How to Start a Sweeping Business

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Incorrectly launching a sweeping business can leave you deep in debt with equipment you can't use and money you can't recoup. Correctly launching a sweeping business can provide a profitable business with a loyal customer base and recurring revenues. The difference between an unsuccessful launch and a successful one lies in the basics of starting any business, but also in a few details pertinent to the street and parking-lot sweeping industry. Increase the chances of your success by negotiating the business start-up terrain.

Compile a list of commercial districts and property-management companies by contacting the property management firm in charge of local strip malls or industrial parks or by joining your local chamber of commerce. Although cold calls might produce short-term sales and therefore seem quicker and more effective than joining a chamber of commerce, you will make more permanent contacts by meeting business owners in a professional but relaxed atmosphere.

Contact surrounding city and county clerk offices to determine the next bid period for street and city property maintenance. Every city or county offers maintenance crews or companies the opportunity to provide sealed bids for city or county government jobs, and if you win a bid, you can earn steady clients for 12 to 24 months.

Purchase automated sweeping equipment from online directories such as Sweeper Land or Used Sweepers of America (see Resources). Supplement your equipment with hand-carried blowers that can help you service smaller parking lots.

Determine your "Overhead" by adding together your expenses for operations, salary and equipment storage. For instance, if you lease equipment and a truck for $700 per month, your salary costs are $4,000 and you rent an industrial office for $800 a month, your total overhead equals $5,500.

Determine your total projected sales by adding up the amount of revenue you anticipate receiving from each prospective client.

Place bids on cleaning commercial properties, making sure that each bid covers your entire overhead. For instance, if you estimate $5,500 in overhead and have 30 bids, the $5,500 should include the gasoline and operating expenses it takes to run the equipment. That way, the $183.33 per bid covers all your overhead expenses.

Hire enough assistants to cover the bids you win. You need to cover holes in the schedule created by employment changes or additional bids. You can't do all the work yourself, so you need assistants to operate the equipment while you make additional sales calls.