How to write an effective cleaning services business plan
- Write your executive summary last to create the most compelling start
- Include an actionable business strategy and clear financial plan to prove your growth potential
- Frame your cleaning business in a positive light—especially for lenders and others outside your team—but always be realistic
Cleaning your house—sweeping, mopping, vacuuming—are chores everyone has to do but few people love. It’s no wonder thousands of homeowners and business owners across the country outsource their cleaning every year. With a strategic cleaning services business plan, you can start a profitable new business that makes the most of this demand.
Here are six key sections you need to include in your business plan template to help you successfully start your cleaning company.
1. Executive summary
Every cleaning services business plan starts with a compelling executive summary that offers a concise overview of its contents.
First impressions are important, and the executive summary is your first chance to introduce your business and explain your purpose. If you’re sharing your business plan outside of your team—perhaps to lenders or potential business partners—it’s crucial to make your summary as enticing as possible. If not, they may not even read the rest of your plan.
Even if you’re only sharing your business plan within your management team, a strong start gives busy managers the key facts about your business. This allows them to understand and implement your purpose and values until they have time to sift through the more detailed parts of your business plan. An executive summary also helps excite your team about the business they’re helping to build.
A solid executive summary should include:
- A brief intro to your business
- Your mission statement, which is a short, powerful phrase that defines what you do (for example, “to provide healthier, safer workspaces for professionals”)
- What makes you stand out, as compared to other cleaning services
- An overview of your business strategy and financial plan
Keep your summary brief and put the most impressive facts forward. This section should be no more than one page long, so make sure to leave out unnecessary minor details or flowery language. You can go into much greater detail with the rest of your business plan, which should be at least 30 pages long.
Some business owners find it better to write the executive summary last, which allows you to easily narrow down the best points to highlight and saves time on later revisions.
2. Business description
Your business description section is the place to talk about the details of your company and what it does best. Start off with a paragraph or two that provides details about:
- Your company’s purpose: Are you a commercial cleaning company or a residential cleaning business?
- Your company history: Are you a startup? If not, how long have you been in business? What experience do you bring to the table?
- Your location: Where do you operate? What area do you serve? Do you have office space?
- Your team: How many employees do you have? How many people work in the front office? How many are on your janitorial team?
- Your objectives: What specific, measurable goals do you have? You can update your cleaning business plan over time, but choose 1–3 goals you’ll focus on for the next three years, such as “increasing net profits by 110% and reaching 75% growth within our first year.”
No cleaning business can be the perfect fit for everyone. Be specific about the clientele you want to serve, including your ideal client’s demographics and interests. Explain the problems they’re facing that may lead them to search for a cleaning company.
As an example, a house cleaning service may specifically target upper-middle-class families with children and busy work lives. They need a cleaning company so they can have more time to relax and be with their kids.
If you’re not sure what types of clients you want to focus on yet, do some research on other cleaning businesses in your area. Who are their typical clients? Are there any noticeable gaps you could fill? Are there less saturated parts of your local cleaning industry you could enter?
Your value proposition explains why you’re uniquely suited to serve your target market. You can use this part of your cleaning services business plan to highlight your greatest strengths—for example, if your team members are cleaning industry veterans or if you use particularly high-quality or eco-friendly products.
It’s crucial for you to describe each type of cleaning service you offer. If you offer carpet cleaning, you may give some brief insight into what carpet materials you can clean and what carpet cleaning plans you offer. If you offer window cleaning services, specify whether you work with high-rises or only single-story buildings.
3. Market analysis
As the owner of a cleaning business, you need to keep an eye on trends in your industry and immediate market. The market analysis section of your cleaning services business plan shows your investors and partners both your knowledge and ability to succeed by answering questions like:
- What is the current state of the cleaning industry? Is demand or spending projected to grow? Who is seeking services right now?
- Who are your competitors? Who are their potential customers?
- What opportunities and challenges will you face entering the market?
- Despite the challenges, what gives you a competitive advantage? For example, you may be entering a saturated market, but you could still be the only office cleaning service in your area focused on serving small businesses.
Answer these questions as accurately as possible and back them up with thorough research and data. While you should always aim to put your cleaning business in a positive light to impress potential lenders, partners, and others, your business plan also serves as a guiding document for your company so it should be realistic. Your management team will benefit from understanding the actual challenges they’re facing and how you plan to overcome them.
4. Business strategy
Growth is essential for every company. In this portion of your cleaning services business plan, you’ll flesh out exactly the actions you’ll take to achieve that growth.
A great business strategy includes two components:
How you price your cleaning services can have a significant impact on your sales and your ability to reach your target audience. If you’re a new business, it can also affect your ability to attract new customers.
If you’re trying to attract money-conscious clients, it makes sense to offer coupons and deals on your services when you’re first launching your business. Coupons and deals can get their attention quickly, allowing you to make them loyal to your brand before you charge full price—which may still be at or below typical prices in your market.
On the other hand, if you want to position yourself as a luxury cleaning business, your potential customers might not be seeking competitive pricing and be willing to pay more for higher-quality janitorial services.
Learn about nine pricing strategies you can implement in your business.
Sales and marketing strategy
The other essential component of your cleaning business strategy is your sales and marketing strategy, which explains how you intend to grow your cleaning company through driving business and making sales. This is where you can explain:
- How you’ll generate leads
- How you’ll engage those leads and drive them toward a purchase
- How you’ll keep engaging and retaining customers over time
This section should include all of the strategies you’ll use to promote and market your cleaning business (with details), such as running social media ads, claiming your Yelp Business Page, sending emails, or using traditional marketing like direct mail or print ads.
Most business plans will also include a sales forecast here that explains the results you expect to see based on your marketing efforts.
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5. Management summary
The management summary of your cleaning services business plan details how your company will operate on a day-to-day basis. A strong management summary will prove your team’s competence as a whole. Below are some subsections to consider including in this part of your plan.
This section is relatively simple—just explain who owns your company and what business structure you have (sole proprietorship, LLC, S corporation, etc.). If you have any other stakeholders, such as employees with equity in your business, make sure to provide this information too.
The people behind the wheel of your business are the ones who shape its direction the most. That’s why your business plan should provide a brief biography of each member of your leadership team, as well as their relevant experience. Highlight all of their education and credentials, along with any relevant career accomplishments. For example, if you have 10 years of experience as the operations manager of a national cleaning company, highlight that.
Create a visual organizational chart for readers (these free templates can help), so potential investors can easily see the hierarchy structure within your company. How do your cleaning technicians receive assignments? Do you have a customer service representative taking calls? Expand on how your cleaning service functions in individual departments and as a complete unit.
6. Financial plan
Writing a business plan doesn’t have to cost any money unless you hire a business consultant to write it for you, which usually costs at least $1,500. However, as you’re writing your plan, you do need to be aware of the costs of running your business.
Use this section to describe what expenses you’ll face as a business. Separate any startup costs (like LLC formation costs) from ongoing operational costs (like rent, payroll, and cleaning equipment expenses) to present a clear picture of your potential.
It’s critical to be highly accurate with your financial figures in your cleaning services business plan. Overestimating expenses is better than underestimating them so that you or your team aren’t surprised by any additional expenses later on. Do your research on average prices and expenses or even chat with other cleaning business owners if you’re not sure.
Using your sales forecast as reference, present your expected financials for the next three to five years. What will your profit and loss statements, cash flow statements, and other financial documents look like? Use charts and graphs with specific numbers whenever possible. You may want to work with an accountant on this step, as they can advise on what’s realistic.
Put your cleaning services business plan into action
Once your cleaning services business plan is complete, it’s time to start putting it into action. After launching your business, enact your business strategies. Your business plan should provide guidance for at least the next three years, though it’s perfectly normal to need to make adjustments to your objectives and strategies at any time. Get more tips on how to market your cleaning business to take your cleaning services to the next level.
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