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General Cleaning Issues - Floorcare, car valeting, buying and selling businesses, pricing, staffing, market research, etc.

just starting out

Posted by twiceasclean (twiceasclean), 26 September 2003
hi everyone, just found this forum and it`s brilliant! myself and a friend are just starting our own cleaning business, so far we are only doing domestic but would like to go into office cleaning, i think  i`v got the answers to most of my question from this forum! but was just wondering where the best place to buy cleaning products are, we dont want cheap and nasty, but good products at a fair price,  we would be grateful for any tips , thanks  Smiley
Posted by Claire_Bennett (Claire_Bennett), 26 September 2003
Hi to you both and good luck with your new venture.

What is your location, I'm in Swindon Wiltshire and thinking about setting up domestic cleaning business, would love to share ideas with other like minded business - hopefully we are not in direct competition with one another  Smiley

It would be great to share ideas with one another re pricing, response rates from advertising, expanding, insurance issues etc - we could always send each other private messages if neccessary via this forum.

The window cleaning guys (and carpet cleaning aswell) have a great forum going and are very supportive of one another - they don't mind sharing tips and ideas but this forum seems a bit empty sometimes, let me know what you think  Wink

best wishes, Claire
Posted by martin_606 (martin_606), 26 September 2003
Hi to both of you.

I have not long since started myself and so far have done 3 cleans. The first one was a disaster and i almost gave up . The last two were great and i enjoyed them )if pulling god knows what from plugholes sounds like fun!) and I am just waiting to be paid.

At the moment i am doing one-off cleans for Letting agents (LA) and have received a contract from one whixh they say they have loads of work for me.

Next step is a carpet cleaning course

there is a wealth of info on this site, make sure you check back daily.

Good luck to both of you.

Regards

martin
Posted by twiceasclean (twiceasclean), 26 September 2003
thanks for your support, i`d be happy to share any tips with you (for what their worth!) we`v not got any insurance at the mo we are still looking into it all, we are based in the east midlands so dont think wer`e any threat to you! just got a couple of private houses at the mo, we are charging £6 per hour but following a tipfrom this forum phoned some cleaning businesses in this area and they are charging between £10-£13 per hourso think we might be under charging! having said that i do know a lady who`s been house cleaning for a while and she charges £6 so i dont know!!!
Posted by Mike_Boxall (Mike_Boxall), 26 September 2003
Hi
£6 per hour is certainly under priced, particularly if you are having to include the cost of materials in that. Even if you were buying all your materials from ourselves ( Wink) you would need to allow for them.
Have a look at our website and give us a call if you'd like a catalogue (new one due out in 3 weeks!)
Regards
Mike Boxall

ps you really should get the insurance sorted out before you do anything else!
Posted by Fox (Fox), 9 October 2003
Hi
I ran a domestic company in your area 3 yrs ago and now only do commercial the charge then was £8 per hour also I used to tell the householder that they were expected to supply the products - I explained this as "each persons house is individual and you know what works for yours"  It's much cheaper for you that way!
Good Luck
Posted by petra (petra), 9 October 2003
Hi
I charge £9 per hour for local (5 mile radius) then add £1 per mile.
But look at these prices http://www.mercurydirect.co.uk/new/homeclean.asp
I know alot of other local companies †have a minimum charge of £17.50 or minimum three hour and all that.
But when it comes to domestics i think it shoul be based on what you feel is fair and allows you to make money, not break even.
Petra
Posted by martin_606 (martin_606), 9 October 2003
Hi Guys

£6 per hour!

far too cheap, decide what you are worth instead of being the cheapest.  

checked out the mercury site...£120 for a six bed house one off clean...

Holy blocked plug holes Batman!

How on earth are they making any kind of profit. Down south here it is about 3-4 times that!

I agree with what a lot of people are saying on this forum. Don't go cheap, pay cheap and they will have to pay twice. there seems to be a lot of people making heaps of wedge in this industry. my feeling is that if you go too cheap you may not last the distance and is that what you feel you are really worth for what you are doing?

Best of luck and lets us all know how you are doing

Regards Cool

Martin
Posted by petra (petra), 9 October 2003
These guy charge a lot more, I know they do Ironing too, but the prices are a real profit maker
www.staycleanservices.co.uk/cleaning-and-ironing.htm
Petra
Ps I think I must be cheap
Posted by DP (DP), 9 October 2003
Ok this might sound boring, but its never too early to create a plan.

For those of you in established businesses, you will have to give me some slack and patience here, I know its the basis of a P&L account in its crudest sense, but it might just help someone who has never had to do this before.

Start by accessing your true costs, that includes all the time preparing, door knocking, talking on the phone etc not just the on site hours and the amounts you pay others.

Then think of the future costs, i.e advertising, vehicles petrol, insurance, training, equipment and materials that you think you will need.

Remember to escalate these costs according to your projected growth on a month by month basis for a period of 12 months

Now this is hard if you have nothing to refer to yet, however try and find something out in each category if you can, if you cant then just guess as its not too important at the mo.

Finally add a sensible profit say around the 20% or whatever you feel it should be.

At the same time do another 12 month period envisaging how many jobs you think you may get on an increasing scale including each type of job and the hours involved and any other type of profit centre like materials etc

Finally start multiplying the profit centers (hours/materials etc) by £ notes then deduct one total from the other, that will be your perceived income for the year (less your tax/ni etc) and should have a marked influence on your charge out costs, and a starting point.

All of this will be inaccurate at this stage, but will form the basis of your plan, read it every day, take it to bed with you, learn it off by heart.

Now the key to this is to RECORD EVERYTHING, every job, hours spent, materials used, unexpected costs and start to adjust your plan with these now known facts every day, donít go to bed unless you do.

You can then see how far out you were and start projecting what you need to do to correct it before the mistakes have a chance to become a problem.

You need to get used to doing this as sooner or later your accounts will depend on it.

To the established amongst you who would post after this, BE KIND †Wink  Im frail!

DP.

Posted by petra (petra), 9 October 2003
This is why I desiged a spreadsheet, It does help and now i'm hard at work trying to design a databse that allows me to check the volume of chemicals used on each seperate site.
If any of you want a copy of my spreadsheet feel free to email me for it
Kiss
Petra
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 10 October 2003
Hi

Interesting debate... I pick up on Mike's point that really Insurance should be high on your list of priorities.

Remember that PL (Public Liability) cover is mandatory but it doesn't cover the item you are working on...you need an additional 'all risks' section for that.

Health and Safety is another important issue that can't be ignored...it's backed by Criminal Law..serious stuff.

Requirements are changing almost daily so keep informed

Derek
Posted by Fox (Fox), 10 October 2003
Best way to keep informed is to join your local Chamber of Commerce http://www.cw-chamber.co.uk membership is very reasonable they have a free legal help line and will keep you updated on all legislation plus good networking events. V useful.
Posted by petra (petra), 10 October 2003
You can get good H&S Courses at Learn direct...and for a bit of first aid BBC.

Posted by twiceasclean (twiceasclean), 11 October 2003
hi everyone, thanks for all your help, we just been to see a job, it was a mansion that must have been worth a million, surfice to say they werent short of a bob or two! anyway they live quite a way out in a remote part of country so we said £8 per hour, she nearly choked and said she was thinking of £5! she is absolutely desperate for help, but she still wont pay! how do you get people to pay a fair price for a good job! they seem to think cleaning is unimportant and dont want to part with their money!
Posted by STEVE71163 (Steve Lowe), 11 October 2003
Its frustrating when people are like this isn't it. We have had a few like this over the years and i  just walk away otherwise i might as well go and get a job in Tescos for £5 an hour and get all the other benefits they get. We went to give an estimate recently for office cleaning and they were the same. They were complaining about their existing contractors but you only get what you pay for. Roll Eyes

Steve Lowe
Posted by sshcc (sshcc), 12 October 2003
hello claire in swindon im jo in lincoln i have just started my own household cleaning company too. my flyers are about to go out with a local rag who charge a nominal fee for delivering 5,500 flyers. i will let you know how i get on! im extremely positive and very excited!  and probably totally over prepared! but that is me!on 09/26/03 at 10:35:46, Claire_Bennett wrote:
Hi to you both and good luck with your new venture.

What is your location, I'm in Swindon Wiltshire and thinking about setting up domestic cleaning business, would love to share ideas with other like minded business - hopefully we are not in direct competition with one another †Smiley

It would be great to share ideas with one another re pricing, response rates from advertising, expanding, insurance issues etc - we could always send each other private messages if neccessary via this forum.

The window cleaning guys (and carpet cleaning aswell) have a great forum going and are very supportive of one another - they don't mind sharing tips and ideas but this forum seems a bit empty sometimes, let me know what you think †Wink

best wishes, Claire


Posted by petra (petra), 13 October 2003
Jo
Hope you have great sucess with the flyer's, speculate to accumilate.
Petra


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