We continues with our series about how to make money with side hustles or small business ideas that do not requires a lot of money down. If you want to share how you make money your way, please drop me a line, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today I would like to talk about cleaning services. We live in a world where people do not have a lot of time between jobs, raising kids, commuting and having a life, cleaning services are often the first thing people hire out when they start making a little more money. Here is your chance to earn a little more!
Home cleaning services
When I was working full time, I had a cleaning lady coming to my apartment once a week to do a deep clean of the place. Then during the week, I would only have to do a load of laundry and superficial cleaning. When I lived in Guatemala, the cleaning lady even made food for the next few days. It saved a lot of time.
I hired the cleaners by word of mouth, and ended up hiring my neighbor’s who had some free time to come clean my place. If you are on the other side of the equation, that means you should be treating each job like a potential platform to more jobs, and do the best you can to leave a good impression on your employer. Chances are they live in an affluent neighborhood where other people need cleaners, or have friends with similar means who could hire you too.
In the UK, I hired a cleaner via internet. Even when I lived with roommate, the lady would come and do my turn of the house chores, and yes I am very spoiled and lucky to have been able to afford cleaners in my early 20s, but I also value my time, as I had half a dozen freelance gigs going on top of a day job, I was able to be more efficient and earn more doing other jobs and paying for a cleaner than cleaning myself. I am not of the people who find it a relaxing and soothing activity… But back to the point. When I was looking for a cleaner online, I noticed two kinds of cleaners: corporate and private.
Private cleaners are just students or young mums looking to make extra money. They charge less, do not give you an invoice, generally ask for cash, and do not bring their products.
Cleaners who come on behalf of a company are more expensive, they can give you an invoice if that is a tax deductible item for you, and tend to do a better job.
If you want to work for a cleaning company, you will make less than if you charge cash on your own, but you will have that income count for your unemployment benefits, social security, and so on. The company may even have other incentives for their workers, like paid sick days and holidays. Consider the whole package before you make your mind.
What bothered me about private ads online is the person rarely published the rates on the ad. So you had to email, wait (sometimes for a while, or no answer at all) to hear back with the rates, while the company usually had all the info on the website. Make sure you make an informative ad with your details, maybe even a picture, and your rates. If people inquire, offer to give references, they will rarely check but they will feel safe.
I paid my cleaner $15 per hour but the market rate will depend on the neighborhood, how many hours you take, both per week and at a time, since it cost more in gas or bus fare for someone to come for two hours than the whole day, and how often they want you to clean. If they want a monthly deep clean, you can charge as much as twice the rate of a weekly clean, so make sure you have all the details before giving an exact quote.
The main advantage about cleaning is nothing more than two arms (did you see that 2 Broke Girls episode where the cleaner they hired has one arm because they can’t afford one with two?) and some motivation is needed. You can put your ad up for free online or at the local store.
Starting a window cleaning company requires a bit more to get set up. In most neighborhoods, even office buildings are one or two stories high, and having a telescopic handle to clean the higher windows will be your main investment, on top of cleaning products. Again, this is a service most companies are happy to hire out, so you just have to go around and offer your services. Starting your own website can prove useful if you are in a small town, try to Google “Window cleaning + name of your town”, if nothing appears apart from Yellow Pages, creating your own page will allow you to rank first and be seen by companies looking for that service.
A great way to hook the company is to offer a monthly plan, and a discount for paying a year in advance. Unlike a gym membership, they will get the full 12 months worth of cleaning, as nothing is required on their side, but you secure your business for the months to come.
Considering you will be working on third party grounds, you should be properly insured to do the job, and have a liability insurance. Operating as a company will be more expensive to set up, but your responsibility will be limited in case something goes wrong so it is worth the expense rather than going self employed.
Especially if you take the business one step further and invest in scaffoldings to clean higher buildings. Buying a van and the necessary materials can be a bit expensive, so you may want to finance via companies like BusinessLoansDirect.com to have all you need to start working from day 1.
Car wash stand
A car wash stand is the typical way for kids to make extra money during the summer, and only requires a hose and a few cleaning products. I wouldn’t recommend you do it for more than a weekend to raise money for a good cause, as it may bother your neighbors and you are not properly set up for more.
However, if you have some empty space on your property, you could look into installing a real car wash. Some are pretty basic and coin operated so no action is required on your side, you just have to check everything is working properly once in a while and empty the coin machine. My favorite automated business would be a Laundromat if I owned commercial real estate in a town center, but out in the suburbs it would probably be a car wash.
Cleaning offices is a great side gig because you will be cleaning the place when people are not working, i.e. nights and weekends. Usually you get a rotation, or a whole floor in a big building, no one else is there to bother you, and when your job is done, you can go home, regardless of the hours you worked. It fits great around a student schedule or as a second job, unlike house cleaning that is generally required during the day.
Again, you can work for yourself or on behalf of a company, with similar pros and cons to working alone or not for home cleaning.