Whether you are young or a senior, male or female house cleaning is an easy low-tech small business that can be very profitable full-time or used as a part-time way to supplement your income. You will become a trusted asset to the customers you service and your work will be much appreciated. I have found this to be a very rewarding and recession proof way to make a living.
Additionally, this is a repeat small business. Once you build a customer list they will expect your services weekly or bi-weekly far into the future. I have some customers who I've been with for 13 years. Also, housekeeping is a personal service and your clients will treat you with trust and respect. You are in their homes, working unsupervised, you will have door keys and security code access and be trusted around valuables.
Another great benefit of this small business is it's Monday through Friday. No nights or weekends. You can also schedule your own vacations and time off by simply notifying your customers in advance. The only requirement to succeed is that you are or consider yourself to be a clean and neat housekeeper. You will simply start getting paid to do the same chore for your customers. Of course a strong desire to earn money or to be self-employed helps greatly.
The first step is to let the world know you are hanging out your shingle and ready for business. This is easy, I simply had 500 fliers printed and passed them all out in several affluent neighborhoods. You can shamelessly mimic the ads of services that advertise online or in the yellow pages. I use Kinko's for printing fliers. You can hang them on mail boxes, slip them into doorways, place under car wiper blades etc. Also, I placed a small 3 line ad in the Service Guide of my local newspaper. When I started house cleaning free sites like craigslist did not exist. You should place some ads on that excellent site.
Basically that's all the marketing that needs to be done and it works quickly, especially the fliers. Now you need to know how to sell a customer when your phone rings with a prospect. I suggest you write out a phone script in advance, just like the telemarketers use. Practice this script until you can say it in a natural and relaxed tone. Then write out separately, replies to any objections/questions the prospect may have.
Question: How much do you charge?
Answer: My fee is flexible, what's in your budget?
Always try to answer a question with a question. You are selling your services.
Question: Do you change the bed linens?
Answer: Would you like to have your linens changed weekly?
To close the sale after all the questions have been asked and answered, just say "What day of the week is best for you?" When they answer, you have made an easy sale and added a valuable customer to your list.
You will need some basic equipment to do the house cleaning. You probably already own a vacuum cleaner, an upright type is best, I like the Hoover brand, but any will do to start. I actually used my customers vacuums for three months before buying one of my own. A plastic pail is needed to carry the cleaning supplies like spray bottles of Windex, Mr. Clean, Tilex and Soft Scrub, Comet or Ajax, Pledge and some cleaning towels. Walmart or Home Depot both have good prices on cleaning agents.
These supplies travel from room to room with you and are best kept together in your pail. All of this can easily fit into the trunk or back of your vehicle. One tip that can save you money is that some customers prefer you use their favorite cleaning agents. So, just have them keep a good supply on hand, saving you some dollars.
You should lay out a game plan for cleaning the house. For instance, I do all the bathrooms first. Then change linens and make beds, then dust or polish furniture, collecting waste cans as I go. Next I do the kitchen including the floor. All that's left is to vacuum the carpets and rugs and Windex any entrance way window. Having a set cleaning routine is more efficient and gives consistent results and you won't forget details or be back tracking and wasting steps.
Tip: Always vacuum carpets starting at the farthest corner of the room from the entrance and work back out of that door. You won't leave any foot prints in the carpet.
Most customers will not be home when you arrive, some prefer to be gone and out of the way. You should instruct them to leave your check or cash on the kitchen counter and a key in a secret hiding place if they have not given you one to keep. It is a good idea to call the night before with a quick reminder that their cleaning day is here so that you don't find yourself locked out.
House cleaning offers a steady income from customers you will get to know and like. They will show their gratitude with gifts of cash or presents on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Often, when they are redecorating you will be offered first choice of fine furniture or given no longer used or wanted items of good quality and value.
Please take the first step and get those 500 fliers printed and distributed immediately. Place a short classified in your local paper and get on craigslist. The rest will be easy...Good Luck