from one of your clients. Not only are you not spending any money to get a new client, but you are also not spending much time marketing yourself like handing out fliers, posting on social media, creating ads, etc.
After landing a client or two, ask them if they know anyone who needs their house cleaned and to keep you in mind if they don’t know anyone right now. Then ask them if they can write a review for you. Make this as easy as possible for them to do by sending them a link that goes directly to your citations.
5. Customer Service and Communication
Running your own cleaning business side hustle is more than just cleaning. You need to do everything in the business and that means handling customer service and communication. In 2023, use technology, honesty, and timing to handle your customer service and communication.
Today’s technology, like text and email automation, can help save time for you but don’t forget that your clients are people, and you will need to communicate with them when situations and issues arise. Know when to use the correct type of communication. Ask yourself – Can this situation be handled by text, or do I need to talk to them over the phone or in person?
Most everyone knows to be honest but when I say be honest, I’m talking about no little white lies, embellishing, or downplaying the situation.
If you break something, number one, tell the client you broke it and number two tell how it was broken.
If you’re going to be late, give the client the best estimation of when you’re going to be at their home. Don’t tell them five minutes when you’re really 20 minutes away. Honest communication with your client can really help build trust and get you referrals from your clients.
Get back to your clients in a timely fashion. Don’t make them wait to hear back from you. For major issues and situations get back to them right away, for minor issues that don’t need an answer right away respond within at least 24 hours.
Situations and issues can arise quite often, whether it’s rescheduling, sickness, cancellations, broken items, locked homes, dirtier-than-usual homes, or pet issues. Using these three tips can help improve your customer service and communication skills with your clients and land you some referrals.
No matter if you’re just looking to earn some extra money, pay bills, pay down debt, start a savings account, save for something else, or even eventually build a large cleaning company, these five things are a great way to get you there.
Let’s forget about 2022, 2023 is a new year and going to be a great time for starting up a cleaning business side hustle!
If you’re interested in learning more about starting up a cleaning business side hustle check out my article – How to Start a Cleaning Business Side Hustle in 5 Steps That Can Make $2500 per Month Working Less than 20 Hours per Week