This topic discusses the estimated startup costs for this business idea. Startup costs are what you need to pay in order to be ready to begin business operations. The amount of these costs also helps you decide if the idea suits you.
List of items in startup costs
Note: I am only showing one month for certain expenses. You should be able to get your first job or two in a month. Then these items become operating expenses, not startup costs.
The assumed startup costs for this business idea, using a frugal style of business operations, consist of the following items:
Advertising and promotion (1 month) -- Small classified advertisements and/or or flyers delivered to likely neighborhoods.
Business insurance (1 month) -- Business liability insurance. (Talk to a local insurance agent to see if you need this coverage.)
Governmental requirements -- Local fees and business license. (Note: You might also be subject to state and federal deposits and registration fees, but these will vary. So I have not included them in these startup costs.)
Job supplies -- Typical items needed: assorted cleaning fluids, powders, and sprays; assorted light bulbs; can of crack filler; floor cleaner and wax; lint-free cleaning rags; paper towels; small cans of wood putty in assorted colors; sponges; and trash bags.
Office equipment -- Business telephone; desk accessories (stapler, paper clips, pen and pencils, etc.); and listing adding machine.
Office supplies -- Check blanks for business checking account, file folders or large manila envelopes (for filing papers), lined writing tablets, pads of accounting journals and ledger, and pads of standard job bid forms.
Other operating expenses (1 month) -- Business telephone expense.
Reference book -- Bookkeeping for Dummies (Paperback) available from Amazon.com or other online bookstores. (Note: The "for dummies" series of books are easy to read instructional manuals for normal people, not dummies.)
Here are the dollar amounts for a frugal business operation:
Note: See the Planning costs and expenses subtopic in the Business Plan on another page for ways to reduce these startup costs.
This topic satisfies the Starting business operations subtopic in the Business Plan page.
Preparing for business operations
Completing the startup requirements -- This is the last step needed just before you start business operations. See the Listing the startup requirements subtopic in the Business Plan for the items remaining to be completed.
As a minimum, you should have discussed the business idea with your family, set up your business entity, and satisfied all governmental and insurance requirements.
Local information needed -- You need the location of local dumpsites, fees charged for dumping, restrictions on materials allowed to be dumped, and rules for hauling trash.
Operating the business
Soliciting customers -- Place classified advertisements in your local newspaper and/or the newsletter of the local property owners association. You also might want to deliver flyers to likely neighborhoods (where rich people live). Use a simple, honest description of your services. Once you become well known in the community, you should benefit from word of mouth advertising from satisfied customers.
For additional ideas on soliciting customers, see the Sales Methods page in another section.
Getting jobs -- Hopefully, some of the people who read your advertisements or flyers will inquire about your services. During this initial telephone conversation, you should determine if you are willing and able to provide the desired services. If so, you may want to discuss the tentative cost of the cleaning service. However, in most cases you probably want to inspect the job site before quoting a price.
I recommend that you meet with customers in their homes or offices, or at the job site. Your neighbors may object to having a stream of strangers arriving at your home. Also, meeting with customers in your home may violate the zoning rules in your town or city.
Preliminary job activities -- After greeting the customer at the job site, you need to determine the desired level of service or get a detailed list of the cleaning chores desired.
It also would be a good idea to identify what is or isn't trash. For a vacated apartment, garbage normally includes the contents of cabinets, cupboards, and refrigerator (except for any obvious valuables). Garbage also includes spoiled food, regardless of where located.
The customer may be in a hurry and want you to work on a holiday or weekend to get the job done soon.
You can use your job bid forms to estimate the costs of cleaning the premises. This bid should include the fees for any extra services to be performed, such as working on weekends or at night, and hauling away any trash. The bid probably should include a completion date. If the customer accepts your bid, you both can sign the bid form.
If doing the work later on, you need to set the time and date, and arrange for access to the property.
Main job activities -- If you don't already have a list of the desired cleaning chores, then prepare one now. (If you bring your own checklist, tick off the chores you normally complete for the level of service the customer wants.)
Here are some typical cleaning chores:
Kitchen and laundry
Doors (exterior and interior)
Walls and ceilings
Windows and mirrors
After completing your checklist, you now can perform all cleaning chores as desired by the customer.
Additional job activities -- As you gain more experience, you might agree to perform additional tasks. Here are some examples:
Final job activities -- Inspect the premises to verify you have finished all required tasks. Remove all your equipment and supplies. Gather all the trash bags you have accumulated.
Provide customer with your notes about various defective items encountered.
Collect your agreed upon fee from the customer. Haul the trash to the dump, if part of your agreed upon services