Starting a cleaning business in Texas is more about preparation than opportunity. With a population of over 25 million, Texas is second only to California in the number of people living within its borders, so there are plenty of potential clients. Get the right equipment and staff and you will be on your way to running a successful cleaning business in no time.
Order your business license from the official State of Texas website (see Reference section). This state-operated website allows you to register your business, order the business license and even file your income tax returns. Sales and use taxes can also be filed and paid online through this website. For county-specific or city-specific licensing requirements, contact local authorities directly as each area may have different regulations.
Join your local Texas chapter of the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International. This members-only organization is open to residential cleaning business owners and helps educate owners about the newest products and technology in the cleaning industry. Membership benefits include discount rates for pre-employment screenings, business software such as payroll and order management systems, and tax preparation. The monthly chapter meetings usually have guest speakers from the community and provide a wonderful networking opportunity.
Order your cleaning equipment and chemicals through a local wholesale supplier. Brothers Janitorial Supply in San Antonio, Dawson Chemical and Janitorial Supply in Houston and Janitor's World in Dallas all offer wholesale accounts. Register your account by providing a copy of your business license and placing your first order. Many companies will require a minimum order amount of $500 or more on the initial order, so make sure to combine your purchases to meet that requirement. Order only what you need to meet the minimum and get through your first several weeks of client's homes, so you do not incur too much expense until your sales pick up.
Hire a staff of cleaning workers to service your customers. You may not need a full-time staff when you start out, so opt instead for several part-time workers with flexible hours. Most residential customers prefer you to clean their homes while they are away at work, while others prefer to be home, so you will need to have a staff that works both day and evening hours. This is typically a good fit for college students since their hours are flexible and they can potentially work either day or evening depending on the day. Contact the college campuses in your area such as Texas A&M, the University of Texas, and Texas Tech and ask if you could post job openings in their student services office. Take part in a job fair to actually interview possible workers face-to-face. This is a quick way to weed out unsuitable candidates and also efficiently interview acceptable candidates.
Advertise your cleaning business through classifieds in the local newspaper. There are over 100 newspaper companies in Texas so research the ones with the widest circulation to increase your potential client base. Some of the popular newspapers in Texas include the Houston Chronicle, Abilene Reporter-News and the Dallas Morning News. Other possible opportunities to advertise are in radio spots, new subdivision model homes and the Yellow Pages. If your market area includes a "hot" housing market, you may want to consider working with local real estate agents to offer your services as part of the new home sales package. By giving new home owners a complimentary cleaning with their home purchase, you may increase sales through follow-up contacts.
Jeri Sullivan is a freelance writer with over 14 years experience based in South Carolina. She works for Flextronics International as a materials marketing manager and specializes in writing about business start-ups. Sullivan has a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Carolina.