REOs (Real Estate Owned) properties, held by banks and other financial institutions, are facing a huge need for foreclosure cleanup services. When all debris is removed from the properties that are left abandoned, the grass properly cut, and other small maintenance items are properly tended to, it will give a more clean cut look to the home—and the banks know this. Abandoned homes leave an incredible amount of items that need to be hauled off, so it is also important to have a truck of reasonable size to use when cleaning is complete. Even if you have to rent one, the cost can be added to your fee ensuring that you make a profit on this venture.
Obtain a list of REO properties in your area. Banks are a good source for this information and will help you contract the work. Real estate agents also have long lists of home foreclosures that will have to be cleaned after recent evictions.
Research other cleaning services and see what they charge and how they come to that price. Check to see if they have a specialized person that you may be able to hire for difficult tasks after their company hours. Do not be afraid to ask what you want to know, because you will always be collecting information as you learn about this specialized service. Try to calculate the price of your services slightly below the competition until you are comfortable that your work is superior, and can demand a higher price.
Begin with one REO that needs cleaning and write a formal estimate on what will have to be done to clean out the property. Be careful when considering how long this will take. You might want to contemplate charging by the square foot instead of charging a fixed price. If charging by the square foot, it is important to tell the REO holder that you will be cleaning the property from ceiling to floor in every room in order to get paid what you are asking.
Land a local REO cleaning project by being the lowest bidder with a satisfaction guarantee. If you keep your prices reasonable, are able to do touch up paint jobs, clean all floors until they dazzle, make walls and ceilings look immaculate, have good carpet cleaning equipment and can work reasonably fast, then you will make a favorable impression on the bank and will receive more opportunities in the future from this one source.
Make a list what needs to be done in each room per the bank's request. Also check to see what might need to be hauled off from the front and back yard areas. Begin by completing the easy tasks first, like cleaning carpets, washing ceilings and walls and cleaning floors.
Complete the difficult or "repair" tasks last. Often the bank will give you an extra allowance if you offer to complete these items. There may be holes in the wall that need to be fixed, plumbing repairs that may need your attention, electrical outlets where ceiling fans or other electrical fixtures have been removed, etc. If you have any of these abilities, and can complete the tasks for a reasonable rate, that will also be beneficial. Just do not make the bank feel as if they are being overcharged.
Always make sure your customer is satisfied with your performance. By doing so, you will move to the top of the list when they are considering issuing a new bid for future REO clean out projects.
Residing near the Central Florida beaches, Steven Douglas has written extensively on resolving small-business issues since 1990 in publications such as ForexFactory, Forex-Tsd, FxStreet and FxFisherman. After earning a master's degree in administration from the University of Maryland, his primary focus has been on international currency trade and how it can be effectively utilized by small businesses across the United States.