How to Start a House Cleaning Business on a Tight Budget

“If you use Emotion and Love to drive your sales and your business, you will create Loyalty Beyond Reason. And I promise you, you will build relationships and enjoy a business that exceeds beyond your wildest expectations”

First of all, before you decide to start your cleaning business, make sure this kind of work is right for you. You will need to be in good physical condition. Cleaning is very hard strenuous work. You will need to have good customer relation skills. You will need to have basic office skills and some accounting skills.

If you are planning on leaving your full time position to start a cleaning business, make sure you have at least six months of savings. Or keep your full time job and start out part time.

Research all the aspects of the cleaning service business. From customer service to advertising, taxes, employees, insurance and bonding, what to charge and how to clean a home professionally. Cleaning your own home and cleaning professionally is totally different. Learning how to clean professionally takes a lot of time. When a client pays for your services they expect to come home and find their home spotless.

Getting those first clients takes time, persistence and patience. You will not get a hundred clients overnight.

Obtaining Those First Clients The hardest part of starting your own cleaning service is obtaining those first clients. Most clients want to know how long you have been in business and want references. The best thing to do is let clients know that, yes, you are new to the business but that you have thoroughly researched all aspects of the cleaning business and assure them that you know what you are doing and that you are quit capable of cleaning their home to their specifications. Be confident. I can’t stress this enough. Clients love to see confidence. It relieves their worries and lets them know that their home is in good hands.

References: To get a few good references when starting out, ask some friends or family members if you can clean their home for free or at a discounted rate. The sound of working for free may not be appealing but it will be worth it to get some good testimonials.

When cleaning those first homes, go for quality, not how fast you can clean the home. Cleaning efficiently takes a long time, but you will get to the point where you can do a thorough cleaning in a short time. After cleaning make sure you go back and double check all rooms to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Impress those first clients and word of mouth will spread soon.

Advertising Your company image is everything. Before you start advertising, decide what image you want to portray on your advertising material. Your image is very important. Be consistent with all your advertising. If you have a logo be sure to use it on all your advertising materials. I think it is best to have a website developed before you start advertising. When advertising, stick with the same logo and colors.

Advertise in Local Paper: Start by running a text ad in your local newspaper. Try to come up with an eye catching ad. Do not sell your services on low rates, sell your services on your quality of work and what you can do for the client that other companies don’t. There is a lot of competition in the cleaning service. You have to stand out from the rest.

Magnetic Signs or Lettering for your Vehicle: Having your business name and contact information on your vehicle is a great way to advertise. We use the vinyl lettering. The lettering looks much more professional than the magnetic signs.

Flyers: You can print nice flyers on your home computer, but I would suggest investing in some professional flyers. Hang flyers at Hair Dressers, Laundromats, Restaurants, Bakeries, Grocery Stores, etc. Put flyers on car windows at local groceries stores and businesses. You can even go door to door in neighborhoods you would like to work in. You cannot put them in mailboxes. but you can put them in the front door.

Door Hangers: Door hangers are a great way to get new clients. Pick the neighborhood you would like to work in and hang the door hangers on the doors. When people get flyers or ads in their mailbox they usually throw them away with the junk mail. But if there is a door hanger on the door they will take the time to look at it.

Business Cards: Start passing out your business cards to friends and family members. You can also ask your local businesses if you can leave some cards on their counters.

Referral Program: A great way to obtain new clients is through a referral program. Offer existing clients a discount when they refer a friend. You can give your existing clients a discount when the friend uses your services three times.

Website: These days people live very busy lives so they use the convenience of the internet to shop for the services they need. A lot of working women will shop for services while at work. Everyone that has a business should have a website. It shows clients that you are serious about your business and allows them research your business in their own time.

Cleaning Products: By using all natrual products, you can offer your clients a healthy cleaning experience and protect ourselves against harsh chemicals. Clients love the natural cleaning products with essential oils. They come home to a healthy clean home filled with the wonderful scents of aromatherapy essential oils.

Tip: Always carry hand sanitizer and wash your hands often while cleaning homes. Wear gloves when cleaning bathrooms. You will be exposed to a lot of different germs in clients homes.

Remember most customers prefer that you bring your own cleaning supplies. That way they do not have to worry about going to the store for cleaning supplies before you clean. Some customers have special cleaners for certain appliances or floors in their houses. These customers usually will have these cleaners on hand for you to use. We almost always use the customers vacuum cleaner. That way you do not have to carry a heavy vacuum from house to house.

What to Charge I mentioned earlier that you should sell your services on your quality of work and not your low rates. If your rates are too low, clients will think that your work is sub-standard and that you are not experienced. Also you want to attract the clients that can afford your services. I made the mistake of pricing my work too low when I first started out. Cleaning is hard work, charge what you are worth. As the old saying goes “You get what you pay for.”

Some companies charge by the hour, some charge by the room, some charge a flat rate per home and some charge by the square foot. I think it is better to charge by the home, not by the hour. If a client knows they have to pay one set fee, they don’t care if you take 2 hours or 5 hours. Also your clients will know what they are paying up front and won’t have to worry about added expenses.

No two houses are the same. And there is no set charge for all homes. You have to clean for awhile yourself to get some experience and to work out a system to clean efficiently. Only you know what you want and need to make. Decide what you need to make hourly to cover all expenses and still make a good profit.

A word of advise: Make sure when you start your company that you charge what you would charge if you had employees. Some people make the mistake of under charging when they start out just to get customers and then later on when they grow and need to hire help they aren’t making enough money on their houses to pay help. Don’t under price your work. Cleaning homes is very hard physical work and you didn’t get into this business to work for nothing.

New Construction Cleaning If you decide to do this type of work you will need more equipment. You will need ladders, window cleaning kits with long extensions, a shop vac, etc. These types of jobs are usually 2 to 3 person jobs. New construction cleaning requires a lot more cleaning. You may have to remove stickers and labels from windows and bathroom showers, sinks and toilets. Some require that you clean the vents to remove dust from construction work. There will be ceiling fans to clean, scrubbing floors, and cleaning woodwork to remove dust. New construction cleaning rates depend on the area you live in.

Insurance and Bonding. You need to be an honest person and somewhat personable. People will need to trust you to be in their homes. Most clients are concerned about having someone new in their house, with good reason. You should be bonded and fully insured. Liability insurance rates depend on your insurance carrier and where you are located. Each person you hire will increase your liability insurance. It’s well worth the cost. You can pay quarterly or yearly. You can purchase your bond through your local insurance company. You will need to renew the bond every year. *Note: if you hire employees and cover them under your insurance, they must be an employee on payroll and not a sub-contractor. If you employ them as a sub-contractor your insurance will not cover them. If they are a sub-contractor they are required to carry their own insurance. You

Hiring Help If you start out cleaning the homes by yourself, you will eventually get to the point where you need to expand your business. Start out with one part time employee. Train her and let her take your place one day a week. Then have her take your place 2 days a week and so on. This will give you the free time that you need to market your business and obtain more clients. After you get more clients you will be able to hire more part time help. Eventually you will be able to stop doing the cleaning yourself and just run the business end, which is the only way you will be able to grow your business. When training new employees, always, either train them yourself or have a lead person train them. Make sure there is a lead person on each and every cleaning job. Employees have a tendency to slack off when they are on their own.

Growing Your Business You will eventually get to the point where you have enough employees and lead people and you will be able to stop working in your business and start running your business. You will find that after awhile it will get to be too much trying to clean everyday and at the same time giving estimates, answering calls, scheduling, doing book work, obtaining new clients, etc.

Remember one of the most important qualifications for a cleaning service is TRUST. A client has to know they can trust you alone in their home. After you acquire a few cleaning positions ask the clients if you can use them for a reference. Most of the time they are more than willing to let you use them for a reference. This is how you build your business and acquire new clients is through referrals. Be dependable. Most clients will want to be set up on an every week or every other week schedule on the same day of the week. Try to always keep this same schedule unless the client asks you to switch to another day. If you have to cancel a cleaning date, make sure you try to reschedule at the earliest possible date to make up the cleaning.

Unethical Search Engine Optimization Explained

If you've ever thought about hiring a professional search engine optimization (SEO) consultant or read about SEO as a subject then you may have seen the term "black hat" mentioned. Let's take a closer look at what black hat SEO really means.

To begin with, we'll revisit what is meant by the term search engine optimization (SEO). SEO referers to methods that improve search engine rankings for a particular website. Techniques can vary but will often involve making the most of the website by ensuring that its content and structure appeal to search engines, as well as visitors.

There are various schools of thought on how best to carry out such optimization. As far as the major search engines are concerned, there are ethical methods of improving search engine rankings and unethical methods.

Within the professional search engine community, ethical techniques are known as "white hat", while techniques that are viewed as unethical have been labeled "black hat".

White Hat SEO involves making the best use of the structure and content of the website to improve rankings. Black Hat techniques will often involve trying to fool a search engine into believing that a particular website is more relevant or highly regarded than it actually is.

Examples of Black Hat methods may include cloaking, which is where a search engine is effectively shown a different version of a website to visitors. Other techniques would include employing hidden text and links.

Although Black Hat SEO can have some impressive results, the major search engines are constantly trying to clamp down on such methods, banning websites who employ them.

For long-term results, ethical White Hat methods are the most effective.

Will a Domain Search Lead to Someone Else Stealing My Domain Name?

Over the years I have come across a few people who believe that if they search for domain names using any of the domain registrars on the internet there are people ready to steal their domain name ideas. This thinking believes that if you are going to search for a domain name for your new venture, you better be ready to register that domain name on the spot or risk having someone else see that you looked up the domain name and register it ahead of you…

So is this possible?

The short answer is no. Unfortunately though, it isn’t necessarily so simple. There are ways that someone could use to see what you are doing online and take action based on what you did. These methods would require at least one of three things. Either a keylogger that can track everything you type into your computer (usually delivered via a virus or spyware), a page that has been hacked to capture your details or a phishing scam where someone creates a web page that looks like a legitimate domain registrar but is in fact a cleverly devised page to capture your domain name ideas.

How likely are any of these options? The best protection from a keylogger is to have a recently updated anti-virus program. Hacked websites are a little harder to be able to detect. It is also much more rare. While it is possible for you to land on a domain registrars website that has been hacked, it is unlikely. A close cousin to a hacked website is running into a well designed phishing scam. I am not aware of any phishing scam centered around the registration of domain names. This doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but I’m not aware of any such scams.

So how can you protect yourself for scam artists?

Visit sites that you can trust. Look for websites that don’t look like they have been thrown together by a child. Make sure you are protecting your computer with a good anti-virus program. Don’t click on links found in emails to go to a website, instead, type in the web address directly to reduce the chance of being fooled.

I counsel you to do your domain name brainstorming searches in peace. Know that stealing domain names is uncommon. If a domain you have identified as available gets registered between the time you do an availability search and the time you try to register it, it very well may be chalked up to the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people registering domains worldwide at any given time. If the domain name you looked at was an especially good one, chances are someone else would think so too.

Examples Of Spyware And What They Are

Spyware is a general term used to describe software that performs certain behaviors such as advertising, collecting personal information, or changing the configuration of your computer, generally without appropriately obtaining your consent first.

Spyware is often associated with software that displays advertisements (called adware) or software that tracks personal or sensitive information.

That does not mean all software that provides ads or tracks your online activities is bad. For example, you might sign up for a free music service, but you “pay” for the service by agreeing to receive targeted ads. If you understand the terms and agree to them, you may have decided that it is a fair tradeoff. You might also agree to let the company track your online activities to determine which ads to show you.

Other kinds of Spyware make changes to your computer that can be annoying and can cause your computer slow down or crash.

These programs can change your Web browsers home page or search page, or add additional components to your browser you don’t need or want. These programs also make it very difficult for you to change your settings back to the way you originally had them.

The key in all cases is whether or not you (or someone who uses your computer) understand what the software will do and have agreed to install the software on your computer.

There are a number of ways Spyware or other unwanted software can get on your computer. A common trick is to covertly install the software during the installation of other software you want such as a music or video file sharing program.

Any software that covertly gathers user information through the user’s Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. Spyware applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet; however, it should be noted that the majority of shareware and freeware applications do not come with SpyWare. Once installed, the Spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else. Spyware can also gather information about e-mail addresses and even passwords and credit card numbers

Aside from the questions of ethics and privacy, SpyWare steals from the user by using the computer’s memory resources and also by eating bandwidth as it sends information back to the spy ware’s home base via the user’s Internet connection. Because SpyWare is using memory and system resources, the applications running in the background can lead to system crashes or general system instability.

Because SpyWare exists as independent executable programs, they have the ability to monitor keystrokes, scan files on the hard drive, snoop other applications, such as chat programs or word processors, install other SpyWare programs, read cookies, change the default home page on the Web browser, consistently relaying this information back to the SpyWare author who will either use it for advertising/marketing purposes or sell the information to another party.

Licensing agreements that accompany software downloads sometimes warn the user that a SpyWare program will be installed along with the requested software, but the licensing agreements may not always be read completely because the notice of a SpyWare installation is often couched in obtuse, hard-to-read legal disclaimers.

Examples of SpyWare

These common SpyWare programs illustrate the diversity of behaviors found in these attacks. Note that as with computer viruses, researchers give names to SpyWare programs which may not be used by their creators. Programs may be grouped into “families” based not on shared program code, but on common behaviors, or by “following the money” of apparent financial or business connections. For instance, a number of the SpyWare programs distributed by Claria are collectively known as “Gator”. Likewise, programs which are frequently installed together may be described as parts of the same SpyWare package, even if they function separately.

o CoolWebSearch, a group of programs, takes advantage of Internet Explorer vulnerabilities. The package directs traffic to advertisements on Web sites including coolwebsearch.com. It displays pop-up ads, rewrites search engine results, and alters the infected computer’s hosts file to direct DNS lookups to these sites.

o Internet Optimizer, also known as DyFuCa, redirects Internet Explorer error pages to advertising. When users follow a broken link or enter an erroneous URL, they see a page of advertisements. However, because password-protected Web sites (HTTP Basic authentication) use the same mechanism as HTTP errors, Internet Optimizer makes it impossible for the user to access password-protected sites.

o Zango (formerly 180 Solutions) transmits detailed information to advertisers about the Web sites which users visit. It also alters HTTP requests for affiliate advertisements linked from a Web site, so that the advertisements make unearned profit for the 180 Solutions Company. It opens pop-up ads that cover over the Web sites of competing companies.

o HuntBar, aka WinTools or Adware,WebSearch was installed by an ActiveX drive-by download at affiliate Web sites, or by advertisements displayed by other SpyWare programs-an example of how SpyWare can install more SpyWare. These programs add toolbars to IE, track aggregate browsing behavior, redirect affiliate references, and display advertisements.

oZlob Trojan or just Zlob, Downloads itself to your computer via ActiveX codec and reports information back to Control Server. Some information can be as your search history, the Websites you visited, and even Key Strokes.