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No matter how advanced society becomes, some business ideas will always be evergreen, like offering a restroom cleaning service. If you’re wanting to get into the business of cleaning for commercial clients, then having a niche is smart planning. Whether businesses like it or not, their restroom is a revealing look at how they enforce cleanliness and hygiene, especially in the food industry. A savvy entrepreneur can really capitalize on that, if they’ve got the right marketing plan paired with great standards.
Visit your regional small business services or Chamber of Commerce for information on local standards and permits required for businesses. After that, talk to your county or state Department of Health to see what their requirements are for commercial restroom hygiene services. You’ll need to know what industry-approved cleaning agents are permissible, and what agents are dictated by the businesses in question, since standards may vary regionally depending on their use, such as restrooms that are staff-only or for public use.
Beyond the health and safety aspect, you’ll need to protect yourself as well, and that involves figuring out your corporate structure, since forming a limited liability partnership or corporation can protect you personally should your company run into trouble down the line. You'd be wise to secure bonding for anyone (including yourself) who works on client properties. Naturally, you'll need insurance for your company and all its equipment and inventory, too, and if you can afford it, loss of income for when bad luck lands, like equipment failure or a valued employee becoming injured on the job.
The Money Side
Can you afford to start a company? You’ll need a business plan and budget that considers all the above-mentioned legalities, but also all the other operational costs — like gas and vehicular wear-and-tear, wages, supply costs and even a slush fund for when work slows down or clients don’t pay up. Experts say the least you should have in the bank before starting a company is six months of payments for everything from licensing and insurance to wages and your cost-of-living expenses.
Sizing Up the Market
Just because you can start a niche business doesn’t mean you should. You’ll need to dig into the local market to see if there’s space for you, by investigating would-be competitors, their services, results and prices. Once you've got the lowdown on them, you position yourself against them by perhaps having after-hours services, using green products or whatever else distinguishes you.
A service like restroom cleaning is a small job that can be done quickly and cheaply with good revenues, but it’s the travel time between job sites that makes all the difference in expenses versus revenues. Can you find enough proximal businesses to offset the labor lost moving between jobs? These are the details that turn a business idea into a successful venture.
Marketing Restroom Cleaning Companies
You have all kinds of marketing options available to you, like advertising, social media and even cold-calling property management companies. But a commercial restroom cleaning business is unlike many others, in that you can visit businesses to see their restrooms and pitch those who need help. Great businesses to visit are autobody and mechanic shops, gas stations, mall businesses that have staff facilities that get neglected and stand-alone type businesses like insurance shops, business services and small eateries that may do daily cleaning but could use a pro-level cleaning weekly.
Give them a value proposition — a cleaner bathroom means happier employees and customers — and make your services convenient by being available at a time that suits them.
Reward your clients by offering a generous referral award (one free cleaning after every three cleans from a new referral, for instance) so you build good word of mouth. But most of all, get the details right: make their places sparkle and provide great, friendly service. Sometimes, it’s the simplest stuff that’s the most important.
Steffani Cameron is a professional writer who has written for the Washington Post, Culture, Yahoo!, Canadian Traveller, and many other platforms. Some writing projects have included ghost-writing for CEOs and doing strategy white papers. She frequently writes for corporate clients representing Fortune 500 brands on subjects that include marketing, business, and social media trends.