Starting an office cleaning service
Running a commercial cleaning service can be a profitable business. After all, offices and business premises do all need to be cleaned on a regular basis so once you have clients you will never be short of work. However you will need to ensure that you have the correct cleaning equipment and products in order to manage the task.
In addition, you will probably need some employees; many offices are large with numerous areas to keep clean. So if you are working for yourself and have no plans to take on staff, a domestic cleaning service may be a far better option.
Will I need to employ cleaners?
If you do want to start up an office cleaning service, you will certainly need to think about employing people because office cleaning (unless the offices are tiny) will be far too much work for one person to manage. In addition you will have to consider when you want to do the work. Most office cleaning services carry out their work outside office hours to avoid disruption so this job is not suitable for anyone looking for regular 9 to 5 hours.
So as well as some extra manpower, what sort of office cleaning equipment do you need? Let’s take a look.
What office cleaning equipment will I need
As well as general office areas, offices have staff toilets and kitchens so you will need mops and buckets to clean these areas, as well as cloths, rubber gloves and cleaning products. You should colour code these and although it doesn’t matter which colours to use as long as you stick to them, it does make sense to follow the guidelines laid down by the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc).
The BICSc requires that cleaning equipment should be coded in the following way:
- Red: washrooms and toilets
- Yellow: kitchen and food preparation areas
- Green : Public areas
- Blue : restaurant and bar
Many offices don’t have public areas but some do and of course larger establishments may have a staff canteen or eating area too so it is important that these guidelines are followed to avoid the risk of cross contamination and spreading bacteria.
You will also need a good supply of basic cleaning equipment. The offices may have numerous different areas and floor coverings. There will be desks, bins to empty, glass surfaces such as mirrors and desks that become messy and full of smears and fingerprints, there will be wooden furniture and many areas to dust and clean.
Your basic equipment should include the following: (Click each one for an example)
- Dusters/ microfibre cloths
- Dustpan and brush
- Glass polishing cloths
- Rubber gloves
- Buckets and bowls
- Wet floor signs
- TV and Monitor screen cleaner
- Plastic liners for rubbish bins
- Absorbent paper towels
- Wet and dry hoover
All this equipment needs to be moved around so for the commercial cleaning business, you will need to invest in commercial cleaning trolleys. These will also have a large area on board that is convenient for collecting rubbish and emptying the bins. You may need some plastic caddies so that staff members can carry out their cleaning away from the trolley using it as the “central mother ship”
You will also need a commercial vacuum cleaner. A good choice is a wet and dry vacuum cleaner because this can cope with spillages and also enable you to clean areas of carpets when necessary.
Although carpet cleaning is a whole different cleaning service, a wet and dry vacuum will enable you make any areas look instantly better and is often a better option for commercial use than a dry vacuum. That said, the equipment you choose will depend upon the areas you are cleaning. If many of the offices you clean have bare wooden floors or a similar hard covering rather than carpet for example, you might want to invest in a floor scrubber/ dryer once your business takes off.
You will need a good supply of cleaning products
Cleaning products are essential. Your office cleaning kit should include the following products: (Click each one for an example)
- Toilet cleaner/ bleach
- Cleaning chemicals to suit all purposes
- Glass cleaner
- Furniture polish
- Stain remover for carpets
- Air freshener
You can keep costs down by buying in bulk from commercial suppliers rather than shopping at your local supermarket.
You may also need a van to transport your equipment especially if you need to bring the equipment to the location, every time you clean. This will need to look reasonably smart and clean because it is your mobile advertisement and nobody will hire a cleaning service that uses a dirty or beat up looking van. It would be like seeing dead plants in a doctor’s surgery!
A professional cleaning service usually brings all their own equipment so that the company does not have to bother employing their own cleaners or buying in cleaning products. Whether or not you can leave some of this in place will depend upon the individual circumstances and whether you need it for other jobs.
In addition it is important to find out about any special requirements. For example you might find that a company requires that you only clean with eco friendly products so you will need to factor this in to your pricing.
Provide an excellent service
You don’t need a licence or any special training to set up as a commercial cleaning company. However it is important that any staff you take on are reliable and trustworthy so undertaking CRB checks will provide added credibility and reassurance.
For office cleaning, you don’t need any more than a basic CRB disclosure as your employees are unlikely to come into contact with vulnerable children or adults. However you do need to ensure that the people you employ are trustworthy. Many offices hold sensitive information so it is important that you can trust that this will not be stolen or used.
It is also important to ensure that you have the correct insurance in place so that you are not liable for damage should something go wrong.
An office cleaning service is a relatively low cost way of setting up a business. It can be surprisingly profitable and it does not require much training. It can be as big or as small as you want it to be, depending on the scale of your clients.
The key to success is to carry out the cleaning quickly and efficiently. That way your clients won’t even consider that you have been working hard behind the scenes to keep their offices clean.