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Ways To Make Money From : Cleaning


WHILE CLEANING ISN’T everyone’s ideal job, it offers a means for anyone to make some money. There are tried and tested opportunities such as doing people’s house work or setting up an agency, along with plenty of lucrative niche areas where you can charge big money for cleaning anything from carpet to chandeliers.

Though cleaning firms are numerous in most areas, there is always room for more. If you build on your customer base by virtue of your prices/quality and good relationships with the satisfied clients, thus generating repeat commissions and personal recommendations, you can clean up. Here are 20 of the best cleaning opportunities you can start today:

  1. House cleaning

The pressure of coping with jobs and family can leave little time for housework, and many people are prepared to pay highly for the luxury of avoiding domestic chores, so there’s never been a better time to start a house cleaning service.

It’s a perfect part-time business, being both flexible and cheap to start, and is ideal for anyone with time on their hands. Working on your own or with a friend you can keep your overheads low and work hours to suit your clients.

For the professional touch, get some business cards and flyers printed – you can post them through letterboxes and hand them to potential customers.

If you do through work and ask satisfied customers to recommend you, you’ll succeed. Average fees are $5-$10 per hour.

  1. Inter-move house cleaning

Anyone moving out of a house will want to make sure it is cleans and tidy – not always possible when you’re trying to shift boxes, furniture and other household oddments. By the same token, people want the house they’re moving into to be clean. So there’s obviously a need for an inter-move cleaning service, ensuring floors, ceilings, skirting boards and son on are spotless.

The way to secure work is to approach estate agents. Although they’ll want a commission, they’ll inform you when anyone is about to move house and may even deal with bookings.

With each house you can charge a split fee of $40, both of the party moving out and the party moving in: Total revenue $80. If you give $10 each of two helpers for a couple of hours work assisting you, you’ll still be left with $50 in your pocket once you’ve paid the estate agent $10 commission. Do five houses a week and you have a lucrative part-time business!

  1. Post-construction cleaning

Take the last idea a step further and clean new homes. Once construction has been completed the builders are obliged to tidy up the site, but the property will still be far from spotless – which is where you could step in.

The same methods and charges apply as for inter-move cleaning. The only difference is that you get work by approaching building firms as well as estate agents.

  1. Cleaning agency

Starting your own agency has the advantage in that you don’t necessarily have to do any scrubbing yourself.

First you must hire a team of reliable and hardworking cleaners. Housewives, students, people with part-time jobs looking for extra work, and even fit pensioners can be recruited through ads in local newspapers and shops, and through flyers posted through doors and handed out in the street.

Next comes advertising for clients. The two main markets are businesses and private households, although you can also pitch for more specialized work, such as carpet cleaning. Again, use newspaper/shop ads and flyers to get clients, followed up by a personal phone call. Aim to meet with the business manager (this won’t be necessary with private households) to discuss a permanent contract. Your task is then to match up your staff with each job, and continuing your search for new clients.

You make money by taking a commission on each contract. Since contracts will usually be ongoing, or subject to revue annually, you can earn a healthy income from repeat trade, thus cutting down your workload.

Posing as a customer, contact other cleaning agencies in the area to find out what they charge. You can then set your charges slightly lower, or offer an improved service.

By building up a reliable, professional operation and encouraging clients to recommend your service to others and you can soon develop a strong business.

Instead of running your own agency you could purchase a franchise from SelClene (0181 968 4013) or Molly Maid (01753 523388). Having a trade name the public recognizes could be an advantage.

  1. Carpet cleaning

Practically every carpet needs a thorough steam cleaning every couple of years to prolong its life and keep it looking at its best, so this service is always going to make money.

Steam cleaners are easy to use and can be hired from any Janitorial supply centre, who will also supply the detergents and instructions of use. So this isn’t a costly business, and you can buy (and hire out, if you wish) your own cleaner once established.

Although you may get a few private household client, the best route to success is to target firms, who often have large expanses of carpet that must be cleaned regularly. Effort and imagination will be required when getting clients initially – dropping flyers and making personal calls in your neighborhood is a good way to start – then you can expand when you have a solid client base.

  1. Upholstery cleaning

Upholstered armchairs, suites and car seat’s also need a thorough clean every two years or so. Again, you can offer a personal service that saves people the effort of doing the job themselves.

Take advice from professionals on the cleaning process and detergents to use (these shouldn’t to be expensive). Target your marketing at local households and well-off ‘office’ businesses once you’re suitably experienced.

  1. Auto detailing

Auto detailing is far more than simply cleaning cars. You are giving them the personal attention that car washes can’t provide. Hence you can charge anything from $4 per char for a basic wash and wax, up to $30 per hour for a full valeting inside and out.

You could start out on a casual basis washing friends’ and neighbours’ cars on their driveways. Then approach smart businesses grouped together (on industrial estates, business parks etc.) and offer to clean employees’ cars parked outside. They generally like to keep their cars parked outside. They generally like to keep their cars looking smart and they will benefit from the convenience, saving them the bother of queuing up at the local car wash once a week. You can deal with each employee individually or get a block booking through the firm, securing a steady income by negotiating to return every week or fortnight and building up a regular round. Once established you could get teenagers and pensioners to clean for you.

An alternative is to approach petrol stations without car washing facilities and offer to provide a forecourt car wash service. If you pay them a commission on each job for the use of their space they should agree to it, since they will be able to offer their customers a more comprehensive range of services.

The potential earnings aren’t bad: wash just 40 cars a week at the minimum $4 and you’ve made $160. But some customers will want the full valeting treatment at $30, so your average weekly wage might be well over $400.

  1. Car cleaning promotions service

A profitable add-on to the above is to work for shops, Insurance brokers and the like by cleaning the cars of their customers.

Being able to offer a free car wash to customers is an excellent promotional device. Sell this service to local retailers and firms.

  1. Gutter cleaning

Cleaning gutters is something few people even consider. This is why they regularly get blocked and fall into disrepair, and why there’s a demand for people with the willingness to shin up a ladder and get their hands dirty to clean them.

You’ll need a vehicle equipped with a ladder, bucket, gloves, broom, and extendable rods for poking up drainpipes to remove leaves and other debris. Charge an hourly rate anywhere between $15 and $30, multiplied by the time it takes to complete each job.

Get work by making personal calls on houses in moderately affluent areas, and on office developments. Approach your local council too. It isn’t easy to find contractors to do such a specialized job, so if your price is right you can look forward to lucrative ongoing work.

Earn extra cash by mending guttering and installing leaf guards

  1. Boat hull cleaning and valeting

This is lucrative and enjoyable opportunity for any fit person in love with water and boats.

The hulls of yachts and other small sailing craft must be cleaned regularly, which means putting them into dry dock – a costly exercise that leaves owners boat less for a period. You could provide a cost-effective, hassle-free alternative by donning diving gear and removing barnacles and other accumulated gunk from underneath boats while they are moored in the harbor or marina.

This service is cheap one to offer, requiring only diving and snorkeling gear, cleaning brushes and basic cleaning products. Contact marine supply stores to find out more about the cleaning process and products available.

When you’re ready, advertise by targeting local marinas and leaving business cards on the boats. Also, get people to recommend you to others. Once you have a roster of clients, send annual reminder for a re-cleaning.

If you want to avoid the water start a boat valeting service – this can be marketed the same way.

  1. Cleaning suspended ceilings

Most offices, and many shops, warehouses and clubs, have suspended ceilings consisting of small plastic fire retardant panels. These must be cleaned every few years as dust, dirt and grease gradually builds up.

This isn’t a job for just anyone, since you need the right chemicals (the wrong ones could affect the panels’ resistance to fire) and equipment. Happily, learning the work is easy, the equipment required is inexpensive and easy to obtain, and there is a substantial demand for this service.

Even better are the wages – average earnings are $200 an hour.

  1. Cleaning graffiti

Graffiti remains an ugly problem in most towns and cities, so this service will be welcome. You may be able to solicit one-off jobs from businesses and home owners with graffiti on their property.

If it is persistent problem, stress that the best way to put the perpetrators off is to keep clearing their ‘work’ up. This may help you get ongoing business from your clients. Local councils may also be able to offer you a contract.

The simplest way to clean graffiti is to wash the affected area and paint over it. However, graffiti-proof surfaces are common nowadays, whereby it can be sprayed off using solvents. Janitorial suppliers and DIY stores will advise you on the correct equipment, paint and chemicals to use.

  1. Shoe shining stand

This is coming back in a big way. All you need to start is a couple of brushes, some polish, a box or foot stool, and a plastic leg protector (to prevent soiling people’s socks and trousers with polish).

It’s easy and quick work: it takes about two minutes to clean someone’s shoes before you move onto the next customer.

Despite its down-market image, the way to be successful is to wear smart clothing and to operate in upmarket streets and shopping centres. Another possibility is to set up outside stations, theaters and cinemas.

Carry with you a sign for displaying your name and prices, a range of replacement shoe laces, and a jar for tips.

  1. Hairpiece cleaning

Since this is a job for specialist, there’s little competition around. Consult wig manufacturers and retailers to find out how to clean them professionally. You can then operate a discrete cleaning service by mail order.

Get custom by leaving business cards in hairpiece shops and placing ads in magazines that cater for older people. Select the right publications and you’ll soon be in profit, since wig cleaning isn’t cheap.

  1. Swimming pool cleaning

You don’t just get pool cleaners in Australia and California. In the UK they are needed by well-off private households and by public swimming pools.

It’s not a job for a novice, but you can learn the trade by speaking to pool manufacturers and cleaning firms. You’ll need chemicals, brushes, a skimmer and a chemical testing kit. When you’re sufficiently educated, call on private houses likely to have their own pool, having first checked with the going rate for cleaning is.

Tip: aerial maps will show you which houses have them – try local libraries and bookshops.

Contact leisure centres, local councils and public pools, as they may offer you a contract if you can undercut their current firm (if they have one). To boost income, do maintenance work such as repairing cracked tiles, and sell accessories such as water filters, heaters, pool covers, diving boards, non-slip matting and lighting. Sauna and Jacuzzi cleaning are other profitable options.

  1. Cleaning blinds and shades

Most businesses these days, and a number of homes too, have blinds and shades instead of curtains.

Getting them clean is dusty and time consuming work – not a job for anyone wearing a suit. It is best handled by a specialist blind cleaner who has the right equipment.

You’ll need a hoover, cloths, detergent, a tool kit for repairs, and a bling cleaning brush called a tricket – all available from hardware shops. You clean each individual slat with the tricket, hoover up the dust and scrub the slat with detergent. Do the same with every slat, plus the head box, and put the blind back together.

Explain to firms the benefits of using a professional bling cleaner (improved life/ looks of blind, quick and thorough service) and market your service as widely as possible.

  1. Chimney sweeping

This didn’t die out in the Victorian era, but is still going strong. It’s dirty work and does require experience, but is consistently in demand, since chimneys must be inspected and cleaned at least once a year as soot build up can be hazardous. Chimney sweeping pays extremely well too.

To learn the trade it is best to work with someone already in the business, then branch out on your own when ready. A classified ad placed regularly in the local paper is a cost-effective way to generate custom. It’s also a good idea to distribute flyers to landlords and property agencies, and homes with chimneys in well off areas.

  1. Cleaning and polishing chandeliers

Chandeliers look fantastic when clean and shiny, but looks less than wonderful when covered in years’ worth of dust and grease. You can help restore them to their original brilliance by offering a chandelier cleaning service. They are still common in hotels, public buildings and large houses, and the service is in demand because people either don’t know how to clean them or find them hard to reach.

It’s not difficult work if you have the necessary equipment: step ladder, mini-hoover, drop cloths buckets, rags, cleaning solution, wire, tool box and an instant camera. Most chandeliers can be dusted and spray cleaned while in position. Others may need to be removed so you can clean the crystals individually by hand. It’s good idea to photograph the chandelier beforehand so you know where to put each crystal.

This is a specialized service that commands hefty fees.

  1. Garage and tool cleaning

Keeping garages, sheds, greenhouses, and the tools within them clean is the least enjoyable part of gardening and DIY which is why you hear people saying things like “I’ll tidy it up next week”. The job gets put off and invariably doesn’t get done. Why not save people the trouble by doing the work for them – for a fee of course!

Anyone hard working, handy, and with a few hours spare each week could offer this service, which might involve removing oil stains, putting rubbish in the bin, getting rid of accumulated leaves and spider webs, cleaning up tools and garden implements and putting them in their rightful place, and similar tasks so long as you leave the place spotless your customers will keep asking you back.

Get work by making door-to-door calls in your neighborhood and take it from there.

  1. Window cleaning

People sneer at washing windows because ‘anyone can do it’, but it’s still a good earner.

The work is easy enough – you’ll need a vehicle, ladder, buckets, detergent and T-bar (like a car windscreen wiper) with extension poles.

The hard part is getting initial customers. When building up your round, aim to speak with the head of the household / manager of the shop or business, to ask them if they need a regular window cleaner. Make sure you look smart and presentable, and deal with people in a friendly manner – this will give you an advantage over your competitors.

Get some business cards printed up, that you can hand to people if they ‘need more time to think’, and call back on them a fortnight or so later. Offering half price rates to new customers may help generate trade.

Charge the same rates as other window cleaners locally – $5 per house is the approximate going rate and aim to call on customers regularly. You’ll find that customers are fairly loyal (for this reason you needn’t worry about stealing someone else’s, since you’ll be finding new ones, or ones who are dissatisfied with their current cleaner), so anyone presentable who offers a decent and reliable service can do well.

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